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Thread: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

  1. #1
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    Default R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    When I was an active member of the South Orange Seaport Society in 2000, Tower Hobbies had a fairly good selection of RC models; sail, electric, steam, and gas.

    Looking at their website today I see just one RC sailboat.

    Not sure why this is, except, I suppose, there's no demand. Maybe this is because of the generation growing up with cell phones and entertainment at their finger tips.

    When my kids, and when my grandkids, were young, I tried to find SLOW rc cars. I was looking for something a 5 year old could play with inside the house and not crash into anything without doing damage.

    Now I think they might want to offer a small rc sailboat that would work in pools. Many, I think, would enjoy this hobby if they were introduced to it. Could be wrong.
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

  2. #2
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    A lot of traditional hobbies (model building, tropical fish, stamps, etc.) are dying off as the young people have no interest.

    Oddly, building electronics seems not to have caught on despite the role it plays in society.

    Young people live on their cell phones.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Hard to argue that RC is dead. RC planes have been displaced by drones, and drones are everywhere providing aerial photography that amateur videographes and film makers couldn't imagine 20 years ago. It has changed and certainly the amount of hobby construction is way down. When you consider the programming that makes a quad copter work, it's not particularly surprising.
    As far as thumb yachting, there has also been a change away from custom projects like 10 raters, 50-800s and so forth to smaller International 1 meters and DF 95s. But there seems to be good activity both nationally and locally. On Sunday afternoons there are about 4 racing fleets within a 40 minute drive from my place. These are populated by a different crowd than 10 years ago.
    Then there are fun projects like the foiling 1 meter trimarans which are going legitimately quickly!
    If you look at the internet instead of Tower Hobbies you get a different picture.
    SHC

  4. #4
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    In spite of the above, I don't play with RC.
    I prefer free sailing or "pond yachts."
    I like rowing around in a skiff instead of standing on a dock with a radio.
    The game is to get back to where you started.
    You learn a lot of skills retrieving small sailing models from a rowboat or Kayak.
    Kids swimming with flippers can keep up with almost any model under 24" long.
    Although you need to keep an eye on them if there isn't a boundary of some sort because they can get out too far.
    SHC

  5. #5
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    The feedback I'm hearing is: not dead at all, in general. I have several friends that are active in that community, and they say there are youngsters coming into the sport.

    Another sign of life is that my hometown Maritime Museum has recently constructed a pond on their property for RC events and casual use. It's apparently very popular --

    https://www.crmm.org/warnock-model-boat-pond.html
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    The feedback I'm hearing is: not dead at all, in general. I have several friends that are active in that community, and they say there are youngsters coming into the sport.

    Another sign of life is that my hometown Maritime Museum has recently constructed a pond on their property for RC events and casual use. It's apparently very popular --

    https://www.crmm.org/warnock-model-boat-pond.html
    I've had several of my customers, in their older years when not fit enough to manage a full sized yacht, build an RC scale model and take it to small craft rallies, it seems to me that the "hobby" market in all genre is much bigger among the retired "boomers" than the younger gen whatever letter of the alphabet is the current fashion.
    That said, our daughter and her two kids drive a 9 hand pony with a little two seat cart in events, our son is studying photography, and most of the younger people I know have some sort of interest that they're pursuing.
    That though might be as much a commentary on the people we choose as friends rather than a trend in general.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Stores like Tower may not carry sailboat kits so much anymore. RC sail models are purchased online.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

  8. #8
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct


  9. #9
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    I can see me with one in the future.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    I can see me with one in the future.
    I got a footy hull, keel and rudder that are yours. You just need to put the deck on and add electronics. And add the lead to the keel.
    I believe you know my proclivity for building stuff I may not need?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Not down my way, there is a fierce winter competition on a series of large farm dams and inland waters. I summer they are sailing bigger boats.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    I have noticed the apparent falloff in kid's interest in making models, whether boats or airplanes. I once was in Paul MacReady's shop, and it seemed as if most of his staff were still tinkering with models. One is flying on Mars today. The connection between invention and creating what is imagined is profound. Maybe the FIRST robotics contest is a step in this direction, but so was the original Optimist Pram concept, where a kid built his own boat to sail. FWIW, our sail club has some RC sailboat races. On the other hand, in the 1950s, Detroit public schools had a class where you built your own sailboat, and competed in on pond on Belle Isle, a city park. The pond is still there, but the class is not.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    I got a footy hull, keel and rudder that are yours. You just need to put the deck on and add electronics. And add the lead to the keel.
    I believe you know my proclivity for building stuff I may not need?
    would be honored to take her on. Will be fun to work out rc controls. PM me for your details on how I can compensate you for your lovely offer.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    It took me a good twenty hours+ to make radio slope soarers that might last 30 minutes.

    Boats? 100+ hours for a vessel that might go out for an hour a week. If that. (I spent 800 on a kit two years ago that's still 100+ hours from the water. Who does that, these days? ...'cept me?)

    People (ahem, 'kids!') want near-instant gratification. I get that. I get the RTR stuff, including a few minutes connecting connectors, tops: I see the buying online of ready-builds being a thing. But you need a 'club' to race, with a pile of 'also involved', and that's not happening for the next generation.

    It's dead.

    And that's sad.

    Andy
    "In case of fire ring Fellside 75..."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    Guess the hobby's not dead, but it seems less popular than it was 20 years ago.
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

  16. #16
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    It's alive and well here in Marblehead, the crowd leans a bit on the older side but it has leaned that way for 20 years.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

  17. #17
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    I think it could be fun. Some fellows were sailing on a nearby pond as i was fishing. looked like a hoot.

    maybe make one of these.

    https://www.clcboats.com/shop/boats/...sail-boat.html
    Skip

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    ...........fighting against the deliberate polarization of politics...

  18. #18
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    When we were kids, we did things like sailing models, flying kites, running billy carts and flying model planes on our own or with other kids. But back then there wasn't a child rapist or kidnapper waiting on every street corner. Now that there clearly is, kids are no longer allowed to walk to school or play anywhere unsupervised. So really, where's the fun or challenge for a kid in sailing a model boat?

    Now that kids are kept strictly safe, their old age is also secure as they'll die from obesity long before they reach it.
    Rick

    Lean and nosey like a ferret

  19. #19
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    There's a very popular and active year-round RC sailing club in Camden, Maine. They mostly sail Dragonforce 65s and Dragonflite 95s. There's a remotely controlled tug to help boats ashore or to the dock when the wind dies and current sends them drifting out of the harbor! https://www.mainemodelyachtclub.org/class-details
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

  20. #20
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    Default Re: R/C model sailboats are becoming extinct

    These days if you want a RC boat to sail you can buy one at resonable prices. You have to want to build a boat to go down that path. I started with a basic pond yacht my grandma gave me at 10, then began builfding them finishing up with a 6ft topsail schooner at round 13-14. Next boat was a canoe, next an 11ft sailboat. The building was often more interesting than the sailing. At one stage I had 5 boats in my shed.
    BTW I still have grandma's gift.

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