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Yachts Take Sail at Lake Anne Regatta

Skippers, by remote control, race model sailing yachts at Lake Anne.

Adjusting the sails and the rudder, Skipper Scott Allen of Herndon single-handedly navigated his yacht between other boats, around buoys and across the finish line — all with his feet firmly planted on a dock.

In a series of races for model sailboats Saturday, the Lake Anne Yacht Club held its inaugural Victoria Regatta sponsored by the Lake Anne Community Association.

Allen and about 15 helmsmen tested their remote-controlled Victoria model sailboats in the northern waters of Lake Anne off the shores of Washington Plaza.

“It’s just like full-scale sailboats — you got to work the wind,” said Allen, who has been sailing his model boat for about a year. “It’s all based on the skill of the skipper.”

FOR DON TYSON of Annapolis, who has been sailing model Victoria yachts for 30 years, the hobby is a reminder of the real thing. “I just like boat racing. I raced big boats for years. I raced comets, rainbows and a piercing 10-meter,” said Tyson. “But at least with these, you don’t have to buy a lot of beer for the crew.”

Because all the boat specifications are governed by the American Model Yachting Association, the boats all have the same length, 30.7 inches, displacement, 4.5 pounds, sail area, 433 inches, and mast height, 42.75 inches.

“There are very few modifications allowed from the kit,” said Allen. “There’s only two controls: one controller controls the sails and the other controls the rudder.”

“Roses” is the name Peter Carpenter of Reston gave his model Victoria. “As in ‘take time to smell the roses,’” said Carpenter, who has been sailing his model for less than a year. Like many at the event, Carpenter didn’t have any prior experience sailing model boats or real sailboats.

Other contestants said they have an affinity to all things nautical. “I guess I just love watching them sail,” said Steve Chitty of Easton, Md., who also sails “big boats.”

While some of the sailors said they enjoyed the sport because it helps them relax, all of the participants took the races seriously. “It’s the nut on the tiller,” said Tyson. Or in laymen’s terms, the skipper makes all the difference.

— Jason Hartke