Dragon Force 65, a ready to sail kit boat from Joysway, is the fastest growing fleet in North America with nearly 30 sailing in the lower mainland. This is the affordable, entry level class to get you started into RC Sailboat racing. SRCS has an active race fleet of DF65's that meet at Imperial Landing in Steveston, BC on the second and fourth Sunday of each month from March to November. Restrictive class rules keep these boats virtually identical. Kits can be purchased locally at http://www.burnabyhobbies.net/ or directly from the US supplier at https://radiosailing.net/
Soling One Meter is a kit boat that requires assembly and allows some customization of internal components. This more traditional style boat is modeled after the Soling yacht that was an Olympic class for years. The Soling has only one rig size and its weight and stability help it perform well in winds up into the 18 Knot range. Kits can still be purchased from Victor Model Products. In the meantime if you want to try or acquire a new Soling contact us at Stevestonrcsailing@gmail.com as one of our Captains has number of new boats that he has built for sale locally.
Dragon Flite 95 is the big brother to the DF65 and comes almost ready to sail. With three rig sizes this racer can go in almost any wind. Introduced to the market in 2016, the DF95 appeals to sailors who want a bigger boat with excellent performance that comes almost fully assembled. Restrictive class rules keep these boats virtually identical. The SRCS fleet is slowly growing.
International One Meter (IOM) is the thoroughbred race class within the SRCS fleets. Hulls and foils can be purchased from custom builders world wide, including from a local builder here in North Vancouver. Hulls can be fibreglass, epoxy resin, wood or other construction material suitable for sail boat racing. The rudder and keel can be carbon fibre with a lead bulb. Generally, boats are finished by the owner following the class rules which do allow much more customization than any of SRCS’s other classes. IOM’s carry three rigs to ensure they perform well in almost any wind. Be prepared to spend considerably more for a competitive IOM as compared to our other SRCS classes but you do get what you pay for and in this case it's a very sophisticated racing machine.
RC Sailing in the BC Lower Mainland
Below is a bit of basic information for those who are considering the purchase of a radio controlled model sailboat.
Clubs: You have already found the main organized and active group in the immediate area. Steveston RC Sailing Club (SRCS) welcomes all classes of sail driven model boats. They meet most Sundays from March to November for class racing in the waters adjacent to Imperial Landing in Steveston.
Styles of RC Sailing: There are dozens of model sailboats available on the market ranging from toys to very sophisticated racing yachts. Any sort of boat is enjoyable to sail but the rewards of doing so with others of a similar mind are quite rewarding. SRCS members sail a variety of boats. No matter what type of sailing you decide to do it is wise to consider how you will retrieve your yacht if something goes wrong and it sails away from you. This is why we like sailing in an organized group and on an enclosed body of water with a rescue boat available.
National Association: The Canadian Radio Yachting Association (CRYA) oversees RC sailing in Canada. Most of us who race have joined CRYA, registered our class boats and been given a sail number. http://crya.ca/ This site will give you a wealth of information on the hobby across Canada and includes coverage of all the major designs (classes) which race regularly here in the Lower Mainland. The newsletter makes interesting reading as well and includes some coverage of local events.
Classes: As in big yachts and dinghies, RC sailboats have design specific classes. Each class is defined by its Class Rules with some being very restrictive hoping to keep costs of ownership low while others are more liberal allowing for more customization and go fast goodies. Some come virtually assembled while others come as kits which introduce the model building aspect of the hobby. Finally, others allow for complete scratch construction as long as the model falls within the class limits. On the CRYA web site you can see the classes which are most recognized and actively raced in Canada. You will see that the DragonForce 65 is a sub-class within the RG65 class. The following are the most active classes in the lower mainland at this time. All classes have local experts that favor a class and they can give you extensive information and help. The hobby is very welcoming to newcomers with the best racers willing to help new entries. We love to see our hobby grow and our class fleets expand. Most racing is done in single class fleets as the performance characteristics are so different. Thus, selecting a model which has an active fleet will offer more opportunity and enjoyment than sailing a lone wolf.
1. DragonForce 65 (DF65) https://www.theamya.org/boats/df65/
- Available at Burnaby Hobbies or from https://radiosailing.net/
- Less than $350.00 including radio. Please check with suppliers for current pricing.
- Comes mostly assembled
- Easily transported when assembled
- This is the class with the largest number of participants in the Steveston racing scene. Often close to a dozen boats would race on the second and fourth Sunday of each month in Steveston. It is the fastest growing RC class world wide.
- DF65s have four rig sizes so it can sail very well in much more wind than you would think for a craft of 65 cm.
- Class rules are very restrictive making boats virtually identical with little need to spend money on the latest and greatest after market parts. Sails and the rudder servo can come from third party suppliers but the rest of the boat must be stock.
2. Soling One Meter (Soling) https://www.theamya.org/boats/s1m/
- Available as a kit requiring considerable building time and some expertise. Lots of first time builders have excellent yachts and thoroughly enjoy the build process. Professionally built models are also available ready to sail. Come out to one of our Soling race days and speak to a skipper or send us an e-mail and we will have a skipper contact you.
- This class is modeled after a 27 foot 3 man sailboat that was used in Olympic racing.
- While bigger, the Soling usually will fit in most cars for transport.
- One rig size only so no changing of rigs to meet varying wind conditions. The Soling's heavier weight allows it to perform well in most winds.
- A classic race boat that's been around for years and is quite popular in Ontario and Quebec and the United States. It is the most populous class in North America.
- A smaller and a bit more casual group of racers line up mornings on the second and fourth Thursday of each month in Steveston.
- The fleet has grown significantly and as of 2018 we have a full race program in Steveston.
3. DragonFlite 95 (DF95) https://theamya.org/boats/df95/
- The big brother to the DF65 this larger “ready to race” kit boat appeals to those who want a high-performance kit boat that comes virtually fully assembled
- The DF 95 was introduced to the marketplace in 2016 and at the time of this writing there are only two in SRCS.
- With its restrictive rules and level playing field for racing, the DF95 is expected to flourish.
- A DF95 can be purchased from https://radiosailing.net/
4. International One Meter (IOM) https://www.theamya.org/boats/iom/
- This class is the thoroughbred of the four classes most often seen in our waters. Serious racers often gravitate to this class for its performance and professionalism. Boats in this class are mostly scratch built and the class rules allow significant customization.
- New, and occasionally used, boats can be purchased. Prices vary widely but are justifiably considerably more than the three classes above.
- This class allows three rig sizes and can sail beautifully in a wide range of winds.
- This class has the most highly developed racing program in BC with very active fleets in Steveston, Victoria, Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands and skippers (including our locals) travel to official regattas regularly. Skippers compete in a circuit of nationally recognized races.
- Local support is available if one wishes to do a build and as of 2018 organized racing is just getting started locally.
- Being bigger, the IOM always needs to have its mast removed for transport.
- Look under Photos IOM to see some pictures of these boats sailing at Imperial Landing in Steveston.
As you can see the RC sailing scene here is quite varied and very active. We have many in our midst that came to the hobby from big boat and dinghy sailing and racing. Big boat sailors will have a leg up when it comes to sailing theory and rules and they find that any RC yacht behaves exactly like a full-sized boat. All you will need is to make a decision as to what you want to sail and then get some thumb time in. On the other hand, many RC sailors enter the hobby with no sailing or racing experience. With lots of help and advice available from SRCS members these newcomers are skippering their boat effectively in no time.