jonnycat

Stable Dingy for New Sailor

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Hi all, first post, be gentle.   :D

I have been playing around with windsurfing this summer, and now I want to get a little sailboat (Sloop Rigged).  I will be buying used, so I may have to wait several months or more until the right boat, in good condition, and at the right price shows up on the market.

I need her to fit in my garage, so 17' is the absolute most I can go.  I will be using the boat single-handed, although my GF will come out with me once she has confidence that she won't get tossed in the lake.

I am not looking to race, and I want something stable to learn on and cruise around with (dry would be nice too, but maybe that is too much to ask for).  Should I flip her over, I want something that I would be able to self-rescue, and I will use a mast float.  I plan to have a reefing point in the main, and keep a hand on the mainsheet in case it gets squirrely, but stuff happens.   

So, what boats should I keep an eye out for?  The first two that come to mind are marketed as being stable boats, being the American 14.6 and the Precision 15 (maybe 16 as well?).  

Some other boats that I have read are stable would include are the JY15 and the Nomad (the latter of which being way beyond my budget).

I looked at an Oday Javelin a few weeks ago, and while I think that would be a good boat for me, the specimen I was presented with was in pretty rough shape.  

So, what say you?  Does the information I have accumulated above seem to be based on reality?  What other vessels should I keep an eye out for?

Thanks for your help.  

 

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The Wayfarer, https://www.uswayfarer.org/index.php/

Which also has a Canadian built clone the CL-16.

Was often used in Sailing schools. 

You can single hand sail it quite easily too. I have in the UK and the Falklands. Planes quite well single handed..

 

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johnnycake, Not exactly a dinghy but you might consider a Hobie Wave. The Wave is extremely stable, even to the point that you can walk around the perimeter of the boat comfortably at the dock. It is relatively dry and comfortable on the tramp. There is NO maintenance They are indestructible - the main reason they are so popular at resorts for sailors who are beginners. They are simple to sail with only the main sheet to handle. No need to ever reef, just ease out the sail. It isn't the most beautiful boat on the lake but you will be pleasantly surprised once you sail one. Be sure to save some money and aggravation by sailing one BEFORE you buy. Tale a look. Happy Sailing!

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A note about the JY15.  Boat weighs around 300 lbs. I have had to keep a rope ladder in order to climb up to the centerboard to start capsize recovery.  It will "turtle" on you.  I'm 150lbs & can't recover without help.   Force 5 much easier

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4 hours ago, The Q said:

Thanks Q, that looks like a neat boat, a little beyond my budget but I will keep an eye out regardless.

 

2 hours ago, xonk1 said:

johnnycake, Not exactly a dinghy but you might consider a Hobie Wave.

Thanks xonk, that looks like a fun boat but I want something with a sloop rig so I can learn how to work a jib when the conditions allow it (ie, not too gusty or blowy).  It would also give my GF a job to do on the boat when she is ready.

1 hour ago, Tee said:

A note about the JY15.  Boat weighs around 300 lbs. I have had to keep a rope ladder in order to climb up to the centerboard to start capsize recovery.  It will "turtle" on you.  I'm 150lbs & can't recover without help.   Force 5 much easier

Thanks for the tip, Tee.  I'm at 185 right now for my summer weight, but I usually gain some mass over the winter (insulation against the cold you know).  I know some of the Hobie drivers will install a rope to make recovery more manageable. 

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34 minutes ago, jonnycat said:

Thanks Q, that looks like a neat boat, a little beyond my budget but I will keep an eye out regardless.

 

Thanks xonk, that looks like a fun boat but I want something with a sloop rig so I can learn how to work a jib at the right time. 

Thanks for the tip, Tee.  I'm at 185 right now for my summer weight, but I usually gain some mass over the winter (insulation against the cold you know).  I know some of the Hobie drivers will install a rope to make recovery more manageable. 

The Oday Javelin can be a nice little boat. IMHO it's actually a bit drier, more fun to sail, and a better boat all-around that it's bigger sister with the cuddy "cabin," the Oday Daysailer. Both were designed by a Welshman named Uffa Fox who was a sailing genius.

This is one of a small fleet of Oday Javelins that is owned by a public program, fixed up & maintained by a corps of devoted volunteer sailing instructors/coaches. The problem is that all these boats are elderly, and have weak points like the jib sheet tracks, pretty much all of the centerboard arrangement, and the sails are usually only fit for painter's tarps. This one has had several hundred man-hours of skilled labor (grinding rust off the centerboard, renewing the centerboard pivot & seals & tackle, rebuilding the rudder & tiller) as well as several hundred dollars worth of new line & hardware, and finally a $700 suit of new custom sails.

image.jpeg.f29ff256b0fbe7092f208e6b2de4476b.jpeg

We use the Oday Javelin to teach sailing and it turns out that it's a fun little boat to sail, when fixed up properly. A hot shot dinghy racer will turn up their nose, of course, because they are pudgy little things and hardly fast. But it's quite responsive to tiller & sheet & weight placement, and that's really what the game is all about.

