This AMYA FAQ is intended to be a general FAQ biased toward the model yachting scene in the United States. Links to other sites are provided where appropriate. "Model Yachting" is the term generally used to describe operating model sailing craft. It does not include static display models, power boats, submarines, etc. It does include non-radio controlled models.

General Questions

Q. How is model yachting organized?
A. The organization of RACING activities closely follows big-boats. The ISAF (International Sailing Federation, formerly IYRU) is the worldwide organization for all yacht racing. The ISAF designates a "national authority" in each nation. In the United States, the national authority is US Sailing (formerly USYRU). US Sailing recognizes the American Model Yachting Association (AMYA) as the authority for model yachting. The ISAF also separately recognizes model yachting. IRSA (International Radio Sailing Association) is the worldwide radio sailing organization, an affiliated member of ISAF. handles aspects related to models. Each country generally has a "division member" of the IRSA. The AMYA is the division member for the United States.
The Racing Rules of Sailing have an appendix (E) that modifies the rules common to all yacht racing for Radio Sailing. This appendix is now published in books on rules intended for big-boat sailors. The AMYA has also incorporated appendix E into the AMYA Racing Rules.

Q. Why Join the AMYA?
A. As a member of the AMYA, not only will you be a part of a flourishing alliance of sailors of all ages and interest levels, you can expect to enjoy numerous benefits at a fraction of what a ‘big boat’ association membership would cost. As a member of the AMYA, you will be kept informed of all the latest developments within the model yachting industry with our first rate quarterly magazine, Model Yachting. Additionally, membership in AMYA affords you access to a customized website that is the top source of model yachting information anywhere.
Whether model yachting to you is a sport or a hobby, you will be among over 3,000 people who share your enthusiasm for this growing industry. Membership in the AMYA provides you with an opportunity to officially register your models in AMYA and internationally sanctioned classes. By officially registering your models, you will be eligible to sail in scheduled events and competitions around the nation and even worldwide. By joining the AMYA you are a part of the model yachting fraternity, linking you with people all over the globe.
Membership in the AMYA gives you a voice in the hobby industry. Your membership and class registration give you the opportunity to make recommendations and vote on class rule changes. As our membership grows, we will be advocating advances in model yachting technology, such as manufacturing radios designed specifically for boats.
Take advantage of this excellent opportunity to become an active member of the model yachting community and enjoy all the benefits AMYA has to offer. Join today!
We expect to see all of you as AMYA members before the boats hit the water next season.

Q. What about non-racing aspects of the hobby?
A. There are no international organizations that specifically focus on non-racing aspects of model sailing, but most organizations have interest groups that are interested in scale, design, technology, etc. The AMYA's charter includes non-racing activity, and Model Yachting magazine carries articles on all sorts of topics. Most clubs have several members who are not racers, and there has been considerable recent interest in building and sailing "vintage" pond boats from the pre-radio control era. The US Vintage Model Yacht Group is the premiere organization for vintage models, and has an international following. There are also scale modeling facets of the radio control hobby that are largely non-organized. There is a group interested in schooners within the AMYA, and there are considerable numbers of scale operating sailing craft operated by members of the Scale Ship Modelers Association (SSMA).

Q.How do I learn about Sailing?
A. Start with our about sailing links page. Here you will find links to other sites with many pages explaining the basic ideas, terms, and concepts of sailing that apply to model yachts as well as full size yachts.

Q. What class of yacht is the best one to get?
A. The best class of yacht to get is the one that is sailed most often in your area. If more than one type is popular in a given area, the lower cost option is usually better to start with. The sailing performance of a yacht is very strongly determined by the laws of physics; dissimilar boats sail very differently, and most people find it more interesting to sail with boats of the same class.
The AMYA recognizes more than 20 classes of yachts at the present time. However, not all of these classes are active in every area. Most classes have regional "strongholds" where they are dominant. Most classes are not large; a "large" class may have just 100 boats registered at any one time. The biggest classes have around 500 boats. There may be many more than these sailing - the AMYA registration process is geared toward serious racers. Do not be surprised if you live near a club that sails a class not even recognized by the AMYA. It is the nature of class development that a particular site will have a fleet of as-yet-unknown craft that might be the next Big Thing.
Classes can be divided into "one-design" and "development" classes based on the class rules. In general, one-design classes attempt to make all boats alike, whereas development classes allow new designs and other variations. In practice, there is a range of both types. See the Classes page for more information on classes.

Q. What Radio channels can I use?
A. See our Frequencies page, in the US there are six 27MHz channels, thirty 75MHz ("surface") channels, and virtually unlimited 2.4 GHz channels available.

Q. Where can I get plans for building?
The best bet is to contact the class secretary. Some classes restrict what the owner can build themselves. For instance, some classes require that the boats come from a single manufacturer, or be molded from Class- approved molds. Some classes allow the owner to build to a very specific plan, and others allow any design within the rules.
The AMYA has a few sets of plans for sale for some classes. We are trying to dramatically increase this set, and eventually hope to include electronic versions of plans on-line.

