RC Boats Beginners Tips
Ahoy there, Matey! Welcome aboard to the world of radio controlled boats where owning your own sailboat, yacht, battleship, or even a submarine doesn’t require a billionaire’s budget! The radio controlled boat hobby is a growing one and there are thousands of people all over the world that enjoy taking their radio controlled boats out for a spin on a regular basis. From the young to the old, from beginners to the more seasoned skipper, there is a boat for every taste and a boat for every budget. Some hobbyist love the exhilaration that comes with racing power packed boats against each other in friendly competitions while others prefer to take a slower more calming approach and unwind by cruising their boat down at their local pond or small lake for hours and hours. Taking to your imagination to the high seas has never been easier with RC boats!
One of the main things to consider before buying your boat is the size of the body of water where you will be operating it. Faster boats need larger, more open, bodies of water whereas slower boats can be operated in something as small as your backyard swimming pool. The fastest hobby-grade nitro and gas powered boats can reach top speeds of 50 – 60 mph, so you can see where you could run out of room pretty quickly! These boats are designed for speed and tend to be more expensive and larger in size. One thing to keep in mind is that nitro and gas fueled boats power comes from internal combustion, just like a real car, and do require a fair amount of maintenance which can be a concern if you are not well versed with the functioning of its parts or simply do not have the time to keep the machine tuned. This is where electrically powered boats can jump in and save the day! An individual whom is just starting out in the RC boat hobby may want to get his feet wet with an electrically powered boat. Electrically powered RC boats get their power from bundled rechargeable batteries that you can charge at home off of a standard 120V AC outlet. Electric boats can run for about 20 minutes on fully charged battery pack. These boats are usually much smaller than their nitro or gas counterparts and are generally cheaper as well. Though these boats don't typically meet up to the speed standards set by fuel powered boats, advances in Lithium Polymer battery packs and Brushless motor technology have allowed electric model boats to catch up to the pack. Hobby-grade quality boat speeds generally start at around 20MPH and go up from there, with some higher-end electric models reaching top speeds of 40 mph+ right out of the box. Electrically powered boats run from $30 or less for the basic entry level boats to around $200 for higher-end models. Their ease of maintenance and usage has made electric radio controlled boats an extremely popular choice.
A fourth type of power source that we shouldn’t overlook is Wind Power. Just as real life sailboats use the power of the wind acting on sails to propel the boat, so do RC sailboats. Radio controlled sailboats are steered using a hand-held multi-channel radio transmitter that communicates with a corresponding receiver located on the model sailboat. Signals from the radio transmitter are interpreted by the radio receiver and translated into instructions to change the position of the battery operated electric motors, sometimes called servos, also located on the sailboat. One servo controls the position of the sails and the other controls the position of the rudder allowing the boat to be steered. Radio controlled sailboats are a very quiet and peaceful way to enjoy a Saturday afternoon but can be more challenging and harder to master as you have to understand the effects of the wind on your sailboat.
All four categories come in a large choice of designs and styles. Tugboats, speedboats, sailboats, hydroplanes, and pirate ships are just a few examples of the variety that can be found. One particularly unique niche category is the “scale boat” category. “Scale” boats are replicas of full size boats. Many RC enthusiasts like to collect and even build their own scale models of World War II battleships, aircraft carriers, Colonial Era ships, and even submarines! Models can be only a few inches long, or weigh up to hundreds of pounds. The more skillful the builder, the more the model will resemble the original, with details such as planked decks, chrome or brass fittings, and cloth flags.