Wednesday, December 08, 2021
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Glassy times at Hervey Bay

CQIOMs20212The flags on the Buoybots tell it all!15 June 2021

The 2021 IOM Queensland titles at Hervey Bay utilized the Simple Heat Racing System, which reduced the number of boats in each heat and facilitated the use of only two fleets with such a large number of entrants. The start line saw 17 boats, meaning the line was quite full, and a good start was a challenge.

Further efficiencies were introduced for the event, with the host club accepting an invitation from WMRMYC to utilise WMRMYCs’ two Buoybots on a free of charge basis, with all risk of providing, maintaining and operation of Buoybots underwritten by WMRMYC. With the most obvious advantage of minimizing downtime during course changes, of which there were quite a few.

Sailing was affected by a large low pressure sitting over Queensland. Racing on Saturday started with less than 3 knots from the SSW and a cool but sunny morning with the day warming up quickly. By 2pm a 10 knot NE breeze had found its way to the lake but dropped off slightly by the end of racing.

Racing was slow with the wind dropping to nothing at times, then coming momentarily from the back of the fleet, making for bunch-ups at marks a regular occurrence.CQIOMs20213Breeze on for a while

After Day one, Paul Jones held a narrow lead on the point tally, with 4 x 1st placing, 2 x 2nds and a fourth, in some difficult sailing conditions. Whilst a few others recorded wins on their point score, the random wind conditions put many mid fleet, adding to their tally.

Day two and skippers saw even less wind over the course of the morning. After completing only 1 extra round before 11am, an early lunch was called hoping for better conditions for the final gold and silver fleets to be sailed. Conditions were again slow until after 2pm, as again, a 10k NE wind kicked in to speed up the finals.

Final scores after allowing 3 dropped races saw Sean Wallis take 3rd on 27 points, Greg Torpy 2nd on 24 points, and the Paul Jones extended his lead from Saturday, taking the win on 12 points.

A great many thanks go to those that organised the event including the FCRYC committee. Also, to those volunteers that helped run the regatta, including PRO Trevor Fisher, Scorer Anne Walker. Mark Harris who gave up the chance to sail in the regatta to help with scoring, also from our club Dave, Sandro, Bruce, Trevor, John, Kim & Darryn. Without these volunteers we would not have an event.


Photos Alessandro Taglienti  See more HERE


Events Coordinator Wanted!


11 June 2021

Ok, now is the time for someone from the active sailing community in Queensland to step up and contribute to our sport.  The Queensland Association needs an Events Coordinator.  With the recent appointment of Gordon Wills to the Secretary role, it means that all the administration skills are in place.  We have inward and outward communications sorted, we have a bean-counter and the leadership positions filled. Now the committee needs a Sailing/Regatta-Scheduling skill set to fill the remaining position.

Are you;

  • active in Ranking Events for at least one class?
  • holding opinions on how things should be scheduled during the year?
  • willing to chat to clubs across Queensland?
  • able to edit a simple spreadsheet?
  • willing to give an hour or so a week back to your sport?

If so, put your hand up, your sport needs you. 

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Big wind-shifts at QRYA AGM

8 June 2021

The QRYA Annual General Meeting (AGM) started 1:30 p.m. Sunday 6th June, but that was the only thing that was normal about this particular meeting.

For a start, the number of nominations was a record according to the elders.  Eight people nominated for six positions.  Four positions were contested, two people nominated for two positions ... whew, stay with me.

Not sure what caused this unprecedented level of interest.  Whatever it was, it was a refreshing change to what happened five or six years ago where Dayle Smith and Ian Smith found themselves pretty lonely on the committee, searching for help from the radio sailing community.  Competition for positions is a welcome luxury few non-profits ever see.

Outgoing Events Coordinator and Life Member Ian Ashe took the Returns Officer position for the Election of Officers after the committee stood down.  He faced a new complication as delegates and proxies had varying numbers of votes in their pocket, so for each hand that went up, a different number of votes came with it.

The process started with election of the President.  It was always going to be close according to the pundits, and it was.  The previous President, Trent Jarratt, was elected 9 - 8 and the Returns Officer recorded the result and congratulated Trent.  In the vote one delegate abstained, making an odd number total, but even if the vote had been 9 - 9, the Returns Officer has a casting vote and traditionally they lean towards any incumbent.

