Too many classes?

This topic is started so that I might give my opinion on this matter which was raised under the Offshore Model Yacht topic started by Matthew. Many of the posts under that topic were off topic and addressed this issue rather than an Offshore Model Yacht design.
Some suggest their are too many model classes now. I would agree but only with the following amendment: there are too many model classes using outdated similar technology.
For instance, there are no recognized classes either in the AMYA or Internationally that allow movable ballast and only one that allows a practicalspinnaker.
In the full size world of sailing movable ballast is the rule rather than the exception from dinghies to the maxZ86. Spinnakers are used on many(most?) full size racing boats.
In the past because of weight issues and the limits of radio technology these innovations were difficult to consider for models. Now all that is changed and the radio technology allows the use of effective spinnaker systems and canting keels.
So , in my opinion, there CAN"T be too many classes yet because in the recognized classes the two most pervasive technologies in fulsize sailing are not represented. And there is room for-no, a NEED for one or more recognized spinnaker classes, one or more recognized canting keel classes and one or more recognized
classes that combine spinnakers and movable ballast. When this happens then limits on classes could be considered but probably shouldn’t be.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing


In the full sized world there are a few emergine classes with movable ballast such at the TP52, MaxZ86, Schock 40, Volvo 70, but there are literally hundreds of existing classes that are no where near dead that do not allow movable ballast. These range from the venerable J24 to sport boats like the Mumm 30 and Melges 24 to grand prix boats like the Farr 40. Most of the rating systems out there like PHRF, IRC, and IMS punish heavily movable ballast to the point where you cannot be competitve with fixed keel boats in most sailing conditions. Dinghy allow movable ballast in that the crew can hike or use trapeezes, but to call the crew “movable ballast” and therefore any class that allows the crew to move around in the boat a “movable ballast class” is not really fair.

I agree that there are a lot of classes out there. In my mind, this highlights one of the biggest problems with model sailing - there does not exist a workable handicapping system for model boats.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am a firm believer in one design racing. I hate racing in PHRF fleets here on the great lakes. But I do see the merit in having the ability to race against boats of different type and be able to include more people in the fun. It allows new boats to be sailed before the critical mass has developed for a one design fleet for that type of boat. It would also allow people to build unique boats that did not conform to a particular rule and bring them to the pond to sail them.

I know that there have been some efforts over the years to develop a system like this. Administering such a system becomes the hard part. Any workable handicapping system would need to evaluate each new boat to develop a rating for that boat.

I would love to see such a system for model sailing.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Will, from a technical standpoint crew moving side to side whether it is on a dinghy or a z86 are definitely movable ballast. Dinghies with crew on trapezes seem like they would have to be regarded as having movable ballast; indeed the only way to approach the RM of some of these boats translated to model form is by moving ballast.
Full size sailing at least allows movable ballast whereas none of the recognized RC classes do.
Between movable ballast and spinnakers there is room for a number of new classes as I said earlier.
As to a handicapping system–I’ve read and heard of a number of clubs trying this; it would be interesting to see what there results are. As a suggestion why don’t you consider starting a topic here or under general discussion regarding handicapping and see what comes of it.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Doug, I?m not really sure just what your post is about. Firstly, there were only 2 post out of the 17 that suggested too many classes. I don?t consider that to be ?many?
Did you just post this to once again mention spinnakers and movable ballast? You asked the question of the issue of too many classes and ended up restating the same thing that you have stated over and over and over again, that ?..there are no recognized classes either in the AMYA or Internationally that allow movable ballast and only one that allows a practical spinnaker?? . Yes Doug we know that bugs you but you are making it sound as if the AMYA rejects the idea of having a class that would promote the use of spinnakers and CBTF. To date, I have NEVER heard of the AMYA rejecting a class for any reason what so ever if it met the very simple AMYA guidelines. And even here they have provided a recognized class that accepts classes that don?t meet up to the guidelines, and that?s, your free ad page, the Open Class.
For how many years now have you been whining about this same topic? And you STILL don?t have anything to show for it. Are you expecting that someone else will develop and sell enough CBTF and spinnaker boats to create this AMYA sanctioned class? Well, funny thing is that you have already stated here on this forum that you own these designs and would harm anyone found manufacturing a boat with them. So, you have ™ed just about all the technology that goes into these development boats that you want as a class, and are not doing anything about it, but to complain that no one else is either. Your closest chance to get this technology into a class and get it recognized is with the F100. So, where is it!??

