Radio controlled model sailing is a hobby without
limits. It includes design and building for the serious hobbyist,
cutthroat competition for the adrenaline-addicted, and the pure
eternal beauty of a vessel cruising along, powered only by the wind.
Organized model sailboat racing has been documented
since the 1800's. But real growth coincided with the development
of light, reliable, and inexpensive radio controls. The model skipper
can duplicate the tactics and boat handling capabilities of his
counterparts in big boats. The laws of scale, however, dictate that
things happen more quickly with model boats. A partial day's racing
at a local regatta will easily have 10 to 14 starts and many more
mark roundings. Interestingly, model yachts race under the same
ISAF rules (International Sailing Federation) as big boats do with
a few exceptions. ISAF-RSD covers radio control yachts.
The Florida EC-12 Association sails the East Coast
12-Meter yacht. Graceful overhangs with a sweeping sheer hark back
to the golden age of yachting. The EC-12 is about five feet long,
displaces 23 pounds, has a six-foot mast, and carries 1,300 square
inches of sail. The heavy-displacement full-keel hull of the EC-12
differs from most other model yacht classes, which tend towards
lighter hulls with exaggerated fin keels and bulbs for ballast.
In the 1960's, the famed naval architect Charlie Morgan, designed
a 12-meter yacht as a potential defender in the 1964 America's Cup.
The full sized boat was never built, but the 9/10 inch to 1-foot
scale tank test model survived and was used to make the EC-12.
The EC-12 is a restricted one-design class. Fiberglass
hulls are made from identical molds and must be purchased from an
approved manufacturer. Construction materials and dimensions are
also restricted, sail dimensions are controlled, and radio functions
are limited to four--rudder, main sheet, jib sheet, and jib twitcher.
All other rig tuning controls--boom vang, cunningham, outhauls,
stay tension, topping lift, etc.--replicate those on full size boats
but must be manually set rather than radio controlled. The result
is a class of boats with similar speed potential. As with any good
restricted design class, racing success is determined by boat handling
The Ideal Hobby
Model Yachting is the ideal hobby. Properly cared for, boats
last forever. A beginner can be handed a transmitter with complete
confidence. It is easy to sail, typically with only a rudder and
sail control. Yet the simplicity masks a complexity of skills which
can take a lifetime to master. Young and old, beginner to old salt,
model yachting has something for everyone. Above all, model yachting
is fun. Pure fun. Model yachting is a quiet, photogenic, non-polluting
pastime. You will never be thrown off a pond! Instead the person
who comes up to you might have some of the same questions you have
now, the questions we hope to answer in this brochure.
Why an EC-12 instead of another
Good question. There is no perfect yacht for everyone, but
EC-12s push a lot of the right buttons for a lot of people. A number
of important characteristics make the EC-12 the model of choice
for both sport and racing skipper alike:
- We hear all the time what pretty yachts EC-12s
are. Sweet proportions. Graceful sheer. Traditional, yachty look.
Think of them as functional art.
size - We are not the biggest nor the smallest of
the AMYA classes. The EC-12 is the right size for easy car transport,
and is big enough to handle open water with ease, yet the low-drag
full keel displacement hull form excels in light air and eliminates
weed problems common to fin keel boats. You'll be amazed at the
control you can have in tight quarters. The EC-12 is a model yacht,
not a toy boat.
Long history with a
stable class rule - EC-12s are time tested. As one
of the earliest classes sanctioned by the AMYA, the class celebrated
30 years of active racing in 2000 with well over 1,500 boats registered
during that time. Boats built in the 1970's can be updated to sail
competitively in the class, proof that the one-design class rule
works. A new EC-12 can be a potent performer, and will remain so
for a long time.
Best documented model
yacht class - The class promotes the free exchange
of construction, configuration, and handling technique information.
The Class is supported by two major books totaling 380 pages of
text, drawings, and photos of EC-12s inside and out. Information
is also available on the Internet at sites like www.ec12.org
This means that newcomers have immediate access to all the go-fast
and latest thinking about the boat.
support - We are blessed with a healthy number of
hull manufacturers, who supply additional key components such as
decks and ballasts. A range of specialty manufacturers produce everything
from sails to boat cradles and fittings.
- Most EC-12 racing occurs at the club level and
you will find fleets across the US racing in small to large fleets.
Some regional racing circuits exist such as the Florida Championship,
the Dixie Cup, and the Colonial Cup.
Premiere AMYA national
class - If you decide that competitive racing is
your interest, the EC-12 is what you have been looking for. Effective
sailing of this model requires patience, anticipation, and a substantial
commitment to doing a good job. Skippers who compete in the class
do so because this is where the top US skippers eventually gather.
At a 30 boat National Championship, it is not unusual to find that
upwards of 50% of the fleet has won Regional and National Championships
in other classes. EC-12 National Championship events rotate through
the six AMYA Regions on a regular schedule, so sooner or later you'll
be able to try your hand.
Where can I get one?
The hobby shops in your area are the place to go for building supplies
and radios. The hulls have to be obtained from authorized manufacturers.
Used boats are also available. See the AMYA Suppliers page on the
Web at www.theamya.org
or check out the EC-12 Class page at www.ec12.org
or the building site at www.ec12.info.
Are there any races I can enter?
Yes. Most of the local clubs of the Florida EC-12 Association have
regularly scheduled sailing days throughout the year. And many of
the clubs also race other class boats besides the EC-12. You do
not need prior experience to enter, but getting to the finish line
first will be a challenge!