[My personal web site]





Beginners Sailing with Experienced Skippers

Big Picture for Beginners

Thoughts on Regatta Start Matrix

including the following:

1. R/C list of channels and frequencies

2. U.S Navy Signal Flags

3. U.S. Navy Pennants

4. Three part article on maneuvering
of single and twin screw ships

CLICK HERE for clear and simple
basic information on the difference between radios and how and why they are different.

CLICK HERE Article on dealing with random sail heat assignments
CLICK HERE Article on the Big Picture for Beginners in hobby
CLICK HERE for Article on What to do with a scale boat once built

Point of View
on making Protest workable
rather than obnoxious.

Pictures of Schooners
from 2005 Mesa Regatta and others.

Need a measurement conversion program?
This download is free... small like the windows calculator and great for any measurement you can think of!

Model boat clubs in Phoenix:

Here is a list of model boat clubs in Phoenix:

[found a good one....let me know...
I will add it to the list


TOWER HOBBIES Among the largest mail order hobby resources.
Depending on what you want,
if you can deal with Ebay
sometimes that is a workable alternative!
For an extensive collection of old sailing ship kits
and extensive fittings

If you are looking for servos, or neat stuff
consider checking this site.
some very good prices!

1st Page is the extraordinary free
program I used to create this web site
off line by myself with their code
reference material


Located one block north of the "T" intersection traffic light
Note: Scale events are usually held at this end. Sail events at the east end


If this is your first visit to my personal site, WELCOME

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19218 To everyone (19218 OF YOU AS OF THIS UPDATE!!!!!).... thank you for visiting my web site

Webmaster: Rowland Stevens. email: rowlandstevens@ymail.com (623) 215 8564


NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE: 1 We are back at Meeting at the Litchfield Park lake Saturday March 2nd 2019 10;00AM!

HOW TO GET TO OUR BEAUTIFUL LAKE IN Litchfield Park ........... From west (303 or otherwise) get to Indian School Rd. & Litchfield Rd. Shopping center intersection. Head east towards Phoenix. Next traffic light is “T” intersection north. Go north two blocks. You’re there….

From east: (101 or otherwise) get to Indian School Road and Dysart Rd west of Agua Fria River. (5 miles from 101). Head west. Continue around curved road 1 mile to same “T” Intersection as above, head north two blocks. You’re there….Welcome! Note: we usually SAIL on the east end of the lake. SCALE REGATTA'S are held on the west end on Litchfield Rd.

Here is my latest project. "THEODORE" VERSION OF MY TUG BOAT MOLD! Still working USN Yancey AKA-93 hull mold .... on which I served as boat group commander. Dimensions all check out. Nothing further on this project but have added good size smoke machine to COTTON BLOSSUM!



Most beginning skippers to RC Sail Racing I have met are hesitant to do so, for fear of “interfering” with those that are experienced.

First, let me assure you that every experienced skipper I know….IS MORE THAN HAPPY TO HAVE YOU SAIL WITH THEM. Both on a personal level and because they have an interest in the ranks of RC Skippers expanding.

Second, we have all BEEN THERE and gone through the same learning experience You have chosen to undertake! And we all know there is only one way to learn about racing sailboats and THAT’S TO GET IN THERE AND DO IT!

Thirdly, most experienced skippers realize and respect that everyone has their own way of “learning” new things and speed of doing so. And they are very much concerned that they do not “overwhelm” you with more than you care to know, at any stage of the learning curve. So please invite them to help you, by asking questions so they have some idea of where you are at….and what you are interested in knowing. They also know, of course, that while you are learning…..there is much you wouldn’t know what to ask about! And they will volunteer information helpful to you as the two of you develop a dialog and come to know where each other is at…..not unlike undertaking any relationship.

Having said all that there are some things you can do that not only will help in a smoother integration into the racing process, but cost you nothing and in fact will help you in your learning process and reduce…..to the extent possible and there will be some I know…..the frustration level with your new adventure!