This topic was posted as a response to the posts under Offshore rcYacht to explain specifically why I don’t think there are too many classes instead of changing Matts topic to discuss that issue. The question posed here is are there toomany classes-my answer is no there are not for the reasons stated in the first post.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

I have no comment on technology and their relationship to classes. My commentary in the topic on offshore sailing related to the fact that I am convinced that there are current available classes that can and do accomplish that feat quite capably.
With respect to having too many classes, I believe I am correct. I see the AMYA as an overall strong group that can be made stronger by more participation. How do we do that. By concentrating the sailing in fewer classes. It would inherintly give more opportunity to sail in more venues/races accross your region and the country as a whole. Despite 9/11 travel is more accessible and cheaper than it has ever been and the opportunity to sail or race in a regional gathering is really what makes this sport/hobby so much fun. I love sailing at my local club but lets face it, same pond, same faces, same talent level gets old after awhile and you also get stuck in a rut whereby new technology applicable to that class has a tendancy to stagnate. I remember when the M nationals would attract a wide variety of boats and sailors every year and it would be a really fun event because you would see and meet new people and better sailors than yourself. That is what adds excitement to the sport. I see that happening in the IOM class which is why I am getting into it. Two years ago I sailed in a class where I won most of the races locally, I enjoyed it but I had a pretty good adavantage over the guys and that can only be so fun. I didn’t really know if what I had was any good because I didn’t get out and about. This year I missed most of the races because of other commitments and family issues but I did make the regional championship and did ok and that was really the most fun I had in the last couple years because I got to see some new faces and sail in a new place and see some boats different than I had which gave me the opportunity to guage where I was as a sailor. You really cant do that with god knows how many classes are out there because every club is sailing something different which really limits cross participation which is the life blood of the sport in my opinion. With fewer classes people have a reasonably good chance of finding a race or regional or national championship closeby or within reasonable travel cost to find out whats new whos new and how good you are. The very most popular classes in the world of big boat racing are famous for their comraderie, parties, willingness to help newbies etc. In order to do that we need to be talking the same language (ie. Class of Boat).

One thing I truly fail to understand is the following. . .
There is an AMYA class that DOES allow moveable ballast and spinnakers, and that is the open class. I dont personally see a problem with this. You are touting spinnakers and CBTF (and hydrofoils) to be the be all and end all of sailing technology. If this is true, then you should be able to hold open class regattas and go clean up at them!!! Maybe the problem you are having is that you have not organized enough Open class events to support your design direction and spark interest! Every year, the club that I sail at holds several open class regattas where one could come sail whatever boat they would like as long as it is a sailing craft. Rather then complaining that none of the other class allow your ideas, you should be capitalizing on you superior and try to spark interest in open format sailing? bring whatever boat you want to the water, race, first person to finsh wins. Award different awards for different categorys present (under 40", over 40", mono, multi hull etc.). Rather than come across as a whiner, be a proactive leader in the open class and be happy with the completely unlimited restrictions of the open class. Be a leader by organizing and holding open class regional regatta. Invite others from other recognized class to race on even par with open class boats. Hold an open event in Roy’s backyard and tell him you would really appreciate it if he made the effort to attend with his IOM or marblehead. Only good can come! I know if there was a region one open championship. . . that I would probably take the time to build up a boat that I thought would stand a chance at placing top 3 and show up . . . or maybe I would just use my US one meter as is, and see how it stacks up! Im still interested in how my US one meter at 5.5 lbs will stack up against your F100 at 7 and change (I believe thats what it said in the magazine).
Maybe I am way off. . . but just support the open class, and try to get more competitions going within that class, it would be a more effective means to grow support.


