OK - I'll start. Kyosho Fairwind

Ease of assembly - yep: easy. Kyosho’s instructions are designed for non-yachters, which makes assembly actually easier than for ‘experienced’ RC sailors. Tab A/Slot B instructions work very well.

Maintenance: That hugemongous hatch makes taking care of the internals easy.

Sailing qualities: Hopefully, you’ll have other Fairwind owners around. It sails OK, but don’t expect to keep up with a competitive 36/600. Victor Solings are a good match. The Fairwind sails abominably until tuned/tweaked/messed with. My 15-year-old example is completely neutral, and even with stock sails will keep up with our race-ready Fairwinds if the breeze is anything above ‘light’.

General impressions: Built per the kit, it’s a good introductory boat. Our club fleet is a TON of fun to race with, and since the boat responds so quickly to tweaking, it’s great to learn and grow with. Mine is old, dowdy and stained. I take it to Fairwind races, or, since I usually keep it rigged, when I need a boat to take with me on the spur of the moment.

My old boat? The kit radio box and mounting finally rotted. I swear to G*d - what a smell inside! My internals are now simplified, and I’m trying to find a set of (free) sails to replace my 15-year-old originals. It’s sailed regularly, and when the breeze is up, it’s still competitive with our lightweight race-ready Fairwinds…

By the way - mine weighs around 11 pounds. What can I say? I didn’t build it, and it’s not important to me to dig out the lead…

General impressions?

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Kenneth Graeme, Wind in the Willows.

Great introduction, Rob,

A few things to add:

Cost: This boat is very inexpensive and easy to justify the cost of. The kit alone (assuming you have your own radio gear) is $160. The complete combo with everything you need to get on the water (including radio, servos, etc) will set you back less than $300. If you plan to modify it to the hilt (and there really is not that much you can do to it within the one design rules) you are still looking at less than $500 including all the radio gear and custom sails. If you know you are going to modify the boat with a carbon mast and custom sails, you can but the hull alone (rather than the full kit) and save yourself $50 or so. I think most of the top level racers have invested about $400 in their boats including the radio gear.

Handling: The Fairwind is a rough scale of an offshore racer from the IOR rule days. As such, it has generous freeboard and decent volume in the bow. The boat can handle almost any conditions you can imagine. I have had my boat out in 15-20 knot winds and 3 to 4 foot waves (more than the length of the boat) on the great lakes and had a fairly enjoyable time. I would have perhaps liked to have been able to reef my sails a bit but other than that, the boat was able to handle the conditions with only an expected amount of laboring. I can’t say I have ever seen a Fairwind nosedive when sailing downwind. It may not be the fastest boat on the pond, but it is no sissy. It will take any conditions you can dish out and come back for more.

Racing: Fairwind races have proven to be hard fought battles all the way around the course. Unlike most fleets where there are large speed differences between the top boats and the main pack, the speed differences between the best tuned fairwinds and the average boat is fairly small. This puts a premium on tactics, reading the wind and not making mistakes. It rewards the sailors skill rather than the designer. We have had 3 different national champions in the 3 years that we have been holding class regattas. And all three of those “wins” were well fought (I won the 2003 Nationals in the last race).

Class: The class has grown steadily in the last 3 years since it was first inducted into the AMYA. The membership stands at well over 160 registered boats (sail numbers handed out) and 100 official class members (boat owners who are AMYA members).

Rules: The rules allow for some latitude in how you build the boat. The hull shape is off limits and the minimum legal weight is 8 lbs which is heavy enough to not drive people toward ridiculous weight saving extremes. The changes that are allowed have mainly targeted the shortcomings of the kit or places where the kit instructions were vague. The biggest change that is allowed is that Custom sails are allowed. However, in class racing, the kit sails have shown themselves to be not far off the pace of custom sails. The main advantage of the custom sails is that they are easier to tune. But in the hands of a skilled skipper, the kit sails can be shaped to make them very competitive.

Any questions about the boat are welcomed. I am the current class secretary and can help answer them or direct you to people that can.

