Radio controlled (r/c) yacht models can provide the same enjoyment in "conversing with the wind" as their full sized counterparts can do. Using the natural energy of the wind, the model glides over the water, precisely controlled by its rudder and sails. This is a brief introduction to getting started.
Obviously a radio control unit is required to control the yacht. Generally a 2-channel radio, with a stick controlled transmitter is required for R/C yacht models. Radio control units (R/C) consist of a number of componets.
Transmitter - This is the 'control box' which the person controlling the model holds. The number of channels a R/C set has determines how many functions it can control.
Receiver - the receiver is actually held in the model and is responsible for receiving the radio signals from the transmitter and sending the control signals to the servo motors to operate various functions.
Battery - Usually rechargable batteries suppliying power to the receiver and servos.
Servos - these are small electric motors connected to, and controlled by the receiver. It is these servos that are responsible for operating the controls on board the model. Often specialist sail winches are used.
In most radio controlled yachts two servos are used to control the sail and rudder.
- Rudder control servo: Steers the vessel in the desired direction
- Sail control servo: control the sail
A small R/C yacht model can be controlled by standard sized servos, but a special high torque servo may be required to control the sails on a larger sized model.
Two control frequency bands are commonly used for yacht racing in the UK. These are the 27MHz band (12 transmitting channels) and the 40MHz band (34 transmitting channels). This permits, in theory, a total of 46 boats to sail simultaneously on one stretch of water. However, regattas are usually organised in such a way that no more than 18 boats compete in any one heat a - a race may be made up of a number of heats (see the RC Laser Race Management System) . This allows any number of entries, as the multiple fleet system, with promotion and relegation is employed when regatta entries exceed 18 boats.
The easiest way to commence fun or competitive sailing is to contact your local club, via the MYA or by just visiting its web site at http://www.radiosailing.org.uk. Visiting your local club is the best way decide whether you want to build or purchase a boat and it will also help you decide which class to choose. There is a small second-hand market for most classes with prices starting as little as £300 for a One Metre, ready to sail.
Radio yacht sailing is organised along similar lines to full sized yacht racing using the international racing rules. Many races are conducted in one day and as a skipper you stay safe, warm and dry, thus making this an ideal sport for all members of the family.
Various classes of yachts are sailed and these are controlled by the MYA (Model Yacht Association). See our classes page for more details.