Radio-controlled boat

A radio-controlled boat is a boat controlled remotely with radio control equipment.



Sport boats are the most common type of boat amongst hobbyists.


Scale boats are replicas of full-size boats. They can be small enough to fit into your hand, or large, trailer-transported models weighing hundreds of pounds. More often than not they are a miniaturized version of a prototype, built using plans and/or photos, although there are variants of the hobby that utilize freelance designs. Another offshoot of this hobby is radio-controlled submarines.


Sailboats use the power of the wind acting on sails to propel the boat. Model sailboats are typically controlled via a multi-channel radio transmitter in the hands of the operator with a corresponding receiver in the boat. By changing the position of the two joysticks on the transmitter signals are sent over two separate channels on a single radio frequency (assigned to the individual boat/operator). On the boat, the radio receiver is connected to two battery powered electric motors or servos. Signals from the radio transmitter are interpreted by the radio receiver and translated into instructions to change the position of the servos. One servo controls the position of both main and jib sails together (allowing the sails to be trimmed), the other the position of the rudder (allowing the boat to be steered).

Racing sailboats

Sails model sail boats is governed by the same [ ISAF] (International Sailing Federation) Racing Rules of Sailing that are used for full sized crewed sailing boats (with the inclusion of Appendix E, that introduces special rules to govern the radio-controlled sport).

There are four international classes of radio sailing boats recognized by the ISAF- [ Radio Sailing Division] : (from smallest to largest).

* [ International One Metre] (IOM)The IOM class rules specify a monohull of maximum length 1000 mm, with maximum draught 420 mm. There is a minimum weight of 4000 g, which makes homebuilding of competitive boats possible. The IOM has three one-design rigs. To keep costs down, hull materials are restricted to either wood or glassfiber, while masts and booms are restricted to either aluminium or wood.
*International Marblehead (M)
**Maximum length: 1290 mm
**Maximum draught: ca 700 mmUp to six rigs are allowed, the tallest being about 2200 mm.
*International Ten Rater (10R)
*International A Class (A), the largest of the international radio sailing classes.

The Bottle Boat is a low cost alternative to these classes. Largely constructed from waste items (bin bags for sails and soft drinks bottles for the body), it represents an environmentally friendly entry to the sport.

Power boats

Power boats are typically electric or internal combustion, (ignition engine or glow plug R/C engine based) and some are steam powered (conventional type, and also flash steam). (At one time some boats used engines working on the compression ignition principle. These were not diesels in the true sense of the word but the modelling fraternity frequently referred to them as such. A few enthusiasts still operate such engines.) The power is commonly used to rotate a submerged propeller, aircraft propeller or jet which in turn provide the thrust to move the craft. Typically power boats have two controls, rudder, outboard motor or stern drive and throttle control. Powered scale boats will often have additional remote controlled functions to improve realism, e.g. sounding fog horns, rotating radar antennae etc. Some of the more sophisticated powered racing boats may also have additional remote controlled functions. These may include remote mixture control allowing the driver to optimise the fuel/air mixture during a race. Another function occasionally implemented for racing boats using a surface piercing propellor is remote control of depth or angle of thrust. There are three main types of power boat. RTR(ready-to-run), ARTR(almost-ready-to-run), and kit versions are available. All thoroughbred racing boats are made from kits and the builders add their own gear and radio.

Racing power boats

Radio controlled racing boats are designed for maximum speed and maneuverability. Various syles of racing include circuits of different shapes laid out on the water with buoys. The most common courses are the 1/6th mile oval that consists of 330' straight sections followed by 70' diameter turns. The International Model Power Boat Association (IMPBA) as well as the North American Model Boat Association (NAMBA) have specific rules and regulations to address the course, race rules, and formats.

In addition to oval racing there are straight a way (SAW) racing. This is a contest to see how fast you can make the boat go in a straight line. Timed events are held where the boats need to go through a starting light and an ending light. The speed is calculated by the timed difference from start to stop vs the length between the lights. Again IMPBA and NAMBA rules apply.

Some enthusiasts race in the sea controlling their craft from a pursuing boat known as a "chase boat". These courses will usually be a few miles long and the competition is judged against the clock to find the fastest in class. Within the various styles of racing there will be a number of classes depending upon engine size and type.


A competitive offshoot of the radio control model warships hobby that involves the firing of projectiles, usually propelled by gas, at opposing ships to sink or damage them. Models are usually simplified to facilitate repair. Ships are fitted with bilge pumps; bb, 3/16", 7/32" or 1/4" weapons that fire ball bearings. The ship's hull plating is balsa to keep the force required to penetrate down to safe levels, by Rules, they are designed to be sinkable and in fact they do on a regular basis.


Scale model tug boats are often built to include scale drive systems. Standard propellers and rudder(s), Becker rudder, Kort nozzles, steerable kort nozzles, Schottel, Z-drives or
Voith-Schneider cycloidial drives. Clubs will often host maneuvering competitions where participants are tasked to run their boats in the most scale possible manner. This is can be judged with and without a "tow" or barge attached.

Models of Tugboats were often used for filming on three shows. TUGS, Thomas & Friends and Theodore Tugboat in which they had moving eyes and as for TUGS moving heads. As for Thomas and Friends there are no faces.

See also

*Model yacht
*Ship model
*Model warship combat

External links

* [ International One Metre - International Class Association] - A popular class of radio controlled sailing boat
* [ International Sailing Federation - Radio Sailing Division] - Rules and regulations for the international radio sailing classes
* [ American Model Yacht Association] - Radio Control Sailboats
* [ Soling One Meter Resource Center] - Most popular model sailboat in the US.
* [ Force 72 1:72 scale Australia RC model boat club]
* [ Offshore Model Racing Association] - UK Racing model boats - often in the sea
* [] - R/C Warship Combat - mostly Big Gun format, with technical articles
* [ R/C Naval Combat] R/C Warship Combat - All Formats - Forums
* [ International R/C Warship Combat Club] -R/C Warship Combat - Small/Fast Gun format
* [ MWC Official Site] R/C Warship combat - Small/Fast Gun format
* [ The Queen's Own Scale Model Warship club] - 1/72nd scale R/C combat
* [ Model] - Has sections devoted to radio control scale model warships.
* [ North American Model Boat Association] - Racing Model Boats and Combat Model Warships
* [ The Subcommittee] - promotes the building and operation of model submarines
* [ Model Marina ] - Personal site featuring many online builds
* [ Australian Model Powerboating Association Inc.] - Australian Racing Model Boats
* [ Northwest RC Shipmodelers] - Pacific Northwest RC scale model boat club (USA)
* [ Model Boat Mayhem] - UK based forum

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