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Lilydale Radio Yacht Club

Home > Melbourne > Outdoor | Unusual Things to do
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published May 3rd 2022
Wind Power at its Best
A sea of white sails is the vista that confronts you on a visit to Lillydale Lake on any Saturday morning.

Model yachts
A sea of white sails.

The lake is the sporting arena of the Lilydale Radio Yacht Club, whose members partake in waterborne races with their radio controlled yachts.

Model yachts
More yachts.

The yachts vary in size and different sail areas. The Race Officer is the club's handicapper who works out the handicaps to give all yachts an equal chance in any race. He also controls the races from starting them to calling them off for any reason.

Yacht race officer.
Race Officer in his office.

Gary Todd, secretary of the club explains, "We do handicap racing, so that allows boats of various sizes, shapes and builds to race against each other. The handicap system has been built over a number of years to cater for the performance of big boats and small boats and hopefully, we get the right combination."

Model yachts
The race is on.

The LRYC is a not-for-profit club that supports people who like to build and sail model boats - no matter what sort.

Model yachts
A mix of sizes.


Model yachts
Looking after their models.

Most yachts are lovingly built by their owners, but kit yachts can be purchased for those that feel their abilities are sailing, not building.

Model yachts
The racing is close.

Once sailing, the shore-based sailors direct their pride and joy with a complicated control panel that controls sail settings and rudder.

Model yacht sailors.
While sailing, the sailors follow their yachts.


Model yacht sailors.
They follow their yachts progress.


Yacht control unit.
More yachts and their control unit.

Members meet at the lake on Saturday mornings around 9.30am and finish around 1pm. There is a regular monthly catch up barbeque after racing.

Model yacht.
Unusual to find one on its own.


Model and real yachts.
The waters are shared with real ones, but keep their distance.

On my visit, I spoke to Will Charlton, the secretary of the Australian D.F. Radio Sailing Association. (ADFRSA). "This activity that is really good for combating loneliness, plenty of use of the brain concentration with lots of new mates. It's fun! Even for me, being slightly disabled."
Yacht owner.
Will and his yacht.


If one loses sight of what's happening to one boat they lose speed so easily, let alone dealing with wind shifts. Just coordinating the rudder and sails in or out with the radio controller is responsive."

Model yachts
Rounding the buoy.


If any of the yachts manage to sail out of the range of the remote controllers or capsize there is a rescue service available a small two-oared powered tinnie.

Capsized model yacht.
Going...going...gone...and rescued.


Although the yachts are of various sizes they appear small while sailing around, but when lifted out of the water, many are taller than their owners,

Model yachts
Out of water, some yachts are taller than their sailors.

The Lake is accessible 24/7 with excellent facilities such as toilets, barbeques, picnic tables, shelters, a massive playground and much more. Well worth a visit. Even if just to watch people passionate about their boats.

Lillydale lake.
Lillydale Lake showing sailing area.


They also sail on Tuesday mornings, which is more of a social sail, but still enjoyable to watch. Whatever day, bring the kids as it may inspire them to be the next John Bertrand or Jessica Watson.
Lillydale Lake entrance.
Lillydale Lake entrance.



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Why? It's a pleasure to watch.
When: Every Saturday morning.
Website: lryc.org.au
Where: Lillydale Lake, Lilydale. Melways map: 38
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