'Offshore' model yacht design.

Most model racing is done on flat water on sheltered water, fair nuff, they are small boats. But to a one meter yacht a one meter high wave is the same as a sixty foot wave is to an Open 60. And if you go race models in rough water imagine the tactical posiblities; upwind working the waves, and a full on sleigh ride back downwind again working the waves and the boats apparent wind. Just like racing a fullsize ofshore sled but a damnsite cheaper! Now im not saying you cant sail a normal IOM or any of the other mono classes in those conditions, but it would be a submarine upwind and down.
So hows this for a group design project, a monohull say 1400mm long designed for open water coastal sailing around the cans? Any takers?

If its not blowing it sucks!

We(three friends) recently took three S50’s to sail in the intercoastal with the wind in a direction that it had a 20 mile run and on this day was 15 k. So the standard rig was reefed and the boats were a blast to sail with about 18" waves. What was particulary noticeable was how the spinnaker kept the bow up when without the spin the boats tended to nosedive easily downwind. Made for a lot more fun- for two out of three of us-the third guy said he does not like sailing in waves–he also got last for the event…
So I’m interested particularly if spins and movable ballast were legal; what do you think regarding that?
I would suggest that perhaps the boat tend toward heavier as opposed to lighter displacement too.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Spins (assymetric or symetrical) and canting keels I would have thought would be a certainty! I was thinking of lightish displacement, as in my experience its faster and safer to go over waves rather than smashing through, also I was thinking of a boat that would surf downwind easily. Basically I’m thinking along the lines of a model equvilent of an open class boat, but not a model of an open class boat, if you get what I mean.

If its not blowing it sucks!

You guys really need to get out more! For at least the last three years the March IOM race in Texas has been sailed in open water with winds up to 50mph and real waves. The IOM Worlds were sailed in current and waves in Vancouver this year and the Coast Guard Academy (site of the upcoming US IOM’s in 2004 is on the Mystic River. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Current racing classes work just fine in open water and high winds and have done so for years and they are certainly not “submariens, upwind and down” (That’s what the C rig is for.) As for England, Mathew, you should try to go to Fleetwood sometime (its been a major model sailing site for at least 30 years). The wind and the waves there are just awesome.

Alright! Just for thinking purposes I’ve scaled up an IOM to your proposed dimensions since IOM’s have a good reputation for roughwater heavy air sailing.Here is a scaled up IOM with some coments:
So,LOA: 1.4 meters-55"( I suggest possibly going to 60"-1.5m),
Draft: 19.54" 496mm-ok, maybe)
Weight: 23.93lb.s-10.87kg.s( I suggest reducing to 15lb-6.8kg. with canting keel)
Sail Area:1911sq.in.-1.23 sq. meters( I suggest reducing to 1650 upwind and 3300 max downwind-1.06m upwind ; 2.12m downwind) and limiting rigs to just two
with reefable rigs legal.
Whatdaya think?

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Three things Roy; 1. I dont belive that a boat that barn doors downwind is really surfing waves downwind, Its still doing the same speed it would be doing in 15mph as it would be in 50 (which i doubt it was really blowing unless it was one hell of a dry wind), waves or no. 2. Upwind they may not be submarining but i would think they were having serious trouble pointing, and its not like they would be able to foot off and plane. 3. I would like to have a go, with others input, at designing a boat to specifically be suited to coastal sailing, that would be fast and exciting to sail, whilst being up to date with the modern offshore raceboats, such as the open classes. Is there anything wrong with that?

If its not blowing it sucks!

Matt I think one of the issues we have with model sailing in the USA is the issue of too many classes. Having so many classes creates many secular pockets of interest but nothing that is all that broad across the country, save a few classes but for the most part they are one design and limited in what you can do. I think the M class and yes the IOM class are suited for sailing in high wind. Why not see if you can make something that already exists adapt to those conditions. A 10 Rater which is enjoying a mini renaissance in some countries might be a perfect candidate for such a project or an M, I understand your opinion on the performance in the IOM class given the size of boat and the waves but in a big boat (J24 or whatever) you probably aren’t really pointing either because you have to carry so much twist to effectively sail up and down waves and you are probably weaving up and down too to keep the boat powered up. I have seen the IOM in ridiculous conditions and was fairly amazed at how well they did. I am not trying to stifle creativity or ideas but in my opinion the best thing we can do is concentrate our efforts on classes that currently exist otherwise there wont be more than a handful in any one class which I think weakens our sport as a whole. Certain boats I wont sail in my bath tub if it is blowing over 5…

