. "UNW - Unlimiteds Northwest"

Getting started and how much will it cost?

The easiest and most cost effective way to enter the sport is to buy a used boat with a current registration. In the forum you will find a "For Sale"area as well as various vendors listed on the links page. The costs of boats are usually in direct proportion to their age and condition. My first year I bought a fully equipped boat with radio that had been around for 12 years, for $700.00. This was probably on the low end of the money scale. It was not real competitive but sure took a lot of abuse from me bouncing it off the beach a couple of times as rookies are want do. As a rookie you want something other than a brand new boat to abuse!

For a good used boat expect to spend in the neighborhood of $1200 to $1500 for a complete boat less radio transmitter and receiver. You will then have to go out and buy a radio system and support equipment. I recommend that you spend some money for a good radio. The radio is one area you don't want to scrimp on. Most boats that get wrecked by hitting the beach are from radio failure of some sort. I always recommend a 24-volt starter. These engines run such high compression that even with a 24-volt starter the glow plug is loosened until after the engine starts and then tightened down. In my opinion twelve-volt starters just do not have the torque necessary, especially when a boat stalls off the launch and you do not have time to loosen the glow plug and get the boat back in the water and up on a plane before the 30-second mark.

If you want to start with a new boat you have to make some decisions. First determine what boat you want and if the registration is available. Many of us that race in UNW and R/CU pick a boat that the registration is available in both clubs. Secondly are you going to build the boat yourself? There are some club members that build boats for others. Are you going to build out of wood or fiberglass? Does someone have the molds to make the cowlings, or is a plug going to have to be made? Is the graphics artwork available? These are just a few of the questions to be answered.

The best thing you can do is talk to a club member and find out what the best way for you may be. All the club members are very approachable and willing to help new people get started.

Plans are available from Newton Marine for just about any boat that has ever run in the Unlimited ranks. Fiberglass hulls are also available from several sources as well. You must make sure that the hull conforms dimensionally to the real boat. You will also need to acquire as many photos as possible of the full size boat to establish paint schemes and graphics. A photo of a boat running on the water will be the criteria for any paint scheme.

Once you register a boat with UNW you will also be given a rulebook to study. Drivers must qualify to race by passing an oral test and complete five laps in two minutes or less. A driver must demonstrate that they have adequate control over the boat while qualifying.

There are some variables in terms of cost depending on what type of hull you build and how many colors in the paint scheme. Here are some approximate figures:
Scratch built wood boat materials
$300
Fiberglass cowlings
$100
Wings and Uprights
$50
West Systems epoxy
$50
Plans to build a wood boat
$35
Complete, unfinished wood hull (w/no hardware)
$750
Complete unfinished fiberglass hull
$400 - $750
Radio System (w/o servos)
$250 - $350
Rudder servo
$65 - $100
Throttle/mixture servo
$15 - $50 each
Remote needle valve
$12 - $30
Remote needle valve with mixture control
$50
Engine
$400 - $500
Exhaust header
$25 - $60
Tuned pipe and muffler
$75
Strut, Rudder, Turn Fin, stub shaft w/brg, Cable
$115
Propellers
$15 each
Paint jobs and Graphics
$250 - $600
24 Volt starter and belt, starter batteries, glow driver
$135
Fuel (usually 50% - 60% nitro)
$30 per gallon
Glow plugs
$3.75 each
Misc. fasteners, set screws, clamps, clevises, ect
$20
Push rods and radio box seals
$15
Fuel and water cooling tubing
$10 - $15
Fuel tanks
$10
Some of these prices reflect the volume buys that the club makes in the winter. Hobby shop prices are quite a bit more expensive

If you have any questions e-mail me, Mike Cathey with your phone number and I will call you back. You may also e-mail any of the board members and they would be more than happy to help assist you.

If you are ready for some big time fun and a challenge to boot, this is the sport for you. Most guys who have been doing this for a long time still get butterflies before the start of a race.

Come to a race and see what we do, and join in the fun.