PS: as an aside. . . Only one class that allows practical spinnakers?!?!?! You have always stated that the AC class does not allow practical spinnakers, but it looks as though someone out in chicago has proven you wrong there. I hope I am not the only one who saw the photos of the masthead (something else you said cant be done) fully functional assymetric spinnaker that appeard in the last model yachting that we all recieved.


On many levels, I agree with what you are saying; Fewer classes would mean more sailors in each class. But that is assuming that the existing sailors would just as readily join those other classes.

Most of the new classes that have been recognized by the AMYA in recent years are kit boats which a readily available to those outside the AMYA. These boats include the Victoria, the Seawind and my class, the Fairwind. These boats can easily be purchased at a hobby shop or from recognized hobby outlets like Tower Hobbies. What makes these boats attractive is that you do not have to undergo the daunting task of scratch building a hull. So it is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to build a high quality model boat. Many of the members of my class have owned boats for 10 or more years even though the class is less than 2 years old. Most of these people (myself included) never seriously considered model yachting as a sport. Rather we bought our boats as a toy to play with in local ponds.

The fact that so many people these days come to our sport through this route is completely due to these kit boats. Since the Victoria class was sanctioned in 1997 the active ranks of the AMYA membership has doubled. Most of this growth has been in kit boats or owners of kit boats who have “upgraded” to other classes. To deny class status to these kit boats would be to deny the entry level boat that has helped to fuel so much growth in our sport.

Another good reason for these kit boats is that building a boat can be a daunting task. There are plenty of sailors out there that are not mechanically inclined enough to build a complex kit. They are great sailors, but without the ease of assembly that the kit boats provide they would not be able to participate in our sport.

So while I agree that it would be a great idea for all of us to sail in regattas together, reducing the number of classes is not the answer.

I’ve mentioned this 2 times today already so forgive me for being redundant, but perhaps a better answer would be a handicapping system.

I live near Detriot and the full sized keelboat racing scene here is quite healthy. A few years ago, the J105 class in town gained a critical mass to have their own one design fleet during the weekend races. Prior to that, they were racing in PHRF handicapping fleets. The guy who started the ball rolling was able to race his boat locally during those early years. He could go to the J105 great lakes or national championship regattas to race one design and then race PHRF on the weekends.

I think the AMYA would be well served to develop and administer a workable handicapping system. This would allow racing between multiple clubs in a given area that had very different classes of boats. It would also allow new boats to join the racing at a club that did not have a fleet of that type of boat.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Ill translate BOBt’s post. . .
He decided he was to good to sail US one meters with us for the season . . . (said completely tongue and cheek). But decide to show up at regionals and whoop our butts big time. It was rather humbling for numerous people there to look at the number of bullets Bob got!

Good work by the way bob! It was pretty impressive to watch you sail that day. Hope next year. . . well, things will be a little different.


Tb, thepoint of my post was that there are nottoo many classes and there shouldbe room for new classes. No artificial limits on the number of classes…
Its good thatthere is anOpen clas and it should rightly serve as an area for new classes to grow within. I have had ando now have a numberof boats regisestered tere and now that Stan Abadie has taken over I expect that class to be much more lively.

