radio recommendations?

I am building a 3’ chesapeake bay log canoe. It will be built axactly like the originals right down to honing out the logs (or boards if you will). As a rough estimate its wieght will be approximately in the 30# area. Possibly lighter. Everything to include the mast will be wood. Can anyone recommend a set of radio controls that will be powerful enough but inexpensive as possible. I intend to have a working jib and main and possibly a self trimming staysle. I haven’t decided on an engine yet but would like the option to add in later if neccessary. As of now I am forgoing the engine. I am actually building two of these. One for my son and the other for myself. I’m not interested in racing or clubs but if they sail well enough then I may consider it. As for now just for fun for me and my son. Also, these are my first radio controlled boats. I am carving the hulls out of treated fir. I think they will be heavy enough not to add ballast or not too much anyway. But I have noticed that many RC boats have very long keels. I build life size boats for a living but I’m sure they act a little different. So are these long keels neccassary or could I get away with the centerboard keels as are traditional in the real ones? Thanks to anyone that can answer or comment.

Hi John,
I commend you on your efforts to build a CB Log Canoe. Before you worry a whole lot about what radio gear to use, you may want to take the following notes into consideration. I don’t want to discourage you from the project, but your comments make it clear that you may be trying to “reinvent the wheel”, & you may want to seek more information before you get too far into the effort.

  1. 30# is awfully heavy for a 36" model boat. Most boats of this length weigh well under 10#, half of which is ballast at the end of a fin keel.
  2. Your radio gear will depend on how much sail area you have, so that should be decided first.
    3)Real log canoes rely on human crew for ballast, climbing out on the planks for added leverage (righting moment). Unless you are planning on some sort of
    complicated above deck shifting ballast, you will need a deep keel. The centerboard is only to reduce side slippage (leeway), not to keep the boat upright. Scaling effects as the volume reduces by the 3rd power make this even more important. This is why most of the keels appear disproportionatly deep.
  3. You may want to look at this model recently for sale on eBay:

Thanks for your comments. Im thinking I may have grossly overestimated the weight of my boats. However, there are two types of log canoes. One like you have mentioned and were built for racing. Then there are those that were built for working. These were typically wider and heavier with less sail area. If you look closely at the few existing ones they are grossly overpowered with sail area, hence the extra men hanging off the sides like idiots. lol Anyhow, in real life a man going to work on the bay couldn’t afford to hire ten men to sail out to the oyster bar. With that having been said, my plans are to go with a typical gaff rig, jib and possibly a staysle. I just want to put around the pond. I’m not really after any water speed records. I have looked at the boat that you sent me the link for. It is built from way lighter materials than mine and is much narrower than mine are to be. That raises the question, do I really need all that keel and ballast, or could i get away with scale parts and appearances? Thanks again for your reply. Don’t think I’m trying to buck you, and I am taking your suggestions in mind.

Model boats need to be self righting. You can certainly build the entire boat, then add lead as ballast, or extend the keel to gain stability. I would make sure that if you laid the boat completely on it’s ear, which will happen eventually :slight_smile: , that it will have enough keel weight to round up into the wind, and stand back up. The weight of the boat is not as important as how it is distributed from the top of the mast (light as possible) to the bottom of the keel. My boats tend to have a balance point on the keel, below the bottom of the hull.

Thanks Hew for your comments. Let me ask my question again and I’ll try not to be quite so vague. I am a master boat builder. I understand about side slipping and righting arm. Also I am not building with Balsa wood and epoxy. I am using a solid chunk of pressure treated Fir. My dimensions are 36" +/- long, 9 1/2" wide and close to 4" deep. The solid part of the hull will be 2 1/2- 3" deep then ribbed and planked. She will be built exactly like the original work boat log canoes. Very heavy, lower profile and fairly wide. What I’m concerned with is not ballast but keel area. Is a lengthy keel necessary or can I get away with a traditional center board keel? I’m not really concerned as much with the keel or ballast as much as I am with radio controls. As I mentioned in my original post, I don’t intend to go racing or enter into any clubs. I just want to play in the pond with my sons, hence would probably be grossly underpowered to most rc boaters specs. therefore I couldn’t ever forsee sailing sideways or even heeling over that hard with these hull designs. I do understand the occasional gust of windthat could knock it over and have added that into the design. So what would be a good recommendation for radio controls that are strong enough, as inexpensive as possible and have the ability to add in an engine later on if wanted or needed? Thats what I’m really asking for. Radios! Thanks again for any comments or replys.

