R/C Boat repair

After yesterday’s rather shambolic efforts at desk cleaning, how’s about a few photos?

In my off-time, I sometimes run an R/C sailboat. It’s a M50/800 class boat, I built it from a kit in 1979 and made a couple of modifications along the way in order to make it possible to effect repairs if needed later– and replaced the original wood mast with an aluminum spar that was shaped special for the job.

Last year, I had the boat out once and had a problem. The sail-control refused to work, which meant I couldn’t trim the sails to the wind. I got around this problem by setting the sails manually “close hauled” and got some sailing in anyway. (Try that with a powerboat. If the engine doesn’t run– you’re done.)

Now, the problem had to be in the sail winch and its circuitry since the radio gear was performing flawlessly. So, some troubleshooting.

sc1 sc2 sc3 sc7 sc10 sc12 sc15

The first photo above shows the sail control taken down. Somewhere in the wiring harness or in the red-handled switch, that’s where the problem had to be. I’m betting on the switch here. Got the problem settled, put it back together. Now I had to re-string it. This can only be done with the sail control fully forward (trimmed in tight). The main sail’s line isn’t a problem, just feed it through the fairlead in the deck, forward through the sail-control arm and then tie it off at the eyebolt. Note that there are two eyebolts, the one on the left is a turning eye and the one on the right is for tying off the lines.

 The headsail line was a bit more involved. You have to feed it through the fairlead in the deck, then bring it through that heavy fitting just under the hatch coaming, (that heavy fitting is a re-purposed steering arm, used in this case to keep the line running clear of obstructions), then to the turning eye I just mentioned, to the sail-control arm and then back to the tie-off eye. I use 50lb. braided fishing line for this job, have had the main control line break once under heavy winds I can answer that you don’t want to go less than 50lb test line on this. Got her re-strung, now I just have to put it on the water to make the day.


8 thoughts on “R/C Boat repair

  1. I got around this problem by setting the sails manually “close hauled” and got some sailing in anyway.

    What does that mean?
    By the way, does the boat take passengers? 😉

    • OK. Obviously you’re not a sailor. “Close hauled” means I trimmed the sails in tight, so they wouldn’t swing out away from the centerline of the boat. In that way, I was able to keep the boat moving through the range of control I had with the boat’s rudder.

      Passengers? Passengers??? How small are you, anyway? A M50/800 isn’t very big, just over 4 feet long and in this case the boat weighs just a little less than 20 lbs.

      • That’s where I first encountered him. A doll— excuse me, action-figure– about a foot tall the same as Barbie and Ken. Difference is that GI Joe was always an army guy, nobody really knows what Ken does for a living.

        GI Joe action figures

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