As an aside,in response to TB: the spinnaker used on Mr. Muellers AC class boat is a brilliant solution within the AC class rule. That rule states that the furthest forward point of the pole or spinnaker is 1.34 times J. Using a conventional pole you would have to set it before each race for the particular gybe you were to sail on. With his solution there is no pole but there still is that pesky problem of the jib: going deaddownwind the jib would blanket the spinnaker. But in many cases he would not have to sail dead downwind.
The problem with asymetricals is that they require two to three times the winches required on a symetrical spinnaker because the sheets require powerfull fast winches wherereas on a symetrical spinnaker the trim is done with a small 180 degee servo.
Another point: I have pointed out in several different postings that masthead spinnakers could be carried if the decision was made to change down the spinnaker when the rigs were changed as the wind picks up. I further pointed out that as the wind picks up the boat must sail lower and lower depending on the size spinnaker it is carrying. If the angle of the luff of the sail is wrong as the wind picks up then the boat will pitchpole; if it is right then it will lift.
The asymetrical shown in Model Yachting is extremely limited in the wind strength it cam be used in since it is so big but I don’t think anything would prevent it from being changed down as the wind picks up. It is a brilliant solution anyway you look at it but there are big problems still to address.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

the fun isnt all in winning it is to see other people and other boats. my goal is to get a top 5 when i race at a regional or national, if I do that then I am happy for myself, what really gets me interested is sailing against other boats, you, greg, jim, bob l, john a and the like. gregs boat and the venoms looked pretty fast too, i just got lucky (truly) a few times given the wind conditions…i anticipate some really good stuff from the new boats in needham this year, getting out of town once in awhile is what keeps the competitive and creative juices flowing for me…which is why less quantity and more quality is important to me

Im not going to turn this into a spinnaker debate, Lets stick with the question . . . “why not concentrate more efforts on organizing more large open events that people want to attend . . . and put their best effort into winning?” Thus effectively turing the open class into a TRUE class rather then a stepping stone for new classes to be born in. Wouldnt that fix alot of the issues often expressed by people wanting to push technology?

I think it’s great that there is an open class but it is a class that one wants to get out of as soon as possible by achieving the magic number of boats to become a recognized class."Pushing " technology measns getting classes to grow out of the open Class and become recognized in their own right. If some have their way the magic number will go way up or there will be a limit on recognizing new classes and that would be a shame and counterproductive for the growth of the sport.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

I disagree Doug. I really think that innovation within existing classes is what makes the sport grow, tb is doing some interesting stuff in the US1M class and others that will suprise, maybe shock, existing people. but from what I gather the limitations to development are few I think legal. I have to hand it to people who take an existing set of rules and innovate the variables available to them. Adding classes is equivalent to the watered down talent so pervasive throughout our professional sports-baseball and hockey are prime examples of too many teams and too few real players, those sports are floundering in so many cities because the teams are not competitive, if we had a whole bunch of us sailing in x number of classes (all cost and development levels represented) we would be much better off. the ease of organization for the AMYA is better and the sailing overall becomes stronger…

Bob, you might have the begining of a case if the existing recognized classes represented the state of the art in sailing but they don’t.Of course there are state of the art fixed keel monohulls but the state of the art in sailing as a whole has moved way beyond them. There are new classes under development like the F48 multihull,the multiONE multihull ,The F100, The Spinnaker 50, Grunta’s canting keel Ultimate Warrior and boats like Matthew suggested that all deserve recognition when they reach the magic number. And these classes aren’t just adding to the hodgepodge of marconi rigged fixed keel monohulls they represent new technological development ,new ways to sail that aren’t attainable in any recognized class. They should be encouraged not discouraged because any one of them could catch on and change the rc sailing world. And that would be a great thing for everybody.Seems to me that the AMYA poicy of encouraging new classes has paid off with increased membership and that has to be good in the long run.
I don’t see how your idea would work in any case. Whose going to tell a group of guys they can’t race the boat of their choice? And when all recognized classes(except the open class) prohibit movable ballast and most prohibit spinnakers how will the sport progress? Whose going to tell the new developing classes that they can forget ever having an AMYA recognized class championship?

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

The Formula 48 and MultiONE Multihull classes began development as a specific class and type of boat not previously available within the AMYA. Because there were no production builders for this particular class of boat, it was identified early in class and rules development that most would have to be scratch built. Futher it was recognized, that if being built from scratch, why not develop the class as a very unlimited development class.

