By Mikayla van Loon
Lilydale is really quite spoilt for choice when it comes to clubs and activities and it is the home of one of very few radio remote control yacht clubs.
Lilydale Radio Yacht Club secretary Gary Todd said their 64 members come from all over to be a part of the 21 year old club.
“There’s only about four clubs in Victoria that cater for this racing and sailing. The number of clubs are few and far between,” he said.
People travel from Glen Waverley, Greensborough and down towards the beach, as well as from local suburbs, to join social and competitive racing on a Tuesday and Saturday at Lillydale Lake.
Saturday morning’s are dedicated to competitive racing.
“We do handicap racing, so that allows boats of various sizes, shapes and builds to race against each other,” Mr Todd said.
“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.”
Tuesdays are left for more of a social club meeting and racing of sorts.
“We have races but nobody takes any notice of the results.”
Mr Todd said he thinks the social interaction is what people enjoy the most about being involved in the club but the building aspects definitely intrigue people.
“There’s definitely a lot of discussion going on about what is the best way to build [the boats] and how to get the best performance out of the boats and I think a lot of people enjoy the building and the construction rather than the racing, I know I do.
“All the boats are built by the members themselves without anybody’s help but there’s always somebody around that can help out if you’ve got a problem with the build.”
Having joined four years ago after being a longtime sailor, Mr Todd has since built six of his own boats to race.
A lot of the club’s members are retired or of retirement age but Mr Todd said he would love to see some younger people join the club and get involved in the activity.
“A lot of them are people who have sailed and are out of sailing because of their age or they’ve got older and this is a lot more gentle on the body.
“But we do also get a lot of people, who have never sailed before, come down and join up and learn how to sail.
“So that’s what we’re looking out for, is those random people who walk past and get an interest and we can get them into sailing which I think is a great activity.”
With sailboats more readily available with boat kits now on the market, Mr Todd said it makes it easier for those who have never been interested or known about radio remote control yacht sailing.
Mr Todd said people are more than welcome to come down to Lillydale Lake and try out sailing and ask their members any questions.
Or even just go down and watch the boats in action.
“Certainly on Saturdays we have a lot of kids come past and watch us sail and you can always get them to bet on which boat they think is going to be first across the line.
“Lillydale Lake is very popular and I think we provide a nice little outlet for people walking past and just watching what goes on.”