Many different types of boats are available in today's hobby market.
Ready-To-Run (RTR) boats are the fastest growing segment of the RC
boating industry. Today's RTR boats are nearly the same cost of
yesterday's boat kits but do not require the extensive build time. Most
RTR have the radio system and engine components pre-installed. RTR
boats come in a variety of performance levels and usually include a
2-stick style radio for sailboats and entry-level boats. As both
performance and speed increase, the RC boating world has borrowed the
pistol-grip style of radio from the RC car market. Regardless of which
radio is used, RTR boats are now easier to use, require less
maintenance, and can get you on the water in minutes rather than days.
Hull styles determine how the boat will handle and help to determine
the top speed the boat will be capable of. Water conditions can also
determine which hull design may work best for you.
are by far the most popular boats on the water due to their ability to adapt to
most water conditions. Deep-V boats are rough water crushers that maintain high
speed in choppy water. More shallow V-hull boats are more stable in calm
water and give a scale appearance as the wake it creates gently rolls
off the bow.
Hydroplanes, unlike V-hull designs, generally contact the
water with two or more sponsons that help lift the boat out of the
water and create higher top speeds due to less contact with the water.
They can be broken into several different categories. Catamarans are
scale versions of the thrilling high-powered, offshore racers. They
handle the roughest water of all hydro-style hulls and maintain fairly
high straight-line speeds. 3-point style hydros are typically used for inland racing
on calmer water. This exciting style of boat hugs corners at nearly
full speed while throwing a 15-foot rooster tail of water spray behind
it as it rips across the water. Outriggers are unique to the RC
industry and are made strictly for speed; the sponsons are detached
from the main hull to help increase stability. Outrigger hulls offer
the best blend of straight-line speed and cornering of all hydro style
hulls. Considered to be the fastest hull style, Outriggers inherently
require more experienced driving skills and are less forgiving when it
comes to trimming (adjusting) them. These boat require the smoothest of
water conditions but can reach speeds over 90 mph.
are the best choice for beginning modelers. While nitro boats require
more engine adjustments, maintenance, and cleanup from nitro fuel and
oils, electrics are clean and easy to use and offer good performance
and more reliability.
Nitro boats offer more performance than electrics because of
the increased horsepower- to-weight ratio. Today's Nitro usually have
a pull-starter for the engine and require a glow driver to initially
ignite the glow plug. Nitro fuel is more expensive, but the excitement
level outweighs the cost.
Gas 2-cycle boats are generally much larger in size than
nitro boats and fuel is more affordable. The larger engines are easier
to operate but cost substantially more. If you're after the awesome
sound and power of a big water boat, gas boats are the best choice.
For the best in relaxation, sailboats offer the lowest
maintenance and are very fulfilling in regards to boat-handling skills.
With no power other than the wind, skills must be honed to learn how to
adjust the sails to take best advantage of wind currents. There is
nothing like tacking into the wind, seemingly defying the wind
Drive Systems and Propellers
Most entry-level boats use a direct drive system with a submerged propeller.
This system is easy to run, as cavitations concerns are minimal. Because
the entire prop is under water along with the drive shaft, there is
more drag and speeds aren't as fast.
Surface drive systems operate with only half of the prop
under water, allowing for larger diameter and pitch choices and
lessening water resistance. These systems sometimes incorporate a
flexible drive system that requires periodic lubrication.
To optimize performance, propellers should be balanced and
sharpened. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding
the area of the prop to remove. Propellers have very sensitive angles,
similar to the airfoil of an airplane, so modifying the wrong area can
compromise its efficiency.
Tools and Accessories
When purchasing your first boat, there are a few additional items to consider. Boat stands
usually come as standard equipment with RTR boats. They are used to
display the boat and to give prop and rudder clearance when preparing
the boat for launch. Though these are functional, they do not always
have enough support.
As with all mechanical devices, inevitably some maintenance or repairs must occur. These 5-piece sets come
in the most popular sizes used in RC and are as durable as they are
No matter which RC boat you choose, you are sure to have an
enjoyable experience when you decide on the boat that's right for you.