Tower Hobbies has announced the debut of an inexpesive small landyacht, scheduled to be available in October:
I’m not mentioning this as an advertisement for TH, but more in the interest of promoting a cheap way to check out the excitement of hard surface sailing.
It’s amazing that they can produce something that cheaply, probably made in China. It could be a good thing for the hobby to have an entry level model that will give people a taste of the fun, and then they can “move up” to more high performing units. My only concern is that it will be poorly made & sail badly, which will only turn people off.
I’ll be buying one as soon as it’s available & will post a performance review at that time.
I always thought the Land Yacht werent “that” expensive…guess I was wrong
I received my Vecton Force 10 landsailer (from Tower Hobby) on Monday & have had a couple chances to sail it. BTW, a very similar unit is being marketed in the recent National Geographic catalog. I was keeping my expectations low because of the very low price ($27.59). As the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for”. That being said, I was favorably impressed with the overall fit & finish, general layout & ease of assembly. The model weighs 1.25# & has a sail area a bit less than 1 sq foot. Of course, we can’t expect a model this small to approach the performance we see in larger classes.
A ratio of sail area (SA) to weight in pounds (W) comes in at about .7, whereas a typical Class 3 model will have a SA/W ratio of around 1.3 or higher. Another thing working against such a small unit is that the wind tends to be very turbulent & shifty when that close to the ground, but that would apply to any Class 1 model.
My first sail was in fairly light & shifty air. As expected, not much happened. The second trial was with 10-15 mph wind & the model actually sailed ok on a beam reach, but didn’t point upwind very well & was difficult to control. I hope to get it out again soon under better conditions.
The main problems with the model are the sail rig & steering. The sail is a lightweight woven material, Dacron I think. The basic profile is ok, but has a terrible shape in that there is way too much twist & the battens are very crude. The camber (draft) is not shaped by luff curve or broadseamed panels. However, a thoughtful owner could undoubtably do alot to improve this problem.
The steering is another matter altogether. The steering is done with a long shaft connected to a motor, rather than a standard steering servo. This shaft rotates a worm gear engaging a circular gear at the front steering wheel. This may work fine on paper, but the problem is that the gear ratio is wrong & the steering is much too slow for the fast responses needed to properly control the model. The only solution is to completely change the mechanism & I’m not sure if that’s possible. Don’t get me wrong, the model will “work”, but not anywhere near as well as it might. I should add that the ice runners appear to have suffered from an advanced case of “lawyer-itis”, as they are not at all sharp & will simply slide sideways on ice.
All in all, I don’t regret buing the model & will continue to tinker with it in an attempt to improve performance. If the sail rig & steering issues can be improved, it could be a good entry level model. However, at this point, I fear that a novice user could be “turned off” to the hobby because of mediocre performance.
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