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Model yacht club members command boats on Pinto Lake

Posted: Friday, Oct 25th, 2013


Dave Misunas of Santa Cruz, and a member of the Monterey Bay Model Yacht Club, sails his radio-controlled sailboat Friday on Pinto Lake. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)


WATSONVILLE — With the jib and the mainsail set, the sailboat sliced a clean path across the surface of Pinto Lake Friday with no one on board.

The two-meter model craft, styled after an ocean racer, was under the command of Dave Misunas of Santa Cruz, a member of the Monterey Bay Model Yacht Club.

“When there’s a good breeze out here you have to look out — these boats can really move,” Misunas said. “It’s the next best thing to sailing. I really have a lot of fun doing this, especially when we compete in races.”

There are currently 14 members in the Model Yacht Club, and they meet every Friday at 4 p.m. at the boat ramp in Pinto Lake City Park.

Misunas said he built his sailboat from a kit.

“They work just like a real sailboat, all the way down to the riggings and tie-downs,” Misunas said.

His sailboat, named Long & Gone, has a 20-pound lead keel, which enables the sleek craft to lean far over with the wind, thus allowing it to scoop up the maximum amount of wind force.

All the riggings are controlled by a hand-held radio gadget. Misunas said he has about $2,000 tied up in his boat that features cutting-edge carbon fiber parts and mylar sheets. There are 2,000 square inches of sheet surface with the mainsail and jib combined.

Gordon Leighton of Santa Cruz said he has been with the club for about five years and also is a member of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club.

“It’s something I can afford, and it’s competitive,” he said. “Sailing these boats is a great way to relax and get outdoors. I’m using an Odom model boat that is in an international class. It has about 800 square inches of sail surface. These models have all the adjustments that you would have on a real boat. They’re a lot of fun.”

The Monterey Bay Model Yacht Club is open to anyone with an interest in model yacht sailing and willing to pay the $40 membership fee. The fees support racing events. If you are interested in joining, contact Adrian Olson at adrian@modelyachting.com.

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