Words from Steve at Model Sailing Center

Dan - I thought you might include a message from me in your newsletter.

Welcome ABYC -RC Sailors - I, like many of you, spent most of my days sailing in crewed boats, mostly dinghies. But when I relocated to 8600 feet in the Rockies, "big boat" sailing really wasn't that great. So in 1999, I bought my first model and I have been at it ever since. At this time, I am your class secretary, and readying the final documents to have the Nirvana fully sanctioned by the American Model Yachting Association. In the year to come, we expect to start our regional and national level regattas with the Nirvana - the beginning of full fledged racing circuit around the country.

In that respect, keep your eye on updates to the class rule that is posted on the SailRC.com website. For now, it is the official resting place of this document. And please do not make any modifications to your boats that affect performance without first checking to see if it is, or will become, legal. Obviously it is your business what your club, and you, do with respect to the class rule. However, if you venture out to sail in Regional, National, or International regattas, you will need to comply. Just fair warning that this is a strict one design boat, and we in model sailing have the ability to really clamp down on the rule so that the best sailor wins, not the one with the most money!

The Nirvana as a racing boat, and certainly in salt water sailing, is new. The boat has been produced for 4 years, but primarily as a hobby store boat, with little attention to fine tuning for racing. Now we, you and I, are working on turning this great little entry level boat into a worthwhile racing machine!! Sounds funny, I know, but when you go to a major model sailing regatta, you will be surprised at the intensity and the skill level at which these boats are raced!

But it is all about fun, and one thing I must pass along as you all get going with your fleet, is to concentrate on making it fun! Sometimes certain skippers take it a little too seriously, and they can make it unpleasant for others. I suggest that you might consider a "drinking" fleet and a "racing" fleet. :) But be careful about mixing casual sailors with those always racing to win. Winning is great, but having fun is equally important. I have seen too many clubs blow up because a certain faction became "impossible" to live with and turned the rest off. A word to the wise.

Dan has done a great job of translating some hard line facts. There is no other boat under $200 that can hold a candle to the Nirvana. It is a complete package. However, it is mass produced, and some corners have been cut to keep the price down. So when things fail with this boat, we hope to be there with the solutions that will keep your boat sailing. The hull, fins and rig are well designed, engineered, and produced. But it is the little things like "O" rings, boom vang fittings, and electronic parts that we need to stay ahead of. To give you an idea, I own a 39" boat that cost me $2600 ~ and still, I need to be careful with the electronics!!!

The title to one of my seminars is "You Can't Win, if You Don't FINISH!" We all know this from big boats as well, so remember that maintenance is just as important as your skill on the course. A little extra care will give you hours of great sailing fun.

I, as your class secretary and Nirvana distributor, am here for each of you. Obviously, I can't talk to everyone on the phone at once, but I can really type and keep up with your email. So feel free to say "Hello" and let me help where I can. In the meantime, "Help each other". If you learn something that works, tell everyone else so as a group you progress to that ultimate goal of having a great time sailing in the mini world of RC boats.


Steve Lang

PS. And yes, that is me with the white hair and goatee on the website and I look forward to sailing with your club very soon.

Steve Lang

Trouble with Sail Servos

Having trouble with Sail Servo. Damon had a problem with his sail servo on Sunday. The gears stripped on it, they are plastic, and he has to buy another. The reason, I think, is that the mainsheet tension was too tight. The servo was not allowed full swing as the sail was in all the way. In the sheeted position the servo could still have swung about a half inch more. He was letting a kid sail his boat who did not understand that when the sail is in it does not have to be pulled in constantly, but the adjustments were too tight anyway. The servo is capable of pulling about 138 inches of torque, according to the liturature, which is more than the gears in it will take, apparently. Make sure that the sheets are not tight like guitar strings when the sail is all the way in.

How will he have to replace the servo? I told him that a nice replacement is the HiTec 645 MG sail servo, for about $40 (read further before buying). It will drop right into the mount when he takes the old one out. He will have to cut the wire and install a plug to the receiver. The best thing to do with the sail arm is to use the new white plastic round piece that comes with the servo and shave down the sides so it will fit into the old sail arm. Then glue it in, West Systems Epoxy works well as John McBrearty found out. Rough everything up with course sandpaper to make sure you get good contact.

I just did some research and found some other servos that would be appropriate for the task.

