If you are interested in finding out more about radio controlled yacht racing, the best way is to come along to the lake on a Sunday morning to watch the yachts, someone is sure to let you have some ‘stick time’ to give you a feel for how the yachts sail. Absolutely no sailing experience is required, you will soon get the hang of how the yacht behaves at different angles to the wind. Indeed in some ways learning is easier when you are not onboard the boat, because the wind direction stays constant relative to you.
If you want to take it further, one of members will usually have a boat that they can lend you for a while. The next stage is to acquire your own boat. The One Metre class has very restrictive class rules, which means that the differences between different designs are subtle. As beginner, you will probably be limited by your own sailing ability, rather than the yacht itself, so there is no need to go to the expense of a new boat. Secondhand One Metre yachts for club racing can be had for £300 upwards, including radio. As you gain experience you might hanker after a more competitive design, but it is worth remembering that the top sailors can make almost anything sail quickly – success is mostly about set-up, tactical skill and wind-awareness, which only come with experience.
The best place to buy a secondhand One Metre yacht in the UK is the For Sale section of the Model Yachting Association website. Do feel free to contact us for advice before going ahead with a purchase, between our members we will probably have some knowledge of almost every common One Metre yacht design, whether personal, or via the rumour-mill.
A lower cost route into model yachting is the Dragonforce 65, a smaller commercial design that can be bought new for about £150, details here. This class is not currently raced at the club, but could be if there is sufficient interest.