  • Will

Will Gorgen


the fairwinds sounds really nice…hmm…I should get one…and try to make a bit scale…could be worth…



_/ if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! _


Will - thanks for more info. Any idea what average prices are for used boats - and do the used boats come up for sale often?

Perhaps used boat costs/information could help influence those who, even at $300 might be “on the fence” - so to speak.

How do people want to proceed with this concept of boat reviews? Problem as I see it is you will likely not get too many unbiased reviews because most people writing are supporters.And on the other side, I don’t think too many people are comfortable putting out “negatives” or knocking a class or design.

Maybe it should be that anyone who wants to post a review has to put forth “cons” as well as “pros”?

I always see the Fairwind on ebay.

currently there is this one


and two weeks ago there was a fairwind sold, new in the box, for $120.00

Good Luck,



You bring up a good point. Is this a “sales pitch” or a true and honest review? Obviously, I think rather favorably about the Fairwind. Rob Stagis (a member of the Fairwind class) pointed out that the boat is not competitive with a 36/600 (even though the length and sail area are about the same), so he was reasonably honest about how “High Tech” the Fairwind is.

I think each class has something to offer. If the “sales pitch” is true to the boat and only tried to play up the strengths of each class, then I think it still is a fair review. I am not going to tell you that the Fairwind is the latest and fastest sled on the pond. In fact, I’m going to tell you it is heavy, slow boat (much like the IOR boats that it resembles) but as a class it offers tight competitive racing.

Each of us has an idea of what we want from a boat. some of us what the challenge of home built, high tech multi channel boats. Others want the wiz-bang effect of canting keels and hydrofoils. Others want challenging tactical racing without the design elements that come with the open classes. So if you read a review with that in mind, you should be able to trell whether a boat class being reviewed is what you are looking for or not.

I would welcome comments on the fairwind that cast a realistic light on the boat. I would not want others to get into the class thining it was something it was not and be disappointed. I think that is a good thing for all these review threads…

  • Will

Will Gorgen

grin I think I did pretty well, all things considered. On Ebay, 'specially if you have your own radio/servos, they can be had for anywhere from $75 up. Our chief Fairwind-maven owns, I think, 5 right now, with 4 of them being registered and sailing.

How to do a review? Huh. Good question. I’m not a fan of the Fairwind, in general (my apologies to Will G) but, in spite of myself, I seem to always have it ready to go. It came to me as part of a deal for another boat.

It’s sort of like the Soling, I guess: it wasn’t designed as a race boat and isn’t competitive with true race boats, but it’s a great fun boat.

Re: high wind. (high-pitched, evil chuckle), we’ll sail them when we’re afraid to put anything else in the water. Complete submersion, if you can keep it upright, is kinda fun. I’ve seen ours knocked down, THEN blown sideways while lying flat. Is that enough wind?

Minor quibble: it’s difficult to seal that big hatch. We’re using model airplane wing-saddle tape and 2 layers of that in the fore end of the hatch. Mod: Put the switch either inside or just aft of the mast, rather than the kit-suggested position.

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Kenneth Graeme, Wind in the Willows.


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Mr. Gorgon,

I completely agree with you here.

I would add that the Fairwind is an ideal first boat. It is very forgiving, while being very sturdy. Which can be important for a beginner, trying to learn how to handle a sail boat. It can take quite a bit of abuse, without dishing it out to others.

It may not be sexy looking. It is not going to run with a CR914, or a One Meter, but that is why we have CR914’s and One Meters.

The only issue that I have with the Fairwind, is not so much with the boat, as with the class rules. As you pointed out, making the Fairwind class competitive only raises the cost to some $400.00 - $500.00 without really increasing its performance level all that much. I tell people; if they want to spend that kind of money, then they should put their money down for a CR914 and get a boat that is three times better.

You are right about the racing. The races can be very close. Either out of the box, or with all of the high-tech stuff the races are close. Only proving my point - all of that high-tech stuff really does not improve the performance that much. Which I find tends to turn people off to the boat. People expect to get something for their money.