Speed records for r.c. sailing craft

Giddaye from Gold Coast Australia,
Happy New Year to You All.

Has anybody ever wondered about building a r.c. sailing craft that is really fast? Something that could be a benchmark for a world speed record?

If there was interest could it become an annual event? Maybe if there was interest what guidelines/classes etc might be a standard criteria? Basic craft length overall might be simple.

I’ve just been looking over the kinks at the Weymouth Speedweek web site and it occured to me that this might be something worth have a crack at.

What are your thoughts? I’ve got in mind a proa around 1.200 metres with a canting foil rig.


That’s a great idea. However, you may want to define your terms a little more closely. If “hard surface” sailing craft such as iceboats & landyachts are included, I don’t think there’s much doubt about who would dominate. Tony Johnson of Minneapolis, Minnesota,U.S., holds the current record of 36 mph (57.6 kph). http://www.ircssa.org/speedRecord.html

Bill K

I doubt that Tony means ice. The only ice within cooee of Qld is either in his glass or enclosed - and windless - at a rink.


I’m sure he didn’t, but the words “world speed record” & “rc sailing craft” sort of left it wide open. Plus, even if you guys don’t have any big ice, I know there’s miles of hard sand beaches which are almost as good. BTW, here’s a shot of a transplanted NZ dirtboat, originally brought over to race at Ivanpah & now converted for ice: http://geoff-s.net/wia/node/114

Giddaye Bill

I did intend my initial comments to mean waterborne craft.
However thats not to say those that favour land or ice yachts couldn’t hold speed trials themselves.
If it were to be a goer I feel that it may hold a fair bit of spectator interest as there would sure to be a bit of crash and burn stuff.

OK, so the competition would be limited to SOFTwater craft. Then the next issue would be to set standards for means of measuring & verifying record attempts. They would need to be easily duplicated & reliable in different venues with different participants. The possibilities could be timed runs thru gates (stopwatch or electronic), radar, onboard GPS etc.

BTW, has anyone ever clocked a boat that they thought was especially fast? I would guess that the speeds would be under 3 knots for displacement hulls, less if the old “rule” of 1.34 X square root of DWL applies at this scale. Planing hulls, multihulls & foilers might double or triple this speed??? I really have no idea, but it would be interesting to find out. I had thought of putting a small GPS in my ODOM when it was blowing hard, but never got around to doing it.

I am pretty sure about one thing based on my experience with ice/landachts. Estimated speeds will tend to be overly optimistic when compared to measured results. I think this has something to do with a perceptual “trick of the eye” caused by the small size of these models.

OK, This subject is one dear to my heart. :heart:
I hav posted a link to a thread we started back in the dark ages which now reads a little funny because the similes are in their printed form and some of you will know how much I love using the little critters in my posts.
If you can read through the silly bits you will see we covered a fair bit of ground back then.
I still havent built my speed machine but the dream (and the parts) still exist.
Maybe one day when I am old. :heks:



How long ago was this idea floated? And have you had any response since the post?
I read with interest that a sail area seemed to be the preferred option of measurement.
I would have thought a simple overall length measurement would be easier due to the simplicity of not requiring the establishment of official measurers. There was comment on the distance that the course should/might be. I would think that a 100 metres would be good. The reason for this is that it would be easy to work out the speed acheived. Anything longer and it may prove difficult to maintain high speed momentum. The other reason might be that to find a high wind area that doesn’t chop up too much may be a bit of a struggle for most clubs.


Hi Tony,

back in 2000 or 2001 a few of us had bantered about the idea of the US AMYA Open Class hosting a speed trials. At the time Jose Torres (Dartmouth College as I recall) had put together ideas and some basic ground rules, which included both outside and indoor attempts (swimming pool with fans).

Here in Minnesota a local club as sailed during the winter at a high school pool, but unfortunately - nothing ever came of the ideas/concept of a formal event and when Jose left as class secretary, the idea kind of died as well. I’m not sure that I’ve saved any of the correspondence. Maybe do a search in the archives here in case Chad brought the old stuff forward to the new forum.


Thanks for your input. It is interesting that you guys have had a bit of a chat about this subject before. I’ve got a couple of guys here on the Gold Coast that want to have a go. Maybe we’ll just do it, and report back with some unofficial times etc.

I just wanted to see if anyone else had any thoughts on the subject and what other forum members considered to be the ideal craft to use.

I will endevour to check the archives.

Thanks again


Tony -

we got to a point where it was speculation that the following order of boats would finish ----

  1. 2 Meter multihull
  2. Microsail tri-foiler (if stiff winds and no seaweed to allow “flying” on foils)
  3. Mini40/F-48 multihull
  4. 10R
  5. “M” Class

and then the rest was debated/dicussed to some length, without conclusion. Some thought, depending on wind strength, the IOM might make a show in the top group, but I would guess that is what a trials would do - sort out the different boats, and end speculation in favor of proven and recorded speeds. Not considered was any one-off, special built boats that might show up strictly for a one-way speed event, which obviously could happen.

Now, if you throw in a triangle course, or windward/leeward course, my educated guess is the top five (above) might have standings shaken up a bit.

If you guys can pull it off, I would love to see the data and speeds, as would many of us. Why, it might even get a few staid AMYA people to give it some consideration up here. Bill Korsgard and the ice boater/landsailers are already doing it. Nothing to stop a club from designating a course and distance, measuring the wind speed and them measure boat speed.

Best of luck on the efforts.

