Julian Conde's twin CMB powered nitro outrigger.For outrigger hydroplanes, the folks at Zip Kits have some amazing kits for popular JAE models. Some of the more popular RC tunnel boats right now include models by Lynx, HTB, Vision Craft, LeeCraft, ML Boatworks and Cobra along with the hugely popular Aquacraft Top Speed 3 (TS3) and VS1 models.
One thing we’ve noticed is that catamarans are quite popular when combined with gasoline engines. Overall, mono hulls have some very strong followers as well as guys that absolutely hate them. FloatWays is based out of San Diego – a perfect example of an area where nitro is nearly dead. This is a perfect example of why the RC boat community needs to stick together to promote the hobby.
For those of you that are not really familiar with the hobby, below are a number of cool facts that will help you get familiar with the hobby of RC boating.
Some radio control boats are designed to perform their best as RC boats, disregarding their looks. Most RC boat models run on a single engine, but experienced modelers and racers often like the challenge of building and running a twin engine boat.
RC boat parts can be found through a vast selection of hobby shops and dealers across the world. Julian Conde with one of his various screaming fast twin riggers.RC Racing Champ Julian Conde on his RC boat racing experience – I have been racing RC model boats for 3 years in national and local events.
In 2010 I was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad Iraq for 15 months. Jerry Dunlap – A mainstay veteran in the RC boat hobby who I’m sure has built tons of boats but has particularly impressed us with his amazing tunnel boats.
Me Time Racing – A site dedicated to broadcasting RC boat racing events via videos, photos and commentary. Julian Conde – Yep, Julian Conde is a champion RC boat racer with a knack for twin engine screaming fast nitro outriggers hydroplanes. Wayne Johnstone from All Race Photography for providing some of the awesome action shots you see in this article. Other key people also helped with this article in some way or another – Directly and indirectly.
Finally, this article is for you… The boater – The guy who loves boats and would love RC boating, no question. Shopping for an RC Boat: I admit, I’m constantly scouring eBay for rare RC boats, engines and parts. Publisher of FloatWays, Danny Cruz is resourceful creative designer, lover of the ocean and all things that float.
Sunglasses Guide for BoatsAt FloatWays we pay a lot of attention to the visual aspect of the water activities in which we participate. This means we are focused on enjoying our outdoor life by making sure we have the best optical clarity and sun protection we can get. On any given weekend there would easily be at least 50 racers at the lake all racing their boats in their respective classes.
Nowadays, with the development of LiPo batteries and brushless electric motors, electric boats were given the name of “fast electric” or “FE” to differentiate them from the sluggish electrics of yore. Other radio control outrigger and unlimited hydroplanes are very often built from RC boat plans rather than from precut kits.


