The boats

We race 2 classes of boats, both requiring different sailing skills and tactics.

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On the 1st Sunday of the month we race the International One Metre (IOM). Limited to 1 metre in length with a set sail area and minimum weight, this class is raced worldwide. These boats have strict class rules to limit building costs, so it’s an ideal class for someone new to the sport of radio controlled racing sailboats. The yachts weigh a minimum of 4kg, and can be built on a kitchen table if you’re allowed! Being quick and highly manoeuvrable, the IOM offer close and entertaining racing. A hull can be built for less than £30 from free plans from the internet, or bought ready to race for prices over £1,800, but it’s far from cheque-book racing. Good skills and strategy are things that money can’t buy.

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On the 3rd Sunday we change tack and race the slower and less manoeuvrable 6 Metre (6M) class, weighing more than 10 kg and over 1.3 metres in length they are graceful yachts and rewarding to sail when you get it right. The hulls are designed to the 6 metre rule, taking into account the waterline and girth measurements of the hull to create a maximum sail area. Therefore, it’s possible to have a light boat with a small sail area or a heavier boat with a larger area, and both should sail at the same speed. The 6M class is one of the prettiest class of radio controlled yacht and even a small fleet like ours at Clapham can be an impressive sight as they sail down the lake.

Following problems with low water levels in the pond in some years we have added a new class of boat to our fleet. This is the Soling class, which is an American one design class a little smaller than the One Metre and with a much shorter keel. The boats are built from an imported kit, and being a “one design” a fleet can give very close and exciting racing and has proved popular in the Club.

How we race

At Clapham we race an Olympic course. Called a sausage and triangle, the course is triangular with the longest side of the triangle covered twice to form the sausage. We start from the buoy nearest the clubhouse (no.1) and race along the bank to the furthest buoy on the same side (no.2), before crossing the pond to the buoy on the far bank (no.3) and then round no. 1 and up to no.2 before racing back down to the start/finish line.

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The reason for the sausage and triangle is to test the skipper and yacht on all points of sail, from close hauled, to two off the wind legs known as broad reaches, round the bottom mark for another close hauled leg before finishing on a straight down-wind leg. Although the start line should always be at right angles to the wind direction, so the start is always into the wind, because of the shape of the pond this isn’t always possible. So the course remains fixed and the wind direction varies, however because of the alignment of the pond to the prevailing winds means that the course is usually correct.

The rules we race under are the same as full size yachts, devised by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The Racing Rules of Sailing (or RRS) are to ensure fair racing with out risk of damage to the yachts. If you are familiar to yacht racing there are a few minor changes which can be found in Appendix E of the RRS.

The RRS can be downloaded from the ISAF website

Don’t be put off by their complexity, a simplified version can be downloaded from the MYA website

Even with a little knowledge about the rules it’s possible to enjoy racing, and by watching other sailors you’ll soon learn how racing works.

© Graham Snook

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9 Comments »

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  1. I have a couple of 10 Raters at the moment, a Squire Kay SeaKing and a Greenfly/Tenafly design which I purchased from George Clark a couple of years back. I also sail a Victoria. I am waiting for a set of plans from MM for the ‘Force6’6M which I like the look of. Has any one at your club built this model and if so any tips would be appreciated. I may even sail with you at Clapham when it’s finished!!

  2. The 6Ms we have the most of is the Seismick, designed by Chris Dicks. We have four at the moment, but hopefully by the 17th I might have actually finished mine which will take the total to 5. Although she has taken longer than I want to think about!

    The best (and only) information I’ve found about building a 6M is on the 6M owners association website if thats any help. I’ll have an ask around and see if anyone has made a Force 6.

    Feel free to vist us on the 1st (IOM) or 3rd (6M) Sundays of the month

  3. Hi,

    You are my nearest model yacht club ( Parsons Green SW6 and I was wondering if I can sail a Footy Class yacht with you and if you plan to introduce this Class in the future?

    Many thanks,
    Chris Simmonds

  4. Hi Chris,

    No plans as yet, we introduced the Soling 1 Meter last year and we’re hosting the National championships this sunday, Pop along for a chat if you would like to.

    All the best

    Graham

  5. You guys look like you are the closest to me – I was rather impressed with the Micro Magic design as a good but low cost entrant – have you any plans in that area?

  6. Hi;
    My work is ship/boat model restoration and I am restoring a C.M.Y.C 1926 “Eleanor” 53″ long

    • Hi Who originally built the 53″ Eleanor?
      Regards
      Jeremy Young

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