Michele

Is the Laser Vortex the right boat to start trapezing on a single handed boat?

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Hi all,

I am new to this forum and kind of new to sailing in general. I would like to buy a single-handed boat with trapeze. However, I have 0 experience of trapezing and helming and little experience of trapezing as a crew (only a few times on a DART 16 and 2 times on a Vago). Mostly sailed on rented RS Vision and Laser Radial so far.

I want to have my own boat and would like to learn sailing with a trapeze, but I don't want to make the mistake to buy something with a learning curve too steep for my actual skills (and I don't consider myself a fast learner in sailing) which might end up putting me off of sailing. I have found a Laser Vortex with spinnaker at a decent price and I understand it is quite stable compared to other single-handers with trapeze.

FYI, I am 37 years old, 6 foot and weight bit less than 80 kg (don't know exactly, haven't seen a scale for a while...)

Is a Vortex a good choice or would you advice another boat to learn trapezing? if so, which one? I don't mind the performance, just want to improve my skills at this stage. 

Thank you!

Michele

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First, I'd start with spending more time crewing and getting used to the trapeze. An old Contender might be a good start. You might be able to find a bit of a beater boat that you won't worry too much about. I've never sailed a Laser Vortex. I spent a lot of time on a 505 as helm and crew. I now sail a Swift Solo. When you get ready to move up the performance ladder, take a look at the Musto Skiff, RS 700, Swift Solo, or similar. Single handing on with a kite up is quite the rush.

I'm kind of an immersion type person. Just go all in and learn to enjoy the swimming lessons along the way. Bear in mind that even the top, world class, sailors spent their time swimming in the beginning. The hard lesson to learn is that speed is your friend. The boats get more stable and gybing is easier at max speed. Trapeze boats have a bit more sail and the rig loads up and becomes way too much power to manage when not on a plane going as fast as you can. Once up to full speed, the boats handle much better.

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I agree with Team Fugu above. I did something similar to what you are proposing: bought an RS100 with little experience on an asymmetric. And that's a single-handed hiking boat, not trapezing. I wouldn't recommend that path. Single-hander asymmetrics are quite a handful. You should first learn as a crew and helm on a double-hander, with some lessons if you can't find a partner, before trying to do it all on a single-hander. You'll save lots of swimming and nursing boat bites.

If you're asymmetric experience is mostly on an RS Vision, as you indicate, then try a higher performance doublehander asym and see how that goes. If you can crew and helm something equivalent to an RS500, you'll do fine putting it together on a single-hander.

P.S. It's not a Laser Vortex anymore, just a Vortex. Laser gave it up.

 

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4 hours ago, Michele said:

Hi all,

I am new to ...sailing in general. ... I have 0 experience of trapezing and helming .....and little experience of trapezing ...

I don't want to make the mistake to buy something with a learning curve too steep for my actual skills  Makes sense

.....I don't consider myself a fast learner in sailing

 

I would like to buy a single-handed boat with trapeze.  Why?

which might end up putting me off of sailing.It might!

Thank you!

Michele

 

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Never sailed one, seen a few look loadsa fun, bound to be more stable than a Contender, so if you can afford the experiment I'd go for it. Take it out somewhere safe, practice capsizing, maybe fit a mast head float and try it. You have nothing to loose!

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Bear in mind that this site is mainly US based so the advice you will get on UK based dinghies is likely to be, in the majority, very limited. However, guys like Dogwatch, Jim C and Daniel Holman amongst others will give you great advice.

My 2c from being a fairly frequent  traveler to the UK is that the Vortex is a fairly stable platform to get into trapping and helming, my mates who have sailed one tell me the asym version was more fun, but I would go for it if you are not interested in fleet racing and can get it for a decent price bearing in mind that your resale value might be quite low.

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I've not sailed a vortex a huge amount, but it did strike me as a reasonable platform for learning trapeze helm, especially if you're not an experienced wiring forward hand. I've done some coaching of a learner trap helm in one sitting on the lee side, which I wouldn't care to do so much in something less tolerant.

The extra rag is a distraction, but you can always leave it on shore.

 

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I've not sailed one but a friend had one for a number of years. Very stable platform, but he found it hard to tack.  Not a massive problem, just be aware that tacking may be harder and slower than other boats.  

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How much helming have you done Michele?

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How much helming have you done Michele?

A fair amount on lasers, a bit less on Dart 16 and RS Vision (although I haven't sailed on a Vision for quite some time). I am definitly NOT a good sailor though - I love sailing, but it doesn't come easy for me, I am not a natural and I need lots of practice before getting anywhere near a decent level when I try new stuff.  

