My love of RC boats stemmed from a love of anything fast and loud particularly if that noisemaker was a v8 chevy engine. I can still remember that day in 1976 when I was still knee high to a grasshopper and my dad towed home a brand new ski boat hull with its sparkling gelcoat. I spent the next 18 months watching and ‘helping’ him in the family shed working on his pride and joy, totally fascinated and in awe. I was even more interested and eager to get dirty when he came home with a greasy old 307 chev from the local wrecking yard. To see it stripped down to its core and watch the seemingly endless amount of parts reassembled into a sweet sounding V8 got me hooked.
At 19 after owning a few wooden clinker ski boats of my own I went down the same path, buying a new ‘Sawcraft’ bare hull and fitting it out myself, learning a lot along the way. I then went on to own a string of nice ski boats, all V8s of course, ending in a 90 mph Stevens ex race hull that I built a tunnel rammed small block chev for. My mid to late 20’s were spent building car and boat engines, both small and big block, for mine and my friends/family cars and boats. When 30 rolled around the extra mouths to feed put a stop to all that, but its certainly a fond memory.
Sometime in the mid nineties I impulse bought my first rc boat, being a little nitro multi hull that lead me into zenoah powered boats for the next few years. Then in 1998 I tried a brushless conversion on one of my nitro boats. Back then there was absolutely noone to ask or get help from when it came to brushless boats. There were no cheap trips to the lake in those days, melting lipos, frying esc’s and even burning the odd boat down to the water line was all part of the fun. I persisted with it and eventually learnt how to make brushless boats go fast while holding together.
After buying a few boat molds and building boats to sell on Ebay from scratch, I decided to try and save a few dollars by emailing a manufacturer about buying hardware direct. This was the early 2000’s and the first company I emailed just happened to be searching for a distibutor in Australia. That company was TFL Hobby, which is now the biggest Chinese RC boat/parts manufacturer. After Ebaying the excess parts from my first delivery virtually overnight placed a larger order, never intending for boats to be any more than some beer money on the side. After 6 months I sold my business that I had started 8 years earlier and poured all that money into my new venture. After the business outgrow my shed, I built a larger one to accomodate the growing stock demands, then the final straw came when stock started invading my pool room!
In 2012 I moved into a 120sqm retail store which increased sales but also required the need to employ staff. After 3 years the shop was no longer large enough so I moved into a 200sqm warehouse and switched to selling online only. The extra space not being used for glass cabinets was very welcome until that started getting tight. Later on in 2016 I moved into a 450sqm warehouse, then in 2018 leased an additional space next door solely for extra product that doesnt fit on the shelves inside the main warehouse!
It’s hard to believe my little ‘beer fund’ hobby on my home computer has grown to what it is now with multiple part time employees and warehouse leases.
These days I rarely ever get time to build boats let alone go boating, but the good thing about this sport is nothing stays the same and the day you stop learning is the day you die!