A quality model can be an investment lasting for many years. Some modelers have models that have been passed along for a couple of generations. It is worh joining the AMYA, www.amya.org/ "The AMYA is devoted to promoting the designing, building, racing, and preservation of all model sailing yachts. We pursue these goals by recognizing certain Classes of Model Yachts, sanctioning model yacht Regattas, recognizing model Yacht Clubs, publishing a quarterly Model Yachting Magazine, and Promoting model yachting in general. Any operating model sailboat enthusiast will benefit by joining the AMYA and meeting others with the same interests."
Classification of models into classes for racing has been going on for years under the leadership of the Model Yacht Racing Association The AMYA has been very active in promoting the R/C racing of sailing models, and its leadership provides the format in interclub and national regattas. Not all classes are AMYA oriented. A manufacturer having a proprietary and top-notch model cannot be sanctioned by AMYA unless that manufacturer releases or arranges for other manufacturers of that model. This may be a questionable business decision for a manufacturer with an investment in his design and tooling.
Radio-controlled sailing model | AMYA yacht classes | "character" models, such as schooners and sloops
The yacht classes presented here are representative of the choices available to a modeler wanting to race with others. Not included are the several "character" models, such as schooners and sloops, which are available.
The oldest and most prominent classes are the "formula" classes. Rather than try and handicap differing models, a set of ground rules was established with a wide range of individual variation still possible between models. The largest fleet of racing models is to be found in the 50/800 or International Marblehead Class. This formula is quite simple and requires the model to have a mono-hull which is 50 inches long and to carry not more than 800 square inches of sail. A vast number of differing designs can be developed to fit the 50/800 formula. Many of the 50/800 models are oneof-a-kind scratchbuilt models. With the advent of fiberglass models, suppliers are able to mass-produce like hulls of one particular 50/800. Although these are mass-produced, the class rules still permit' a wide variety of rigging and unlimited modifications to these kit boats, so they do not constitute a one-design.
50/800 Marblehead class is very competitive. A particular model will win a number of races and become very popular only to become obsolete when a new boat is designed. This class races boat design against boat design, as well as sailing skills. Its biggest drawback is that the Marblehead skipper must resign himself to a new boat each year or two if he is to stay a winner.
The 36/600 is a smaller version of the 50/800 type formula. Hull type is unlimited, so there are some multihull 36/600 models. The biggest problem with this class is the visibility problem caused by the short 36 inch hull length. There are other formula classes, such as the "A" Class. "A" boats tend to be big and heavy and most are scratchbuilt. This class is popular among some very sophisticated racing persons who, though relatively few in number, take racing very seriously.
The best buys for the model owner may be found in the one-design classes. The distinguishing feature here is the requirement that all the models within each of the one-design classes must be identical. This feature prevents the model from becoming obsolete within its class because of age or because of some innovation being made in the boat design. The Star 45 Class is a one-design class with specifications resulting in significant performance differences between models. Which manufacturer or kit? Before deciding check the hull material.