Radio Control Yachts

SFMYC races several classes of American Model Yacht Association (AMYA)  sanctioned radio control model sailboats.  Information about each class raced at SFMYC can be found at:  Santa Barbara Class, 10 Rater Class, Star 45 Class, Wheeler Class, ODOM Class, and Victoria Class.

Rules for each of these classes can be viewed here.

Radio control model yachts are extremely popular all over the world. SFMYC has seven active fleets, described below.  The availability of largely maintenance-free fiberglass hulls and affordable yet sophisticated radio control has put RC model yachting within nearly everybody’s reach.  Generally, one servo is used to control the sail position, and a second controls the rudder.  Some boats may include a third servo to control the mainsail shape by bending the mast via backstay tension.  The jib sheet and mainsail sheet are routed to a single winch, so one servo controls both sails synchronously.

RC model yachts are raced exactly like full-sized yachts.  They start in a fleet, race around a predetermined course using buoys set in the lake, and follow rules of sailing very similar to those followed by full-sized yachts.  It is very competitive, requiring keen depth perception, concentration, and practice with your boat.  It is also helpful to be well versed with the racing rules and how to use the rules to gain a competitive edge over your rivals.

With the exception of the 10 Rater, the RC classes sailed in the SFMYC are one-design.  This means that all of the boats in a class are essentially identical, so racing success is largely determined by the skill of the skipper.  Changes to the hull or rig are generally not allowed. The one-design boats are readily available as kits or fully assembled and ready to sail.  The classes are administered by the American Model Yachting Association (AMYA).  AMYA has adopted specific building and measurement rules governing each class, as well as the sailing rules for competitive events.  Each class has a national secretary who can be contacted for more information, such as boat manufacturers, or the date and place of the class’s national championship.  Visit the AMYA website at

The 10 Rater class is developmental, meaning that the rules governing the yacht design and construction allow for significant variation between boats.  This is of particular interest to skippers who are also boat builders, willing to try out new ideas to make their boats go faster.  The 10 Rater Class is administered by the SFMYC, however, 10 Rater sailors do compete under the AMYA rules for sailing.  See the RX Class description, below, for a link to the building rules.

One advantage the RC yachts have over the Freesail yachts (described below) is their flexibility to sail on different bodies of water or even the ocean, and the opportunity to compete with sailors at different model yacht clubs.  Most RC classes have national organizations and host national championships.  If this is of interest to you, then, when selecting a class, you should bear in mind that the smaller sized boats are generally more easily transported.  Also when selecting a class, note that in the SFMYC, the Star 45, the Infinity 54, and the Santa Barbara classes are raced on weekends, the 10 Rater class is raced on Thursdays, and the ODOM class is raced on Tuesdays.  All SFMYC races are held at Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park (next to the club house) and all start at 1:00 p.m.  If you own or purchase a boat that is not represented in the SFMYC fleets, it will be difficult for you to develop your skills and race competitively.