At the time it was also recognized, that unless a ready-to-sail competitive multihull was available “off the shelf” - and not having to wait months or years to get one, the possibility of fast class growth wouldn’t take place, and wasn’t expected.

The F-48 Class Owners Association looks forward to the new Open Class Secretary, and envisions that the AMYA Open Class will, like all other AMYA Classes, host at least one national event each year. After all, membership dues are the same for the Open Class as they are for all other recognized classes - it’s just that in the past, Open Class Registered Members never had a championship regatta offered by AMYA. Will see what the new Secretary brings forth after he gets settled in.

Many of our F-48 members concur, that if an “Open Event” is held, some form of classification or handicapping is needed to allow mutiple styles, classes and sizes of boats to compete in a format where all have equal chances to win.

The Open Class within the AMYA certainly <u>IS</u> the place for new ideas and technology to have “on-the-water” demonstrations of the ideas that are expressed and suggested, and the Open Class is also acknowledged by the AMYA as the “Breeder Class” for new designs and new recognized classes when the established criteria for a recognized class is met.

Certainly, nothing prevents anyone, or any company from registering and promoting a type of boat or idea within the Open Class.

I didn’t want to start a fight but since you had your hissyfit-here goes. I think anyone who has been in this long enough can see the damage-YES damage too many classes has had on this sport, they don’t mess around with it in Europe because they see the value in having fewer strong classes. From a manufacturing standpoint it is better too because the relatively few manufacturers there are can benefit from not having to produce so many specialty parts and sails. They will benefit from economy of scale through the use of more effecient methods of production, a more limited risk in investing in new tooling and processesing. Can you name me a reputable manufacturer in the USA that actually makes parts that can be employed on a wide variety of boats (excluding sails, hulls, fins and such)-the real parts or nitty gritty of what makes a boat work? I doubt it. What I am saying would be much better for everyone because it addresses the issues we face of going in too many directions-not only on a sailing side but in procuring parts and peices needed to make a boat go. Quality goes up, cost goes down, more people sail and everyone wins. I really don’t see how a smart person like you can argue with that. It would help you too but you cant seem to see the forest fore the trees. I think CBTF and multihulls need to put up or shut up on the RC front because as it stands now it is purely a concept in your head that you are preselling to the people on this board…NO NEW CLASSES!
edited by Mod

Hopefully the AC with spinnaker will show up in Detroit for the AC nationals next year. I’m sure everyone welcomes the challenge but I bet it doesn’t place in the top 5 let alone win.

There is room for more classes. However. Forcefeeding us that such and such is more fun and great isn’t going to make a class. Existing boats on the water that prove to be fun and somehow add something to the sailing will make a class. If it proves worthwhile then the class will grow into a recognized class and will probably displace another existing class. If the F100 is all that is great in this world, when boats exist and are racing then maybe it will cause the demise of the Marblehead class.

If the F100’s when they hit the water don’t prove to be any more fun then what is already out there they won’t and they will go away. A new class shouldn’t be declared to have status just on the basis that it is new even though not a single boat exists. The class has to justify it’s existence by having boats racing.
With 20 spinnaker boats around the country now. If it is so great and we all wanted one after seeing it or sailing it you’d think orders for more would be pooring in by now and you’d have a baglog of orders a mile long for spinnaker 50’s and AmericaOne’s.

On the matter of classes such as Victoria, Fairwind, CR914, V32 etc. Just by the nature of the manufacturer there are always going to be similar classes that come and go. The majority of these boats are probably not going to people racing them. They are pond toys. When the product goes stale after a few freshenings it will eventually get replaced. For a class like the Victoria. It is large in numbers. The Victoria will eventually go out of production and at that point the class will eventually die becase no new boats are available.


Will - how “close to Detroit”?

Matt - in Kalamazoozoozoo


I live in Plymouth and Race (model boats) in Ann Arbor. I used to sail Offshore Keelboats on Lake St. Clair and the rest of the great lakes circuit.

Anybody to sail with there in K-zoo?

  • Will

Will Gorgen