1. If you are unclear about the reality of the mechanics of sailing into the wind; ask someone to explain the limits on the directions you can sail into the wind. ie: toward where the wind is coming from. Basically principles of aerodynamics allow you to do so; but only at a maximum angle of about 45 degrees into the wind. That is you have to zig zag on each side of the wind direction when going up wind.

2. Ask someone to help you if you do not have a clue as to how to basically “adjust” your sails and the rigging to at least get it within the ball park of the limits that are required to get your boat to sail reasonably.

3. Understand that the wind direction is seldom constant. So, for example when you are cool and sailing at the workable 45 degree angle to the wind…..it will change and without you doing anything …..now you are sailing straight into the wind….or rather trying to do so ….which never works! This is among the BIGGEST THINGS you will only learn by hours of experience sailing. How to sense the changes in the wind AND what you then have to change and which direction you have to change it, in terms of using the rudder to change course and/or moving your sails in or out. AND AND AND….thirdly…the hardest decision of all…..when there is NOTHING MORE YOU CAN DO!!! Remember that every unnecessary movement of the rudder and/or the sail causes you to slow down.

Simple, really….That’s the only three things you can do on the water! I assure you that keeping everything within workable ball park limits…..at first impossible, perhaps….will fairly quickly become as automatic as keeping your car in one lane of traffic. On the other hand, one of the ongoing challenges that keep sailboat racing interesting, is at the small change level, which is the difference between first and last place, is a life time learning process.

4. Unfortunately, sailboat movement is ALL RELATIVE to what other boats can do at that same time. If, the wind stops,, both you and the best will be not moving! So while you are learning, YOU NEED OTHER SAILBOATS AROUND YOU, so you can learn when your “adjustment” are right on and you are keeping up with the “big guys” and when they are not quite what they could be.

5. Having been there…..experienced skippers know the limits of beginners, on being aware of the significance of unfolding events and/or the slowness of their ability to respond correctly to them. And since we want you to sail with us…. We expect to have to factor what you “might not do today” that later on you will do…..into what they expect. No problem. I assure you they will give you a wide berth! It is in their own interest to do so!

6. Having said that however, there are a couple of “responsibilities” you as a beginner can undertake to help. Because there are TWO CIRCUMSTANCES where it is very difficult to give a beginner all of the wide berth….you would be otherwise happy to do.

A. AT THE START. You will learn that being in the right position and the right time just prior to start IS CRITICAL TO WINNING, in the majority of cases. In the meantime, while you are learning the basics….. you will not have the knowledge and skill (particularly as relating to RC sailing….even if you are AN EXPERIENCED REAL BOAT SKIPPER!) so that you won’t be aware of “what the right position to be in” happens to be this time; much less how to maneuver you boat to get it there! SO DON’T TRY TO BE AT THE START LINE WHEN THE STARTING GUN GOES OFF.

On the other hand…..a critical part of your learning process is the skill to quickly assess changing relationships with other boats in the “starting dance” among them. And the skill to respond quickly. So we need a reasonable compromise that will cost you nothing. Why, because if you are at the start line when the start gun goes off, I assure you, that for any number of reasons you will “lose time”.

SET YOUR PERSONAL START LINE OR GOAL ABOUT 2 BOAT LENGTHS BEHIND THAT DETERMINED BY THE START MARKS. And your goal is to be at the right place at the right time a few seconds before the starting gun….ANOTHER TWO OR THREE BOAT LENGTHS BEHIND THE START LINE...... AT YOUR PERSONAL GOAL, so you cross your line at the time others cross the start line.

Do that .....and you will still have plenty of interaction opportunities with other boats for most of the prestart time. But at the moments before start you can concentrate on your timing to get to your goal….with far less interference with others to do that…..AND OF COURSE, you will not be interfering with the critical moments when experienced skippers in front of you just don’t have the physical option to give you the room you need at the start line.

And I can almost assure you that, none the less, there will be a couple boats at least that will be near you passing your goal line at the start, to practice with!