I will address the comment “you guys really need to get out more” by merely pointing out that the boat under discussion at the time of the post was a scaled up version of an IOM and what design modifications would be possible using new technology.
It should be pointed out that there is room in model yachting for a boat along the lines that Matthew conceptualized; the proposal of such a yacht should not be construed as an attack in any way on existing models. The design excercise referred to could be very interesting.
Matthew, I’m interested in your reaction to the suggestions and comments I made earlier in comparison to the scaled up IOM. The suggested length increase is to help provide room on the front deck for the spinnaker system.
There is no current class anywhere in the world NONE absolutely ZILCH that uses the technologies being suggested for this new boat and I think a co-operative positive discussion regarding the characteristics of such a boat could enlightening and fun.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Maybe you should just get a Wheeler from George Ribeiro, or even one of his Tomahawk hulls and put all that ‘go fast’ stuff on it. The Wheeler is a spectacular sailing boat that gets up and planes, and surfs in the higher winds. George produces some great boats http://www.modelyachting.com/

Thought this might interst someone.
Added this… should have said that this is a TS2, IOM. Very high winds, and seems to be ‘planing’ very handsomely I would say. There used to be a video of this, but I think it’s long gone.

oopps, it’s the Thames River, not the Mystic. [:)]

<blockquote id=“quote”><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica” id=“quote”>quote:<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”>Originally posted by lorsail

Matthew, I’m interested in your reaction to the suggestions and comments I made earlier in comparison to the scaled up IOM. The suggested length increase is to help provide room on the front deck for the spinnaker system.
Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing
<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”></blockquote id=“quote”></font id=“quote”>
Funny, I was just mentioning this topic to someone today, about how it seems that the Spinnaker 50 seems to have sacrificed a proper sail plan in order for the spinnaker system to fit properly. I then realized that I don?t think I?ve ever heard any reports on just how this boat sails, except from the designer. The jib has had to be downsized considerably to fit the spinnaker system, which now forces the mast to move up quite a bit to counter the weather helm. Now the boat looks more like a Star 45 setup rather then what one would think of being on an AC boat.
So, I?d really like to hear from someone who has sailed this boat. How does it handle in different winds, and mostly in strong puffs. Being that the designer is speaking of developing new boats with the same technology, I think I?d like to hear about the old designs that are using it now. Do they really work, or is it just fun making the spinnaker go up and down? It might be a very interesting experiment to re-rig a S50 in a more traditional ?old thinking? rig like the M boats. Would the sail plan of the spinnaker surpass the more standard rig?
I remember that this may have come up before, but I?m not sure what the answers were.

IOM’s thrive in 20 kts. and up. Here’s a couple shots by Rob Davis from the 2001 Canadian Nationals at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.


The wave is higher than the boat is long (1m). You can see by the WindPoint that Steve Landeau is pointing about normal for an IOM.

Here’s John Kine going left on a clean 2 footer at RVYC. He didn’t bury the bow and the rudder isn’t out of the water. It kinda looks that way because the water is very clear up there.


There are over 100 pictures of this regatta on Gary Ward’s msn site.
They are at:

Most of this regatta was sailed in B rig conditions (10 to 20+ mph). It was a blast.
For the C rig stuff check out the 2002 Texas Blowout at:

The point is, IOM’s surf waves and handle big water really well.
When someone builds a boat that handles the conditions pictured in these photo albums better than an IOM, please let me know. If it’s reasonably priced, maybe someday it will be as popular.

Dick Carver

I’ll second Greg’s Wheeler recommendation, although there is no reason not to discuss new designs.

I was serching around on the internet about an RC open 60 and I came up with a spanish website. I have a base knowledge os spanish but for those thinking about a nice real weather boat this looks like a good match, and its beautiful to match. It even has a canting keel system in it.


it’s just a nice lookin rc open 60 with an actual canting keel. The language doens’t do me any good but there are tons of pictures make sure you click on the picks in the upper right corner of the page to see more of the boat. unfortunatly it seems to spend a lot of it’s time on display. Something this cool should be used more often.

i would like to add my 2 cents worth. last year the IOM world campionship was held in vancouver. and from what i heard it got rough at times. I have sailed my IOM in the great lakes and some pretty natsy weather. the IOM class of boat (if built properly) can take the beating and is a lot of fun driving between the waves when all you can see is the mast and mailsail. (yes I am nuts) i do throw the boat in when ever i get the chance.

