Phantom – the sailing boat

Like many others even I was dreaming about the nice summer days spent by the lake. Would it not be nice to try an RC sailing boat too? Undoubtedly, so let’s find the most perfect, best fit or simply “The boat”. I was aware of the bunch “ready to sail” models available, I knew this task won’t be as easy as it seems to be. Like many other “beginners” I tended to find (build) any small-sized sailing boat. I (wrongly) evaluated as a better solution, not only because of easier storing or transport to and from the lakes but for easier control too.

My first boat was tiny, about 450 mm long, sailing boat kit. This boat has no radio controlled functions, neither rudder nor sails (winch). Just put the model on the water and let the winds do the rest. I was a bit disappointed although the model performed quite well, I had no experience and I did not know what to expect.

I have talked about RC sailing boats with my friend, who is enough experienced and this guy gave me the explanation about remote controlled sailing boats. Not only this, but he offered me to sell his current boat because he was in the phase of searching a new, more sophisticated one.

The boat he was intended to sell was nothing smaller than Phantom, it is 1890 mm tall boat (from the keel to the top of the mast). Its length is 1000 mm and weighs about 3500 g ready to sail. I was impressed with its size at first sight – is this a suitable thing for such a beginner? Definitely – was the answer. So I bought the boat, completely ready to sail, including radio and batteries, just charge and enjoy. And this whole “package” for a reasonable price, so we did the deal. The first complication arose immediately when I tried to put the whole yacht into the car’s trunk. And the first modification came to my mind – to make the boat better portable.

My friend told me that this boat only has one flaw – the deck cover does not seal perfectly and after the ride, we can find water came into the hull through that sealing. It is not a drama, especially in the case when the amount of water depends on how good or bad our skill is. Simply, in strong winds, be more careful in maneuvers, because every “overshoot” leads to unusual tilt and suffusing the deck.

Okay, keep this in my mind I decided to do another modification. I was aware that sealing the deck is close to unfeasible (every boat has some hull leakage), so the decision to make the inner hull and it’s component better water resistant was made. I have opened the deck and inspect the actual servos and radio holder, which is made of plywood. This is not a problem, but this “box” was glued to the hull with epoxy, which caused the maintenance hard or impossible. It would be nice to dismantle the box from the hull after the ride and let the parts and hull dry. This solution could lead to better maintainability of the boat.

The first part was to pull out the stock servos block and remove all glue residuals. Then as usual: if anything works well, do not “reinvent the wheel”, but copy it. So I measured all the parts and draw these again using CAD software.

Export those parts to the CAM and let the CNC machine do the rest is just a matter of time. I have made some tweaks and add front and rear bulkheads with mechanical locks, which allow us to insert and remove the block by mean of one thumbscrew. These two bulkheads are glued on the original block was placed.

The last necessary operation is to use either nitro based or any usual epoxy-based dope to gain some resistance against water. I used 4 coats of nitro dope which seems to be sufficient – of course, I do remove the whole box with radio and batteries after every ride to let the hull dry completely.

The boat is now ready to sail again and I cannot wait for nice weather to try some first rides.