The Model Racing Yachts
These boats are more about their development, performance, and accomplishments than their appearance.† The artistry behind these boats is subtle. Itís not about the details like what is found in the scale models but in the way they move.† The scale models reflect the histories of the ships they are modeled after.† Model racing yachts make their own history and they have war stories of their very own.
There are several classes of model yachts and each has their own specifications regarding class compliance.† There are two kinds of classes:† One-design and development.† The one-design classes are pretty much that.† The idea is to make the boats as much alike so that the only real difference between them is the person at the controls.† The development classes are where design becomes a factor.† Each of the development classes have their own parameters in which to design a boat. These classes not only match skipper against skipper but design against design.
Model yacht racing is both a hobby and a sport.† Most participants build their own boats to some degree. †There are different categories of builders.† Some are happy just putting together a kit.† Some take pride in showing off a degree of craftsmanship.† Those who design from scratch strive to find some innovation thatís revolutionary.† Regardless of the amount of work the builder put into their boat, the first race has all the excitement of the day when their science project is due and they see how well their work compares to everybody elseís.
The actual racing is more like a sport.† To the casual observer, watching a model yacht race is like watching cows eat grass.† Itís a little interesting at first but it doesnít have a lot of staying power as a spectator sport. †To the participants, itís like playing chess. For one thing, there are no propellers on these boats.† All of their speed comes from the wind.† To fully appreciate whatís going on, one must learn a little about racing and the rules.† The rules may have changed a little from when he was racing, but hereís a quick overview of what the rules were then.
The course is called an Olympic Triangle.† Imagine yourself standing at the shore of a pond or a lake.† On the upwind side of you would be a buoy, called the Windward Mark, some distance away.† Depending on the size of the body of water it could be anywhere from 90 to 200 feet away.† An equal distance away in the opposite direction would be the Leeward Mark.† Connecting these two marks would comprise the base of the triangle whose line is parallel to the shore. The Wing Mark is at the top of the triangle and how far away it is would also depend on the size of the lake or pond. Directly in front of you and halfway between the Windward and Leeward marks would be the Start/Finish line.† It would comprise of two buoys about 20 to 50 feet apart forming a line that is perpendicular to the shore.
The overall event is called a regatta. It is made up of several races around the triangle and scoring is determined based on the place of finish.† A typical race would start with a 60-second countdown with the boats on the downwind side of the starting line.† At the end of the countdown a horn or bell would indicate the start of the race and the boats then head towards and around the Windward mark. They then head out to and around the Wing mark and down to and around the Leeward mark. Then itís back upwind and through the finish line. Back then, a first-place finish earned three-quarters of a point. Second place got two points, third place got three points and so on.† The lowest score at the end of the day wins the regatta.† Today itís pretty much the same only thereís a full point for coming in first.
Determining who has the right-of-way is dependent on the wind.† A boat which has the wind coming from the right side (called a Starboard tack) has the right-of-way over a boat which has the wind coming from the left side (Port tack).† In the case where both boats are on the same tack, the down-wind or leeward boat has the right-of-way.† If all else is equal, the slower boat has the right-of-way.† You wonít find rules like this anywhere in NASCAR.
So, with that said about how to race, these are the different classes of model yachts my father built and raced: