(This is a new guest post from Greg Manter. It seemed like a great post to run during our latest Arctic vortex. Maybe it will make you feel a bit warmer. If you’d like to write a guest post, shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s interesting what people get up to in public spaces. On Market Square there are musicians, contortionists, costumed crusaders, four-square games, and chess matches. In World’s Fair Park there are ultimate Frisbee games, exercise groups, joggers, bicyclists, and a sailboat. Yep, a sailboat.
The pond in World’s Fair Park is a good place to sail. I’m not kidding. My remote-controlled sailboat has been out there many times. The pond is excellent for the purpose – it has seating/steps around the edge for easy access, and is big enough to get up some speed.
The remote control works the sail and the rudder, but there is no motor. The boat is propelled only by the wind. There’s always enough breeze to make the boat move, even on summer days when the air seems nearly still. When the wind kicks up, the boat leans way over and moves fast enough to leave a long wake behind.
The sailboat is bigger than you might think. Slightly less than 6 feet tall (!), and 3.5 feet long. 17 inches of the height is a big keel that sticks off the bottom of the boat to keep it from capsizing. Luckily for me, the boat isn’t heavy, and it quickly breaks down into its own carrying case.
You can learn more about the boats at the Sail RC website. The company is headquartered in Tennessee and the boats are made in Ohio. They seem to be purchased most often by adults who race them in clubs.
There’s a pond in Central Park where they rent these same remote-controlled sailboats. That’s where I got the idea and decided to see if the same boat would work in Knoxville. It does, just fine. Here’s what they have going in Central Park.
I sent an email to the MUSE children’s museum people suggesting they look into offering remote-controlled sailboats for rent on the World’s Fair Pond, but I didn’t hear back from them. The sailboats could be used to teach kids about physics and weather, while having fun. The controls are easy to use and young kids have no trouble operating them in Central Park.
This year’s sailing season is over. The waterfall in the pond is off and I the pond has been drained for the winter, but when spring comes, I’ll be back out there with my boat. It’s a good way to pass an hour or two on a lazy afternoon. Maybe you would enjoy it, too.