Don't Worry About Getting Seasick, Sail Anyway with Radio Controlled Sailboats

Don't Worry About Getting Seasick, Sail Anyway with Radio Controlled Sailboats

Years ago when a good friend Chris Jensen no longer could handle sailing a full sized boat due to his health, he took up radio controlled (RC) sailboats instead.  He found out that he liked it a bit more than sailing full sized boats.  He said, “On Friday I would jump on an airplane with my boat put through baggage, sail a regatta in California on Saturday and Sunday morning, re-board my flight and be back at work Monday morning.  If I sailed a full sized boat, I would spend 4 days just driving back and forth.”

There are many one-design classes to choose from (“one-design” is like Camaro’s only racing against Camaro’s, they’re all alike).  The classes do come in different sizes, and different complexities, but it is best to pick one that has a lot of them in your area, so you don’t show up with an oddball and no one to play with.  Here is a wide variety of classes to choose from.

Maybe you are disabled, and can enjoy hours of putting together and sailing your boat.  You might have 10-15 friends and a local pond without many trees or buildings around (they block the wind) and wish to start up your own fleet.

Roughly 50% of humans experience motions sickness on the water, by sailing radio control sailboats, you won’t have this problem and can sail all of the time.

The biggest oddity of sailing RC sailboats is that when they sail away from you, you push the joystick left, the boat turns left, push it right and the boat turns right, however, when your boat has u-turned and is coming at you, you need to flip the two sides of your brain around as now when you push the joystick left, the boat turns towards your right (the boat’s left), and when you push the joystick right, the boat turns towards your left (the boat’s right).

One thing you’ll find is how helpful sailors are with one another.  They’ll try to get you up to speed as quick as possible, many times providing parts – gratis.  They want you to be a part of what they are doing and enjoy your company as you enjoy theirs.

Before you run out and buy a boat or a kit to assemble, contact a local fleet.  They probably know of someone who isn’t using their boat anymore and may be able to get you connected with a willing seller and get you on the water quickly.  Call, email and contact fleets today to become an RC sailor now!


Chicago RC Model Yacht Club
Sailing the classes of J Boat, Santa Barbara, Soling 1M, and East Coast 12 Meter.

  • Sailing at Axehead Lake
    Des Plaines, IL (I-294 and Toughy Avenue)
  • Sailing at Big Bear Lake
    Vernon Hills, IL (I-94 & Town Line Road)

Chicago Area Fleet
Sailing the class of CR-914
Contact Aaron Houston
Chicago, IL

LHV Model Yacht Club
Sailing the classes of CR914, Fairwind 900, and Nirvana
Lake Hinsdale Village
Contact: Richard Hall, 601 Lake Hinsdale Dr. #510, Willowbrook, IL 60527-2265, or 630 590-5789

Fleet 4 Commanders
Sailing anything.  No organized racing fleets, just sailing for fun.
Sailing May – October, 2 Sundays a month.  Winter meet ups at the Schaumburg Township Library,  they have parties and trips to maritime museums.
Sailing at the Fred Vokening Recreation Area
Schaumburg, IL

A quick check on and shows most boats are for sale for less than $500, and none for over $1,800.  I continue to bust the myth that sailing is expensive and not accessible.  Most people can find a pond in their town or neighboring town, grab some friends and learn how to build, maintain, figure out how radio controls work servo motors, and learn to sail!

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