Gsouth

420 vs 505 for beginner

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Hi guys

Some background:

Im new to this forum and to sailing.

My wife and I are very interested in learning to sail.

I found a few local dinghy sailing clubs and was planning on taking some lessons and renting a dinghy thereafter, but I met a keelboat sailor the other day, and he suggested that I just buy one and learn to sail it then.

 

To get back to my question, what would you guys suggest to be a better buy? 420 or 505?

I would be looking for something that I could use to learn on, but that would still be useful once we get better at it.

I am rather tall, about 1.9m and together we probably weigh +- 160 to 170kg together.

It would also be a bonus if I will be able to sail the boat by myself on the days shes not available to join, obviously not at a racing standard, but just so I can get out onto the water.

 

As you guys can probably gather, I dont know much yet.

The 505 I can buy is about half the price of the 420, but I know that the 420s are popular here as a training dinghy for double learners.

I have no idea to what level either of them are kitted out, all I know is that they are both in good condition and have all their sails and a few extras.

 

Thanx in advance guys

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just go to the 505, you wont fit in a 420.... Dont go out in anything serious until you learn it. Then dont go out in any wind you haven't been caught out in by accident...

 

As with everything, a boat is as expensive as a piece of string is long.

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Thanx for the reply Mustang1.

Does it basically just come down to the size of the boat between these 2?

Just as a matter of interest, if looking at a 505 vs a 470, are their not certain dynamics, technicalities, or qualities that one would take into consideration between these 2?

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505 is not the right boat for a beginner.

Ask your local club what they recommend.

 

1. Get a boat that is your area

2. Get a boat that fits your size

3. Get a boat that fits your ability.

 

An Albacore is a much better beginner boat and husband & Wife boat if they have them in your area.

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The keelboat guy I spoke with suggested a sonnet, but I cant find one.

The reason Im asking about these 2 is because they are the only 2 I can find for sale at the moment.

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The keelboat guy I spoke with suggested a sonnet, but I cant find one.

The reason Im asking about these 2 is because they are the only 2 I can find for sale at the moment.

 

Well, keelboats can be a good option; although it's probable that the expense of keeping a keelboat will run away at some point. The big expense are sails and dockage, both of which go up exponentially with the size of the boat. If a smallish keelboat is in good shape, has good sails and gear, and you have an affordable place to keep it, then that could be a very good option.

 

The 5O5 is a hotrod, lots of power and lots of complication. It's a boat for athletes, and for people with a love of the technical side of sailing. It's big enough for grown adults, and is certainly learnable. The 420 is smaller in all dimensions, for average-size adults it will be a bit of a tight squeeze to sail one. Still do-able, and because it is a simpler boat with less horsepower, it is generally considered a better boat for beginners.

 

Whichever way, don't be in such a hurry. Find a peer group of sailors you can learn from, invest time & effort in fitting in with them and learning how the boat works, take a turn skippering when you've got the basics down... then look for your own boat. You will know enough more about it then to not need advice from us (although, we are really smart folks here)

 

FB- Doug

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I love the 505. Sailed/raced them for years.

 

Could not recommend one to a beginner w a good conscience.

If you and your wife have a history of actively doing sports, then it would be a weak maybe.

 

The hulls don't like touching a peer or a shell on a beach.

They are powerful and fast.

 

If you really want to push the 505 idea, get in touch w someone w the local class and have them take you for a ride, then see if you can drive one.

 

Definitely try before you buy.

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I was new to dinghies, but not to sailing, when I bought a 5O5. It is a really fun boat, but can be challenging. I wouldn't have wanted to be newer than I was when I started with it.

 

I sold my 5O5 to a new sailor (I tried to talk him out of it, but not that hard when he showed me the cash). He only took it out twice, and it's been sitting on the dock degrading since then.

 

The 5O5 is a lot of fun when you have it blasting along. If I ever buy a 2-up dinghy again it would probably be another 5O5.

 

It seems like a Tasar, Vanguard V-15, or similar would be a better beginner boat. Look for a non-trap/non-kite boat meant for two adults. Don't spend too much and look for one in good enough condition that you don't need to do any work to it. You can probably sell it for what you paid when you do move up.

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I found a few local dinghy sailing clubs and was planning on taking some lessons and renting a dinghy thereafter, but I met a keelboat sailor the other day, and he suggested that I just buy one and learn to sail it then.

 

 

 

Your initial plan was better than his advice.

 

You are too big for a 420 and too inexperienced for a 505. Do a bit of sailing first and you will have a better idea of the right boat to buy.

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

You have mentioned the trapese and spinnaker, but cant it be sailed without these until I have enough experience to try new things?

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Just a little contrary advice. IF you are close to the South Africa 5o5 fleet, and IF you and the crew don't mind a tough learning curve, and IF you're young and strong. If those are true, talk to the fleet, find an older boat that's a little "tougher" than the newer ones. 5o5s are known for a very long competitive life. If it's breezy where you are you could always cut down the sails a bit, but I don't think you'll need to.

 

Fleets love to bring in new people that have energy and enthusiasm, as that's the lifeblood of the future.

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Both of these boats would be horrible choices for you to start with. The 420 is too small, and the 505 is much too complex for a beginner.

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

 

 

Big sail area.

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A beginner in a 505 is like giving an inexperienced driver keys to an F1 car, both are going to crash a lot.

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Ideal 420 crew weight maxes out at about 260lbs. while you could still comfortably sail the boat, you will find that the boat will still low in the water (waves over the bow) and the crew will be rather uncomfortable scrambling over the trunk.

 

They are however great boats to learn on.

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

 

Big sail area.

Would reefing the sail not help with that? (I am already studying up on some terminology and theory, hehe)

Im not trying to convince everyone that this is a good idea, Im just trying to have some discussion.

 

The only thing I am wary about is buying a boat and becoming bored with it after a few months, and then needing to sell it and buy a more exciting one.