At a recent speed trial event FloatWays attended in Legg Lake, in Los Angeles, we saw some gasoline offshore cats running in the 70 to 85MPH range. Mono classes, which include surface mono boats (whose props work close to the surface of the water like on a hydroplane) and offshore deep vees are still very popular. Some of the most popular RC mono hulls are made by Seaducer, Calcraft, Speedmaster and AC Model Boats.
They provide better reception and control of your model and also minimize interference with other nearby RC radio systems. You will need a membership with one of them, plus an insurance policy to be able to race in a sanctioned event.
I am Veteran of the armed forces serving 10 years in the US Army and deploying for 4 years and 9 months of combat duty in Iraq. Jerry has written for RC Boat Modeler Magazine for years and helped with some of the edits in this article. He’s the first guy who got me on the right track after my comeback to RC boats earlier this year. I even have custom automatic searches set up that update me by email when the part I’m looking for becomes available. Whether it be in the ocean or the lake, we are devoted to the lifestyle and all the joys that come from being on the water. If you require further details regarding the transaction data, please contact the supplier directly. Used with permission.Since then the hobby has matured and settled down a bit, but has been showing constant growth again in the last couple of years.
In the internal combustion side of things, gasoline engines have gone a long way since the early weedwacker engines. These days, companies that were once start-ups in the marine department, like OS Engines, now dominate large segments of the market. Used with permission.Boat hulls have also gotten better but the changes don’t seem to be as dramatic as it has been with engines. They might not be as fast as some outriggers, but they are certainly more capable when the wind picks up and the lake gets choppy.
Of course, Aeromarine Laminates, who has been making fiberglass RC boat hulls since who knows when, is still a big player in the game. At these speeds though, one small mistake and you’ll turn your RC model boat back into a model kit within a split second. Good examples of RC scale models are the unlimited hydroplane scale kits and Apache offshore deep vee rc boats. One word of advice though, there is nothing quite like building a brand new kit from scratch. The folks in these forums know of boat parts sources that are not so easily accessible through a simple internet search.
Brought into the hobby by LTC James Beasley in 2008 at Chesapeake VA, I started racing Sport B and D tunnel and B Mono for the 1st year of racing. Raced in 2011 a full racing season from the Orlando Winternats to the Fall Nationals at the end of 2011.
Thanks to Julian for the long telephone conversations pouring out all you know about boats!
There are plenty of unique RC boats and parts to be found on there, but searching is tricky because there are too many toys there as well.


Many of the hardcore guys that are mainstay in the hobby are still there and new bright minds are also taking charge and developing new boats, radio systems and engines. Companies like Zenoah and RCMK are making gasoline engines dedicated exclusively for RC model boats. The Aeromarine Sprint Cat is still a very popular catamaran hull but mostly for the large .45 and up sizes. Among Aeromarine’s most popular monos we have the Challenger, Titan and of course the Apache. A phone conversation with the director of power of the San Diego Argonauts, Bill Bridge, informed us that most of the modelers in San Diego have either completely switched to gasoline or have moved away from the hobby entirely.
Additionally, more support can also mean that nitro-powered boats can stick around for a whole lot longer. But starting off with a used kit, or an “almost ready to run” kit can be a good way to break the ice. Apart from all this, the hobby has expanded greatly from mainly only nitro fuel to now gasoline and fast electric (also known as FE).
Some people are even putting together gasoline outboard boats rather than the more common nitro outboards. Additionally, apart from buying RC boat kits that come complete, but in pieces, some modelers go the extra mile and not only build their boats from scratch, but they gather all the parts needed from all manner of different sources to create something truly unique. A gallon of nitro-methane fuel can easily run upwards of $40 and the glow plugs needed to run the engines are around $5 each. Very sad since there are guys we’ve talked to that swear by nitro and claim they will run nothing else. Additionally, excessive insurance costs and city fees have also rendered the hosting of official races prohibitively expensive. I set a goal to attain the Twin Hydro Oval record and purchased a Roadrunner Extreme II with CMB 101RS Zoom Powered. Other companies like NovaRossi are winning lots of races and pleasing racers with great high-performance engines that are also affordable.
Tunnels are some of the easiest and least expensive nitro boats to build, but setting them up to run at their best is very challenging, hence their appeal.
The .21 Sprint Cat, as cool as it is, is not as popular anymore as guys tend to opt for the faster sport hydro and outriggers that run in the same class as the smaller offshore cats. Speaking of scale looks, some of the most popular deep vee boats are modeled after classic Cigarette, Apache, Fountain, Carrera, Scarab, P&D and Donzi offshore racing boats.
OPS, Rossi and Picco are still around, but their engines are a little harder to find in the USA as they don’t currently have solid distribution here. There is also the very popular Open Hydroplane class which is mainly dominated by outrigger hydroplanes. Apart from Aeromarine, various other companies and individuals have been making their own recreations of the popular Apaches hulls.
So obviously, the bigger engines drink up a lot more fuel making everything more expensive. The point is, that in the smaller sizes, hobbyists are favoring the speed of hydros over the look and rough water ability of offshore catamaran shapes.




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