If you are interested in Radio Controlled Sailing at Harrington Waters then our advice is as follows:
Harrington Waters RS Inc. members are usually at the lake throughout the year. Club racing commences at 1.00pm on Saturday (1st and 3rd Saturday of the month), but members often arrive about 12.00 noon. You can contact us or simply come along to the lake and make yourself known to one of the members. We are keen to introduce new people to the sport. You might even end up with a transmitter in your hand to give it a go!
Our members will give you plenty of advice regarding which boat is likely to be suitable for you, as well as giving you an idea on cost, value for money etc. Visit the Australian Radio Yachting Association website for details of boats for sale (radiosailing.org.au).
Plan to spend the first year learning about (a) the sport at all levels and (b) the boats used in competition. Plan to up-grade your boat after the first season to one that you have chosen carefully, based on what you have learnt.
We would not recommend buying a kit or building from a plan to any newcomer to the sport. We would not suggest buying a brand new boat either. Most skippers find that they are able to upgrade once they have picked up enough knowledge to work out what type of design they want.
There are many club members who have the experience and ability to assist you to get started, so please don't hesitate to ask!
Are there any kits available in model shops which I should consider?
Sailing for fun may become fairly humdrum after a while and you may well end up looking for others to join in with, either informally or through a club. Competition is not available in Western Australia with model shop kits so you need to research carefully what does work and what does not. Check your local user groups before purchasing your boat.
Which class should I go for?
Whatever is sailed at your local club. There is not much fun in sailing around without someone to race against. At Harrington Waters, we promote the One Metre Class.
Any guidance regarding choice of design for a beginner?
Probably for the first year it will be your lack of rules knowledge, tactical experience, and ability to control the boat that will slow you down rather than any fault of the boat. So, if you are planning to replace the boat after a year (as suggested), it is not terribly important which design you have. Look at results on the Australian website, the local club website and ask your local club members (several) which they rate as a good choice and which to avoid at any price.
Can you give any guidance to a beginner wanting to buy a boat?
Again, for your very first boat, availability and price will be the primary considerations, and the speed potential of the boat at this stage is not that important. Performance as well as price should guide the purchase of your next boat. Used boats are often excellent value. They will usually not be regarded as the fastest around but they may well be the ones that were regarded as the fastest until recently. As there is a significant fashion element in the sport it is sometimes possible to pick up very quick boats at quite modest prices. Second hand boats will usually be at quite attractive prices compared with buying new but, as ever, you tend to get what you pay for and the better boats will attract better prices. The pace of design development is not great and any boat that was truly competitive a few seasons ago will still be a potential winner if equipped and sailed well.
Assume the RC equipment will not be in tip top condition and expect to replace it, keeping the original as spares. On this basis it is not terribly important to have RC equipment with the boat.
Do not buy any boat without having seen it first unless you trust the judgement of someone who has.
Where should I find a second hand boat for sale?
The club secretary or other members may know of one of the club's members who has one he may wish to sell. The Australian Radio Sailing website also has a comprehensive list of boats for sale. Many of these will be based in the Eastern States.