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Ideal 420 crew weight maxes out at about 260lbs. while you could still comfortably sail the boat, you will find that the boat will still low in the water (waves over the bow) and the crew will be rather uncomfortable scrambling over the trunk.

They are however great boats to learn on.

One of the reasons why I asked about the 420 is because it is being used by the clubs here as their training boats.

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Would reefing the sail not help with that?

Performance dinghies aren't designed to reef. That is more of a yachtie thing.

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Ideal 420 crew weight maxes out at about 260lbs. while you could still comfortably sail the boat, you will find that the boat will still low in the water (waves over the bow) and the crew will be rather uncomfortable scrambling over the trunk.

They are however great boats to learn on.

One of the reasons why I asked about the 420 is because it is being used by the clubs here as their training boats.

 

Yes but generally for youth-sized, not for two adults.

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

Big sail area.

Would reefing the sail not help with that? (I am already studying up on some terminology and theory, hehe)

Im not trying to convince everyone that this is a good idea, Im just trying to have some discussion.

 

The only thing I am wary about is buying a boat and becoming bored with it after a few months, and then needing to sell it and buy a more exciting one.

 

 

 

I'm a biased guy as I learned how to sail small boats on an International 14, which makes a 5o seem stable. It can be done IF you're up to the challenge. I spent most of 2 seasons swimming. but 6 years later won the local season champs. I've never been competitive on the world stage. best was mid-fleet in Australia. But I was in my early 30s learning to sail dinghies, and then got married/had kids. Now I still sail 14s, don't swim too often, but am not really competitive either.

 

If you choose to go down this path, you WILL have a very steep learning curve, and it's almost a requirement that you have a strong local fleet to take you out to show what you're doing wrong and right, how to pick the best first boat, etc.

 

If you don't have that - don't get a 5o.

 

If you do have that, and are the type to jump in feet first, I don't see that there's an issue. It's a fun way to do it, IF you have help.

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505 is not the right boat for a beginner.

Ask your local club what they recommend.

 

1. Get a boat that is your area

2. Get a boat that fits your size

3. Get a boat that fits your ability.

 

An Albacore is a much better beginner boat and husband & Wife boat if they have them in your area.

Plenty of beginning sailors have started in a 505. It's not recommended but thanks to the features of the 505 it is possible. You wouldn't fit in a 420 and would quickly out pace the boat/get frustrated. Don't waste your money on it.

 

This 505 that is half the price of a 420 must be old. If that's the case then make sure it has the ability to lean the mast aft (back) which will help you remove power from the sails. You're going to want to start in light air and get used to the boat slowly. You will, also, want to learn how to turn the boat upright safely after tipping it on its side or upside down. I had to teach someone how to right a 505 at an event in San Francisco years ago and that was a very scary experience. I recommend you make that one of your learning priorities.

 

Tom

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

You have mentioned the trapese and spinnaker, but cant it be sailed without these until I have enough experience to try new things?

You can't sail the 5O5 close hauled in winds above 10 knots without a trap (assuming a standard crew weight). There is too much sail area and you'll be swimming.

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You are from Cape Town, watch the footage of the start of the Caoe Town cycle race, if a bicycle blows away you are not going anywhere on a 505.

Your weight and combined weight do count against you, but it makes since you start off with something that won't punish you all the time.

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Thanx for all the constructive comments guys.

I think ill sleap on it a bit more.

What I am definitely going to do is try and find out about a local 505 hotspot club and get into contact with a few guys there.

I have also already contacted a sailing instructor to start out with the practical training, I think ill pose the question to him aswell, and perhaps ask his opinion on the specific boat that is for sale at the moment.

 

 

You are from Cape Town, watch the footage of the start of the Caoe Town cycle race, if a bicycle blows away you are not going anywhere on a 505.

Your weight and combined weight do count against you, but it makes since you start off with something that won't punish you all the time.

Yes, I was there, the wind was not fun that day.

Luckily we dont have to deal with that evryday. :-)

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Any 470s in the area? You could take lessons on the 420 and later purchase an older 470? They're a much more complex boat but the basics will be familiar. I would imagine much more forgiving than a 5O5.

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

Big sail area.

Would reefing the sail not help with that? (I am already studying up on some terminology and theory, hehe)

Im not trying to convince everyone that this is a good idea, Im just trying to have some discussion.

 

The only thing I am wary about is buying a boat and becoming bored with it after a few months, and then needing to sell it and buy a more exciting one.

 

 

You can put a flattening reef in the end of the sail which raises the boom a bit, but in general, the 505 does not reef well because of the bendy mast. if the main were lower on the rig, the mast bend would not be right, making the sail shape wrong, making it more difficult to sail. 505 is a somewhat tender boat, it will demand you move your weight or trim the sails fairly quickly with small changes in the wind. You and your crew will need to be paying attention. To a beginner in a tender boat, that sometimes is overwhelming. The 505 is not a durable boat as it relates to being put on the ground, or bumped at the dock. Most older 505's have very fragile decks, so for all practical purposes, you cannot go to the bow for anything(I know it's possible, but this someone starting out, don't want them pulling splinters out of their legs). Most 505's are rigged fairly uniquely, so you are somewhat on your own when it comes to fixing things. I am sure local 505 sailors would be happy to help, but in general, you will have to figure out the boat in pretty short order. There is no standard way to rig a 505.

 

If you are stuck on the idea of a 505. You can always get one and have some experienced people sail w you till you get the hang of it. I personally would not want to be a new person sitting in the front of a 505 with a new person sitting in the back. You can sail the 505 upwind without a trapeze in a fair amount of wind, you just end up going much slower. It is done all the time prior to the start of a races.

 

Some people catch on to sailing very fast, some people never get it. You have to decide where you fit on that spectrum and make your own choice.