Next in line was the Vice President’s position.  As a show of hands was requested for the first nominee, he withdrew leaving Adrian Banwell from PRYC to be congratulated and added to the list.  So far so good.

The Treasurer's job came next with a repeat of the previous one.  One of the nominees handed the Returns Officer a Letter of Withdrawal, leaving Ian Lobley the job once again. 

There was only one nominee for Secretary and of course this was expected to be an easy one.  The previous Secretary told me a week ago the he had already started preparations to hand stuff over to the new guy.  However, the nominee withdrew.  Ian Ashe called for nominations from the floor, but I was told by a delegate that only the sound of crickets could be heard in the background.

And so it continued.  Adrian Banwell was one of the two nominated for State Measure - again, the withdrawal of the other nomination left him unexpectedly with both jobs when he only wanted and hoped for one.  Only one person nominated for Events Coordinator, one of the most important jobs on the committee.  The previous committee were pretty happy that someone had stepped up for this one as well, but he too withdrew.  More crickets were heard when Ian tried to get someone to nominate from the floor.

In summary, that left three people in four positions.  The previous President and Treasurer were returned for what has no doubt been their stellar service, and new appointee Adrian Banwell in the Vice President and Measurer roles.

This outcome was a real disappointment for Radio Sailing in Queensland.  It is good that experienced people are there, but the vacancies do not help anyone.  The committee had gone from enjoying the new level of interest in serving the nineteen member clubs to being unprepared for the loss of horsepower.  I was told by one of the committee members that no one put any work into looking for another secretary after the first nomination.  Of course the vacant positions will be filled somehow, but for now the new committee has been left with extra work to do.

So this is a call to the Queensland Radio Sailing Community for just a few people to step up.  There are people reading this with the skills and the time, and you should contact Trent Jarratt This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to volunteer them.  He needs a Secretary and an Events Coordinator.  In the meantime I heard a rumour that one of those elected will have to take on the 'Acting Secretary' mantle to keep the wheels turning.

Surely in the 356+ members there are two capable and committed people who are sorely needed to join and assist the QRYA committee to continue to grow the sport here in Queensland.

The Editor




Membership to crack 400 in 2022!

Membership Last Three Years1 June 2021

As of today all eighteen clubs in Queensland have renewed their membership with the QRYA. 

Thank you to the Secretaries for their efforts that most likely required the Treasurer's tin to be rattled to get their own members to first rejoin the club itself.

Just last year things were very different with hardly any sailing happening early to mid-year due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  People who were not sailing and had no idea when they were going to, kept their membership money in their pockets for a little longer.  But with the epidemic in some kind of control, particularly here in Queensland, some normality has returned and new members have joined many of our clubs.  The combination means that for the 1 June date, we have a record number of affiliated members, 356.

The pattern normally (except for COVID Year) has been for about another 20% either returning or joining for the first time during the year.  So for the coming 2021-22 year, starting at the record 356 and assuming the same pattern continues, we can expect 400+ members by May 31 2022.

Thank you all the club committees for their efforts to get this annual process finalised.  Radio Sailing is clearly booming here in Queensland. 

BTW, Ian Lobley has told me that all QRYA cards have been printed and distributed, so if you have not got yours ask your Secretary about it.


Ron Fawcett




RC Club Saved by a Robot


20 May 2021

Early this year the Wynnum Manly club became unable to sail at the harbour venue they have been at for decades.  Dropping buoys with strings attached was deemed not a good idea anymore by the authorities, apparently there was a risk that the anchor rope might foul a boat propeller.  Fair enough, but they had nowhere to sail!

To the rescue came local sailor Andrew Wilson (the one with the wooden Corby IOM) and he had a Radio Controlled/GPS buoy prototype operating before most of us had even heard of it.  No anchor rope required.  The result is that the Manly club has just this last week started sailing again after getting the final blessing from Transport and Main Roads (TMR).  

But this working prototype has a future worth exploring beyond Manly, after all RC/GPS buoys are in use in various parts of the globe for big boat fleet racing, particularly in deep water areas.