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I've not sailed one but a friend had one for a number of years. Very stable platform, but he found it hard to tack.  Not a massive problem, just be aware that tacking may be harder and slower than other boats.  

Thanks sosoomii. Slow tacking would not be a problem, I am not planning on racing at the moment, learning is my main goal. 

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A fair amount on lasers, a bit less on Dart 16 and RS Vision (although I haven't sailed on a Vision for quite some time). I am definitly NOT a good sailor though - I love sailing, but it doesn't come easy for me, I am not a natural and I need lots of practice before getting anywhere near a decent level when I try new stuff.  

OK, so I don't get a kick out of squashing other people's dreams but helming a single hander off the wire is towards the expert end of dinghy sailing. I'd question if that's a realistic short term goal with that level of experience. Of course it all depends on your tolerance of a steep learning curve. Some people are prepared to go out and capsize a dozen times in a session, many people lose the will to do that as they get a bit older. I've never sailed a Vortex but I've seen them and I suspect the price you pay for more stability is that it may be a bit of a sod to right if you do capsize.

Why do you particularly want to trapeze? People tend to race trapeze single-handers because (in some ways) it takes less toll on the body than hiking hard but it isn't a common part of recreational sailing. 

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There's a frequent poster on DA named DTA. Do a search and look for his posts and videos. He started sailing a Laser (I think) in a part of the US (Texas coast) without much dinghy "support". He's moved on to a RS-700; taking his time but seems to be having a great time. His approach and positive attitude may be similar to that of the OP here.

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I think DTA is moving on to a cat. Not sure if it is instead of or as well as the RS700.

 

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I was on rescue duty when an inexperienced sailor went out in a Vortex. He soon capsized. 

As Dogwatch suggested it was most definately a sod to get back upright. 

Try and get some crewing with an experienced helm on an RS800. This will give you trapeze,  asymetric experience. Take it from there. 

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Well I dunno, I've capsized a Vortex. It don't recall it being a big deal to get upright again. You just had to figure it out and do it steadily. The big thing about all the stability is that its pretty reluctant to blow straight over again which is the biggest irritation with singlehanders.

I don't, however, recommend trying to do the "wild thing" downwind in one which was how I contrived to make it fall over in the first place. 

Leave the kite in the bag and I reckon it should be a reasonable training platform. The other thing to do is to see if you can invoke the assistance of a second person for early trips. There is room for a second body for coaching purposes. I certainly don't think there's a more suitable platform for entry level trapeze helming

However the one thing that makes me ponder a bit is experience and venue. On a nice docile lake I'd be inclined to say have a go, but if you're going to sail on Southampton water which kicks up a bit and has serious tides and shipping maybe I'm thinking that an intermediate stage would be good and get a few months in a sub trapeze boat before going on to the wire.

(Michele - the "wild thing" is a technique used by very advanced level Catamaran sailors of sailing the boat downwind with some or all crew weight on the lee side so that only one hull is in the water. The Vortex is too narrow for it to work).

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OK, so I don't get a kick out of squashing other people's dreams but helming a single hander off the wire is towards the expert end of dinghy sailing. I'd question if that's a realistic short term goal with that level of experience. Of course it all depends on your tolerance of a steep learning curve. Some people are prepared to go out and capsize a dozen times in a session, many people lose the will to do that as they get a bit older. I've never sailed a Vortex but I've seen them and I suspect the price you pay for more stability is that it may be a bit of a sod to right if you do capsize.

Why do you particularly want to trapeze? People tend to race trapeze single-handers because (in some ways) it takes less toll on the body than hiking hard but it isn't a common part of recreational sailing. 

Thanks Dogwatch.  I might be wrong, but trapezing seems an 'upgrade' of hiking to me. I used to own an old Wayfarer and at our sailing club (Weston sailing club, Southampton UK) there is a decent Contender fleet, and when I watched them racing I've always thought: "Wow, these people go fast, look cool and seem to have a lot of fun...would like to get there one day..." . That is why I would like to learn trapeze helming. On the other hand I get what you say...I know it would be a steep learning  curve for me (I am not a natural at sailing) and I am not one of those who enjoy swimming (not in the cold Southampton Water at least, I guess I would think it differently if I was at the Barbados) and spend most of the time recovering the boat rather than sailing it. It seems that a Vortex, although more forgiving than other boats, can be difficult to recover (even though JimC says it 's not) and this is putting me off a bit at the moment, especially because I won't have an experienced sailor to coach me or someone on a safety boat to help me out when I am struggling. I am concerned that a few  extreme capsizing sessions might kill my will to sail and I really don't want that. So, as many of you have said, it might be wiser for me at this stage to get more trapezing hours under my belt during this season, possibly trapeze helming on the boats I can rent (DART16 and VAGO) and then do the 'upgrade' next season if I feel more confident of my sailing skills.      