If you make it past the initial learning stage, it will likely be very rewarding. That said, I have seen people get in over their quickly and quit the sport.

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I agree. As another larger sailor the 420 is very cramped. (6'5 225lbs) and does not really get going till 15k of breese.

 

505 will be a good boat for your size and what everyone else said is also true. Not quite an F1 but think powerfull sports car with limited throttle control.

 

So a couple of other things if you want to go down that path.

 

Heaver and or taller person should crew, Make sure that they are confrotable in the trap. As stated you can sail without it but in >12 it is difficult and not really fun.

 

I the boat is older make sure the tanks are water tight and that the boat does not leak through the bailers scuppers etc. Capsizing and discovering the boat is partially sinking is also not fun. (Same with the 420)

 

Take the boat out in 5k and flip it in deep water. Make sure both of you can right the boat and get back in.

 

I also second contacting the local fleet and getting a ride/drive to see if you like it with someone experienced.

 

finally all the hull numbers are listed on the 505 website with some history. Look up the number to see how old the boat is and what the construction materials are. That will give you some idea of the durability. Generally early boats bendy and fragile. Middle boats sturdy and stiff. Later boats somewhat fragile and stiff.

 

http://www.int505.org/history/test-item/sail-nos-0-to-6999 (Probably here)

http://www.int505.org/history/test-item/sail-nos-7000-to-9000

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A beginner in a 505 is like giving an inexperienced driver keys to an F1 car, both are going to crash a lot.

 

 

Maybe a bit more like one of those racing semi's than an F1 car

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What is it exactly about the 505 that makes it a difficult boat to start with?

You have mentioned the trapese and spinnaker, but cant it be sailed without these until I have enough experience to try new things?

 

they are unstable. While they aren't a skiff - they'll stay up at the dock, they will capsize very easily while sailing. Going downwind in a blow things can happen very fast - it takes a fine touch on the helm. In more sane conditions, capsizing can still happen for a variety of reasons. Capsize to windward while going upwind because you lost power (lull in the wind, driver headed to far into the wind, etc) and the skipper/crew didn't compensate for the new balance (by pulling in the main, coming in from a hike, coming in off the wire, not pinching etc, or to leeward - because the opposite scenario i just described. This is true of all dinghies, but the 505 is a bit less forgiving than...say... an albacore. You can't sail it without trapping in more than what... 10kts? Trapping isnt hard but it adds a big element. Capsizing is, for the most part, no big deal. You can learn to sail without a spinnaker, though. Someone mentioned the 5oh is complex - this is true - there is a lot of freedom in the way you rig the boat (line adjustable shrouds/caps etc). However, you dont need to buy a boat with all the bells and whistles - you just need a hull mast and sails, then set it up as you like over time if you decide you need the fancy systems.

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The front of the boat is 80% of the difficult part of a 505. If you have an experienced crew on the wire, you can put any sailor at the helm. It is easier to steer than a 420--bigger boat, more time to react.
On the other hand, an experienced helmsman can take a newbie on the wire in up to about 15 and teach that person.

Basically, as long as one of the people in the 505 is experienced, you can easily do it.

If both are brand new to sailing, well I would recommend a slower more low powered boat first.

505 has a narrow waterline and high CG so it is tippy like a wildwater canoe is tippy. This makes it *easier* to sail in challenging wavy conditions (boat not pushed around) but harder for a beginner because it heels more with small changes in wind pressure.

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OPB!!

 

Other people's boats!!!

 

Get some rides.

 

Get more rides.

 

Then get rides on the boats you are beginning to think about buying

 

 

Then step back and think about it

 

Go for more rides.

 

Think about when you had the most fun

 

It may be a fleet with people you

Love but you only sorta like the boat

 

That describes pretty much every boat I have ever owned

 

"Boats that come with a group of friends. "

 

 

Get one of those

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I just read on another forum post that a guy fit a smaller mast and sail to his 505 to make it less difficult to sail.

would something like this be worth it or does it become too complicated?

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Well you could do that. Bearing in mind any changes better be fully reversible, otherwise you've got a boat nobody else would want to buy and that, correct me if I am wrong, you've no experience of making major changes to boats. Or you could go ahead and buy the right boat for you, that someone else has already sorted out so you've just got the minor task of learning to sail it. Or you could get some lessons first so you'd understand better which is the right boat for you. I'm still not sure why you think buying a boat before you can sail is such a good idea.

 

Dinghy parks are full of rotting boats that someone thought they had the skills, fitness and time to get to grips with, until they scared the shit out of themselves,

 

You have plenty of good advice here already, I'm out of it now. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Well you could do that. Bearing in mind any changes better be fully reversible, otherwise you've got a boat nobody else would want to buy and that, correct me if I am wrong, you've no experience of making major changes to boats. Or you could go ahead and buy the right boat for you, that someone else has already sorted out so you've just got the minor task of learning to sail it. Or you could get some lessons first so you'd understand better which is the right boat for you. I'm still not sure why you think buying a boat before you can sail is such a good idea.

 

Dinghy parks are full of rotting boats that someone thought they had the skills, fitness and time to get to grips with, until they scared the shit out of themselves,

 

You have plenty of good advice here already, I'm out of it now. Good luck with whatever you decide.

 

I am taking in all the advice I am getting, just bouncing around some ideas to see what the expert opinions are.

I am also taking this oportunity to find out how you guys think and what kind of technical aspects to take into account and learn a little more. (I wouldnt have thought that major alterations would need to be made to fit a different mast, but by posing the question, It has been added to my list as a point to consider)

I apologise if my learning method has been aggravating.

 

Thanks again.

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Conceptually lots of things are easy.

In practice, some things are more expensive time consuming or annoying than in concept.