:icon_smok Tony, It is good to hear that you and your friends are looking to have some fun with R/C sailing speed runs.
I have just plodded back through all the old postings to refresh my memory as to what was written.
To summerise, I would suggest the following:
Any speed attempts would be Unofficial [COLOR=Black]and awarded bragging rites only.
Any length course is acceptable, 100 metres is preferred, but shorter may be more practicle.
Any craft, remotely controlled or free sailing, powered only by the wind, should be allowed.
There are [COLOR=DarkOrchid]No other rules.
Please keep us posted on your progress.:watching:

so if i hooked up a bunch of servos and batteries to a modified Vanguard 15 would it be eligible for this? Im liking this format so far.

To IanHB

Thanks mate ,yes I will keep you informed. I’ve got one guy who’s talking about taking lead off the keel of his 10 rater nand hanging it to windward off a beam/tube. Another is talking about 10 rater with ama to leeward, i.e proa?

Me, I reckon proa, canting fixed rig, with surfboard type hulls under the 3 points on the water. I’m thinking ‘A’ rig off my 10 rater. Yeeeeehaaaa!!!


The only ‘Vanguard’ I’m aware of was built around 1950 and was a geriatric old Pommie Car. So yeah, if you can think you make it work why not!

Tony Fannin

Vanguard 15-AKA V-15 is a decently fast 15 footer that has the ability to plane upwind when crewed, however in my case i would scrap the crew and put a keel on it so it self rights, and i would have to devise some way to get a custom made powerful sail arm and and steering arrangement, which probably wouldnt be too hard.

USA2, Yes mate your Vanguard 15 would be totally eligible provided it was wind powered and unmanded in the sense of no humans abord. Remote control by any means, radio, infra red, audio, light, wind vane, anything goes. Run it, time it, tell us what you acheived. Don`t just dream about it, DO IT.

Hence the desire/need for some way to quantify radio controlled boats into some sort of categories - either by overall length, sail area or a combination of same… otherwise the folks with a “Footy” wanting to at least set a “Footy Class” speed record would simply not try, and you would be back to where we are now - no where!

We’ve already deleted “sailing craft” from r/c land yachts and ice boats and identified the participants must be on the “water” - so I respectfully suggest you have a category for each class of sailboat, a “roll-up” class based on overall length to compare performance of all classes of same length, and then an “open” class for unlimited length or sail area, or both.

Perhaps - (for discussion purposes)
Under 20 inches
Over 20 inches, but under 30 inches
30 inches to less than 1 Meter
1 Meter only
Over 1 Meter, under 2 Meters
Over 2 Meters, Under 3 Meters
Over 3 Meters (unlimited)

This seems to be able to hit all of the generally recognized classes and boat sizes and still leave it open to large craft of someone’s nightmare dreams.

Will big boat autopilot steering systems and vane steering be approved or not? Must r/c control be by a person standing on shore - not self contained? Any wind limits, number of spectators to vouch for speed, GPS and observers? Length of course? One way only? Straight line or around a triangular course? Number of passes at speed to be recognized - or simply a “one-shot” effort?

If the winds are strong enough, with some waves and NO WEEDS, I would think the Microsail Foiler might give everyone a run for their money as in a straight line, reaching - it is fast from personal observation. It just isn’t that great around a closed course, in fluky winds - or ponds that have a lot of weeds. If it can’t foil - there is an opportunity for someone else to set a record.

I guess I wonder who/how many are willing to burn midnight oil (not the multihull) to work and come up with something faster than whatever sets the first posted speed?

Remember - the Iceboat record is up around 36 MPH -or- 57.9 Kilometer/hour -or- 31.2 knots and the land yacht record is about 33 MPH -or- 53.1Kilometer/hour -or- 28.6 knots (as I recall) - and then do it again (new design/new build) when someone else comes up with a faster idea?

My personal position is: You are trying to establish a Remote Control Sailing Speed Record. If it is felt desirable, an Under Two Square Metre and an Over Two Square Metre (sail area) class structure could be implemented. Other than those, NO OTHER RESTRICTIONS. If you want to establish a speed record for Seawinds, or ODOMs or any other class then go for it. Post it here and all the other owners of that class will be in awe of your skill and daring, you will be King of holiday Island and I will congratulate you on your fine performance. Then go out and build a craft based on your aquired skill and knowledge from the class run, to beat the World. I am encouraging WORLD SPEED RECORDS… .

Ian -even in the world of big boats - they get categorized as to size and sail area. When all done - the overall best times take WORLD RECORDS

I was just suggesting to walk before running - by establishing class records. Obviously, when done - it will shake out so there is one best of all speed. This would get the concept going, and all bugs worked out in racing, timing, judging, etc… THEN, one could work to build/sail the ultimate speed machine. If it were me, why would I spend time building in the hopes I could race?

example: Here in US we have OPEN CLASS - but they never hold open national sponsored class regattas, one-off design competitions, or … speed trials. We pay our dues like everyone else, but because we don’t have 20 boats (for a recognized class) there is nothing for us in which to compete. Now if there were handicaped racing events it might make sense to show up and support the class by racing. Without that ability - only the quarterly magazine is a benefit. (provided it is available in a timely manner)

So in the end - what is the incentive to go to the basement and scratch build a racer if no venue exists? I was only suggesting you start holding speed events for the classes of boats out there. Then add the hybrids. By getting and establishing speed trials one can begin to accumulate some data - even if it is only a one way reach format event.

OK - 11:45PM CST and let’s see if the formating has been corrected.

[FONT=Palatino Linotype]Dick, You are of course correct.

You should " RUN WHAT YOU BRUNG" Then brag about it.

I am dreaming mate, just dreaming.:sleep1:

Best wishes, :flirt: