The following article appeared on the Tucson Happenings Magazine website in the Fall of 2015.
Tucson Happenings Magazine is an online monthly publication dedicated to the community and all of the things that make it great. Created from scratch — not a franchise or syndicate — Tucson Happenings is a month long resource of what to do, where to go and things to see throughout Southern Arizona.
Pima Micro Yacht Club
By James Haines and Jerry Walker of the Pima Micro Yacht Club
(The images that appeared in the article are at the bottom of this page.)
The Pima Micro Yacht Club (PMYC) is a Tucson-based club devoted to the building, sailing and racing of radio-controlled, model sailboats. The club welcomes anyone who may be interested in sharing in the fun of building and racing your own miniature yacht.
PMYC was created in 2011 by three retirees who initially intended to leisurely sail radio controlled model yachts on Lakeside Park pond in Tucson. Before long, they realized the fun of competing against one another when they decided to form a club of like-minded individuals. By the end of that first year, the club members elected to race the same model yacht design called the Victoria as shown here.
This particular boat was chosen because of its low cost, ease of assembly and widespread popularity. The Victoria has a molded plastic hull measuring about 31 inches in length and is furnished with a mast measuring 43 inches in height.
“But where is the motor?” This is usually the first question asked by bystanders watching a Victoria silently skim across the pond. The answer to that question is that there is no motor at all! Like their full sized counterparts, racing model sailboats are powered by the wind alone.
Since being founded four years ago, the club has grown to 28 members including one very active and very competitive female! (Yes, women are encouraged to join).
So what does it take to get started? Perhaps the best first step may be to visit the club while they race at Tucson’s Reid Park large pond every Monday afternoon from 1 to 3 o’clock.
The large pond may be accessed from the west entrance to Reid park located off of Country Club Road between 22nd Street and Broadway. A large parking lot is located immediately adjacent to the large pond at the end of the entrance road.
Club members will be found to be anxious to share information regarding any aspect of hobby including cost, building or racing. Best of all, you can even try your hand at sailing even if you have never been near a sailboat in your entire life. No need to worry about crashing. It is nearly impossible to damage these boats while they are on the water. If this hobby appeals to you, and you want to further try your hand at sailing before committing to the purchase of your own boat, you can do just that by using the PMYC club Victoria that is maintained for use by guests
If you decide to pursue this hobby, the cost of the Victoria kit is about $140 at the Hobby Barn located here in Tucson. Getting your boat in the water will cost another $50 to $100 for various assembly materials and for the required electronics. Assembly of the boat is quite simple in that the entire hull and the deck are each formed of one piece of preformed abs plastic. Completion of the boat including the rigging and installation of the required electronics requires about 10-20 hours of assembly time. Current club members are always available to provide you as much help and advice as you would like during the building process.
Once your victoria is complete you are ready to learn to sail. If you have previously sailed a full sized sailboat, you will probably be guiding your model yacht around the pond within minutes. If not, it may take several sessions before you really get the hang of it. Once you have the basics down, you will find that your skill level will continue to grow as you progress in the hobby.
After you become comfortable with the basics of sailing, you can take on the challenge of racing. Racing is not only your route to learning to sail better, it is also the best way to enjoy the challenge and excitement of competing against others of various skill levels.
You might ask yourself, “Can I do that?” The answer to that is a resounding “Yes!” For example, meet Leland, one of our longest-term club members.
Before getting involved with PMYC, Leland had never sailed a boat in his lifetime. As a farm boy from Iowa, he had never even built a model! Despite this, he successfully assembled his own boat and is now one of our most avid participants.
Come over to Reid Park Pond on a Monday afternoon and meet our members, sail our boats, and join us after the races at the Randolph Golf Club Grill next to Reid Park where we discuss that day’s races, participate in some good natured ribbing and share a refreshment or two.
You can learn much more about radio controlled sailboats and sailboat racing at the PMYC website at www.pimamicroyachtclub.com. Or, you can contact the club Commodore, Jerry Walker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 520-461-6473.