Here's the rub about shopping for small sailboats- you can find lots of inexpensive ones that need skillz & buckz poured into them, and without experience you have no idea if the end result will be fun or not. I'd been sailing all my life and would have turned up my nose at the Oday Javelin, myself, until I got more experience with them.

So it's good to ask advice, if you can filter and sift all the answers into a useful guide. Not everybody wants the same thing, but it would be nice if there were some inexpensive way to get into a boat that will sail decently without needing the industrial skills (and tools) to rebuild the damn used-to-be-a-boat. And that unfortunately doesn't really exist.

One of the best ways to get started is in a program such as ours, where you can SAIL (the fun part) and begin gaining the knowledge of what the working parts of a boat need to be, to function decently, before you start spending your own hard-earned dollars on some bodies back yard pariah.

Good hunting!

FB- Doug

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Jonnycat I'll second SF's nomination of the Uffa Fox Javelin as a great starter boat.  I grew up sailing one with an iron keel instead of a centerboard.  Talk about stable!  We would pile as many kids as we could fit onto the lee rail trying to dump her, but never managed more than water coming in green over the coaming before righting, and then lots of bailing afterwards, of course.  Beamy and stable.

I've also since had fun on Hobie Waves a few times, and the dinghy club I used to belong to now has a little fleet of them and they are quite popular.  Not a bad suggestion, but you can cram more meat onto a Javelin should the need arise...

Yes if at all possible, sail first, buy later.

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40 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

The Oday Javelin can be a nice little boat. IMHO it's actually a bit drier, more fun to sail, and a better boat all-around that it's bigger sister with the cuddy "cabin," the Oday Daysailer. Both were designed by a Welshman named Uffa Fox who was a sailing genius.

Thanks Steam.  The first boat I looked at recently was an old Oday DS1, but it just wasn't the right boat for me.  Maybe a DS2, but that's another story.  When I found the Javelin for sale I looked into the history, and saw that like the DS it was also designed by Uffa Fox, but unlike the DS, George didn't muck about with Uffa's original designs (flotation).  Really like the heavy centerboard and pretty much everything about the boat, and I was bummed when the one I went to look at didn't pass muster.

I have seen a lot of project boats, but by the time you figure in even just the cost of new sails, they are far from a bargain.  I did come across an old Chrysler Pirateer that had been garage kept it's entire life, but they are pretty far from a stable boat so it was a pass.  

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27 minutes ago, bacq2bacq said:

Jonnycat I'll second SF's nomination of the Uffa Fox Javelin as a great starter boat.  I grew up sailing one with an iron keel instead of a centerboard.  Talk about stable!  We would pile as many kids as we could fit onto the lee rail trying to dump her, but never managed more than water coming in green over the coaming before righting, and then lots of bailing afterwards, of course.  Beamy and stable.

Thanks Bac, I appreciate it.  The Javelin is certainly one of the boats on my radar. 

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4 minutes ago, jonnycat said:

Thanks Steam.  The first boat I looked at recently was an old Oday DS1, but it just wasn't the right boat for me.  Maybe a DS2, but that's another story.  When I found the Javelin for sale I looked into the history, and saw that like the DS it was also designed by Uffa Fox, but unlike the DS, George didn't muck about with Uffa's original designs (flotation).  Really like the heavy centerboard and pretty much everything about the boat, and I was bummed when the one I went to look at didn't pass muster.

I have seen a lot of project boats, but by the time you figure in even just the cost of new sails, they are far from a bargain.  I did come across an old Chrysler Pirateer that has been garage kept it's entire life, but they are pretty far from a stable boat so it was a pass.  

The Pirateer is too small for grown-ups IMHO. Likewise the AMF Puffer (which I also owned one of, less rebuilding, sailed the hell out of, and eventually sold/passed along to a family with kids). The Mutineer is a maybe, the Buccaneer is the "fun-but-not-TOO-fun" dnghy I have for myself now. It's stable enough that you can step into it without it trying to fling you face-down into the harbor, but I recommend it more for experienced sailors because it has some quirks... will capsize readily... and it's also fast enough to cause harm if you let it get away from you.

Oh and Bacq2, listen a Javelin can -definitely- be capsized if you try hard enough! We don't do capsize drills in them, but we do teach the capsize drill (in either an FJ or a Laser). But if you panic and mess up both steering and mainsheet in a gust, or gybe it carelessly in 15 kt breeze or so, it will flop right over with a big smile.

FB- Doug

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6 hours ago, jonnycat said:

Hi all, first post, be gentle.   :D

I have been playing around with windsurfing this summer, and now I want to get a little sailboat (Sloop Rigged).  I will be buying used, so I may have to wait several months or more until the right boat, in good condition, and at the right price shows up on the market.

I need her to fit in my garage, so 17' is the absolute most I can go.  I will be using the boat single-handed, although my GF will come out with me once she has confidence that she won't get tossed in the lake.

