For those who want to try their hand at radio-controlled model yacht racing, the place to be is behind Monterey Key in Papamoa, where Dusty Waddell and a seasoned group of sailors can be found daily, sailing their dragons.
The dragons are Dragon Force 65 also known as DF65, and DF95s; the names relate to their boat length, 650mm and 950mm respectively.
Seven days a week, starting at 1pm, the daily racing takes place and whoops of delight can be heard across the water.
The group started around Christmas 2018, with just a handful of people who were looking for something to do for a couple of hours a day.
Dusty – captain and organiser – had moved from Rotorua to Tauranga in August 2018 after purchasing a house in Papamoa and when he came down to the pond one day with his dog, he realised the potential for sailing there.
With ‘Pukeko Island’ in the middle of the pond, he laid out triangular courses around it and was soon joined by other enthusiastic participants.
When the club launched, Dusty imported 12 DF65 boats for new members to purchase at cost. Each boat has a fully molded ABS hull, 50 micron Mylar racing sails, an extruded carbon fibre mast and booms, extruded alloy keels with zinc alloy ballast, a metal geared digital rudder servo and powerful winch servo, a 2.4 GHZ transmitter and receiver and a display stand.
The low cost and easy assembly of the nimble DF65 and DF95 is why they’re so popular, and Dusty can assemble them for people.
“They’re the cheapest workable radio controlled yachts on the market with four different rigs and a supply of parts available,” says Dusty.
“There are now more than 65 in the Bay of Plenty area with groups in Whakatane, Taupo, Rotorua, Waikato and Tauranga. They’ve also spread throughout New Zealand with more than 50,000 sold world-wide since 2014.”
All ages are welcome to come and try their hand at sailing with Dusty. For more information contact Dusty on: 021 076 1252.
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