With radio controlled aircraft beginners were warned against seeing the hobby on the telly and wanting to go out and build a 10ft 4 engine Lancaster as their first model.
Boats are not so bad, but it is still a good idea to start with a simple model to learn the ropes. I have a web site with free plans for beginners models
at http://www.eezebilt.tk , but you may find a commercial kit more to your taste..?
If you have not touched radio control for a long time, you may also need to familiarise yourself with the changes in radio and electric power which have taken place - depending on how long 100 years is!
The common advice is to find a club near you - at the least find a place near you where you can sail - and talk to people with model boats there. That's the way to get practical tips about being able to follow this hobby in your chosen location...