Technology, and Accurate Control

I always enjoy the moment when asked what my sport is. The questioner rarely hears all of the answer and takes a while to process the detail. “I race radio controlled yachts”.

He or she hears the words “race” and “yachts” and immediately assumes full size yachts on Lyttelton Harbour or in the Estuary. The next question is usually about the size of my yacht. “95 centimetres”. Then there’s the double take. “Oh, a toy boat.” And, away I go unpacking my passion for high performance yacht racing without getting my feet wet.

This video demonstrates the magic of radio control. First impression, there’s no wind. Yet the yacht is gliding over the mirrored surface with great purpose. The skipper is 45 metres away on the shore and steers the boat through the airwaves within centimetres of the red flag mark – enough to miss it, but smoothly around towards the black flag mark without slowing the yacht’s momentum. The skipper is reading what wind there is using what the other yachts are doing, the jib which floats out, and the flag movements on the marks.

The skipper even lets the jib touch the white mark rather than change course and slow the yacht. It is not a mark of the course, so there is no penalty for touching it.

Radio Yachtie – Paul Johnson