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Discussion Starter #1
Who has experience with these? I know a fella in FL that races them, but haven't seen him in a while.

I got to thinking that building a nice varnished beauty might be fun and to "sail" it off the transom at anchor might also be fun. Then I started to wonder how tough these might be to sail. I can say from first hand experience, flying an RC airplane is totally different and more confusing than the real deal. If I'm going to end up losing it or bashing it up, maybe a plastic fantastic kit is the way to go.

I could probably find a place aboard for one under three feet long, assuming the mast comes down. What kind of wind can they sail in?

Any suggestions on the best kits would also be welcome. (as if I need a new hobby or more to do when aboard :) )
 
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I can say from first hand experience, flying an RC airplane is totally different and more confusing than the real deal.
The stakes are higher with RC aircraft, especially planes. They are a lot faster and the light control responses means you can end up nose first into the ground pretty easily. The worst that happens with a boat is you have to go swimming and retrieve it.

I actually got into flying because of RC airplanes. I looked at what was required to fly one and what was required to start flying the real thing, figured I'd spend all that time with real airplanes. It all went downhill from there :laugher

I would be careful, though, because in my experience, these boats don't hold up well in salt water. I don't have as much experience with the sailboats, but the electric motor boats I used to operate did not hold up well when exposed to any kind of salt water, it fried everything (motors, servos, etc). I tried all the recommended ways of sealing them (rubbers, etc), none of it really worked.
 

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My wife and I sailed these at a boat show last year. Very fun in an indoor pool with fans and very little fetch but I would think most anchorages would have some waves that would limit the ability in open water. Still fun though.
 

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I just bought a Shunbo Monsoon for my nephew for x-mas. I plan to do a write up on it at some point.

For the price I find it to be a AMAZING value (Chinese of course). It is a true fiberglass hull, not just injection molded plastic, and comes 90% assembled and fully painted.. All I needed was some epoxy, a little butyl tape for the keel and some lead shot, #8, for the bulb keel. A bunch of the screws are zinc plated steel so I swapped them out for SS. I am making a bunch of small tweaks to her but with any model you probably will. I looked at a CR-914 and others but it was going to be 6X - 8X the price and a tad steep for a 7 year old kid. We also did not want to take the time to do a 100% assembly, kids are busy these days with soccer, sailing camps etc. etc so we just wanted to be able to sail it.......

It comes with the servos already installed, fully painted, mast 90% rigged and the sails fully pre-made. He can't wait to sail it..... I also plan to get one for myself so we can race them....

I bought it from the USA warehouse of Hobby King including the radio. All in I was under $250.00 delivered. Be very sure that you are on the USA warehouse when buying or the shipping will cost more than the boat... Hobby King is a tad quirky, but they have good values. If he likes it someday we may get into a more exotic model. For now the inexpensive Chinese RC boat will do just fine for learning..

I also have another RC model that was "some assembly required" (more like 95% assembly & painting required) and it has been sitting in my barn now for 11 years!!!!!

You can literally assemble and sail the Monsoon in a few hours.. My only major tweak I will be making is better waterproofing of the servo bay and to better water seal it from the elements.

It is really too big to leave assembled in the house as the mast is quite tall. The hull length alone is 3'...

For perspective the TV is a 50":


I store the sails behind my office door....
 

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Check out the Micro Magic ...which is small. I sail it in our pool and also in the Chesapeake. Love the boat and it has different rigs for different wind conditions. Light air has not been a problem.

Laser is bigger but stores easily in the boat. Sails really well in all conditions.
 

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On my big cruise last year I was enjoying a bike ride around Salt Spring Island when I came across a group racing 1 meter RC boats on a small pond. I'd never seem them in person before. The sailors were very nice and one of them let me sail one of the boats, it was pretty easy to sail but challenging to sail well.

I wouldn't be worried about how hard they are to sail.

I would buy one that is raced in a local series. They are tons of fun to race, and I think sailing them around without racing would get pretty dull pretty fast.

 

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Wow, those look fun. My marina is very calm, these could be a nice way to end the day..
 

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Did anyone looked into possibility of making your dinghy remote-controlled?

Imagine anchoring in the bay, come to the shore for the day on a dinghy, and then remote-controlling it back to you boat (hook onto something there). No need to worry about leaving it at the shore. When going back to the boat, remote-controlling it back to you.
 

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I'd love a remote control model, but only if its got a watermaker.
 
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I was moored next to a guy (in a trawler, no less) who had what looked liked a museum quality RC sailboat, what really caught my attention was the little tiny nav lights he'd rigged so he could sail after dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think I have to give this a try. Saltwater and boat wakes seem to be a concern. I'm a bit surprised they are hard to waterproof. Wouldn't seem so hard.
 

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I had a nice 1metre class RC sailing boat back in the UK, I ended up leaving it there when I moved across the pond. Good fun, I could sail it quite happily in enough breeze that down wind I could have the first third of the boat underwater and she was still sailing nicely :D
Easy to sail, basically like the real thing except smaller.
They are difficult to waterproof, things have to come through the deck and that means a hole.
Mast etc unstepped in a few minutes but the mast itself was pretty long and hard to store. On a boat I'd want something a little smaller, or just get a dinghy that sailed and go out on that.
 

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We have a fleet of a dozen or more at our club. People build them on weekends in the club workshop over the winter and then race each week in the summer. Regattas are scheduled at each end of the season with hors d'oeuvres and appropriate libations keeping the sailors and their followers enthused, even if the wind fails to cooperate. The idea is to share the fun, and that's what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
How often are they just unrecoverable and you must go after them? I guess you could sail them out of radio range. I suppose we could chase it down with the dink, but that would be annoying.

For a couple hundred bucks, I still think I'm going to give this a whirl to find out. I have a feeling you only rent these things. :)
 

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What would I need to circumnavigate one of these? Let's see.... a small solar panel. Extra strength for the rigging. Couple backup sails. Yeah, I think it could be done. All I would need is a follow vehicle!
 

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The range on the RC stuff is usually at least a few hundred feet, and you're going to want to keep it closer than that anyway so you can actually see what's going on.
The RC units for aircraft are obviously much longer range, but consequently much more expensive and you probably aren't allowed to use them or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What would I need to circumnavigate one of these? Let's see.... a small solar panel. Extra strength for the rigging. Couple backup sails. Yeah, I think it could be done. All I would need is a follow vehicle!
How about a link through the Iridium Satellite system, so you can control it anywhere and get video feedback to your livingroom. Never leave your house.

If you circumnavigate a sailboat, does it matter whether you are aboard? All sorts of new records to be announced. Oldest operator, non-stop, unassisted, battery powered, circumnavigation under 2 meters. I bet I can do it while being the most inebriated. :)
 

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Hey, does this mean I can move ashore and send my boat out cruising while I lay on the couch watching TV, warm (or cool in the summer) and dry?
Seriously, I've always wanted an RC seaplane to play with. You could even put a mini-cam on it to check out uncharted passes and the like.
 
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