New and need help


I am new to this sport. I have just begun building an “ac33” design by Claudio D. It is about 1270mm long and designed to fit in the Marblehead rules. I am very excited, but being in the first stages I am researching what is required; getting a ‘shopping list’ together if you like so once I start there are no nasty surprises.

Today’s job is researching radio systems. I am keen to hear what people use, what to look for and any traps to look out for.

To start you off, I plan to just have a sail winch (an RMG if my ‘Chief Finance Officer’ (Wife) allows), and a steering servo. 2GHz appeals to me as it sounds easy, but I am hesitant as I have no idea wether they have ‘compatibility’ issues with servos of different types.

Another question - I have seen radios advertised for RC yacht use which have had ‘binding completed’. What does this mean, and is it required??

I love this forum - just about everyone seems quite knowlegeable and friendly!! Once I start building I plan to put a build log on here too!!

Thanks in advance,


2.4gHz radios work well with yachts. I use the SpeKtrum DX6i but others in my club get good results from Futabas and even Hobbyking radios. I like the programming abilities of the computer radios. It helps set end points for servos, proportional rudder and a couple other things. I also have several boats so storing settings helps when switching around.

I’m not sure what “binding completed” means exactly. 2.4gHz systems bind the receiver (Rx) to the transmitter (Tx). It’s a quick process where the Rx knows which Tx to listen too. The unique codes created during binding make sure signals from another Tx are ignored by the Rx.

Enjoy building,


P.S. Wire the RMG so the Rx and winch get their own power. There are reports of Rx resetting and losing connection with the Tx when the RMG draws power. The RMG manual covers wiring options.

I suspect you can save some dough by picking up a used 75mhz radio, even if it has lots of bells and whistles. At least this is true in the rc airplane world, where I have more experience than with rc sailing. If you go this route, you may want to make sure you get a dual conversion receiver, as the single conversion ones I’ve seen at a local pond don’t do very well. The consequences of radio problems with rc boats, however, are usually not too bad compared to those with rc airplanes! I recently discovered that I could make a 72mhz (airplanes) receiver act like a 75 (surface vehicles) just by changing the crystal. Don’t know how this will work out, but at least it won’t make the boat smash into little bits if it goes out of control.

A guy I know has 3 HobbyKing radios and likes them. They’re amazingly cheap!

I’m guessing that that “binding completed” means that the receiver and transmitter are supplied together and you can just plug in and go without biinding. However, in my experience , binding just takes a minute or something. It’s just so that the receiver recognizes the particular transmitter. I think usually you have to put in a binding plug into the receiver and then switch on and off in the right order, maybe press a button or something. Not a large task! An advantage of 2.4 gHz is that they are ok for airplanes and boat too.

There are many anecdotes of 2.4 receivers that experience low voltage dropping out and taking a while to reboot. Apparently they are more sensitive this way than the old ones on lower frequencies, which didn’t really have to boot. So an extra cell or separate wiring as recommended by John may be in order.

I have an Airtronics RDS8000, which I’ve used for airplanes. It’s a nice radio and works well. The programming is probably overkill for a boat.

As far as racing goes, I’m a fan of US1M, but it depends on what people in your area are sailing. If you want to race, check this out before you get too far in. If they’re all sailing RG-65’s or something, that will be the way to go. And cheaper too.

If you find you’ve been too ambitious, the Soling 1M may be popular in your area and it’s premolded. I haven’t built one or anything, but I’ve sailed one enough to know that they handle ok, even if they’re not as exciting as some of the others. A race probably provides enough excitement anyway. I admit sailing by myself or without racing wasn’t fun. I’ll also admit that I gave up the hobby for a while and don’t have much time on the water or even my own boat yet since I allowed myself to hang around the pond. Have some building projects though.