I recall the first time I was at a regatta where racing was held up significantly while the course was changed, must have been 2016 or so.  Two men with varying degrees of physical capability carefully boarded a very small plastic dinghy from a rocky foreshore.  Not a lot of urgency, they motored slowly out to shift a couple of windward marks.  It took ages.  The Race Officer shouted and waved directions frantically, blew his whistle but to no avail, the buoys ended up in a worse position than before.  In their frustration the skippers started to try to impress each other by mimicking the RO's arm waving and mocked the boat crew accusing them of being both deaf and blind.  Bit harsh, it was not their fault, it was the fault of the equipment they had to work with.  Fifteen minutes later, just as it was set to the RO's requests, the wind changed 50 degrees.  "Ahhhrrrr NOooooo!"

Across the sport of yachting, the fairness of the start of the race is vitally important. Radio Yachting is most often conducted in enclosed waters where wind direction changes are even more frequent than in open waters.

From QRYA post regatta surveys, the most common complaint received is an unfair, overly-biased start line.  Adjusting the line frequently can delay racing and create further issues, and not adjusting them can mar a regatta. Further, Race Officers and boat crew can be overloaded by rapidly changing conditions. Sailing boats can be controlled remotely but instead, usually elderly men are sent out in very small boats to shift a buoy a few metres.  Responding to that, the association developed a White Paper on RC Buoys in 2018.  Nothing happened after that as the Nationals and administration on general took focus. 

For clubs engaged in weekly social sailing, a reliable radio controlled buoy would allow them to set a course without launching a dinghy. Not only is this convenient but it is safer.  RC buoys are available commercially for big boat fleets but the size, shape and particularly cost are not suitable for our purposes.

So how could this work for the sport?

  • National Regatta: The first few races went ok, then just as the A-fleet finished the breeze clocked 20 degrees to the right.  While the B-fleeters are launching, the RO grabs the iPad and with two fingers shifts all the Buoybots at once, rotating the course until the wind indicator on the screen from the Buoybot pointed to the top marks. 


  • Club Day: Only four people showed up on Mother's Day.  Not worth putting the boat in so a Buoybot is launched to be the windward mark.  All good, great day.


  • Voluteer options: Volunteers avoid boat duty, usually two are needed for safety and effectiveness.  It's a tough job getting yelled at by the RO and the boat is tricky to handle.  No more.  Instead of two capable people, one person in a campchair can control a Buoybot or two, otherwise the RO can drive them.


So what is Buoybot ?


Buoybot is a collaboration between Andrew R Wilson and Trevor Jack, whom are long friends, sailors, kiters, foilers, innovators and adventurous souls. All development thus far has been self funded.

Buoybot is a collection of components;

  • foam hull(s), foam top works – these can be made at home garage with simple materials, duct tape and epoxy glue.
  • Skeg – bent to shape aluminium flat bar from you local sheet metal workshop (or home garage)
  • Control box / motors– off the shelf or on line from an electrical supplier.
  • Buoybot is designed to be simple, low cost, robust, ability to be home built.

Buoybot is NOT designed to be glamorous or bullet proof or maintenance free – but could be developed with that in mind.


Andrew & Trevor Jack will;

  • continue to develop the solution – Andrew will travel most weekends to SE QLD clubs to demonstrate the solution – warts and all for the next few weeks. The priority for him is that Wynnum Manly's Buoybot performs.
  • once Buoybots are out, Andrew will assist owners to maintain their units (within reason) – this is open source after all
  • consider commercialising opportunities

They look forward gauging interest from the Australia RC community to adopt this solution, and whether a 'solution-in-a-box' is favoured or that clubs want to assemble them themselves.  Clubs in QLD often make use of grants from different government levels, these need quotes from local suppliers so that the grant money will benefit the community.  In this case it could be easier if clubs had a quote from a supplier to put on the application rather than a parts list from China.

If you want more information contact Andrew R Wilson  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +61 (0)407 019 933

Buoybot is a prototype, this is not an ad as it it not yet ready to produce either by Andrew or at your home, unless you have a go yourself.  RC sailors will be kept up to date as this one progresses.  unless you wish to have a go your self … “ in which case, please log on to “Ardupilot” (an open source software community website) without whom ( and in particular, Mr Randy Mackay) this development would not be possible.

Buoybot V2 will be launched this coming weekend in multihull form.  Experience from these trials will be of course used to develop it further.

There is no doubt that this has the potential to revolutionise radio sailing while making it easier and safer for all concerned.  It already has done more than that for the Wynnum Manly Club.


The Editor

Video and stil by Nick Lindslay


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