Villages R/C Model Sailboat Club enjoys strong bonds

Members of The Villages R/C Model Sailboat Club sail their model boats on Lake Mira Mar near Spanish Springs.

Don Hain learned how to sail at a young age.

Now that he is older, he continues to sail but on a much smaller scale — model versions. He’s a member of The Villages R/C Model Sailboat Club, which meets at 10 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at Lake Mira Mar behind La Hacienda Recreation Center. They try to sail until noon, weather permitting. They are open to new members and those who want to give it a try — and they don’t have to have any previous experience. They just have to be able to work a remote control and be willing to learn about the various models the club sails. “It amazes me when I was younger, in high school, that we could build a skipper in the garage and sail it on the river, spending the night under the stars,” said Hain, of the Village of Buttonwood.

While the group sails three models of boats throughout the week, they tend to reserve Friday sailings for models that will be used in upcoming regattas.

“We have a regatta coming up April 18 and 19 here at Lake Mira Mar,” said club President Bob Van Nuise, of the Village of Glenbrook. “Our club is hosting it. It is the 2020 National Championship Regatta for the US 12 Meter model, a beautiful full-keel, spoon-bow yacht of the old America’s Cup 12-meter design.”

Anyone is welcome to come out and watch. They just need to come early and bring something to sit on with any snacks they may want for the competition.

“I’m excited,” said Hain, who will be competing in the event. “I’ve been a part of this group for about three years and I’ve been making improvements to my boat to make it go faster, so I’m ready to see it in the competition.”

The competition also gives them a chance to see friends they have created through the bond of the boats.

“You make a lot of friends while sailing the boats,” Hain said. “You meet a lot of interesting people, too, everything from lawyers to retired military to people who just wanted to do something different.”

“We are always racing our various models,” added race director Thomas Engle. “But the greatest part about our club is its both for racing and fun. We make a lot of friends and then when we get together for events, we all meet up and it’s like time hasn’t passed.”

While the group mainly races against other members within the group, they do look forward to these outside bigger events.

“This particular event brings people from all over,” said Engle, of the Village of Springdale

To learn more about the club, visit its website at or drop by during club racing times. For more information, contact Van Nuise at

Staff writer Andrea Davis can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5374, or