AutoMatters & More: IOM R/C Sailboat Racing; Sherlock Holmes & Art in Motion at The Fleet

(Jan Wagner / (C) 2017 Jan R. Wagner, AutoMatt)

“2017 San Diego Argonauts Mid-Winter Regatta”

In February, under the auspices of the San Diego Argonauts Model Yacht Club, 34 competitors raced IOM (International One Metre) scale model radio-controlled (R/C) sailing yachts at the Mission Bay Model Yacht Pond. One Metre refers to the hull length. The skippers came to race from across the United States.


There are very detailed, specific rules governing IOM scale model R/C sailing yachts. As is explained in the One Metre section of the International Radio Sailing Association (IRSA) website at, the IOM is the most popular R/C racing yacht in the world and is raced in over 30 countries.


dmt-our-columns-jan, dmt-our-columns,
dmt-our-columns-jan, dmt-our-columns, (Jan Wagner / C 2017 Jan R. Wagner, AutoMatt)

R/C sailing yachts tack back and forth along the racecourse, propelled by the ever-changing wind – a significant variable out of the skippers’ control. Over the course of the weekend many races (14) were run, in an effort to produce fair and equitable overall results. Points were awarded based upon finishing positions in each race. They were added together for each skipper, and then the worst two race scores were thrown out. The lower the total score, the better.

Since the Mission Bay Model Yacht Pond is relatively narrow, the fleet was divided in two and the races were run in pairs of heats.

There is a great deal of skill involved, including designing, building and fine-tuning the R/C sailing yachts; strategy, reading the wind and controlling the sails. Considering the relatively small size of the sailing yachts, and their variable distances from their skippers walking along the shore, vision plays a significant role too – especially when the yachts are in close proximity to each other as they negotiate the course. Blocking and contact – inadvertent as they may well be – is promptly called out and protests are lodged.



Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery
Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery (Jan Wagner / C 2017 Jan R. Wagner, AutoMatt)

The yachts must sail around the floating white markers, which is easier said than done in the congestion and shifting winds.

The relative familiarity of the California skippers with the wind and the pond seemed to provide a home court advantage. At the awards ceremony John Ebey (sailing #193: “britPOP!”) was declared the overall victor, although only by a single point over his nearest competitor, Mark Gollison (sailing #55: “V9”). This is a very competitive sport. For Bob Wells’ race report, including complete results from this regatta, go to

The USA IOM National Class Association serves to “promote the design, construction and racing of IOM sailboats and manage measurement, registration, ranking and regattas for IOM sailing yachts throughout the United States.” Yachts are available both in kit form and ready to sail. Several used boats were advertised for sale on the association’s website, with prices in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. To learn more about this challenging sport, visit


So Moved - The Art & Science of Motion
So Moved - The Art & Science of Motion (Jan Wagner / C 2017 Jan R. Wagner, AutoMatt)

“Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery”

The staff of The Fleet Science Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park never seem to run out of great ideas for new exhibits. This time they have devised not one but two of them.

“Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery,” open through June 4, 2017, is an ingenious ‘Who done it?’ murder mystery. Accept the challenge and as an amateur sleuth you will investigate the scene of the murder, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian London. You will follow in the path of Dr. Watson, making observations, gathering clues and using your deductive reasoning to try to solve the baffling crime. To help you, pick up a “Visitor Guide to Solving the Crime.” It contains tips, as well as spaces organized by chapter for you to make notes. Whether or not you are successful at solving the crime, all will be made clear to you in the study at the end.


Autonomous Mass Assembly
Autonomous Mass Assembly (Jan Wagner / C 2017 Jan R. Wagner, AutoMatt)

“So Moved: The Art and Science of Motion”

This exhibit at The Fleet explores motion and movement through interactive science exhibits and 15 works of art presented by contemporary San Diego artists. Types of motion considered include rotational and circular, back-and-forth, wave, random and the illusion of motion.

As an example, in the “Autonomous Mass Assembly,” small magnetic spheres that have been cut into pieces reassemble themselves back into those spheres as they are aggressively shaken in a machine, through “the random motion of molecules – called Brownian motion, which is a function of temperature, or kinetic energy.” Experience this and much more through June 11.

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Copyright © 2017 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #476