Friday, July 30, 2021
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Radio Sailing from Home!

VRMainPageMany of you will already know about Virtual Regatta but for those who do not and are going nuts at home, here's something for you to get some kind of sailing fix.  Sailing simulators are very like radio sailing, that is not on the boat, watching from the outside.  So for Radio Sailors this aspect of it should be familiar.

Sail racing simulators have been around for over 20 years so what is it about Virtual Regatta?  From Wikipeadia  "In 2015, the company developed Virtual Regatta Inshore, a fleet racing game (similar to that of car racing games), in partnership with World Sailing. This led to the first eSailing World Championship in 2018."

Last week I had a look, plenty of time now after all and I really wanted to go sailing.  Here is my experience so far.

Firstly and most importantly races are starting 24 hours a day.  A pool of thousands online feeds a continuous stream of races.  As soon as you finish a race you can start another.  It can quickly become very addictive.VRminusone

Initially you have all the go-fast features, time and distance to start line, Best VMG, Wind information, Lay Line etc.  Nice.  Then before you know it they are stripped away one by one.  WTF?  Then the first investment is asked for.  More on this latter.

About steering.  On my laptop the <- and -> arrows on the keyboard steer the boat but there is a delay sometimes and it is really really easy to over steer.  This can lead to loss of a few places or worse, a penalty which is enforced by slowing your boat down for a number of seconds.  The Best VMG feature is the most valuable as one press of the 'B' key will set your boat on the fastest course to the next mark, either up or down wind.  As well as the obvious of windward, when bearing away at the top mark you can press 'B' and the boat will round perfectly, fast, no problems.  But if you have not bought the features after a while, the wobbles can set in, too far one way then the other before you foul someone and your 3rd place turns into 13th.  So ok you think you are good enough to steer the boat without it, yes, with practice you can, but the handicap is noticeable when a boat with Best VMG smokes you at the next rounding.  My most common unforced error was hitting the bottom mark when rounding on 'manual' steering, luffing up and hitting the mark or another boat.

VRStartingThis company is a business; they did not build this so that if we get bored we have something to play with.  So if you are serious, you would best pay 9.99 Euro's for VRstarterPacka Starter Pack that is apparently half price.  You can still play on without paying though.  I would have preferred they were more upfront on the costs rather than progressively disclosing them after they have applied the same physiological techniques as used by the poker machine industry to suck you in.  The best examples are the little barrels presented to you at the end of each race.  Click on them and an animated sequence and sounds unscrews the barrel to show what tokens you have won.  Gets the endorphins going apparently, says the research, like Scratchies.  The green tokens can be used to buy features for the next race, the ones they took off you.  Personally the endorphins for me kick in at the start sequence, the little barrels are a bit 'dinky'.

The rules are the RRS and generally they are applied well, better than Radio Sailing anyway because they are instant and you can't argue.  There are some differences though.  Rule 18 is a bit patchy at the top mark and fouls inside the zone at the bottom mark are questionable.  I came into the bottom mark zone clear ahead on port and was pinged for a port and starboard when a boat screamed in late from starboard.  But I would say that wouldn't I.

On more than one day after sailing badly, getting smashed or being penalised for the second time for doing something stupid, then coming last, I shut the game in disgust swearing not to return.  Now that doesn't sound like Radio Sailing does it?  But the next day I would switch it on again and start another few races resolved not to give them my bank account details to buy stupid green tokens, "I can beat them anyway!"  But there are some seriously good sailors there from all over the world and many of them would have have invested.  I hight have to revise my stance.

Virtual Regattas are now big time with a recognised World Championship on offer, the first one was in 2018.  I recommend that any addicted sailor have a go at this 'sport' and form your own opinions.  I'm thinking of going back and having another go right now. 

This time I will nail the start!  I will!


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


ARYA Announcement

Update Image

See message below from the ARYA. 

24th March 2020

"The ARYA Executive has decided that the postponement or cancellation of all ARYA sanctioned activities will be extended until the end of July 2020.

This includes the 2020 IOM National Championships scheduled for Yarrawonga in July, as well as all ARYA sanctioned ranking and non-ranking events listed on the 2020 ARYA Sailing Calendar.

Under the current circumstances, the Executive agreed that we needed to make this decision early, to ensure all members have definite, clear information, and can plan (or not make plans!) accordingly. We hope that all our ARYA members stay well and safe during these uncertain times.

I’m sure we all look forward to the day when we are able to re-commence our activities.


Glenn Dawson

Secretary ARYA


The QRYA decision to postpone or cancel all events 'till further notice' stands, but this ARYA announcement means that any State decision on resuming competition will not happen before the end of July 2020.  Most likely, QLD will move with any National decision after that date.


Suspension Notice

Important NoticeAt a meeting Wednesday 18th March, the QRYA Management Committee voted to suspend all Queensland Championship and other ranking events 'until further notice'.   The website has been updated accordingly.

The ARYA almost similtaneously passed a motion "All events run under the overall authority of the ARYA during the period 23 March – 30 April 2020 be postponed or cancelled."

What this means for you?

  1. All events on the QRYA Calendar have been suspended including the Central Queensland IOM Championships 21st and 22nd March 2020.
  2. All events on the ARYA Calendar are suspended until 30 April.
  3. Your club can make its own decisions on club sailing activities.  The decision a club will make will be affected by their location and individual circumstances. However, the ARYA and QRYA has shown the lead by shutting down the events it has under their control and hope that clubs will please consider that position carefully when having the conversation within its ranks.
  4. Any 'club only' regattas (non-ranking) on the QRYA calendar and listed on the web site can remain unless the club requests them to be removed.

We will provide more information as it becomes available.  However, if you need any more information about this announcement please do not hesitate to contact your Club Secretary.

We sincerely hope that our actions will assist the nation and the planet to return to normal programming as soon as possible.

Ron Fawcett

Secretary QRYA


Corona Virus and Radio Sailing

MelgesJPG2These are unprecedented times.  A global pandemic is new to us all.  From talking to sailors in the last few days, attitudes to the impact of this situation on Radio Sailing in Queensland are very divided.  We have some who believe that this is 'just another flu'.  Others who accept the view of the best science we have that this is something to be very concerned about, particularly for the demographic that this sport is composed of.

All over the world, on an hourly basis almost, events of all kinds including sailing are being abandoned for safety reasons.  The image here is but one example.

So each sailor can decide for themselves whether to participate in events during this period.  Similarly, those of us elected to administer the sport need to make decisions in the best interest of the members.  The QRYA will meet formally in the next few days to review the situation and decide on whether we need to continue to support events where people travel, stay in accommodation and mingle at the event.  These events are often supported by volunteers in the extreme high risk age group.

In the event that the QRYA decides not to support some events, there is nothing stopping each person from calling their mates and going for a sail and or continuing to sailing club events, if they are held.  Each club needs to review this situation for itself.

In the meantime, the following are recommendations only;

  • stop all food service at regattas
  • do not do hand shakes.
  • encourage 1 metre separation of skippers.
  • provision of hand washing facilities (hand sanitiser is damn hard to find, and hot water isn’t all that easy to provide at most of our venues), but at bare minimum, some sort of hand wash should be available and encouraged.
  • Also, if someone turns up at an event clearly unwell, coughing and spluttering, I think we should support any regatta organizer who asks that person to leave, or who calls the event off if they don’t leave. There will always be people who don’t heed warnings to stay away, but if common sense is that the person shouldn’t be there, we should support that decision.

We will advise you immediately if changes are made to our sailing calendar.

Ron Fawcett

Secretary QRYA


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