At the moment we race just one class of model yacht, the International One Metre (IOM). This is the most popular radio controlled racing yacht in the World and is raced in over 30 countries worldwide. The class has enjoyed such success because competitive IOMs can be built by an ordinary modeler at home, and due to the class restrictions competitive boats remain competitive for a number of years.
The performance of a radio controlled yacht depends on hull length, beam, displacement, sail area, bulb draft, ballast ratio and rig plan. The only parameter than can be freely changed in the IOM class is the beam, all others are restricted by the IOM class rules. In addition to performance factors, the class rules explicitly restrict certain materials and construction methods in order to keep the class inexpensive and able to be built by an amateur builder . A competitive boat can even be built at home, although most sailors use fibreglass hulls moulded by specialist builders.
A yacht competitive at national or international level might cost £3,000 or more, but a secondhand yacht for club racing can be had for £300. At club level the ability to set the yacht up well and sail effectively are far more important than the details of the design. Even at international level, some sailors seem to be able to make anything sail fast.