I also agree that there are too many(like classes) , what i want to say is that we have too many manufator(?)classes. the us I meter was supposed to be a cheap class to get into , then when you have the boat for a few year you go into a IOM or a marblehead. but now we have seawinds, soling,victorias, victor class boats . i dont have the answer to this but maybe we should all get together on this and decide on a classes to race and build. not buy and modifiy to race.? it is just an idea so shoot me

Why does every discussion like this end up turning into a discusion on the rights and wrongs of designing a different boat? Gregs pic of the ts2 looks good, but the thing is near as anything on a dead run, not much in the way of apparent wind there. What im thinking of would be playing on its apparent downwind, probaly using a assy kite. Rather than scaling up a IOM would not a wider transom boat be better? Flat planning sections aft coming forward to rounded forward sections. The use of a canting keel would make the most of the flat sections on a reach, while the wideness of the hull would give a fair amount of form stability anyway. Upwind the best way to sail it would be to foot off for speed keeping the boat flat. I’ll have a go on a cad progam and see it i can show you what i mean.

If its not blowing it sucks!

<blockquote id=“quote”><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica” id=“quote”>quote:<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”>Originally posted by Matthew Lingley

Why does every discussion like this end up turning into a discusion on the rights and wrongs of designing a different boat?

<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”></blockquote id=“quote”></font id=“quote”>
OK, I know this is getting off topic but I just want to reply to this Matt.
I don?t know that we feel that adding, or trying to develop a new class is wrong. I in fact am a strong believer in that there should never be any limitations on the number of classes. This thinking could have come up fifty years ago, then where would we be? Without some really great class and boats to race!

I do think though that your or thinking of ?? hey, there?s non of these so lets make them…? kind of post showed itself as almost a challenge. I know you did not mean so, and I truly think that this is an idea that you should run with if you have the passion to do so. The fact is that there are some great boats out there that did not seem to be considered. THEN Doug post that it should have CBTF and spinnaker and that ??There is no current class anywhere in the world NONE absolutely ZILCH that uses the technologies being suggested for this new boat and I think a co-operative positive discussion regarding the characteristics of such a boat could enlightening and fun. …? Sounds hauntingly familiar?
I have to say that hearing that ALL over again got me thinking, ??. now Doug is injecting his CBTF and spinnaker into a ?new? design and STILL, no one even knows if it works on RC sailboats.? Sorry, but when I go to the AMYA Open class page (which happenes to look like a big ad for Microsail) and read this,

<blockquote id=“quote”><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica” id=“quote”>quote:<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”>Formula 150 – under development: In an effort to make microSAIL! products the highest performance boats anywhere, the Spinnaker 50 is being replaced with a newer model with a CANTING KEEL and a SPINNAKER with an all up displacement of 8lb… The new boat will be available in 2003

Contact Doug Lord for details of this new class -
710 Wavecrest Drive
Orlando FL 32807
Phone: 407-243-9541 08:00-22:00 EST. <hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”></blockquote id=“quote”></font id=“quote”>

it just gets me wondering if he will get these done in the next three weeks? Or is it going to end up in some dark closet with the Aero Skiff, which we were told to ?stay tuned!? over two years ago. So the thinking that we might have to endure all of this same stuff all over again, once more, for a new offshore design is a bit agitating.

If you and Doug want to do this together, I think that would be great and I bet it would be awesome to watch such a boat perform in high seas and high winds, though I have already seen this happen with several existing class boats out there. But as for now, I still see no F100 with CBTF and Spinnaker.


I too have sailed my boat in offshore conditions. The Fairwind class is modelled after offshore IOR boats and as such is not a particularly fast planing type of boat. I have been amazed at how similar the sailing characteristics of this boat are to its heavy displacement full sized bretheren. Having been the driver of a 41 foot heavy offshore racer, I know what it is like to sail in near broach conditions off the wind. I can tell you that the Fairwind shared many of those characteristics. If a spinnaker were added to my boat, I’m sure it would roll and broach just like a full sized boat.