        HobbyPeople Servo City Tower Hobbies
Model Torque 4.8/6.0 Size Weight      
HS-625MG 76.37oz/94.43oz 1.59"x0.77"x1.48" 1.94oz.   <$40 <$36
HS-645MG 106.93oz/133.31oz 1.59"x0.77"x1.48" 1.94oz.   $40 $36
HS-965MG 111.08oz/138.86oz 1.57"x0.78"x1.45" 2.18oz. <$70 <$73 <$70
HS-985MG 144.42oz/172.20oz 1.57"x0.78"x1.45" 2.18oz. $70 $73 $70
HS-5625MG 109oz at 4.8vlt 1.57"x0.78"x1.45" 2.18oz. <$55   <$50
HS-5645MG 143oz/168oz 1.57"x0.78"x1.45" 2.18oz. <$55   <$50
HS-5965MG         <$90  
HS-5985MG 144.42oz/172.20oz 1.57"x0.78"x1.45"   <$90   <$90
HS-5955TG 249.96oz/333.29oz 1.57"x0.78"x1.45" 2.18oz. $115 $114 $110
HS-5998TG 199.97oz/249.96oz 1.57"x0.78"x1.45" 2.18oz. <$115 <$114 <$115
Cirrus 704MG 181oz/195oz 1.6 x .78 x .61" 1.73 oz $30    
Cirrus 750MG 127oz/149oz 1.6 x .78 x .61" 1.93 oz <$25    
Cirrus DS751MG 149oz at 4.8vlt 1.6 x .78 x .48" 1.93 oz <$25    
Cirrus 701 126oz/144oz 1.6 x .78 x .61" <$20  

The Hitec 645MG is the recommended replacement for the sail servo if it goes bad. As you can see by the chart is about 107oz/inch torque for $40. For $70 you can increase the Torque by about 40% with the 985MG. For $115, and why would we spend that much, you can increase the torque 2.5 times with the 5955TG. Another alternative is to get the Cirrus 704 MG, which is okay, not as good as Hitec I am sure (cheaper right?). But for $30 on the internet (32.99 in the store) you can get 181 oz/inch of torque. I looked at it in the store and it looks like it should just drop in to the same place. When mine goes bad I will try out the Cirrus as I think it is the best buy.


nirvana1 sBruce's Hideaway

Dan, Basin 5 isnt the only place to practice, Getting in the water with the boat creates a great opportunity to tweak and test.

See you on the course Friday.


Bruce had to share this with me so I share it with you.

Glitches with equipment

I have been experiencing some problems with my rudder servo, as have a couple of other people. I wrote to Steve Lang about it and his response was:

Yes, I have seen these problems before. The big culprit is water getting into things. These electronics are not at all well sealed and moisture gets in and causes all sorts of weird stuff. The best you can do to isolate the problem is switch gear until you have nailed down the problem part. If you see that the part is otherwise not damaged by water entry, then I am sure Megatech (MT) will take care of it for you.

Secure your deck covers

Make sure to secure your deck covers. A trick that I like is to drill a couple of holes in the lid on each side where the rudder servo arm link comes out the back. Then take a piece of string that will be long enough to touch the deck securing both sides with a knot. That loop will go under the servo rod and keep the lid with the boat. It will just slide off when you remove your rudder.

Areas of concern

Though these boats are rather inexpensive there are some areas that you want to pay attention to so you do not lose money with this hobby.

Bad switches
 Switches in the boats have been rusting almost immediately. Check it and change it. Do not cut the wires off of each end of the switch to replace it. Only one wire is on the switch the other just passes through it. I am going to look for a better switching system. I am thinking about using a magnetic reed switch. This will allow us to turn on/off the boats without removing the cover. You just put a magnet next to the switch to turn it either on or off, I have not figured it out yet. Or maybe just get a waterproof toggle switch to replace the one that comes with the boat.

Careful with the rudderpost
 If you are keeping your boat together you will have problems with the rudderpost, which is steel. It will corrode. It can lock onto the rudder tube and take the whole thing out. It is not a problem as that is sealed from the bilge and fixable. Make sure you lube it nicely with lithium, vasoline or something else you like.

Keep water out of the radio box
 Use a sponge inside under the sheet entry hole. Also check your boat periodically, while sailing, to make sure you do not have too much water inside.

Waterproof receivers and servos
 Check to see that there is silicone or some other sealant on your electronic components. Here is a link to an article that is on the website to further waterproof the electronics: Waterproofing Electronics from Boat-a-Holic

I just ordered some dielectric oil so we can all drop some into the electronic equipment that we can reach. I think I got enough for anyone that would like to use it.

Check the knots on the lines
 The knots on the boats are not good. Make sure you check them and retie any (most) that are suspect.

Plastic for keeping sheets clear
 Cut and install a thin piece of plastic under sail arm and over all the rest of the electronic components.

Don't lose your Hatch Cover
 The hatch covers are being lost. It is recommended that a retaining leash be attached to the hatches so they do not get separated from the boats.

Prevent sail servo arm slippage
 the sail arm can start slipping on the motor of the servo leaving you floundering on the water. Check first with a Phillps head screwdriver and make sure the screw on the top is tight. If you still have problems you can carefully drill a small hole near, but offset, the center on the top if the servo arm to insert a small screw to act as a key to stop the slippage.

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