Cumberland Valley Model Yacht Club kicks off its model-yacht race season
Sailing on boats in the open water and smelling the sea air is appealing to many.
A local group gets just as much satisfaction out of having remote-controlled access to boats without ever being on the water.
The Cumberland Valley Model Yacht Club kicks off its model yacht race season on Saturday, April 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Hagerstown’s City Park Lake. Participants race miniature yachts that they build themselves.
For Helen Stevens, building model yachts isn’t quite as fun as racing, but she has an appreciation for the process.
“I put my small yacht together. You order it online as a kit,” said Stevens, who wears many hats with the CVMYC including webmaster, membership coordinator and treasurer.
“You get everything you need in the box along with a very detailed instruction sheet. Most people don’t have any trouble setting theirs up at all. I don’t particularly enjoy the building part, but the sailing part is fun. Some of the guys enjoy the building part. They have little boat building workshops in their garages.”
The CVMYC, which has members of all ages, is a group of model sailboat enthusiasts who enjoy radio-controlled model sailboat racing. The club races on the second Saturday of every month through October.
The club was founded by Terry Lamb, who was once commodore of the club before stepping down and putting the focus on simply enjoying the races.
“He was retiring from Bethesda (Md.) and was looking for a place out here to move,” Stevens said. “He was a model yacht enthusiast. He took a look at Hagerstown’s lake and said ‘this is the place.’ He moved here, and took the necessary steps to start the yacht club. He did all the leg work, and there was a lot of work in getting it off the ground, getting the website up and getting everything approved. He can be credited with most of the work.”
Lamb’s groundwork has paved the way for racing every year since 2015 in Hagerstown.
“If there’s a nice day there’s a lot of people walking around that part of the lake. We get maybe 20 people. They’re casual people who happen to be walking by. We hope to get more to come out,” Stevens said.
There are two classes of yachts that race. The race for smaller yachts will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., while the race for the larger yachts will take place from 1:40 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The small yachts, called Dragonforce 65’s, are two-feet long and four-feet high, while the large yachts, called EC-12’s, are four-feet long and six-feet high.
“EC 12’s are modeled after a boat that either raced in or won the America Cup a while back,” Stevens said.
Boats are controlled by a radio receiver, which allows for the boat to be steered or move the sails in and out. Boats are powered by the wind.
“Depending on the wind, it can be very exciting because the boats can really clip along and there can be a lot of activity,” Stevens explained.
Remote-controlled model sailboat racing is a fast-growing sport in the U.S. and City Park is an ideal place to hold races.
“The people who are into racing are really into it,” Stevens said. “Anywhere there’s a pond, there’s likely to be a model race club associated with it. It’s organized throughout the American Model Yacht Association.”
Stevens believes that the races are not only entertaining for hobbyists, but spectators as well.
“Spectators love to see them sail, regardless of whether they know anything about racing,” she said.
Top photo: Model yachts return to Hagerstown’s City Park Lake on Saturday, April 13, for another season of racing. Races will continue on the second Saturday of every month through October. (Submitted photo)