The IOM yacht is exactly 1 metre long, and has three sets of sails to suit various wind conditions. It is the most popular international class, with very strict rules that control the development potential. It is easy to sail, and gives fast and sometimes furious racing. The hulls are made of fibreglass or wood, with fins and rudders from carbon fibre or wood. Two channel radio control is used – one channel controlling the rudder and the other the sails using a sail winch. A new yacht, professionally built, can cost more than £2000, but you can build your own for much less or there are lots of competitive second hand yachts around for £350 to £700 ready to race.
Radio 6 Metre (R6m)
The R6m is a more traditional type of model yacht with a very graceful appearance. The class is governed by a rating rule that measures various characteristics of the hull and uses the result to determine the maximum sail area that may be carried.
This is a quarter scale model of the full size yacht sailed in the Olympics. This gives you the opportunity to test your sailing skill in a strictly controlled one design class where an older boat equally matches the performance of a new one. Second hand lasers can be obtained for around £250-£300. Four sets of sails are available to suit different wind conditions.
DragonFlite 95 (DF95)
This is a relatively new strict one design class which is becoming very popular in the west of Scotland. It can be purchased almost fully assembled, with radio equipment installed, and clear instructions on assembling the rig. A new boat with one set of sails can be on the water for around £350. A further three sets of sails of progressively smaller size are available to suit increasing wind strengths.