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Burghfield Sailing Club
Hangar Road
Berks RG7 4AP

01189 303 604

Event - Bubble and Squeak

Event - Bubble and Squeak

RC Laser Nats

The Adventures of Bubble and Squeak

Driving down to Parkstone Yacht Club to look for a new dinghy for next summer, we happened to stop off at Poole Park - where there were 15 Radio Controlled Lasers racing together about 3yds from a car parking area.

My crew decided that if she couldn't be sailing, then watching sailing is the next best thing. And it looked like racing Radio Controlled boats could combine both bits together - watching the boats that you are racing! Also, sailing an RC boat would mean that she can keep sailing while recovering from her operation.

So, we drove on to see Mark Deverell (RaceLines) who rigs and sells the boats.

After finding out that there are not many new boats or add-on bits available anymore (something about the Chinese needing to build a new batch), we discussed and managed to organise two new boats with the standard B rigs, for picking up a week later.

What is an RC Laser?

The RC Laser is the official 1/4 scale version of the Olympic Class Laser dinghy. It is 41" long and 13" wide, with a keel depth of 18". The top of the mast is over 6ft high, and there are 3 different sails that can be used for different wind strengths.

Of course, being familiar with the usual delivery schedule of normal boat builders, when we agreed a delivery time, I automatically doubled the time expected! While waiting, we investigated a stand for the boats (expensive stainless steel from Laser, wooden clothes horse from DIY stores, or an old deckchair from the garden centre have all been used by other people).
Bubble and Squeak

The Names

We were wanting two names for the boats, rather than just the numbers that most Lasers use. The names had to go with each other, and not be too embarrassing on their own when someone calls out "penalty turn please"! Driving through Lyme Regis on a drizzly Sunday morning just after we had ordered the boats, we saw a cafe called 'The Bubble and Squeak Restaurant'. A quick word with Jeremy at to see if he could make up some names (at a 1/4 scale to normal), and we were ready for "Bubble" and "Squeak".

Boat Stand

While wandering around the local Tesco's, we came across some baskets to put dirty linen into. The frame is made of a simple two crosses of light-weight tubular alloy, with the bag velcro-ed into place to hold the clothes. Removing the clothes bag leaves a very simple, light yet strong, stand for a model yacht: at a price of less than 15% of a Laser branded one!



The boats, each packed neatly with its spars, sail, transmitter and rolls of coloured tape in the special RC Laser padded carry bag, turned up just 2 days past the original delivery date - so the 1/4 scale even applies to the delivery expectations! An easy to follow guide (and the video on the net, see:
Here) allowed us to rig and de-rig the boats easily. Just need some water now!

Friday 5th Oct: First Sail

What great fun! First time rigging, and both boats were on the water and sailing in less than 5 minutes from parking the car. We raced each other around a triangle course for about 2 hours: getting stuck in irons, running into the bushes, chasing the ducks and swans, drifting into the wind shadows, hitting the small plastic buoys etc.
To start with "Squeak" was much quicker, but by the end of the session, "Bubble" was the faster down-wind and not much slower upwind.

So much fun, that we did it all again the next day!

The boats are excellently balanced, and will sail to windward with just the occasional tweak on the tiller, while the sheeting in around the leeward mark is just like a real Laser: the boom takes longer to pull in than you would want! Going down wind on a dead run it is possible to let the sail out past right-angles, and the boat will do a violent windward roll: just like a full-size boat except you don't get wet!


As the boats are wind powered, the only on-going cost are the batteries in the transmitter and boats. AA batteries are easy to find, and come along at many different costs! The local corner shop has them for about £2.50 for 2, and as you need 4 for the boat and 8 for the transmitter, that can be quite expensive. However, Tesco often has a deal going on, where you can get 18 for £5.00. The best deal so far we have found is a pack of 24 for £1.00 from PoundLand! A set of batteries last for 2 good sailing sessions of a couple of hours.

Burghfield Radio Sailing Fleet

The small but keen and very welcoming radio controlled fleet at BSC meet on a Wednesday and Saturday morning. Around 7 or 8 races are fitted in between 10.00 and 13.00. Hitting the marks doesn't carry a penalty (you try steering a boat within inches around a buoy that is 50 yds away!), but touch another boat and there is an immediate call for a penalty turn. The majority of people are racing the IOM - International One Metre - but they were happy to fit the Lasers in as well. After following the other boats around the course for a couple of days, and sometimes getting lapped, we decided it was time to order the larger A-rigs! so that we could have more sail area (33% extra on a 13ins taller mast) and more speed.

Two A sails, two D sails and booms and the last C sail in the country arrived today. They were all packed neatly in a large flat cardboard sheath - you try taking delivery of a dinghy sail that has been kept flat and never rolled or folded!

Down at the club the next day we rigged up the big A sails, and before we launched the wind picked up a bit - but we went for it anyway! The boats still tracked along wonderfully smoothly, but at what seemed to be twice the speed. a small gust and the gunwhale dips under the water as the boats tip - but there is no sitting out to be done! the main problem was the weed. As the wind had swung for the first time for 10 days from N to SW, all the large patches of weed floated down wind totally ruining the chances of a decent sail or a race.

Next Steps

On Saturday 17th November there is an Open Meeting for the Radio Controlled Lasers at Burghfield.

We hope to be there - but the thought of racing against other boats is making us both more nervous than we have ever felt when racing dinghies!

Created on 02/11/2007 09:49 PM by Chris Jordan
Updated on 07/01/2008 10:05 PM by Chris Jordan
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