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The lack of a safety boat is a concern. Will you be sailing with no safety cover at all? 

If there is no safety cover then capsizing a Vago, say, on your own could be a big problem getting it upright. 

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Well I dunno, I've capsized a Vortex. It don't recall it being a big deal to get upright again. You just had to figure it out and do it steadily. The big thing about all the stability is that its pretty reluctant to blow straight over again which is the biggest irritation with singlehanders.

I don't, however, recommend trying to do the "wild thing" downwind in one which was how I contrived to make it fall over in the first place. 

Leave the kite in the bag and I reckon it should be a reasonable training platform. The other thing to do is to see if you can invoke the assistance of a second person for early trips. There is room for a second body for coaching purposes. I certainly don't think there's a more suitable platform for entry level trapeze helming

However the one thing that makes me ponder a bit is experience and venue. On a nice docile lake I'd be inclined to say have a go, but if you're going to sail on Southampton water which kicks up a bit and has serious tides and shipping maybe I'm thinking that an intermediate stage would be good and get a few months in a sub trapeze boat before going on to the wire.

(Michele - the "wild thing" is a technique used by very advanced level Catamaran sailors of sailing the boat downwind with some or all crew weight on the lee side so that only one hull is in the water. The Vortex is too narrow for it to work).

Thanks for the advices and the insights on the Vortex Jim - and for explaining me the "wild thing" (the name is more than enough to stop me trying :-) ). Indeed Southampton water can be a nasty place for a beginner. As I wrote to Dogwatch I am inclined to follow your advice and first get more experience trapezing and trapeze helming in a sub trapeze boat, and next year think again about buying a single hander...as we say in Italy, now a trapezing single hander could be a 'step longer than the leg' for me.

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The lack of a safety boat is a concern. Will you be sailing with no safety cover at all? 

If there is no safety cover then capsizing a Vago, say, on your own could be a big problem getting it upright. 

If I rent a Vago there will always be the safety boat of the SWAC (Southampton Water Activities Centre) around. I would begin with someone else though (I tried already a couple of times), not immediately on my own.

If I buy a Vortex and I go sailing on my own, there wouldn't be any safety boat (someone passing by would help me, but I cannot really count on that), unless I sail when there is club racing - but these guys are there to mind the boats racing, not a beginner who capsizes every 3 minutes..

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I have brought a Vortex (Sept 2017) with the sole purpose of learning to trapeze helm, after too many years crewing (Single trapeze boats then latterly 49er). It's a very stable platform, have capsized a couple of times in the half a dozen outings I've had and no bother getting it upright. Sealed mast keeps the upside down factor to a min, with plenty of time to get onto the boards. The learning curve is nothing like that of the skiffs.

I am sailing on a reservoir, but a couple of observations - if you become separated from boat and it goes over, it will gather some pace with so much windage. Very light winds in tide, could be difficult to get enough boat speed to overcome current.  It's much easier to helm from the wire than it is inboard, the only frustration being that at 90kg I need a bit more wind than I would in something more 'dynamic' to get out on the wire. Kite is a must. I am finding the main a bit of a pig to get up, but I think there's a knack with the battens, going to try a few things there. They're great value boats, and friendly helpful class. Hoping after a season or two to have more confidence to move to the back end in the 49er for some of our sailing, and poss a musto skiff - there's quite a fleet at the club now. 

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If I rent a Vago there will always be the safety boat of the SWAC (Southampton Water Activities Centre) around. I would begin with someone else though (I tried already a couple of times), not immediately on my own.

If I buy a Vortex and I go sailing on my own, there wouldn't be any safety boat (someone passing by would help me, but I cannot really count on that), unless I sail when there is club racing - but these guys are there to mind the boats racing, not a beginner who capsizes every 3 minutes..

Don’t let other people stop you following your dreams, as long as they are achievable, which in this situation I believe they are. At Weston there are a bunch of really good sailors who will, I am sure, be quite willing to help you out, and all it will cost you is a pint or 2!  For a long time I had the only foiling moth in Africa, taught myself to gybe watching  YouTube. If you have the patience and accept that you might go for the occasional swim then I am sure you will succeed, and as you and others have suggested, do some crewing on a trap boat with a good helm so you can be taught the right coreography moving across the boat.

Enjoy.

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, unless I sail when there is club racing - but these guys are there to mind the boats racing, not a beginner who capsizes every 3 minutes..

Most clubs would say that their safety boats are there to mind every club member who's out there sailing. We were all beginners once. If you persistently go out in conditions which you can't handle and monopolise the safety boat then they might have a little word, but as long as you are sensible... Check with the club secretary or whoever if you like, but that would be conventional policy.

