I though you all might like to read this story about local R/C sailling on Marco Island. This artical was in the Marco Island Eagle Newpaper 12/23/2005.
Model sailboat competition separates winners from lasers at Mackle Park
By LINDSEY KAISER, Staff Writer
November 23, 2005
If you’re looking for a sport that combines boats, a competitive spirit and a lot of standing around, model sailboats may be up your alley.
Twenty-seven competitors with these qualities arrived at the island, some from as far away as Britain and the Bahamas, to display their finesse with a remote control and a sail at the RC Laser North American Championships.
Hosted by the Marco Island Model Yacht Club from Nov. 11 to 13, the competition was taking place in Florida for the first time.
Mackle Park’s lake was an excellent venue, said George Domenech, the club’s commodore. Enclosed ponds generally “get currents and weird wind,” he said. But Mackle Park’s lake is man-made and was originally constructed to collect run-off, so it is exposed and free from the obstacles that most natural ponds present. Also, sailors were elevated above their boats, making viewing easier.
“The consensus is that this is one of the best sailing ponds they’ve ever been in,” Domenech said.
Cooler fall temperatures and a stiff wind made ideal conditions for a good race.
Gunther Phlumm, a log home builder from Bridgton, Maine, came for his first competition and faced off against such masters as Jon Elmaleh, this year’s winner and now six-time champion.
“It was a great excuse to get out of Maine,” Phlumm said. “I didn’t get skunked and I exceeded my expectations.”
Much of the hobby’s appeal is its accessibility. Because physical ability is not as important in model boat racing as in sailing, it is a sport that appeals to many different kinds of people. As long as they can stand for a few minutes at a time and have good motor skills, men, women and kids can participate in model boat racing, especially in this type of competition.
“Women are duking it out with the men and doing pretty well,” said Andrew Ross of Darien, Conn. “You can beat the guys pretty easily.”
AT A GLANCE
2005 RC Laser North American Championships
Order of finish:
Elmaleh, 24 points
Buchanan, 43 points
Lang, 45 points
Cleave, 47 points
Danbom, 53 points
Each race is conducted in accordance with the 2005 Racing Rules of Sailing, and because all the boats are identical, everyone begins with an even playing field. There is no such thing as a custom-designed boat, so the competitors’ seamanship and skill are key to how they place in the competition.
It is a very low-competitive sailing system and much more equitable than more advanced classes. However, “some stay in it because they like the one-style system,” Elmaleh said.
The person with the fewest points wins, with points awarded according to how people place in each race. For example, the person who places first receives one point and the person who places second receives two points.
Elmaleh has been sailing model boats for more than 30 years and has won 40 to 50 national titles in other classes. He competes in about 24 races a year but doesn’t go to many big races, he said.
Model boat racing “is like chess with reflexes because it’s ever-changing,” Elmaleh said. “You can never master it.”
Andrew Ross, left, of Darien, Conn., dons sailing gloves to aid in controling his boat while racing against Nic Nicolson, right, of Marco Island, during the R/C Laser North American Championships at Mackle Park on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2005. The event was sponsored by the The Marco Island Model yacht Club.
Participants in the R/C Laser North American Championships sign a sail that was retired after the racing was complete on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2005. The Marco Island Model Yacht Club hosted the event at Mackle Park.
All of the paticipants in the R/C Laser North American Championships at Mackle Park hosted by The Marco Island Model Yacht Club on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2005, sail in the last race of the day for fun.
Eventual winner Jon Elmaleh, left, of Brooklyn, and Hank (XX) of New York City compete in the R/C Laser North American Championships at Mackle Park hosted by the Marco Island Model Yacht Club on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2005.
John Cleave from the Isle of Wight, England, uses some body English to try help steer his boat during the R/C Laser North American Championships at Mackle Park on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2005, which was hosted by The Marco Island Model Yacht Club. Cleave said he came to the event for the weather, as well as the racing.