Putting a different rig in means making shrouds and a forestay. Thjat is money that won't be useful for anything else. Similarly with the mast where it lands on the keel. That may or may not be annoying. Then there are the shrouds. Also the height of the boom needs to be right. A rig from a different boat may or may not work out.
And you have to find that other rig. And buy it. Or buy new stuff because you can't fidn a suitable rig. Then you have new stuff that won't be useful for other people.

Etc.

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someone wrote that the crew (person in the front of the boat) should be confident with using the trapeze.

As far as I understand you are both new to sailing and new to dinghies. Therefore I assume that none of you are confident using the trapeze.

Using the trapeze really takes a while getting used to and you should only start it once you feel confident with all the other aspects of boat handling and dinghy sailing in general.

 

Yes you can start to learn how to sail on a 505. it is not impossible. It works very well especially if your venue has typically light or medium winds.

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You don't necessarily need a different rig. Just cut a couple of feet from the foot of the sail. It may work.

 

C51JZgnXMAEWkZk.jpg

 

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You do lose mast tip response, though. And balance might be an issue, depending on the boat.

 

Were I to be the OP, and not knowing what I don't know, I would take some sailing lessons locally to give an idea of the basics, then spend a week at a dinghy sailing holiday place, spending all day every day sailing just to get an idea about different boats. Best place in the world is probably Minorca Sailing, who have a huge fleet.

 

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Dude, you need to look for a different boat. Learn to sail, THEN look into a 505.

 

I kinda have to agree.

 

505 is not a F1 car. But a powerful rally car. not ideal for driving lessons.

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One thing that nobody else mentioned is that the big person is also generally the crew, and not the driver, in a 505. That's not a requirement, but if you have any racing aspirations then make sure that she's interested in helming.... She'll need your weight out on the trapeze.

 

 

 

Dude, you need to look for a different boat. Learn to sail, THEN look into a 505.

I kinda have to agree.

 

505 is not a F1 car. But a powerful rally car. not ideal for driving lessons.

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I learned to sail in a Laser. You can usually find a cheap old Laser for $1,500 or less. It's a tough boat, easy to learn on, but has enough performance pep to make it exciting even after you learn the basics.

 

The only criteria it doesn't satisfy for you is that it's a single person boat. But at only $1,500, why not just pick one up and you and the missus can learn on it, and you can then always keep it around to sail alone when your wife is not up for sailing? Even if you could sail the double hander sailboat yourself, you'd want to have a Laser around to brave the really windy conditions. You certainly wouldn't want to take a 505 (or any double hander) out by yourself in 25 mph winds, even once you are a competent sailor. But 25 mph winds is pretty routine fare for a competent Laser sailor. And it's pretty easy to develop sufficient skill in a Laser to get it to sail up on a hydroplane. Once you do that, you'll really be having fun and can progress on to more challenging boats.

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This is the best answer....period!

 

OPB!!

Other people's boats!!!

Get some rides.

Get more rides.

Then get rides on the boats you are beginning to think about buying


Then step back and think about it

Go for more rides.

Think about when you had the most fun

It may be a fleet with people you
Love but you only sorta like the boat

That describes pretty much every boat I have ever owned

"Boats that come with a group of friends. "


Get one of those

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You're getting a lot of great advice (see dogwatch for example), but you seem resistant to accept it. I suggest that you either follow that advice (buy neither and gain some experience before making a purchase), or screw it, buy the cheap 505 and see what happens. In other words, either learn from the mistakes and experience of others, or make your own. Both approaches are valid, but the latter seems to suit you better.

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This is the best answer....period!

 

OPB!!

 

Other people's boats!!!

 

Get some rides.

 

Get more rides.

 

Then get rides on the boats you are beginning to think about buying

 

 

Then step back and think about it

 

Go for more rides.

 

Think about when you had the most fun

 

It may be a fleet with people you

Love but you only sorta like the boat

 

That describes pretty much every boat I have ever owned

 

"Boats that come with a group of friends. "

 

 

Get one of those

Other people's boats.

That is indeed the best.

You don't need to own a boat. You only need to know someone who does!

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Hey Gsouth, to answer your question given your requirements, go with the 505. I was almost in the same spot as you 3 years ago. I've been wanting to try sailing, took a sailing lesson, sailed a Laser for a total of about 5 hours, got hooked to the feeling, needed a 2-place dinghy to play in the water and have fun with my girlfriend. Started looking for boats, found a nice one in my budget, got scared of its bigger size compared to a Lazer and got convinced in 10 minutes that I would definitely be able to sail it. It turned out I bought a 505, I didn't even know what that was until I started looking online about it, and saw some references to "small Porshe" or "F1". Yeah, maybe, but not in small winds on a sunny summer day.

 

Buy it, you won't regret it. In my case I ended up removing lots of rigging I didn't know what it was for, just to keep it as simple to sail as possible. And now I'm slowly re-adding those riggings realizing that, hey, I can now do more with that boat.

 

So as opposed to what others might have been saying, the 505 is a GREAT beginners boat, as you can sail it just like a Lazer with minimal rigging, and slowly fine tune and add rigging for better control and performance.

 

And of course, get to know your boat, practice capsizing and all, and be careful of high winds and gusts. Evething will be all right!

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This advice has been said above, but I'll throw my voice behind it as well.

 

Try sailing on other people's boats, learn to sail with a class or a sailor who needs a crew. While not guaranteed, you're likely to cause damage to any boat you buy to start with, especially if it's two complete novices going for a sail. The short story about boats is that they consume money and time like almost nothing else, and often a cheap boat is more expensive in the long run than a more expensive second-hand one. The maintenance and bits and pieces costs will keep you spending money to keep the boat going. Plus a boat that's in better shape, while more expensive, is likely to be easier to sail in general (systems setup correctly, appropriate controls and bits of string in the right place, good sails, etc).

 

So, long story short, learn on any boat that you don't own. Then save up and buy a decent second-hand boat, ideally in a class that is popular locally.

