By Tom Darling
Planning for post-Covid racing has been a major challenge in the current period of mask-wearing and social distancing. One direction that sailors have taken is model boat racing, radio-controlled. One-design and offshore sailor Carolyn Grant Zarella’s brainstorm for Nantucket Race Week was to gather as many as a dozen new model racers from among the sponsors and supporters of Race Week, put them into a 950mm plastic model yacht, and see where it led.
Nantucket’s choice of craft, the DragonFlite 95/DF 95 Class RC Sailboat, came as the result of several members, Skip Willauer, the local Rhodes 19 ace, and Tom Richards, a local Nantucketer,
sailing them in Florida.
Locating a racecourse somewhere in Nantucket may in fact be more problematic, explained Diana Brown, head of Nantucket Community Sailing. The most logical location, on a tongue of Great Harbor adjoining the ferry dock, has construction underway. Any of the island’s many ponds present access and underwater obstacles from turtles to underwater structures. The local Children’s Beach presents social distancing issues for a dozen competitors, not to speak of underwater eelgrass obstructions. The search continues for the venue that is just right, making sailors and rulesmakers happy.
Checking in at 950 mm LOA, the DragonFlite 95 has a bulbed keel with draft roughly half the height of its mast, and plenty of lateral stability. A deep rudder hangs off the transom, controlled by a battery-powered, handheld controller. To our eye, the DF 95 looks like a canoe-shaped TP52 with a turned-up bow profile. For more details, visit dragonflite95.us and radiosailing.net.
We hope to have a report on the event in a future WindCheck issue. The August episode of the Conversations with Classic Boats podcast will feature “100 Years of Model Yachting: Sailing Miniatures.” You’ll find more information at conversationswithclassicboats.com. ■