Radio-controlled yachting is a growing sport in Aotearoa, with some 25 clubs dedicated to sailing the miniaturised vessels. 

Waiheke Radio Controlled Yacht Club is a group of sailing enthusiasts who race models known as DragonForce65. 

The club puts on regular events either at Anzac Bay (complete with a marquee that serves as a makeshift clubroom), or off Surfdale. In adverse weather or during tidal shifts, sailings occur inshore at The Causeway. 

DragonForce65 is one of the fastest-growing classes of radio yachts in the world and the Waiheke club’s 30-odd members sail them exclusively. 

While there are other yacht classes, the 65 model is viewed as a low-cost entry into the sport, typically costing around $500 to get up and sailing. Elite design models can reach thousands of dollars and come equipped with different rigs to suit wind conditions. 

The highlight of this season was the Surfdale to Blackpool race, with a course that follows The Esplanade. The race’s sophomore sailing was held on 29 January, and served as a fundraiser for the Waiheke Coastguard. Entrants paid a $20 fee, and $380 was raised for the cause. 

Murray Anderson took home the silverware after finishing first in the A division, reserved for the more serious competitors. Rodney Pope crossed the line first in the more social B division. 

Last year’s inaugural winner and this year’s organiser Glenn Fowler says the club was very happy with the turnout, which saw 19 boats, including three sailors from Auckland, navigate around the bays for approximately 90 minutes. • Jim Birchall

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!


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