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me on SA, is the enthusiasm of posters who are totally clueless to the weather conditions, local classes sailed and the OPs total lack of sailing experience. The 505 is 100% definitely not the correct boat to learn to sail on in Cape Town, most of the posters on this forum would not be capable of getting a boat around a course in a normal summer south easter. 30 to 40 knots is fairly common during most of the sailing season.

I would go with Gouv's suggestion to start with and then maybe try a Sonnet, 160kg is slightly on the high side weight wise, but it will still be fun to sail in a breeze, the fastest I have been with that weight on board is over 24 knots in 29 knots of breeze! It is also extremely stable compared to most other boats.

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me on SA, is the enthusiasm of posters who are totally clueless to the weather conditions, local classes sailed and the OPs total lack of sailing experience. The 505 is 100% definitely not the correct boat to learn to sail on in Cape Town, most of the posters on this forum would not be capable of getting a boat around a course in a normal summer south easter. 30 to 40 knots is fairly common during most of the sailing season.

I would go with Gouv's suggestion to start with and then maybe try a Sonnet, 160kg is slightly on the high side weight wise, but it will still be fun to sail in a breeze, the fastest I have been with that weight on board is over 24 knots in 29 knots of breeze! It is also extremely stable compared to most other boats.

 

That was pretty much my point. IF you can sail in less than 10knots the 505 is very easy to sail and very safe. 10-15 If willing to trap is also pretty easy and safe. Above 15 it gets to be a handful and needs experience. So if one can guarantee less than 10k of breeze during your use of the boat than it works. Sounds like that is not really true. I did note SA was the location and it has a reputation for being breezy and factored that into my opinion.

 

I learned to sail on a Sunfish and when I was 10 (110lbs) was convinced I could sail a laser in 15k of breeze. I learned quickly I was wrong. On a laser that is not dangerous, but a 505 can be difficult to right in breeze and has all sorts of things to go wrong and get people in trouble.

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I have to admit, I sail my 1971 505 on a clearwater lake, no current, no tide, spectators on the shore having a beer & ready to come to the resue using their motorboat if really needed.

....

Oh, and no sharks! The environment really makes a difference.

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I think the 505 is the better option. The 420 will get too small quickly. The 505 can be tuned to be a rocket ship or a little more forgiving. You'll probably have some swimming lessons along the way but everyone has had their share. The 505 is the first boat that I've seen where the crew member often is the owner of the boat. I was there once too. I love sailing the boat and prefer to be in the front of the boat. Finding a helmsman that you are comfortable with can be a chore but it is well worth it.

 

If you can find a good used boat that you can afford, buy it. Then find the local 505 sailors and join them. When I was sailing a 505, they were a great bunch. Always ready to help. You can learn to sail on a leadmine but you'll have a hard time transitioning to a dinghy. Learn to sail a 505 and you'll be able to excel at sailing almost anything. My leadmine buddies used to laugh at mine. Then I'd show them how much I could control while under sail and change gears while on the water. Next I'd join them on the course and leave them in the dust. I learned tricks on my 505 that made me a much more effective leadmine sailor as well.

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Cape Town is not your average pond for a Sunday evening in light winds.

As someone mentioned above 30kn is a normal day in Cape town.

Not the best conditions for learning to sail in a 505.

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me on SA, is the enthusiasm of posters who are totally clueless to the weather conditions, local classes sailed and the OPs total lack of sailing experience. The 505 is 100% definitely not the correct boat to learn to sail on in Cape Town, most of the posters on this forum would not be capable of getting a boat around a course in a normal summer south easter. 30 to 40 knots is fairly common during most of the sailing season.

I would go with Gouv's suggestion to start with and then maybe try a Sonnet, 160kg is slightly on the high side weight wise, but it will still be fun to sail in a breeze, the fastest I have been with that weight on board is over 24 knots in 29 knots of breeze! It is also extremely stable compared to most other boats.

 

hey i was very specific about sailing in light air - if you aint got light air then that was up to the poster to figure out!

 

I think the 505 is the better option. The 420 will get too small quickly. The 505 can be tuned to be a rocket ship or a little more forgiving. You'll probably have some swimming lessons along the way but everyone has had their share. The 505 is the first boat that I've seen where the crew member often is the owner of the boat. I was there once too. I love sailing the boat and prefer to be in the front of the boat. Finding a helmsman that you are comfortable with can be a chore but it is well worth it.

 

If you can find a good used boat that you can afford, buy it. Then find the local 505 sailors and join them. When I was sailing a 505, they were a great bunch. Always ready to help. You can learn to sail on a leadmine but you'll have a hard time transitioning to a dinghy. Learn to sail a 505 and you'll be able to excel at sailing almost anything. My leadmine buddies used to laugh at mine. Then I'd show them how much I could control while under sail and change gears while on the water. Next I'd join them on the course and leave them in the dust. I learned tricks on my 505 that made me a much more effective leadmine sailor as well.

 

welcome back! haven't seen ya post in a while

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I would go to a Club or even a sailing holiday such as Menorca sailing (mentioned before in this thread) I have done the Menorca thing because it was way cheaper to go there and try out some boats that I had always wanted to try. Cheaper than buying a boat only to find I would hate it, if you see what I am saying.

 

Menorca sailing have a good variety. The RS500 might just tick the boxes for you. If you are a learner I would go the Laser route and nail the basics. I saw Keelboats being mentioned in this thread. I would still go the basic dinghy route if I were you, it can only give you a good appreciation of your weight and balance. Get the basics learnt and these will apply to all manner of monohulls, while applying to multihulls too in some aspects.

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I counted well over 38 adjustments on my 505. I sailed with a world champion group for a while, and learned a lot - at least about the first 15 strings.

 

Besides the physicality of the boat, it IS highly technical - a load of fun if you don't mind getting wet, doing lots of maintenance, and don't expect to win. Otherwise, find a simple local class first and then step up from there when ready.

