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RC Sailboat Resources & Links

Here are various links for RC ("radio control") sailboats:

Organizations:

AMYA : This is the American Model Yachting Association. This is the official group that sanctions the many RC sailboat classes in the US. There was another American model yacht group that oversaw “free sailing”, but was largely surpassed by the AMYA when radio-controlled technology became widely available in the 1960’s. The AMYA adopted RC right off the bat and has never looked back. They have some 30 classes of boats, a number of which are “builder” boats… boats that you and I can build ourselves instead of simply purchasing. Who wants a plastic toy boat when you can build a proper wooden RC yacht?!

USVMYG: This is the US Vintage Marblehead Model Yacht Group. They are keeping alive the Marblehead yachts that were popular from the beginnings in the 1930's up to 1970.  This blog is primarily interested in Vintage Marblehead designs and is a strong supporter of the USVMYG (even though I live in Seattle… thousands of miles from any VM fleet!).

CRYA (Canadian Radio Yachting Association): Canada's official group. Several classes that are common to the US as well.

MYA (Model Yachting Association): This is the official group of the UK.

The International Radio Sailing Association: This is the world body that oversees international class racing. There seem to be only four classes that are raced internationally - Marblehead, IOM, Ten Rater, and A Class.

Suppliers:


National Balsa: They sell the plywood in every thickness you might need, and they also do a fantastic laser-cutting business. I've used them several times for laser-cutting and they are wonderful to work with. Not super cheap, but you'll get perfectly cut parts within a week or so. I highly encourage you to use them for both plywood and laser-cutting.

Callie Graphics: Custom graphics for your boat, plane, or whatever! Callie Graphics made an exact decal of the file I sent, and it worked perfectly on my "Sun Wind HF". Very reasonable rates too, and quick turnaround.

Long Beach RC: Small collection of fitting and such. Their selection is high quality, but rotates often, so if you see something you like then you better buy it now because they may run out soon.

Model Yacht Fittings: They have fittings for Vintage Marblehead boats as well as for J Class boats and others. Quality, hand-made stuff.

ACP Composites: They sell very light-weight fiberglass cloth. I'm use 1.4 oz. cloth on most boats, but they sell even lighter stuff for the RC Sailplane crowd. Quick shipping too. Nice company! 

Midwest Model Yachting: They have many fittings and rigging kits for certain classes, including Star 45 and East Coast 12 Meter. You can get a few parts useable for VM boats there.

Stevens AeroModel: For the Star 45 only. They produce the laser-cut frames for the Star 45. They also make the keel and rudder kit (you should get it) as well as the Radio Tray kit (you should get it if you plan to use the RMG SmartWinch as your winch). Otherwise, if you are looking for laser-cutting, check out National Balsa.

Chesapeake Performance Models: They make the lead bulb that many of us use on the Star 45. They also offer fiberglass hulls, fins, rudders, and other parts for the Star 45, the EC12, CR914 and J Boats. If you want to purchase a complete boat, they will be your source. He is very down on wooden hulls though, but that's understandable because 1) he's trying to sell you his fiberglass hulls, and 2) he's entirely focused on speed and not on aesthetics. He is an incredible sailor and has won numerous National Championships in a number of classes, so he knows what he's talking about. However, if your focus is, like mine, on aesthetics and you want the classic look of a wood sailboat and don't worry as much about top speed, then make your own! Buy his bulbs though!

Buy LOCAL! I also highly encourage everyone to frequent their local hobby store! Yes, the prices might be higher, but you get your products right then and can take them home. Plus you get loads of advice. You can also look around and find things that you can use that perhaps you didn't even know were an option. Sadly there are few hobby shops open any more.

The closest one to me in Seattle is Galaxy Hobby in Lynnwood. Nice store with very good selection. And they carry 48" x 12" x 1/16" (and 1/32" and even 1/64") plywood! Local shops might sell some of the less expensive RC sailboats (Victoria, Seawind, Dragonforce, etc...), but don't go to them for the higher-end boats. The high-end wooden boats (Star 45, Vintage Marblehead, EC12, CJ, etc...) you either have to make yourself or purchase at through the sanctioned manufacturer.

Marblehead Fittings store on eBay: Small selection of fittings. 

AMain Performance Hobbies: Looks like they have a lot for the off-the-shelf powerboat crowd.


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Riptide RC Sailboat

Well I just hit the R/C Sailboat jackpot! Rod Carr, of Carr Sails in Redmond, WA, and the second ever member of the AMYA, just gifted me a Marblehead "Riptide" hull and many of the parts and templates to finish it! Thank you Rod!

I'm not sure when I'll be able to work on this, but hopefully it will turn into a fantastic vintage Marblehead. The gentleman who started it did a fantastic job. He was a true artist and I will do my best to get as close as I can to his workmanship but it will be a challenge.

Here are some pictures...


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Here are the other boats I've built in the past few years:


1. A Tippecanoe T37. These are kits available from Tippecanoe Boats in Washington State.








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3. A Salish 475. It's my own variation on the Star 45. It was built from the same laser cut frames as the Star with a number of modifications aft of frame 6. It is an update of the classic look and was an attempt to mimic a modern ocean racing yacht.










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Radio controlled sailboats

Sun Wind RC Sailboat 3D Model

One of my current projects is to 3D model Gus Lassel's 1949 "Sun Wind" Vintage Marblehead (VM) sailboat. Apparently it was originally called the "Sun Daze", as in fun sailing on Sundays, according to Adrian Olson whose father had a connection to the original designer. (By the way, check out Adrian's other model yachts too. He does beautiful work!)

Boats back then were free-sailing or vane-sailing. I think this was a free-sailing boat but am not sure. My version will be modified for RC. All I have to go by is an old set of lines, but hopefully I can get a decent model out of it. Eventually I would like to make laser-cut frames from my 3D model and actually recreate the boat in RC.

Adrian Olson offers a modern fiberglass kit for the Sun Wind. The pictures look beautiful! My intention is to create frames so that a builder can make their own wood & fiberglass version. I really doubt that many people will want to go through the effort it can take to make a …

Vintage Marblehead Riptide electronic files

UPDATE: As of 12/8/2017, I was sent a much better TIFF file of the original plans by Ted Houk. See my updated post

When Rod Carr gifted to me an unfinished wooden Riptide hull, it came with a CD of files from the gentleman (a man named Roger, I believe) who made it. I finally got a chance to look at the files and what a great discovery!

Roger created not only several very helpful PDF files, but .dxf files too. With some work I could make files for laser cut frames, fin and rudder!



NOTE: I am not the creator of these files and cannot vouch for the accuracy of them. The creator of the electronic files is unknown but the original plans for the Riptide go back to 1949 and are most likely in the public domain. One version of the Riptide lines is being freely distributed. These files are the only ones I've seen other than the original 1949 hand-drawn lines. I put them here under an assumed Creative Commons license for NON-commercial work. You are free to make your own Riptide but only…