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REVIEW: An introduction to Radio Controlled Scale Sailing Models by Phillip Vaughn Williams

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This book by the above named author is a book which should interest many of our scale model RC builders.  Although I have yet to read it in it's entirety, my scan through the chapters of this book has definitely made me glad to have it.  It covers all configurations of sail types, square, or fore aft. 


There are diagrams of servo-sail control in this book.


It covers various types of keels, and ballast, as well as construction techniques. 


It is not just about racing boats.  It is about scale RC model sailing boats.  In the very first chapter it tells much to help one understand how the lines of the hull and the lines of the sail can be used to calculate the ultimate stability of a model boat.  It gives nomenclature, centers of hull bouyancy, centers of sail, and relative wind speeds and how they can be used.  This I did know existed, but this explains it.  It could be useful material to develop reefing for various wind conditions. 


It gives diagrams of how to achieve sail control for all sorts of square, bermuda rigged sails, Jib sail rigging for RC  and a lot more.  There is a pretty good glossary, listings of source information, types of rigs in sail boats, and much more that ought to be of interest to RC sailing enthusiasts, as well as RC Scale Modelers who just want to be able to sail their craft.  It covers sailing techniques, and a variety of sail control systems. 


I got the book through Amazon.com and my used book only cost about $8+ and shipping, which from the secondary shipper was only $3.99.  It was copyrighted in 1999 by the author. 


I believe that I am seeing what I am going to need to make a useful setup for my RC Sailboat.  I thought many of you may be interested in checking it out.  


Walter Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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  • 3 weeks later...

A great book. I found his reference to using iron on tape to stop a sail edge from unravelling a good idea. That method became a basic technique of how my RC sails were made for a 3/4"scale schooner.

In the Nautical Research Journal , winter issue 2012, they published an article I wrote about using that method.

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I am glad you found some useful information in it.  I am also just getting into RC Scale Sailing boats as it seems many of the RC enthusiasts here seem to be from the questions here that I have read.  I found much in this book to help me understand how to set up the control mechanisms from RC as used in Sail boating, which is a new application of RC to me.  All of my RC plane knowledge seemed to fall short when I tried to figure out how to apply RC in sail boats.  I am sure I will find much more in it than I got from my first perusal of the book.  Since my first scan of the book, I have not had time to completely read it. 


Walt Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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  • 8 months later...

This book is now selling for about $40 used. http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Radio-Controlled-Sailing-Models/dp/1900371200


Is it worth the $40? I am needing some basic information on the control aspects especially related to gaff rigs. The model I am building isn't extremely complex sail-wise, but there aren't manufacturer instructions on configuration of the the R/C components.


Thanks for your thoughts.

I remain obediently yours,




In the shipyard: 

Billings Boats Karoline - R/C 

Amanti Hannah - SIB

MSW Fair American (Still on the drafting floor)


“Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships.” - Charles Simic


“Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up.” - Henry David Thoreau

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I do believe that you will find at least one of the numberous diagrams and descriptions in that book will be of use. I found a used copy, and I would have been lost without it. Although I have done many airplane RC installations, I had never done anything for sail control. I have not built the RC into my boat yet, but am feeling confident of doing so, due to this book. The diagrams are good, and the explanations in the text helped me understand the whys and hows of the features. It will be up to you as to whether it would be of value at that price considering your finances, but I was very glad I found it. Good luck with your boat.


Walter Biles

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  • 1 month later...

I'll get this book as I am planning to built a Soling 1 meter which I purchased used through my ship club.  There are many websites on improved construction and R/C tips about the Soling 1 mtr.  Armed with this book and the wealth of information from these sites my boat should become an excellent pond yacht.


Current Built: Zeehaen 1639, Dutch Fluit from Dutch explorer Abel J. Tasman


Unofficial motto of the VOC: "God is good, but trade is better"


Many people believe that Captain J. Cook discovered Australia in 1770. They tend to forget that Dutch mariner Willem Janszoon landed on Australia’s northern coast in 1606. Cook never even sighted the coast of Western Australia).

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