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GSouth

You've asked great questions.

Looks like Thursday you'll have 15+ knots breeze.

Absolutely take dinghy lessons, the more the better.

You can learn on a keelboat, usually takes much longer and costs more.

 

- http://theewater.sailingacademy.co.za/

- http://zvyc.co.za/sailing/

Learn to Sail in a 505 !? Very few people could do that.

Sure in 5 knots, but this is Cape Town where 10+ is common.

 

Obviously 505's are awesome boats, popular since 1954.

420, presumably I420? Also a vintage technical hot rod, 1959.

Sonnet, looks great if you want to race, local fleet. Circa 1968.

 

If you want something more versatile and reefs, fast forward 50 years.

 

The RS Quest has a few videos popping up:

 

 

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If you really want to buy your own boat (I understand some people just need to have their own boat - me too).

Then I agree with leadminer that a modern training boat like the RS Quest will be much better suited to you (as a beginner) and your venue than a 505 or 420.

The 505 is a vintage design, but still a great boat - don't get me wrong!

But you might get very frustrated with it as it is not made for your needs.

 

A modern trainer dinghy like the RS Quest (there are similar boats from multiple manufacturers) will give you much more satisfaction - and for your partner too.

You can take someone else out if you ever wish to. It is large and stable enough - but not heavy and difficult to handle.

 

A boat similar to the RS Quest is what (I would say) you are looking for.

 

what to save a lot of money? then it's proabaly not the best option

What to have a lot of fun and don't waste your time with fixing the boat and swimming: then this is your best option.

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Having an Assymetric Spinnaker is a must, imho, for whichever dinghy you go for. Once you start playing with these you wont want to go without.

 

Such a huge range of boats, hopefully you will consider the advice and start with something a bit less technical. For what its worth, well from what I noticed, some of the more modern boats don't have that many strings to tweak in order for them to be performance craft. I was mightily impressed with the RS800 as an example.

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Go with the 5 oh and start out with the 420 sails on it. You don't have to use all the control lines on the boat just cause they are there. Its more roomy than the 420 and once you get used to it, you can power it up with the 5 oh sails etc.

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Is their a Fireball fleet in your area? A bit easier to learn on ,...especially if your all up weight is l

ess than 300 # B)

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Having a boat with sails that don't go to the top of the rig is simply asking for trouble if you capsize. The mast gets stuck in the mud easier and is more likely to break.

There is no active 505 fleet in Cape Town, and there never has been. Most of them are in Gauteng where the wind is a lot lighter.

Current peak wind speed as we speak is just shy of 30 knots at my lake.

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Go with the 5 oh and start out with the 420 sails on it. You don't have to use all the control lines on the boat just cause they are there. Its more roomy than the 420 and once you get used to it, you can power it up with the 5 oh sails etc.

thats an awful idea. dinghy masts carry a whole lot more prebend relative to the height of the mast than keelboats, and short hoist is just going to cause hell to the sailshape with the different luff curves. At best it wont be efficient or fast, at worst it'll make it harder to learn how to make sails do you what you need them to do or even create more drag/power than forward moment...

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Having a boat with sails that don't go to the top of the rig is simply asking for trouble if you capsize. The mast gets stuck in the mud easier and is more likely to break.

There is no active 505 fleet in Cape Town, and there never has been. Most of them are in Gauteng where the wind is a lot lighter.

Current peak wind speed as we speak is just shy of 30 knots at my lake.

We used to tie a lifejacket to the top of the mast so the boat doesn't turtle.

Taken the next step, see photo with mast float, can be removed after you learn.

post-35406-0-89257300-1490371063_thumb.jpg

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Ever tried holding a 7m mast upright in 30 knots with a mast float attached at the head. No? I didn't think so.

Those thing are designed for novices to use in light wind, not in our normal local conditions.

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Having a boat with sails that don't go to the top of the rig is simply asking for trouble if you capsize. The mast gets stuck in the mud easier and is more likely to break.

There is no active 505 fleet in Cape Town, and there never has been. Most of them are in Gauteng where the wind is a lot lighter.

Current peak wind speed as we speak is just shy of 30 knots at my lake.

Screw the prebend this isn't race day, and so what if the mast gets stuck with or without the sail on it. If you don't know the technique of getting the mast unstuck your in trouble either way. I call it all bullshit. He's just startin out guys. He will have much less of a chance capsizing with a smaller sailplan. He will learn many of the Idiosyncrasies of the boat. Then after building confidence on light air days try out the 5 oh sails until he gets up to speed on it. And so what if there is no 5 oh fleet in capetown. He asked about the 5 oh and the 420, not racing one design.

 

 

Go with the 5 oh and start out with the 420 sails on it. You don't have to use all the control lines on the boat just cause they are there. Its more roomy than the 420 and once you get used to it, you can power it up with the 5 oh sails etc.

thats an awful idea. dinghy masts carry a whole lot more prebend relative to the height of the mast than keelboats, and short hoist is just going to cause hell to the sailshape with the different luff curves. At best it wont be efficient or fast, at worst it'll make it harder to learn how to make sails do you what you need them to do or even create more drag/power than forward moment...

 

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Having a boat with sails that don't go to the top of the rig is simply asking for trouble if you capsize. The mast gets stuck in the mud easier and is more likely to break.

There is no active 505 fleet in Cape Town, and there never has been. Most of them are in Gauteng where the wind is a lot lighter.

Current peak wind speed as we speak is just shy of 30 knots at my lake.

 

Screw the prebend this isn't race day, and so what if the mast gets stuck with or without the sail on it. If you don't know the technique of getting the mast unstuck your in trouble either way. I call it all bullshit. He's just startin out guys. He will have much less of a chance capsizing with a smaller sailplan. He will learn many of the Idiosyncrasies of the boat. Then after building confidence on light air days try out the 5 oh sails until he gets up to speed on it. And so what if there is no 5 oh fleet in capetown. He asked about the 5 oh and the 420, not racing one design.

