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RC Sailing Tips

Here is a short guide to r/c sailing. It is about controlling your remote control sailboat or model yacht by harnessing the power of wind and using the rudder and sails to steer and move forward.

Sail Zone

It is important to note the direction of the wind. Keep in mind that your rc sail boat cannot sail directly into the wind. There is also such a thing called a no-sail zone. This is area directly into the wind and the 45 degree angle to the left and right. You cannot move into the wind within the no-sail zone.

Model Sail Boat Control

The movement of your rc sail boat is largely influenced by the wind direction. Note that the wind direction will usually change at any given moment. But if you keep in mind the current wind direction, you can use the rudder and sail to control where your model sail boat will go.

When your sail boat is going towards the wind with the rudder in a straight position, the term is called "Weather Helm." When going in the opposite direction, the term is "Lee Helm" or "Leeward." And when you are just going in a straight direction, the term is "Just Helm."

You can control the helm condition by controlling the mast inclination. If you want weather helm, move the mast inclination back towards the rudder. Moving the mast forward will give you lee helm.

Sail Tension

If the wind is strong, increase the sail tension (i.e. shorten boom bang rod). And if the wind is weak, lessen the tension on the sails (i.e. extend boom bang rod).

Safety Precautions

Take care when playing with your rc sailboat. Even if it does not have a motor, it can still cause personal injury or property damage. Here are some guidelines:

  • Avoid sailing where there are people in the water (e.g. swimming pools).
  • Avoid sailing near full sized boats or harbors.
  • Weak wind conditions may make your sail boat uncontrollable and crash.
  • Your sail boat has a long keel. Avoid shallow waters or places with underwater plants, rocks or fish nets that can entangle the keel.
  • Avoid sailing in strong wind conditions and heavy waves or current.
  • Water can easily corrode your radio control equipment. Dry them thoroughly should they accidentally get wet.

By keeping these guidelines in mind you can have a lot of fun with rc sailboats.

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