The Okanagan Model Sailboat Association

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Stay warm and Healthy over the winter season

from the Okanagan Model Sailboat crew.

If you wish to be informed of updates to OMSA News and Events, please ask to join our e-mailing list.

Your address will not be shared with anyone. No marketing mail will be sent to you.

When and Where We Sail

Join us for some fun and exciting sailing in the ponds at Waterfront Park.

We sail together every Wednesday and Sunday, (weather permitting) from 1pm to 4pm.

Our sailing season is from mid-April to mid-November.

We sail in the lagoons/pond at Tugboat Beach in Kelowna’s Waterfront Park, with nearby parking on Sunset Drive.

About Our Boats

  • The yachts are powered only by the wind. There is no motor or propellor.
  • There is a heavy piece of lead on the bottom of the keel that stops the boat from tipping-over, even on a windy day. We have never had a boat sink.
  • The radio controller works even at very long distances…you would lose sight of your boat before you would lose radio control.
  • The boats require only a light breeze to get moving. There is always enough breeze to get them back to shore, even on a very calm day.
  • There are many types and sizes of radio-controlled sailboats around the world, but we sail the Victoria class because it is affordable and easy to transport by car.
  • There are Rules for the Victoria class that make racing fair and even.
  • The boat’s hull, keel and rudder are all identical and must be from the kit.
  • The sails are all the same size, but can be made by different sailmakers.
  • The installation of the servos in the boat is open for the builder to choose.
  • The boat is 80 cms (31 inches) long and weighs just over 2kg (4.5 lbs).
  • From the bottom of the keel to the top of the mast is about 140 cms (55 inches).
  • They fit into most car’s trunks or back-seats without needing to be dismantled.
A Victoria class sailboat ready to go sailing.

Learning to Sail and Race With Other Boats

They are really quite easy to sail… even if you’ve never sailed before.

It only takes a few minutes to learn the basic skills of radio-controlled sailing.

(driving your car to the pond is FAR more complex than sailing our little boats).

The sailor controls the sails with the left thumb (to increase or decrease power) and steers the boat with the right thumb (to move the rudder).

They are just like ‘real’ sailboats that sail on the lake or across the oceans, just smaller. The principles and controls are almost identical to any other sailboat.

We sail together on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons from April to November, weather permitting. Once a few sailors have arrived at the pond we hold races that consist of a 60 second Start countdown and then two laps of the course.

There are Rules to prevent collisions and to keep the sailing fun and fair.

The basic Rules are easy to learn. We will help you learn them as you progress.

If one boat bumps into another boat (by not following the Rules) the offending boat must do a 360 degree ‘Penalty Turn’. (Don’t forget to say “Sorry” too).

To ensure the sailing is focused on fun, not winning, the race scores are not counted and Penalty Turns are not enforced on Sundays and Wednesdays.

However we try to obey the Rules whenever we sail, to keep it fun and fair.

And good (honest) sailors will always do a penalty turn if they break a Rule.

We hold regattas 3 times per season. A regatta is a more formal type of racing.

During a regatta the race scores are counted and penalties are enforced. Prizes are awarded at the end of the day. It is a little more intense, but still great fun.

How to Get a Boat of Your Own

Our boats are built from a kit that is produced by Thunder Tiger Ltd. in Taiwan.

The kits have now become hard to find in stores but we are sometimes able to find them online. The kit includes the boat and sails, however you will need to buy the servos (small motors that move the sails and rudder) and the radio controller.
Building a new boat from the kit (with the radio and servos) will cost about $400.

The sails that come in the kit are not very efficient and most of our sailors have put better quality sails and mast on the boat during construction.
Adding a better set of sails and mast etc. will cost about $200 more.

There are many of the Victoria class yachts in the Kelowna area and they do come up for sale occasionally. Check the For Sale listings below.

Used boats will range in price from about $250 to $500, depending on the quality of the radio system, sails and mast.

The boats operate on AA batteries. Most sailors will use less than 20 batteries over the summer, and then recycle them. And, of course, the wind is FREE !!

The boats require very little maintenance and several of our members can help with any maintenance or repair issues that you may encounter.

The Association has a yacht named JB Schwab (named after the group’s founder) that we lend to new sailors so that they can try our pastime.

A Victoria class radio-controlled sailboat under construction.
It’s intense, close-quarters racing just after the start of a race.

Come on down, talk to us, borrow a boat and give it a try. You’ll be surprised at how easy and fun it is.

You can sail anytime by yourself, or sail with our group on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Or you can just sit on a bench in the sunshine and watch the action.

We will adapt our group activities to obey the latest COVID Orders from the Provincial Health Officer.

Boats For Sale

Billing Boats kit of the schooner Bluenose.

The hard work is done! This partially finished kit is available for you (or a hobbyist you know) to finish.

Billing Boats is a Danish company that has been producing top-quality kits for over 60 years. This kit has been beautifully planked and now waits to be finished. The end result will look just like the model pictured above. A homemade piece of fine art.

$75 OBO, contact for details.

Victoria number 74 is For Sale.

This reliable yacht has just had a major refit and new paint-job.

Brilliant blue enamel paint, polished until slippery smooth.

Blackmagick icarex sails from New Zealand in great condition.

Futaba 3802 and 3003 servos. Futaba Attack transmitter.

Quick-adjust bowsies fitted to forestay and sheets.

Windex, draft-stripes and tell-tales installed.

This boat is in great condition and is at an excellent price point for someone to start sailing in our fleet. Number 74 has won races during test-runs since being refitted and is now waiting for a new owner. If you are interested in our sport and would like to join us with a competitive boat for a reasonable price, please contact

As always, “try it before you buy it”, with no obligations.

Price is $400, with full warranty.

If you are interested in buying or selling a boat, please contact us at because we sometimes know about upcoming offers.

If your boat needs a tune-up, new parts or sails, please ask us as we can help with all of that.

More Information About Sailing

About The Okanagan Model Sailboat Association

OMSA is not a formal Association or Organisation.

OMSA has no committee, members or membership fees.

We are just some people that sail radio-controlled boats at the same time and place.

Everyone that attends this public place at any time accepts that they are attending at their own risk and expense.

Back in 2002, John Schwab and Dick Duggan started sailing Victoria sailboats in the pond and their unofficial group was known as the Okanagan Model Sailboat Association. Over the next few years many Victorias were built in Kelowna, with a lot of construction help from James Anderson.

The efficient methods that James used were adopted by many other builders all over the world.

After John Schwab passed away, his boat “JB Schwab” was donated to the Association as a ‘loaner’ boat for new sailors to try our pastime.

Our big regatta in September is named the JB Schwab Memorial Regatta and the winner gets their name engraved on a beautiful trophy.

In 2021, the original spirit of enjoying an afternoon at the ponds with some good friends will remain.
Despite the challenges of COVID our group has been able to maintain social distancing and enjoy an outdoor activity.

Please read the News and Events section to see how our group will adapt to the current Orders from the Provincial Health Officer.

We try to ensure that every sailor feels included, regardless of how fast their boat goes, and that any racing is fun and fair.

For More Information

For more information, please contact us at:

If you wish to be informed when the Latest News and Events section changes on this site, please ask to join our e-mailing list.

Your address will not be shared with anyone. No marketing mail will be sent to you.

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