 

 

Go with the 5 oh and start out with the 420 sails on it. You don't have to use all the control lines on the boat just cause they are there. Its more roomy than the 420 and once you get used to it, you can power it up with the 5 oh sails etc.

 

thats an awful idea. dinghy masts carry a whole lot more prebend relative to the height of the mast than keelboats, and short hoist is just going to cause hell to the sailshape with the different luff curves. At best it wont be efficient or fast, at worst it'll make it harder to learn how to make sails do you what you need them to do or even create more drag/power than forward moment...

I rest my case on posters posting crap simply because they have access to a keyboard that is connected to the internet.

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I must confess I think much of the advice on this thread verges on criminally irresponsible.

 

Mate, the 505 was for many years the premier, most sophisticated and definitely most challenging dinghy in the world. Its a fine craft for the advanced sailing team, normally two fit strong men. As a beginners boat its about as suitable as one of those early notoriously rear end happy Porsche Turbos is suitable for a learner driver.

 

I think your first idea was the best one. The thing is, until you've learned to sail you really don't know what you like to sail, so giving it all a go in other peoples boats that other people maintain is all good sense. Then when you''ve learned to sail (and decided whether on reflection this is really something you want to do or not) then its time to buy boats. And the other even more important bit of advice about buying boats? Its not a marriage. You should plan to sell your first two or three boats fairly quickly as you start learning how, where and when you like to sail. Its quite impossible to pick a boat you want to live with for years until you've been sailing for a few years. So why bother trying? A first boat should be something that's common in your area and you'll be able to sell on easily.

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I must confess I think much of the advice on this thread verges on criminally irresponsible.

 

Mate, the 505 was for many years the premier, most sophisticated and definitely most challenging dinghy in the world. Its a fine craft for the advanced sailing team, normally two fit strong men. As a beginners boat its about as suitable as one of those early notoriously rear end happy Porsche Turbos is suitable for a learner driver.

 

I think your first idea was the best one. The thing is, until you've learned to sail you really don't know what you like to sail, so giving it all a go in other peoples boats that other people maintain is all good sense. Then when you''ve learned to sail (and decided whether on reflection this is really something you want to do or not) then its time to buy boats. And the other even more important bit of advice about buying boats? Its not a marriage. You should plan to sell your first two or three boats fairly quickly as you start learning how, where and when you like to sail. Its quite impossible to pick a boat you want to live with for years until you've been sailing for a few years. So why bother trying? A first boat should be something that's common in your area and you'll be able to sell on easily.

 

 

hey, at least no one recommended a Canoe. talk about nuts.

 

To be honest, we take newbies out on Int 14s. Why? they aren't afraid of looking stupid capsizing a bunch of times. They expect it.

 

Yes, I learned to sail an Int 14 on SF Bay. Not sure I'd recommend that for everyone, but if I look at my fleet, about 1/2 did it this way. Some were big boat guys who were bored, others just wanted to be on the hottest thing around.

 

Yes, it takes someone willing to really go at it, and go at it, and go at it, etc.

 

Not sure if the OP is up to that. I can't make that call. Only he can.

 

He's going to talk to the local fleets. that's the right thing to do IMHO

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my second boat was a Laser 2, there was no way I would have been ready for that without time with my first boat (Mirror). The Laser was like a rocket in comparison. I learned on my own, so no benefit of instructors let alone a Club.

 

Buying an unsuitable boat is a sure disaster, if not financially it could put you off sailing for life if you have a nasty experience.

 

It takes a while to learn the basics, yeah you can pick up all this in a weekend etc etc on some 'zero to hero' course. The reality is that it takes a lot of time to pick up the finer points, plus learning to deal with emergency drills; which should result in a safe and responsible crew.

 

I once taught a guy who had bought a Laser 1. He turned up wearing some outdoor jacket and matching trousers. After a brief discussion on the pitfalls of such attire we went out (it was a light breeze day). On returning I discussed in no uncertain terms that he ought to get a wetsuit etc as Lasers are quite flighty boats...plus to NOT go out on his own as he wasn't ready to do so. What did he do? goes out on his own and had a near death experience. He sold the Laser and didn't bother with sailing again. Totally silly of him.

 

I would go to a Club, join it and get some time on a modern dinghy, one fitted with an assymetric spinnaker and get some serious learning under your belt.

 

My route was quite pricey to the RS700, the Vago I had used for training was sold at a huge loss...had no choice unless I wanted to keep it the rest of my days..which I didn't as it had gotten too boring to sail.

 

Get that time on the water, then if you are sure its an activity you cant live without ...maybe then you can sit down and really think about what you want out of sailing, and which boat will tick the boxes?

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For those of us who grew up sailing as kids, It can seem easy. It isn't so, for an adult.

I grew up sailing as a kid. Racing lasers all summer at 12 years old. Then I became a sailing instructor at age 21 with junior fleet. then the next few years, I taught both dinghy and keelboats to adults.

Suggesting that a 505, used, without any knowledge of systems, is the right choice for an absolute beginner, is inadvisable. Sure, there are people who are just naturally good at stuff and will do fine. If you met the OP perhaps you could make that assessment. But we can't do that.

OP lives in a part of Africa I've never been to. Reputation for wind, I've heard stories from other 5 o sailors. One story was quite something. Big wind, have to get off the water, run it up the rocky shore. Sounds harsh but suirvival you know. Not Long Island Sound in August.

Adults who are sailing for the first time are clumiser than kids-----MUCH clumsier. They "over think" because that is what we are trained to do as adults. They are typically in abysmally bad physical condition, compared to a 12 year old. They learn and thrive but it is not the same sort of thing as for kids. Having taught both, I cannot stress this enough.

