R6M/Six Meters/6 Metres

Hello All,

I am interested in finding others interested in Six Meter boats, and hopefully racing the same - particularly in the Pacific Northwest. I am in Oregon.

I’m a fan of classic, full keel designs - early ocean racers. The sorts of boats designed by Fife, Crowninshield, Nicholson, early Olin Stephens, etc.

I recognize there are one designs like the EC12 out there, but I much prefer to be able to build a favorite and sail with/against designs having similar appeal to their owners/builders.

Is there any interest out there?

Well, it’s been two weeks and more than 130 views with nary a response. I know the class is under-loved since there aren’t even enough boats registered to make it a national class here in the US, but this is really disappointing. How many are required, twenty? Add to that two unacknowledged PM’s, one overseas and one just across the Canadian border, and I have to wonder if sailing a 6M means sailing solo with no opportunity to race.

I’m surprised and disappointed that so few seem to embrace the classic forms of the full size 6M boats (and the similarly shaped offshore racers of the past). To each their own. Perhaps it’s akin to the preference for new cars rather than older classic shapes, and raw speed over competitive speed between well-matched boats. I do recognize that the newer, faster classes can offer competitive speed among their one design and development boats. Perhaps it’s the difficulty associated with being a “builders’ class” as I’ve seen mentioned about others.

If you’re interested in 6m boats at all, and particularly if you’re in reasonable proximity to the Pacific Northwest, don’t be shy.


Maybe you can join our movement of holding a regatta of yachts that live outside the mainstream. Our distances apart will no doubt squelch such an occurence, but one can dream. We’ll be together to admire our eclectic tastes and the labor we devote to it.

See you over at Best RC Yacht Rally?


The problem with rating rules like the International Rule (which defines the 6Ms) and the Universal Rule (which governs the similar but IMHO prettier R and J classes) is that they are complex to design to and to measure. [In current terminology, a “rating rule” is one that requires designers to trade off different aspects of the boat, such as LWL vs sail area, a “box rule” is one that gives fixed limits for key dimensions.] The 6Ms were quite popular in the UK but were left behind by the explosive growth of the M Class both here and there – and a significant factor was the simplicity of the rule and the fact that a boat could be measured “dry” at pondside without having to be floated in a tank to measure LWL, not to mention fiddling with esoterica like chain girth (International) and quarter beam length (Universal).

I love the classic forms with overhangs, which is why I did Yankee III. If the 6Ms and (hopefully) Rs are going to have any traction as a class I think that the rule has to be structured like the AMYA J Class rule: A scale model of a full size boat, rather than a design to the the full size rule. No complex measurement required: show up with the original lines and sail plan and get your certificate.

The 6M class shows that a design to the scaled down International rule will sail well, and the old MYRAA R Class, which was the Universal Rule R Class to 1 1/2 inches to the foot, shows the same thing for roughly the same size boats. So I think the way to promote sweet old boats with overhangs is to have a class of 1/10 size exact scale models of 6Ms and Rs, including rig, and grandfather in existing 6M model designs, 90% of which will be Kilties in any case. The 6Ms will be a bit larger than the Rs but the Rs will be narrower of beam and more slippery. Would make for some interesting racing, especially since, in the case of the R class at least, all the great designers of the 1930s did at least one.



Yar and Earl,

Thanks for your comments and contributions.

Yar, I’ve joined you on the “Best RC Yacht Rally” thread.

Earl, I won’t split hairs with you on the relative beauty of the boats developed under either rule. There are many, many beautiful designs by numerous designers.

My interest isn’t purely or even truly with historical 6M designs. I just find the 6M rule convenient for modeling hulls that interest me. Over the years I have accumulated a number of books and magazine clippings with the lines of various boats that appeal to me – almost exclusively classic ocean racers as I described above. They can easily be scaled (but not all to exactly the same scale) so that the hull fits the parameters of the 6M rule. The beauty of the rule, in spite of the complexities you mentioned, is that it should allow for fairly even racing by adjusting the sail plans allowed to the various hulls. As an example, let’s use four very successful and/or attractive designs by three designers from the US, Phil Rhodes, Olin Stephens, and B.B. Crowninshield and one from the UK, C.A. Nicholson. The designs and their respective dimensions are as follows

Rhodes’ Caper:
LOA – 56.3 ft
LWL – 38 ft
Beam – 12 ft
Draft – 8 ft

Stephens’ Dorade:
LOA – 52 ft
LWL – 37.3 ft
Beam – 10.3 ft
Draft – 8 ft

Crowninshield’s Witchcraft
LOD – 59.5 ft
LWL – 36.6 ft
Beam – 12.9 ft
Draft – 6 ft

Nicholson’s Bloodhound
LOA – 63 ft
LWL – 45 ft
Beam – 12.5 ft
Draft – 9.1 ft

Witchcraft scales nicely at one inch per foot (1/12 scale) to almost exactly the 1500mm (59.1 inches) that is reported as the average/typical length of 6M models. With a modest adjustment in scale the others could be brought up or down to hit that number if desired or required by maximum or minimum requirements in the rule.

Geary’s Pirate, an ‘R’ Boat with which I am sure you are familiar, has the following dimensions.

Geary’s Pirate
LOA – 40.5 ft
LWL – 24 ft
Beam – 8.5 ft
Draft – 5.5 ft

Scaling her up to 59.1 inches yields the model described below. By the way, the scaling factor is 1.46, which is very close to the 1-1/2 inches per foot you referenced above.

Geary’s Pirate Scaled for RC 6M
LOA – 59.1 inches
LWL – 35 inches
Beam – 12.4 inches
Draft – 8 inches

What remains is measuring the hull to determine the sail area.

The primary advantage to this approach is that it allows for a really broad range of designs that can be scaled to a nice sized boat. Granted this can be a great disadvantage as well. The ‘J’ boats don’t share that advantage because there are so few designs and the completed models are quite big (not that a 6M at nearly five feet in length is petite).

After going through the above exercise, I think your idea for racing the 6M and MYRAA R classes together seems like a more easily implemented proposal and one that is well worth exploring. If there proves to be a consistent disparity in favor of one class or the other they could be treated as ‘A’ and ‘B’ fleets. My only variation on the theme is that boats built as referenced in my first example that measure as 6M boats [edit: or 30R] be allowed to participate.

As a side note both Bloodhound and Witchcraft are currently listed for sale at yachtworld.com. An image of the latter’s lines are included in the listing.

The 6m rule is not too much of a problem once you get your head round it, which is probably best done with the help of an existing design. If don’t freak at the sight of a bit of very basic algebra that is. I recall Bill Green of Bournville MYC Birmingham England produced an excellent guide called “What the L” about 20 years ago… maybe its still in print?

Great things about Sixes: They look Like the real thing when parked in the hallway. Unlike most R/C models they appear to sail in “realtime” thanks to the displacement (about 25lbs) and the directionally stable nature of the hullform. And because of the shallow draft (about 10") the water does not go over your boots when you launch!