Sorry if I sound a little rude but I’ve gotten alot of private responses from some total idiots that think I’m building this thing out of styrofoam. This boat is going to be quite heavy. I originally predicted 30# +/-. Maybe that was a little exagerated. However, I will still be in the 15- 20# range when all is said and done.

Did you ever consider making the canoeout of foam? It would have the same dimensions and be a whole lot lighter, like abut 3 Lbs. for the foam hull. Cover the foam with plastic wood stuff and add color & texture to make it look real. Shaping would be easy with rasps and 30 or 60 grit paper.

I am building it to scale. I don’t care about the weight. Like I said, I’m not going to race it. I’m just going to sail it around the pond out back. What I’m interested in is a set of radio controls that would serve my purpose. It will be fine for the most part with the building methods that I am currently using. My largest problem is that I am unfamiliar with radio controls and what would be suitable yet economical. Seems as if everyone is so worried about what materials I’m using that the main question isn’t being answered.


Thank you

Something like this would work just fine for your needs:**&P=7
or you could save a few bucks by using the S3802 servo for the sails.**&P=ML
Other brands will have equivalent products.

The issue is that scaling down makes it more difficult to “balance” the lateral force of wind with the ability to stay upright. Small boats built to “scale” really don’t sail very well at all. Your plan to downsize the rig addresses the problem from one side of the equation, but we are simply pointing ot that you’ll still need some substantial ballast. Being heavy in & of itself does not add stability. Rather, it’s the distance between the Center of Buoyancy (CB)
and the Center of Gravity (CG) that will provide righting moment. I’m sure you know all this from your full sized boatbuilding. So the answer to this question is “it depends”. If you stretch the scale of the centerboard & make it as heavy as possible (lead is best), plus downsize the rig, you will be able to sail under light air conditions.

Post some pictures of your progress.

Bill K

ps didn’t the real log canoes load stones into the bottoms of the hull for ballast?
pps; Tomo, what is the “plastic wood stuff” you are referring to? Just curious

Sir, any of the recognised brands of radio control equipment will be most suitable for your “Log Canoe.”
These can be purchased from your local hobby shop or from various on line outlets.
Most yacht sailors only require two channel units, for rudder and sail control.
If you intend fitting a motor at a later date then you would need to purchase a four channel set.
If you live in the United States you should ensure the frequency selected is for surface vehicle use ( heavy penalty if you use aircraft frequencies apparently)
The servos as supplied would be suitable for rudder actuation provided you install in a dry area.
The sail control is another matter and is dependent on area, distribution, balance, wind strength, rigging, sheeting system (s) and numerous other factors.
My advice is “suck it and see.”
Same advice for your keel question.
There are some here who have the ability to calculate the displacement and all the other techo bits for your proposal, but as you undoubtedly have the skills to construct this craft to your own satisfaction then just do it.
If you need assistance after launching it will be forthcomming I am sure.
Best wishes from NZL.

Thank you both Bill and Ian. You have finally gave me answers I was looking for. As to ballast, I have calculated that and the hull is much wider than most rc boats that I’ve seen. Wider = stability to a degree of course. Therefore I couldn’t understand why I needed that whole long keel with the bulb at the end. Again I wasn’t sure if models acted that much differently than life size. Or maybe I just wasn’t understanding what everyone else was telling me. My idea wasn’t to build light, fast and technicly correct. I am more after style, appearance and function. Thanks again for your help. I’m curious also what the plastic stuff is. Especially now that I specified that I wasn’t going to use it.

And to answer your question Bill. They did use stones. Not so much for ballast but more for balance. These boats were typically used for oyster tonging. With the over all design of the hull a heavy set of 22’ tong shafts would lay her sideways enough to sail to weather or to lee depending on which side they were on. Also the men would stand on the gunwhales to work the tongs. The stones helped to keep the boat a little more balanced until they had a significant amount of oysters in the boat. Some men would actually use shucked oyster shells and then dump them overboard after they had caught enough oyters to replace them. I am pretty knowledgeable about these type boats and thier history having been taught by the horses themselves. I enjoy sharing the history of these boats so if you have questions I would love to answer them.

I’ve flown model aircraft before but I do greatly thank you for reminding me about the fine possibilities. (no sarcasm intended)