Perhaps the OP is the unusual one. But perhaps not.

Now let me make something else clear. I race the 505. I sail it as much as I can. I LOVE the boat. Almost everything about it. It is a very well-mannered but powerful boat. And it is easier to sail than many other dinghies. But it is not so easy to learn in if the wind is getting over 15. There is a lot of power. IF the crew (me) is in the boat, I can take any sailor throw her in the stern and blast around. And this is very doable. And if the wind is light, I can take two kids out in their harnesses and let them muck around in 10 knots out on the wire. But having both people beginners? No. Bad idea.

Finally, the suggestions with re-rigging. While it would be technically feasible to put a smaller or a reefed sail on, if the mast is still the same, the center of gravity is still high. The 505 is easier to recover than quite a few other boats, but it is also more difficult than quite a few, too. In my opinion you want a boat that floats low at the centerboard, and is small / light enough to confidently right with one person, with minimal experience. The 505 is low at the board, but a bit too complicated and big to right alone for a rank beginner. (I've sailed mine alone a lot and righted her in the middle of the Sound. Yes, it is possible.)

Finally: when I taught adults in the dinghies, it was in Collegiate 420s. Worked very well.

(In other threads you've probably heard me say that in big wind, the 505 is easier to sail than the international 420. This is true, for experienced dinghy sailors. The latter is faster to react. Everything happens faster. I'm talking about wind where you are severely overpowered. Mid 20s. But this does not translate into the 505 being easier to sail for a beginner, for the reasons I've stated above.)

How long would the OP have to sail something other than a 505, before he and she are ready? Well, that depends. If they are fit, coordinated, sail a lot the first year, they could be in the 505 the next, and they would presumably have learned enough about weather to know how to be prudent. So there is still the idea of buying the 505....just not sailing it until the next year....

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Any 470s in the area? You could take lessons on the 420 and later purchase an older 470? They're a much more complex boat but the basics will be familiar. I would imagine much more forgiving than a 5O5.

470's are rubbish. The 505 is a beautiful boat. Sails great in all wind conditions. The problem is too much horsepower. As others have mentioned it has a huge mainsail, and planes upwind in 15 knots with one person on the trap. It is designed to be sailed with someone on the trap. Not a beginners boat. I would look for something like a Tasar.

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Seems like the consensus is NO on the 505, but not Yes on the 420. All of us experienced sailors have negative things to say about the boat based on our current experience. The OP does NOT have that lens and therefore has no expectations about the boat other than to learn to sail. Yes they are too big, yes its slow and hard to sail in breeze because of weight etc. BUT it potentially offers training on:basic sailing, trapeze, spinnaker. Depending on how its rigged of course. All of these skills transfer to more high performance boats not just the 505. So since the OP only offered a choice between a 420 and 505 I will have to recommend the 420 depending on condition etc.

 

Also if the 505 is really cheaper what condition/vintage is it. Should almost always be more $ since its more boat

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I'm new to this forum and to sailing.

My wife and I are very interested in learning to sail.

I found a few local dinghy sailing clubs and was planning on taking some lessons and renting a dinghy thereafter, but I met a keelboat sailor the other day, and he suggested that I just buy one and learn to sail it then.

 

To get back to my question, what would you guys suggest to be a better buy? 420 or 505?

Your situation is "My wife and I are very interested in learning to sail"!

Your own idea was good - "I was planning on taking some lessons and renting a dinghy thereafter".

That's wonderful! Start with some sailing lessons, together. The rest will flow on from there.

As for your keelboat sailor's suggestion! - would it be good advice for someone who has never gone horse riding to buy a thoroughbred racing horse and learn to ride it? Good advice for someone who cannot play the violin to buy a stradivari and learn to play it? Don't waste your time just now on whether it might be better to buy a 420 or a 505!

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The 505 is not a beginner's boat period. The 420 is definitely a beginners boat. It is a teenagers boat. It is good for a parent to teach their kids how to sail. The total weght of the sailors should be under 300lbs. It is possible with a smaller guy. Its not even about the weight so much. Its physical size. Not that I mind having a ladies ass in my face. I like 420's and 505's for the right people at the right time.

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Ever tried holding a 7m mast upright in 30 knots with a mast float attached at the head. No? I didn't think so.

Those thing are designed for novices to use in light wind, not in our normal local conditions.

Always with the 30 knots this, 30 knots that. I get that it's windy in Cape Town, but that doesn't mean you can send noobs out in a dinghy in force 7.

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Ever tried holding a 7m mast upright in 30 knots with a mast float attached at the head. No? I didn't think so.

Those thing are designed for novices to use in light wind, not in our normal local conditions.

 

Always with the 30 knots this, 30 knots that. I get that it's windy in Cape Town, but that doesn't mean you can send noobs out in a dinghy in force 7.
I don't quite get the point you are trying to make. The point I have made is that it is often very windy in Cape Town, and if you want to learn to sail without being put off, then you need to sail a boat that is docile enough to be able to sail in a bit of breeze, or otherwise you might not sail for half the weekends during summer.

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I am not clear why the OP has limited the choice to 2 boats and why those particular 2 boats, though I understand why the 505 might appear on a "want" list as it is and always will be one of the most drop-dead gorgeous boats on the planet, even after all these years. I had one in my youth and lust after one every single day since - a) I cant afford it B) and 'b) I am not good enough to sail it properly. However, it really isnt a recommended beginners boat as has been more than described in previous posts. It will either scare you to death and make you leave the sport, or provide a very frustrating and steep learning experience - not necessarily the right one.

 

Try other boats first at a local club. There are so many more suitable classes to look at. Accept that, if you do get the sailing bug after having learned to do it, then swopping classes is fairly normal to get to where you want to be. You may find you want to just go pottering purely for leisure, or cruising, or racing,