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Barton Marine 2019 728x90

RPAYC head to the worlds with fast growing fleet of DF65 racers

by P. Burgess and RPAYC Media 7 Feb 00:50 PST
DF65 fleet at RPAYC racing on Pittwater © Dinghy Fever Photography

The Dragonforce 65 (DF65) is arguably the fastest growing fleet at RPAYC. The RPAYC fleet started on 24 November 2022 with 10 boats and has grown to almost 40, with 15-20 racing each week.

Radio Sailing has become hugely popular with current participants appreciating the technical and tactical aspects of racing. Many view the DF65 yachts as a vehicle for bringing old and new friends together, and the sport is recognised for contributing to participants wellbeing through socialising, with all the benefits that brings. At RPAYC, the DF65 division provides another opportunity for members to enjoy the sport of sailing and to make use of the Club facilities.

The original Dragonforce 65 design was introduced in 2013 but it wasn't until a major design and production upgrade in 2016 that it really took off. Over 60,000 are now sailed in over 25 countries. The Australian Dragonforce Radio Sailing Association formed in 2017, and already have almost 2,000 members with 25 joining each month. Interestingly, only 15% of Australian members race competitively with most enjoying the fun of social sailing.

The Association holds regional, State and National Championships each year with a Global Championship held every 2 years. The next Australian Championship will be held in Western Australia in March with several Alfred's members competing. The Australian Championship will be good training for the Global Championship in May at Nynashamn, Sweden. RPAYC members, Warwick Crossman and Phil Burgess, are ranked among the top DF65 sailors in the country and, along with 11 other skippers, have been selected to represent Australia. Phil and Warwick will form part of the largest national team outside of the Swedish team and will be the furthest traveled.

The boats are very well designed, low cost, with Restricted Class Rules and have all the same tuning adjustments as keelboats, using the same racing rules, tactics and strategies. As Chairman of the International Class Association, Phil Burgess sees great potential to grow the division even further, noting "I think it would be wonderful to add an RC unit to the Australian Sailing Tackers Program, as a segue for youngsters to transition from keyboards to transmitters to dinghies. Being able to see sail settings, rule incidents and tactics from off the boat is a key learning".

The International Class Association currently has 20 member nations with more joining each year (dfracing.world/about-2). "We differentiate ourselves from other RC classes by keeping sailing fun, ensuring good sportsmanship and skipper cooperation at every level from small social fleets to global regattas" notes Burgess. There are many high-profile yachtsmen sailing the DF boats including Ken Read from Norths, and World Champions such as Brad Read, Ed Baird, Tom Slingsby, Matt Belcher, Bruce Farr, Rafa Trujilo and many others.

DF65s race every Thursday, with a vital pre-race coffee in Halyards from 9:00am, racing 10:00 till 12:00, and lunch in the Club afterwards. RPAYC Skippers are willing to help and support new members, and are quick with the banter to make it fun! Phil Burgess will be holding a workshop for those interested in joining the fun on Thursday 15 February from 9:30am. For more details subscribe to the Alfred's enews or follow RPAYC on social media. Everyone interested in joining in racing are encouraged to reach out via .

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