What we cover in our boat building eBook

Download a sample of our eBook

Chapters include:

  • Strip planking the hull.
  • Fibreglass strengthening.
  • Mould and casting lead keel ballast.
  • Electrics installation.
  • Spray painting and masking techniques.
  • Sail making.
  • Mast, rigging and tuning of sails.
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Build Your Own Radio Controlled Yacht - book cover

Build Your Own Radio Controlled Yacht

This book is designed to help you build a RacingSparrow 750 from scratch using minimal materials and a very minimal tool set. When you buy the eBook you download a PDF version complete with detailed plans, clear illustrations and photos. It lists all tools & materials and shows centimeters & inch measurements. 

Are there other plans I can build?

You can download these plans for free , 7 differing sizes and designs.

The techniques and materials detailed in the book can easily be adapted to the other plans to get a boat that suits your tastes. Along with the RS750 the other very popular boat is the RG65 designed RacingSparrow. The RG65 can be used to race and measures within the rules.

How much does it cost?

Some modellers manage to build for as little as $50. This might be someone who has some of the materials already or are good at repurposing old things. The authors boat cost around $300 including the radio gear. That was for all the materials described and used in the book. 

Download some free pages from the book. View as Two-page view (in Chrome).

Racing Sparrow model yacht glossary page from the eBook showing an illustration of a red boat with diagramatic text explaining all the parts of the model.

Anyone can build a Racing Sparrow

The book has been designed to make a quality model yacht. One that looks stunning, sails like it's on rails yet is playful and fun on the water. Also not cost the earth or require specialist tools.

What tools do I need?

Not that many as you can see in the picture. Those are all the tools used in this eBook. One less excuse to build that model boat you've always dreamt about. Get amongst it!

Racing Sparrow model yacht toolset showing the 20 tools spread out evenly and clearcut on white background

Common questions

What radio gear do I use?

For a radio-controlled sailboat in 2023, you need a transmitter, receiver, 4xAA battery holder, and 2 servos (1 for sail arm, 1 for rudder) that plug into the receiver using JR connectors. Waterproof options and different servo sizes for sail arm and rudder are abundant. You can choose from a range of transmitter and servo options, from simple to high tech.

Futaba Sail Arm

The simple setup NZD$70(cheapest):
Transmitter & Receiver
Servos x 2
Battery Holder
Batteries

The mid-range setup NZD$230 (all waterproof):
Transmitter
Receiver
Sail arm servo
Rudder servo
Rechargeable battery

The no-limits setup: NZD$720
Transmitter
Receiver
Sail winch servo
Rudder servo
Rechargeable battery

Is it that hard to make a boat?

Is pouring lead within my skillset and safe?

How much does it cost all-together to build a boat?

The radio gear and servos will set you back a few hundred, depending on what you end up buying and what needs you have. To start the project however, you really only need the balsa to build the hull. This will keep you quiet for some months. I'm willing to bet in that time you will spend time on the internet choosing components for your yacht including radio gear. You will need things like paint, resins and cloth, small aluminium lengths, lots of small and cheap parts which will add up. Most people doing this project may already have most of what they need. The toolset required is very simple. No specialist tools are needed. A craft knife and ruler will get used the most. You won't need to buy any special or expensive tools.

A budget between $300-500NZD would be realistic, this is spread out across typically a 6-12 month project. Fitting this in between the rest of your life!

Garry Angels Racing Sparrow one meter model yacht showing beautiful strip planked decking with alternate light and dark strips of cedar wood. Stunning looking model.

Some of the boats people have built using this book. Awesome!

You can send us your images and we'll post them on this site.

Royal Declerk's cool Multi-Hull, Australia

Jun 11, 2015

declerks black catamaran model yacht, Location: Australia

Dear Bryn, I felt I had to tell you, my beautiful 75, "Jack Sparrow" got away from me due to a radio malfunction and sailed off into the distance across Port Phillip bay to be not heard of again, probably on its way to China?? so have made three land yachts for the grandchildren, sail them at Sandy Point ( Gippsland)

My latest model is a foiling catamaran based on the AC45 (another brilliant NZ design)(very sad to see NZ beaten in the cup) and so "Black Mamba" has evolved.

Yet to do sea trials but if it works as intended will be amazing. Best wishes from Royal Declerck.

DKM247 - Proud RacingSparrow Builder/Owner, Melbourne, Australia

Dec 1, 2016

DKM247 holding his racing sparrow model yacht, Location: Melbourne, Australia

Graham Long, Auckland, New Zealand

Dec 17, 2009

The stern of a model yacht with a varnished wooden deck with a dark circular pattern creating lovely sections and a quality aesthetic, Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Graham Long, Auckland, New Zealand

Dec 17, 2009

A side on view of a white model yacht, sitting on a cradle on a green lawn, Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Rod Patterson, Christchurch, New Zealand

May 4, 2012

A yellow model yacht with the hatch open showing the internal workings and servos, Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

A 650 build

Apr 1, 2018

IMG 0235 1024x768

Andy Saunders + Son, New Zealand

Sep 9, 2021

Andy Saunders and son holding a model yacht, balsa construction, Location: New Zealand

Hamish Coubrey, Auckland

Sep 10, 2013

two rc model yachts, one blue, the other grey and yellow. They are both racing sparrow 750s, Location: Auckland

Hi Bryn, I recently finished building these 2 Racing Sparrow RS750s which i really enjoyed, it was a great project and kept me busy for a few months. They have been for a successful maiden voyage and sail great and now just need a few tweaks in the sail department to get them sailing even better. Thanks.

Mel Kitson's 750, Watford UK

Jun 5, 2013

Mel Kitson holding up his white racing sparrow 750 model yacht, Location: Watford UK

Hi, Bryn, I enjoyed the build immensely. There were areas where I had some uncertainties, some of which were assisted through the forum posts, and some of which I improvised. All in all I am truly delighted with the end result and now look forward to learning to sail and enjoying many happy hours "playing".

Kind regards, Mel Kitson

Jonathon Gillham, New Zealand

Oct 11, 2018

Jonathon Gillham's Racing Sparrow model yacht in bright red colour scheme with an old 90's styled graphics and logo font in bold white, Location: New Zealand