And during the process of the race, I assure you that being a few boat lengths behind at the start, far more often than not, will not be the relevant factor in where you finish, for a while! (It does take time but you will be able to do it.)

7. For a variety of reasons…..except for the first few days perhaps…..you will probably find there are some of the boats not to far from you during the race!

The second area where an experienced skipper has limited options in giving you the space he expects and would rather give you….is when rounding a mark.

If you find a boat is getting near you as you come to a mark, I suggest, well ahead of the mark, you place yourself so you deliberately be the boat that goes very wide around the mark…..a couple of boat lengths away from other boats….rounding at the same time.

A. I assure you everything considered it is the fastest way for you to get around the mark….as compared to what will happen if you are right along side another! And again, comparing the number of boat lengths you are likely to lose overall during a race, with the result of adding 2 or 3 boat lengths at a mark…..it won’t often be of much significance.

B. You will also learn in the process as you watch the boats inside you nearing the mark…..the developing circumstances in which even when you have experience in your tool chest….you will chose the wide rounding of a mark…..so that you finish rounding the mark AHEAD of those bunched together nearer the mark and struggling to get around it! And you might even experience that as a beginner!!!

FOR 95% OF THE RACE…..then…..you will present absolutely no problem for the experienced skipper who can look ahead far more comprehensively than you can and by a very minor adjustment early (which once he no longer perceives you as a beginner he won’t do and expects you to respond according to the rules) you will present NO PROBLEMO to him! And their joy in having you sail with them…..far exceeds any minor adjustment they must make.

Finally, it takes a while to learn to deal with sailing rules! Don’t worry about it.

Just start with these three:

Rule 1: Don’t hit any marks…..if you do, you have to make 360 penalty turns Which is generally how one exonerates oneself from violating any rule. We do not require that you go to a corner with a time out! Interestingly, I was watching the big AMERICA’S CUP RACES in San Francisco Bay in which the penalty for violating a rule was to slow your Boat until you were two boats links behind the boat with the right of way At which time a race official would allow you to resume racing!

Rule 2: If two of you are close to each other heading the same direction, the boat To WINDWARD……that is the one that first gets hit by the wind first ...... must steer into the wind to stay away from the Leeward boat. AND IF THAT MEANS THAT YOU ARE SAILING MORE DIRECTLY INTO THE WIND WHERE IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAIL THEN YOU MUST MAKE MORE OF THE SAME DIRECTION TURN AND TACK TO A NEW COURSE. (yes I know that means you are not heading in the direction you want to go…..BUT YOU MUST DO SO……….please don’t just keep bumping into the leeward boat!!!! Please.)

Rule 3: If you and another boat are on opposite tacks…..that is your main boom is on One side of your boat and theirs is on the other side of their boat and you are both headed for the same point at the same time……

then the boat that has their boom on the left side of their boat is said to be on STARBOARD TACK and has the RIGHT OF WAY and must hold course.... and the boat with its boom on the right side of their boat is on a PORT TACK and has the responsibility to change course….usually done by going behind the stern of the other boat.

NOTE: there is a fourth rule but if you do as I suggest you will not have to contend with it:

When approaching a mark with other boats, let’s say you are to leeward of another boat and by Rule 2 above you would have the right of way.

There is a specific “rounding the mark” rule that says: IF at the time the first boat gets To a distance of 4 BOAT LENGTHS TO THE MARK….. AND ...... the trailing boat’s bow “OVERLAPS” a line perpendicular from the stern of the front boat….then the boat in front must give the inside boat sufficient room to round the mark. (As an exception to Rule 2 above which otherwise would may have required the trailing boat to go on the wrong side of the mark to avoid hitting the mark a violation of Rule 1 above….which if their bow does not overlap before 4 boat lengths ..... THEN THE RULE GIVES NO HELP AND IT is a problem they will have to content with by comply with Rule 2 ..... and probably turn past the mark on the wrong side)

GO FOR IT…..and I wish you the best. Rowland -->


See index at left