Upwind, I have been amazed at the power of a 35 inch boat to pound through 1 foot waves. The Fairwind is heavy, so the momentum keeps it going quite well in the waves. Sure, boatspeed and pointing suffer in waves, but the same is true with full sized boats, so I consider that to be an element of realism. I can almost picture a crew of 10 or 12 little guys with their legs hanging over the windward rail getting soaked as the waves splash over the deck.

By the way, compare that picture of the TS2 to a fast downwind run in a Melges 24 and you will see that they are pretty similar in wetness level…

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Let me add some more thoughts to this discussion:

There are several offshore full sized boats that are specially designed for specific purposes. The Volvo 60s and 70s are purpose built (sort of) for long distance around the world racing. Open 60s are the same way. The TP 52 class is designed as good all around boat with an emphasis on the transpac race (hence the name of the class).

There are also a bunch of boats out there that are referred to as sport boats. These include boats like the Melges 24, the J105, J120, Mumm 30, and many others.

There are also racer/cruisers that are designed to do pretty well at both racing and cruising, so they have sleeping quarters, galleys, etc.

Then there are boats that are specifically designed for inshore buoy racing. The IACC class fits in this category, as does the 12 meters that they replaced. Olympic classes such as the Star and the Soling also fit this category.

I would say that the most of the current model boats out there emulate boats in this final category. And for good reason. You don’t sleep aboard your model boat, so no need for racer/cruisers. There are no distance races out there that I am aware of for model boats. In fact driving your boat remotely almost certianly requires that you remain near shore.

So most model boats are modeled inshore racers. We have 4 distinct classes that are designed to look like IACC boats: Victoria, CR914, Seawind and AC. We have classes modeled after 12 meters and even J boats. We have the star 45 and 2 versions of model solings. The development classes like the 36/600 certainly are long narrow and massively powered much like the current generation of IACC boats.

One could argue that the IOM fits more in the category of sport boats, but since most sport boats do a lot of inshore racing, that makes sense.

The bottom line is that many of these boats would do quite well in “open water” coastal racing around the cans.

What would make a more interesting design project would be a true offshore boat for a true offshore race. What sort of boat would one design if the race were something like a 20 mile point to point race? I have a cabin on a lake in Northern michigan that is 17 miles from one end to the other. I think it would be a blast to sail from one end to the other with a model boat. Given the prevaling winds in that area, it would be a predominatly downwind race with a good chance of broad or even beam reaches. What would a boat look like for that race?

How would you sail it? Would you follow it with a motor boat (I have a boston whaler that could be pressed into service)? what about sailing it with a remote feed video link instead? What about battery life? What about safety? Would you design the boat so that it could not sink if it sprung a leak?

There are a lot of interesting things to think about if you start talking about real offshore model racing. That would be a much more interesting boat design than an open water inshore racer…

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Matthew: Someone once said before you break the rules you first have to learn them. There is a very active r/c yacht racing scene all across the UK in which there are a number of people doing very innovative work on a regular basis. I think if you would just spend a little time observing and racing you might be able to refine some of your thinking.

If you desire a design exercise for your own satisfaction, please have at it. There are many interesting things from the world of “real” boats that have not been tried successfully in model boating yet (overlapping jibs, full lenght battens, water ballast, retracting daggerboard to name just a few) Heck, you can spend years just playing with appendage design and placement.

However, if you are interested in developing a new boat that people would race competitively, i am afraid that you might be heading down a wrong path. The fact is that there are a number of existing boats that can and are regularly raced in high winds and waves. And even if you think you can design a “better” boat you still have to find at least 20 people and a few clubs to join you in building and racing your dream. So again, I would strongly suggest that you go out in the real world and see what it is people are doing and more importantly what they think is missing in their r/c sailing lives.

Roy, I have raced fullsize boats since I was 7, dingys, skiffs, yachts and the odd cat from time to time. I have been building models for most of this time, the first few free sailing balsa jobs, then some small r/c boats, a mini40 cat and the last one was my all carbon multione/speedsailing cat. Models allow me to let my imagination run, they may not work all the time but with each one I do learn. I do race one design models in the winter, Im not the best r/c helm by a long shot, i like to sail by feel, r/c does not give this. Design is what I’m interested in, Ive just applied for the yacht design course at Southampton Institute(uk). I am passionate about designing fast and good looking boats. I dont particually care if 20 ppl sail my design, and it may not be better than what else is out there, I’m doing it because i enjoy the process and i get a buzz from seeing the thing accelerate in a gust. Thats why.

If its not blowing it sucks!