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Club 500 Review Update

Paul Oliver

Since my original review I have now sailed and raced this boat for a year now, and have learnt a few lessons and made a few modifications within the rules, which I shall now pass on to those interested.

Firstly, I have added some buoyancy. I have added some expanded polystyrene to the rear of the hull from behind the radio tray, to the stern, but leaving the area in front of, and around the rudder tube and tiller arm. This is so that should the boat take on that sinking feeling, the stern section which have those important items such as the radio equipment stand a better chance of avoiding being flooded. I have not added any foam to one side of the superstructure to serve the dual purpose of providing flotation should the superstructure become detached. Also, to enable some self righting should the model capsize - which does happen, and has to me on more than one occasion in the case of the latter. The principle aim of the self-righting does not appear to be overly successful from what I have seen of other boats.

Secondly, I have dispensed with the Powerpole connectors that I have favoured. In their place I have fitted 4mm gold plated plugs and sockets. The reason for this is that certainly where I sail, the so called fresh water contains some salt which causes corrosion. This initially affects the contact resistance but obviously develops further with time.

Thirdly, I do not go out and buy the latest highest capacity cells on the market. With this class of racing there is plenty of capacity in a 1700mAh pack, and I tend to use these instead. I personally, have found that there is a slight performance advantage in this as the cells I use appear to have a lower internal resistance to some of the newer higher capacity cells. I also regularly cycle my cells, particularly if there is a period of a couple of weeks or so between race meetings. I know that some people use matched cells to boost performance. However, any advantage gained can also be lost through drag, and losses caused by the motor and drive system. Careful preparation can obviously reduce these to an extent.

Fourthly, and in some respects one of the best modifications to make is to the rudder tube. As the rudder shaft fits inside a plastic moulding, the moulding can allow water to seep up the tube and into the hull. To prevent this is quite simple. Cut approximately 5mm of the rudder tube off and fit silicone tube over the rudder tube leaving a 5mm excess length. Apply silicone grease to the rudder shaft and refit the rudder. Finally, fit a washer between the silicone tube and the tiller arm.

Lastly, I have fitted an oiling tube and thrust washers to my propshaft assembly. The former aids with lubrication immensely. A note of caution though. When soldering a brass tube to the propshaft beware of heat damaging the plastic bushes in the propshaft. Fit silicone tube over the brass tube but allow an extra 2-2.5cm and within this fit a plastic or metal tube of considerably larger internal diameter to form an oil reservoir, to allow gravity drip feed. I fitted 4mm internal diameter plastic tube. When refitting the shaft I used silicone grease for the first couple of inches at the prop end of the shaft to help prevent water ingress, and help trap oil in the shaft.

I have also found my original decision to fit Velcro to the battery tray and hull to enable moving the cells backwards and forwards to help trim the boat, a wise decision. This has been of benefit notably in choppy conditions, and in general trimming of performance.

I am still enjoying this boat and class of racing. There seem to be a few more members in my boat club racing these now, and the racing has been close and great fun. If you have not tried one of these, you don't know what you are missing!

Paul Oliver