Heavy Weather RC Yachting

I have recently finished (though they never really finish do they?) a Marblehead length rc just in time for some really foul weather. I love heavy weather sailing as long as you don’t get too wet/cold hence i got into rc.
When does the general community of rc say “nah bit too much on today” and how do theese boats respond in heavy air as in 30+ knts and more? What’s the most you’ve taken yours out in?
I’ve never heard talk of how to deal with theese conditions on this forum yet so thaught i’d bring it up. Another rc i built had a bad habbit of not bearing away in heavy stuff even though the main was the size of a hankerchief. Where i work we have beautifull (not breaking)swells @ about 1-2 metres come through and i’d love to play in them. surely i’m not the only one who’s tried it/wanted to.
Main reason i ask is i’m going to have to build a storm rig and not sure if i’ll be wasting my time or not.

In a nutshell what’s the most you go out in and how do they respond? does anyone play in swell and try to get a surf up?

I love to sail in heavy air too. Pretty often I go when there are white caps on the river. I usually don’t even bother with a storm rig though because there is an embankment that always creates a relatively calm spot. I’m thinking of trying to make a waterproof box for my transmitter and attatching the box to the deck of my kayak so I can go out in the whitecaps and follow. Interesting topic

a few years back i took my vic out in a little over 30 knts with a experimental rig i was playin with and it sunk. just watch for the bow diving down wind. mine went down and didn’t come back up untill i went after it. but i’m sure a marblehead would respond a little bit better.

i love tinkering with these boats it takes up time i’m sure my girfreind is going to hate it soon

I’ve always advocated the Ketch rig for heavy air which has a low center of effort. I had a ketch that simply went faster and faster as the wind got faster and faster. No pitch poling, less tipping

I’ve had my RC Laser out in 30-40 mph winds many times. I think it’s a blast because it will briefly plane. It will try to submarine-even with the storm rig.
Luckily, Lasers are extremely durable as well as watertight.


Except for the ‘ladies’ in my area who give up if it’s reaining or too heavy to hard to steer, we usually (or used to) go out until it was not possible to tape the hatch closed. You get some water inside, but that’s part of the sport. O-L…

I love heavy weather sailing and racing particulary in big waves! Multi or mono its just plain fun and challenging from a racing standpoint where boat handling skills are at a premium.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

a bit off topic but big boat sailing in heavy air is a blast nothing is more fun than working the bow in huge ass waves and just feeling the water rushing under the boat. especially on the fore deck[:-bigeyes]

i love tinkering with these boats it takes up time i’m sure my girfreind is going to hate it soon

Nothing, I mean nothing, beats playing 6’ plus waves in 25knot+ winds in any light fast skiff, time to jump! As to models, I’ve had my cat out in 20+, cartwheel time!

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

feel alot better knowing i’m not the only one who loves it a bit on the heavy side!
I have made my boat 99% watertight using sheet posts and tacky tape to seal all water entry points. I hope to take it out in 30+ and a 2 metre swell (happens often here in winter which is coming up). i just need a digital video camera to film all the surfing and unavoidable wipeouts so i can put together a tape of “RC’s funniest home videos” and post it on the web. has enyone done this before love to see other peoples dissasters before i make my own.

express 27 you cant have done bow on a big boat out in bass straight or a big sea or you wouldnt be saying the “water rushing under the boat” it would be over the deck taking you with it while doing sail changes been ther done that and im getting used ot sailing/working on my likkle boat that i can sit on my esky drinking beer and having fun when things go very wrong and i dont get cold and wet

note edited to remove a rude word sorry all that read and got ofended

When the Apprentice knows more than the Mentor its time to quit!

hum just a nother thught how would a ck go in big waves and lots of wind by big waves im talking abot half meter or bigger not little ripples on a pond when white caps are around i am talking about white wash and about 35 knots+

When the Apprentice knows more than the Mentor its time to quit!

I would think you would be able to work the waves quite effectively, I bet you would ‘fly the keel’ (have it come out of the water) alot too! Downwind is where they get interesting, as you may well find out when you get yours on the water! My boat was overpowered offwind in a force 4 with top rig, although it was fine upwind and on a beam reach. CK’s can hold soo much power with the keel at max cant…

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

Any CK is going to be a handfull in maximum conditions because when the keel is fully canted you can’t go any further.That is an effective limit of stability with VERY LITTLE increase in stability from the max cant position to 45 degrees angle of heel and from there to 90- if you leave the keel alone -there could actually be a decrease in RM.The CK behaviour at max cant is similar to a cat when the windward hull is just “kissing” the water(with crew or Power Ballast at max extension): from there on in Righting Moment goes down hill!
Almost ready to start testing my two proto’s so unless Matt beats me to it I’ll let you know from first hand experience shortly. I’ve sailed and raced a number of CK protos but never in super max conditions in big(for a little boat) water(half meter plus)…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

hrm yeah i haven’t been ocean racing yet, in fact my first mackinaw race is going to be this year. we get the ocassionaly large swell now an again though on little lake st clair, hell me and my freind got an ultimate 20’s stern clear outta the water because we dug in the nose too hard [:D] ok back on topic lol

i love tinkering with these boats it takes up time i’m sure my girfreind is going to hate it soon

I had the Laser out yesterday.
The wind was around 10-12 mph when I launched so I put the A-rig up.
I was on the windward shore so I would beat upwind and fly downwind back to me. Perfect conditions.
As time passed,the wind increased. I’d estimate it got to 15 with gusts to 20 mph or so. The Laser was way overpowered the last time I beat to weather. About 150 yards out I finally noticed whitecaps. I jibed and headed downwind. I couldn’t see the rig well,but by it’s angle I knew I was broaching. I’d drive out into a broad reach and get spray, then the Laser would round up into a tack. I continued to do this until it was 100’ away. I could see well now so I set the boom at 90 degrees for speed. And speed I got. The Laser would almost plane right before the bow dipped and she would submarine.
I got a good gust and witnessed the hull almost totally disappear under the surface. The only part above water was the conning tower where the radio stuff is. Instead of rolling out, I stayed with it and learned that Lasers can sail underwater[:-goldfish]
I really wanted to sail some more so I brought it in for a sail change. I always want to sail a little more (you guys know the feeling),but it was getting late. I put the boat up instead.
No water in the hull.
What a blast!


(sorry if this is a newbie question but…)
How many rigs does a marblehead normally have? I’ve only heard talk of a and b being the most used obviosly but do any have a c and even a d? for heavy stuff or does everyone pull the pin before you need to wear that rig? hmm… since i brought it up no one has said when they do pull the pin! c’mon someone out there must organise theese races or even attend and see when people pull out. Melbourne can’t be the only place where you get +30kn!

At my club we pull the pin when unfixable breakages at the water occur or it hits 3:30pm which ever comes first.


thanks peter i thaught it may be something like that. I think it’s that most people sail inland on lakes and the like and are more sheltered than those of us out in the salt. Somedays at work i look out to sea and think “no way not today!” though i’d love to.

IOMs and Ms race no matter what the wind speed unless it’s so light the boats can’t timely make it around the course. Only weather that stops racing is lighting–bad idea to have an antenna up in a lightning storm.

Marbleheads have three suits and as many additional rigs that fit inside each of those suits. Look around you will see some classic pictures of racing at Fleetwood in England where the boats have up some very tiny rigs.

IOMs with the “C” rig can sail in pretty much anything. We raced in Texas this year in 30 mph; a few years ago we sailed in 45 mph.