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Racing RC sailboats just for the silly fun of it.

WVRCM has a range of RC boat skippers from national champs to people just getting started—and we welcome them all. New to it? The sailors at the front of the fleet are happy to offer tips to newcomers to help them come up to speed.

TDF95 RC Sailboatsypically the races are windward-leeward sprints, probably two laps, with a beat to the windward mark, bending to an offset, and then rushing downwind to a gate and finishing upwind. Short races. Lots of races in a brief time. Get a poor start? Not a problem, since the next race is minutes away.

Any boat is welcome, but two boats now dominate: The Dragonflite 95 and the SeaWind. Both boats are about a meter long and are close enough in performance that they can share the race track. The DF95 is the hot boat nationally, selling in the thousands. It's relatively easy to build and is cost-effective at about $425, complete with battery and RC controller. The SeaWind is about $400. Both boats can sometimes be found used at a nice discount from new.

While both boats respond to tuning, the rules keep them unmodified, so a new boat can compete tweak-free.

SeaWind RC SailboatsDrop by one of our race days and ask to try the controls. They're simple: one joy stick trims the two sails in and out and another moves the rudder to steer. The controllers are festooned with switches and variables, but nearly all of that stuff is for RC airplanes, which are much more complex. With sailing, the skill comes from smooth control of the boat, responding to the wind shifts, and choosing the right tactics.

Here's a link to the DF95 class and here's one to SeaWind. In addition, many members have Micro Magic boats, which are now being produced again. And WVRCM Scale Director Jack David is class secretary for the Run-What-You-Brung Open Class. He brings out one of his big Open Class boats sometimes.

Sailing on a beautiful day at Estrella North lake. Boat pictures above: (top) DragonFlite 95, (middle) SeaWind. (Photos: Mike Ferring)

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