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I don't know about the Vortex, but I'm learning to trapeze on a boat that is way over my head: the RS700. I keep my RS700 at a local inland lake near San Antonio, Texas, and I'm slowly but surely developing my skills on the RS700 (just now starting back after a long winter break). Make no mistake: I suck at sailing the RS700, but I'm able to have lots of fun, get on trapeze, pop the kite, and get back to my starting point.

So, don't let the nay-sayers dissuade you from jumping into trapezing and sailing this new boat, even if it might be above the skill level that you have right now. Just pick a safe place to sail (i.e. onshore winds, sandy shore, etc) where you can't get into too much trouble if you capsize and can't recover, and then go have fun knowing that you've picked a location that's safe to learn and fail. You don't need "cover" boats and all sorts of support from 3rd parties to learn safely. You just need to pick the right environment to sail (and fail) in safely.

By the way, I'm getting an RS CAT 14 soon (in addition to, not replacing, the RS700). So, I'm looking forward to trapping on a catamaran as well. I'm hoping it's easier than the RS700!!!!

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Most clubs would say that their safety boats are there to mind every club member who's out there sailing. We were all beginners once. If you persistently go out in conditions which you can't handle and monopolise the safety boat then they might have a little word, but as long as you are sensible... Check with the club secretary or whoever if you like, but that would be conventional policy.

Thanks Jim, I'll ask them how it works there for the safety boat. As far as I know there is one on duty only when there is club racing. There are other clubs very close, I'll check with them too. 

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I don't know about the Vortex, but I'm learning to trapeze on a boat that is way over my head: the RS700. I keep my RS700 at a local inland lake near San Antonio, Texas, and I'm slowly but surely developing my skills on the RS700 (just now starting back after a long winter break). Make no mistake: I suck at sailing the RS700, but I'm able to have lots of fun, get on trapeze, pop the kite, and get back to my starting point.

So, don't let the nay-sayers dissuade you from jumping into trapezing and sailing this new boat, even if it might be above the skill level that you have right now. Just pick a safe place to sail (i.e. onshore winds, sandy shore, etc) where you can't get into too much trouble if you capsize and can't recover, and then go have fun knowing that you've picked a location that's safe to learn and fail. You don't need "cover" boats and all sorts of support from 3rd parties to learn safely. You just need to pick the right environment to sail (and fail) in safely.

By the way, I'm getting an RS CAT 14 soon (in addition to, not replacing, the RS700). So, I'm looking forward to trapping on a catamaran as well. I'm hoping it's easier than the RS700!!!!

Well, I am no expert at all but I am pretty sure a RS700 is way more demanding than a Vortex! So, well done! The thing in my case is the location, which as you said is very important. The Southampton Water is a great place to sail, which is why there is a sailing club every half mile..but it can be quite tricky for a beginner (imagine you are sailing with a very busy shipping and ferry lane right next to you). I am not sure it is a 'safe place to sail and fail' safely if there is not a safety boat around. Thanks for the advice anyway.

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Don’t let other people stop you following your dreams, as long as they are achievable, which in this situation I believe they are. At Weston there are a bunch of really good sailors who will, I am sure, be quite willing to help you out, and all it will cost you is a pint or 2!  For a long time I had the only foiling moth in Africa, taught myself to gybe watching  YouTube. If you have the patience and accept that you might go for the occasional swim then I am sure you will succeed, and as you and others have suggested, do some crewing on a trap boat with a good helm so you can be taught the right coreography moving across the boat.

Enjoy.

Thanks Major Tom.

Enjoy too.

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Thanks Jim, I'll ask them how it works there for the safety boat. As far as I know there is one on duty only when there is club racing. There are other clubs very close, I'll check with them too. 

It is likely there is only cover during club racing, that's how most clubs operate. RIBs cost money to keep on the water and it takes two people to operate one (driver and crew). Most clubs don't have the money or the volunteers to run RIBs outside racing. But of course they will help anyone, not just racers, not just members. At least that is how it works at my club, where I am a RIB driver.

Btw the way if you prove me wrong, buy a Vortex and it works out well, that would be great. 

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Might be worth doing an RYA performance sailing course. It should give you a massive leg-up the learning curve, and potentially let you try out boats that might suit you.

 If you are somewhere near Southampton it shouldn't be hard to find one.

Cheers,

                 W.

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There are a couple of Farr 37s around second hand at the moment, they'd suit your purpose, easy to sail, trap boat fairly simple. The problem with that Vortex is all those daggerboards and it's tendency to drop a lee hull and pitch pole which I believe is why the aftermarket fitted it with a kite, which is probably a step to far for initially learning to trapeze.

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