Sunday, September 26, 2021
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Thanks Col


Last month we lost one of Australian Radio Sailings greats when Colin Cameron passed away.  There are not too many who can claim involvement in the sport since the 1970's, let alone contributing to it across the decades, but Col did.

Just last year while in the midst of a serious illness he led the Queensland State Association through t

he hosting of what was the last of the big traditional format National Championships, four classes running consecutively.  To add to the challenge, it was staged at a venue without a host club, meaning that the Association he managed had to organise and deliver it.  He saw it through including doing the Master of Ceremonies at the Presentation Dinner at the end of the 12 Days of competition over a two week period.  He competed in the IOM class.Colat NationalsCol in control of the Nationals, Feb 2019.

Image Right: Col President and MC at Presentations for the 2019 National Championships.

At July 2019 QRYA Annual General Meeting, Col's contribution to the sport we all enjoy was formally recognised by the  'Life Fellowship' award to the QRYA.  Col was unable to attend the event but sent the below message.

“I thank you with much humility and grace that the Qld Radio Sailing community feel that I am a worthy recipient of a Life Fellowship of the Association.

What an honour and privilege to be recognised for my years of service to the radio sailing sport. From the early beginnings of the introduction of RC Sailing to Qld in the early 70’s to the present day, I have found the sport very rewarding and challenging, and have witnessed the growth of the sport to what it is today. During my 44 year journey,  I have made many friends and learnt a lot about RC sailing competitively in a responsible sportsmanship manner and always strived to help others to enjoy this wonderful sport. Thank you once again, it is something I will always treasure.”

Having delivered the Nationals, Col stepped down from the Association President's job to take it a little easier, so we thought.  But shortly afterwards he accepted the role of DF Class Coordinator for Queensland, working simultaneously with the DF National Owners Association, State clubs and the QRYA. 

While still working hard on his health, he organised the first DF95 State Championships in Townsville.  This event only happened after Col recognised that the 95's could be the right platform to reinvigorate Radio Sailing in North Queensland.  From the Townsville club he sailed at, his infectious enthusiasm reached both the Whitsunday and Mackay Clubs to the point where inter-club events could once again be staged, then of course the State Championship.

Even before the State Championships in Townsville, Col decided that he was going to compete in the first DF95 National Championships in Perth, March 2020 ... and he did.  A true inspiration.

But Col didn't need other people to tell his stories, as always, he did it himself.  So to finish this article, here are a few words and pictures that Col put together last year, for us, always giving.  Over to you Col ...

My love for remote controlled sailing yachts started in 1975, when I built my first radio controlled Marblehead, a Roger Stollery “March Hare Design", a 1968 design with a beam of 260 mm and a displacement of 9 kg’s (20 lbs.), It was built using planked balsa and a fibreglass skin, I changed a few things by building a longer fin and used a pocket luff mainsail, something that was new and innovative at the time.

Col and BoatCol and his newly built yacht.I was a part of a Scale & Sail club and with a few mates formed the Burdekin Radio Model club and with Ken Williams  formed the Townsville Model Marine Club in 1976 and the Gooseponds Sail & Scale club with Graham Shanks in Mackay. We held the inaugural NQ RM championships in Ayr in 1979 at Castenellis Lagoon, with George Manders from Brisbane winning the event , with myself a close second. From that moment, I was well and truly hooked and immersed myself into designing my own hull shape (Pure Magic) , but due to the tyranny of distance, we did not have a lot of access to parts etc. and so we had to make our own fittings and winches.

It wasn’t long before I became known as the voice of the North, due to my loud voice calling out a protest, or asking questions on how to expand the Marblehead class in NQ as everything RC Sailing was being handled by the QMBA and subsequently the QRYA, under the control of David Black. The Townsville club continued to grow and held the first Qld title outside of Brisbane in 1983 where I came a credible third with my own designed and built Pure Magic. The art of RC sailing was spreading throughout North Queensland. During the 1980’s the Marblehead class continued to grow with many of the Townsville skippers winning the QLD RM titles, while I was always the brides maid by getting 2nds to them.

The 1990’s became the best time for myself as I still was involved with the Townsville club, the Burdekin Club had folded and my moulds, hulls and paperwork, plans etc, were totally destroyed by a cyclone that took my shed away. It wasn’t until I moved to Mackay in 1998, that I joined the Mackay Radio Yacht club which had formed in 1995 due to a split from the Scale boat side. I sailed against Ian Ashe for the first time at a NQ Interclub series, something he had started between the Townsville and Mackay Clubs in 1996. My love for the sport reignited and after a flurry of designs using a new CAD program, I settled on a design called the Cambar RM, which is still sailing today in Townsville. With this hull shape, a few modifications and BG sails, I went onto achieving my first state title in 2009 and again in 2013, along with numerous NQ RM Titles (2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015).

In 2002, I organised the QLD RM titles to be held in Mackay, and we had 29 Entries which was an Australian record, and I met and sailed against the legendary Brad Gibson, what an experience and to think he went onto to be a multiple world champion. The 2000’s also saw the introduction of the IOM class to Nth Qld, and the class eventually took over as the main class sailing in Nth Qld, apart from Townsville which stuck to the Marblehead class. As the IOM became more popular, it wasn’t long before I was helping to design our own IOM, and the Eclipse was born. This hull shape was easy on the eye and sailed well, with my best result as an 8th place at the 2007 Nationals held at the Pine Rivers Dam near Brisbane with a fleet of 74 entries.

Coll AGM20142014 – Gladstone (L/R – Bob Neunhoffer TMMC, Grant Cooper – Gladstone, David Black – Secretary, Ian Ashe – President, Col Cameron- Vice President) Notice the beers!

My best memories was the travelling to other clubs in Qld such as Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and Carbrook, with my sailing buddies and causing havoc at the local bars, clubs and motels as we really liked the after sailing socialising. It also allowed me to become a more potent voice in the Qld administration and in 2010, I joined the QRYA as its event coordinator, and have held positions of President, Vice President and Treasurer until my early retirement this year due to ongoing health concerns.

In 2018, I relocated to Townsville having to retire due to a major health issue and I wanted to spend my final years with my family and my friends. This hasn’t stopped my love for the sport and I have helped the three Northern clubs to experience and build upon the growing class, the Dragonflite 95 and it is so pleasing to see these clubs once again growing with new younger people coming down to learn and love the art of Radio yacht racing.

Over the past four decades, I have witnessed so many advances in technology, classes rise and fall, clubs expand and contract, I’ve sailed against some really talented sailors and given them a run for their money all the while finding time to relax and enjoy the company of anyone who was sailing a radio yacht. This was the most rewarding aspect of Radio Yacht sailing and I hope that this camaraderie continues as this is the heart beat of our sport, and allows the continued growth through the sharing of knowledge.

As I said earlier it has been a real privilege to meet and sail with the many radio yacht sailors I have met along my journey, so thank you once again for the honour of being selected as a life member of the QRYA.

Good winds and fair sailing

Col Cameron


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