RC (remote controlled) boats have grown in popularity over the years, and are now a favorite pastime for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The allure of these boats is not just the ability to sail on water, but also the elaborate assembly process. Hobbyists derive much pride in assembling their boats and participating in competitions. Many compete in tournaments in the hope of receiving a ribbon or trophy they can be proud of.
Types of RC Boats
There are four main categories of RC boats: electric boats, nitro powered boats, sail boats and gasoline boats. Electric RC boats have the advantage of being relatively cheap, easier to maintain, and have a quiet electric motor which enables one to play without bothering other people. The speed of a basic, ready to run electric boat kit is 15-20mph. However, this speed can increased by upgrading to higher voltage batteries and fast motors.
Nitro powered RC boats use a special combination of methanol, lubricating oil and methanol that is specially prepared for nitro marine type of engines. Nitro boats can reach speeds of up to 30mph, and are known to be very noisy. Despite being generally faster, these boats have the disadvantage of a shorter run time. In addition, the fuel is quite expensive.
RC sailboats are very simple to assemble and maintain. Since they don’t have an engine or motor, they are perfect for a quiet day out. There are many ready-to-run RC sail boats which come pre-assembled, some including an instructional video. The sail boat harnesses the power of the wind and uses the sails and rudder to steer and move forward. To sail effectively, the direction of the wind should be noted since the boat cannot sail straight into the wind. The rudder and sail can then be used to control where the sail boat will go.
Gasoline RC boats use fuel which is a mixture of oil and gasoline. The engine is comparable to that of a lawnmower. They have relatively longer run times, but are normally slower and more costly.
Choosing an RC Boat
There are several things to consider before buying an RC boat. One is the play area. If one lives near a big river, lake, or ocean, then the best choice would be the gasoline or nitro powered boats However, electric RC boats are more suitable for small spaces such as ponds or swimming pools.
The hull design is another factor. Mono hull or Deep V RC boats are best suited for rough water conditions and are easier to control. The hydroplane and catamaran hull design are designed for high speeds and are suited to run in tranquil water conditions.
Finally, there are several brands and models to choose from. Some of the companies that produce high quality RC boats are Nikko, CEN, Traxxas and Megatech. Since most RC boat models are similar in quality and price, the choice of what to buy will likely depend on the preferred ‘look’.