Q. How do I find out about races in my area?
A. You can jump to the AMYA Regatta Schedule to see listing of sanctioned races. However, there are many more, less formal races that are conducted. Contact your local club. There is someone who knows the entire schedule. Most racing activity is managed by local clubs. Hobby stores are another place to find out about activity in your area. Your AMYA regional director can also help locate a club or help start one. You should become a member of a local club before making too many decisions about what kind of boat you will get.

Q. Is there any information available on Multi-hulls?
A. The AMYA presently does not recognize any multi-hull class. There is a Formula 48 multihull class attempting to form an AMYA sanctioned class. See more info at the AMYA Open Class page. The predominant area of international multihull activity is in France, with some others in the UK. There are two other classes overseas: A "Mini-40" and a 2 meter class.

Q: Where can I find more about Radio Sailing?
If anyone has additional information, please send it to the Webmaster.

AMYA Procedural Questions

​The AMYA By-Laws describe the details of AMYA procedures. If you have more detailed questions than covered below, you should refer to the by-laws or raise the question with your regional director.

Q. How do I join the AMYA?
A. Fill out the membership application ( online or PDF) and send it in with the appropriate fee. You do not need to be a US citizen, live in the US, or even own a boat.

Q. How do I register my boat with the AMYA?
A. Contact Your Class Secretary to Register Your Boat. You can find out the correct procedure by going to the appropriate class section. If your boat is not one of the classes recognized, it is still worth it to register it in the Open class. Once a particular type of boat gets enough interest (currently 20 AMYA owners), it can be recognized as a class. Only by registering it will others in the class know how many people have it.

Q. How do I get a new class recognized by the AMYA?
A. Get the names of 20 AMYA members who will register boats in the new class. Develop a set of class rules to govern the class. Select a provisional class secretary to manage the class before elections can be held. Submit all this to the Executive Secretary, who will verify the names and announce the class to the membership.

Q. How do I start a new AMYA club?
A. First, get the AMYA document on running a model yacht club. Then get the names of 3 AMYA members, pick a name for the club, and write a letter or complete the online form to the AMYA Executive Secretary saying you would like to have your club recognized by the AMYA. All three members should sign the letter and include their AMYA member number. You must submit the full contact information for one AMYA member who will become the official contact for the club. Additionally, we would like an email address for someone who can get late-breaking news to the club.

Q. Does it pay to become a sanctioned club with the AMYA?
A. Yes, it does "pay". Becoming an AMYA sanctioned club means you get the AMYA working for you in membership recruitment, product development, and regulatory areas.

Every new member gets a list of sanctioned clubs. These are your most natural source of new members. Furthermore, the AMYA publishes the list of sanctioned clubs widely, including on the Internet, so even non-members who are interested can locate you and join your activity.
In product development, the AMYA works with manufacturers to try to ensure that equipment appropriate for sailing is produced. We do this mainly by getting them exposure to our membership base and letting them know there is a market. They understand that not every potential customer is an AMYA member, but that clubs have tens and sometimes hundreds of members, AMYA or not. The more clubs we have, the better chance you have of finding that radio on 75mHz, or the sail winch + radio package designed for our hobby.

In regulatory areas, we deal with insurance, race rules, class rules, and join with other hobby organizations to make sure we provide the support out members need. Through AMYA, your club can get reasonably priced Pond Owner Insurance certificates for the pond owner. This is impossible to get otherwise, even at 5 times the price. In the other regulatory areas, having the AMYA take on national and even international level responsibilities multiplies the efforts of any club.

In addition, the board is actively considering more incentives, both for AMYA members to join clubs, as well as for AMYA clubs having AMYA members. These will be even more direct benefits to sanctioned clubs.

An AMYA sanctioned club must abide by AMYA regulations. Essentially, if your club is a closed society, with little interest in getting new members, then AMYA sanction should not be pursued. The AMYA is trying to ensure that every sanctioned club is a place that someone can join and sail regularly, and be assured that certain minimum levels of sportsmanship are maintained.

Q.  What are these chevrons I hear about regarding racing?
A.  Winners of a National Championship Regatta (formerly called an  Annual Class Championship Regatta) are entitled to display Gold colored chevrons on the hull or mainsail of the winning yacht. Winners of Regional Championship events display Red chevrons. Green chevrons may be worn by winners of annual recurring events: The Class Secretary or class owners association determines which event or events are eligible as Green Chevron Regattas. Black chevrons may be worn by winners of Local Club Championships.
Three chevrons are awarded for First Place, two chevrons for Second Place, and one chevron for Third Place. Chevrons should be about two inches wide and one quarter inch deep. The pointed end of the chevron should point up. Numerals, about one inch high, indicating the year won (ie. 75 for 1975) should be placed directly below the chevron. Only one set of chevrons, the highest in event status, should be displayed. Gold takes precedence, then Red, then Green, then Black).

Q: Where do I obtain chevrons for regattas?
A: The Regatta Coordinator distributes chevrons. The regatta must be sanctioned (and therefore known to the Regatta Coordinator) in order to get chevrons.