RC boatmen drawn to Lake Wilson

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From the shore of Lake Wilson, Bob Mattern finessed radio controls as his two model sailboats plied across the water side-by-side.

Mattern handled the radio in each hand with ease.

“I’m ambiphibious” Mattern joked, blending the words ambidextrous and amphibious.

Mattern is in a small group of radio control model enthusiasts who sail at the lake every Monday morning.

The group got started about three years ago.

“We were sitting out here one day and saying, ‘Boy it sure would be nice to have a little sailboat,’” said Mike Leggett. “Then one guy got one, and another got one and then another.”

It’s just been a progression of that.

“We have had as many as nine boats out here,” said sailor Dick Proseus. “It’s a social event.”

They show up at 10 a.m. and sail until about noon, though on the really pretty days they might go into the afternoon.

The men prefer winds of 15 mph or less, with 7 or 8 mph being just right.

Mattern takes two boats.

“It comes in handy,” Mattern said.

“My grandson will come out sailing with me sometimes. It’s relaxing.”

Each boat has two servo motors, one for the steerage and one to pull in or let out the main and jib sheets.

“It isn’t going to sink. It’s not going to crash,” Proseus said. “It is really easy to let people try.”

Unlike a real boat, known by owners for being a hole in the water into which one throws money, repairs are inexpensive or without cost.

They will sometimes put out buoys and race around them.

“There’s no money involved, just bragging rights,” said Al Takatsch. “We’re not competitive, but we’re competitive.”

The group said Lake Wilson is the ideal body of water for their hobby.

“I love it,” Leggett said. “It’s perfect for us.”