I am not looking to race, and I want something stable to learn on and cruise around with (dry would be nice too, but maybe that is too much to ask for).  Should I flip her over, I want something that I would be able to self-rescue, and I will use a mast float.  I plan to have a reefing point in the main, and keep a hand on the mainsheet in case it gets squirrely, but stuff happens.   

So, what boats should I keep an eye out for?  The first two that come to mind are marketed as being stable boats, being the American 14.6 and the Precision 15 (maybe 16 as well?).  

Some other boats that I have read are stable would include are the JY15 and the Nomad (the latter of which being way beyond my budget).

I looked at an Oday Javelin a few weeks ago, and while I think that would be a good boat for me, the specimen I was presented with was in pretty rough shape.  

So, what say you?  Does the information I have accumulated above seem to be based on reality?  What other vessels should I keep an eye out for?

Thanks for your help.  

 

I have a JY15 for sale in NY.https://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/boa/d/chelsea-1997-jy15-8-lives/7184197781.html

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3 hours ago, Tee said:

A note about the JY15.  Boat weighs around 300 lbs. I have had to keep a rope ladder in order to climb up to the centerboard to start capsize recovery.  It will "turtle" on you.  I'm 150lbs & can't recover without help.   Force 5 much easier

JY15s aften have a masthead float to prevent turtling. They also take quite a bit of effort to capsize, so they are quite stable.

 

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Dealing with the inevitable proliferation of hull cracks can be a serious PITA for JY owners.  Sailing is more fun than esoteric plastic repair work. 

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7 minutes ago, spinset said:

Dealing with the inevitable proliferation of hull cracks can be a serious PITA for JY owners.  Sailing is more fun than esoteric plastic repair work. 

What I have found is that the cracks, while difficult to repair rarely happen on newer boats (pre 95 boats fair much worse due to early build issues).

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Capri 14.2? Stable, nice sailing boats. IDK about Texas, but plenty available in fantastic condition for cheap in SoCal if you're up for a roadtrip.

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The mast is the long part.

If you have to fully remove the mast from the hull to fit it inside your garage, something without spreaders will be easier to deal with. Spinnaker gear also adds more stuff to re-rig each time. You may be able to pivot the rig to the side and hang an end from the ceiling and avoid disconnecting anything though.

 

 

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2 hours ago, JBOATTROUBLEMAKER said:

Hey thanks JB, I've seen that boat on sailboatlistings.  If you want to bring it down to Texas I'll be happy to take a look at her.  :D

1 hour ago, spinset said:

Dealing with the inevitable proliferation of hull cracks can be a serious PITA for JY owners.  Sailing is more fun than esoteric plastic repair work. 

 

1 hour ago, JBOATTROUBLEMAKER said:

What I have found is that the cracks, while difficult to repair rarely happen on newer boats (pre 95 boats fair much worse due to early build issues).

Thanks guys, I wasn't aware of issues with the pre-1995 JY15s, I'll steer clear of those. 

 

53 minutes ago, Tubes said:

Capri 14.2? Stable, nice sailing boats. IDK about Texas, but plenty available in fantastic condition for cheap in SoCal if you're up for a roadtrip.

Thanks Tubes, I've seen the 14.2s, but I don't know if one of them would be the right choice for me, seems like more of a "sit on" than a "sit in" boat, and I have read that they can be a bit tippy in a gust.  Easy to self-rescue, though. 

 

25 minutes ago, Dex Sawash said:

If you have to fully remove the mast from the hull to fit it inside your garage, something without spreaders will be easier to deal with. Spinnaker gear also adds more stuff to re-rig each time. You may be able to pivot the rig to the side and hang an end from the ceiling and avoid disconnecting anything though.

Thanks Dex, I'll have to see what the boat I get comes with and go from there.

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4 hours ago, spinset said:

Dealing with the inevitable proliferation of hull cracks can be a serious PITA for JY owners.  Sailing is more fun than esoteric plastic repair work.  

Holy crap, I've read a bunch of threads on this, what a mess, looks like it affects a whole range of boats.   There was a Hunter 170 for sale that I briefly considered due to the oddly too-low price (the ad described it as a "project boat").  When I asked the seller why he called it a project, he admitted that he had fixed some cracks; now I know why it was cracked! 

I guess there is a reason why there are still so many 50 year old fiberglass boats with us today.

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I came across a BW Harpoon for sale, and this image struck me as something that I notice in boats for sale.  The vessel is 15' in length, and it looks like it is being supported by maybe 6' straight (not form fitting) bunks on the trailer.

Is it just me, or is this boat woefully under-supported by this trailer?  (BTW the Javelin I looked at had the same issue, with the straight bunks pressing noticeably into the bottom of the hull). 

HarpoonTrails.jpg

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10 hours ago, jonnycat said:

I came across a BW Harpoon for sale, and this image struck me as something that I notice in boats for sale.  The vessel is 15' in length, and it looks like it is being supported by maybe 6' straight (not form fitting) bunks on the trailer.

Is it just me, or is this boat woefully under-supported by this trailer?  (BTW the Javelin I looked at had the same issue, with the straight bunks pressing noticeably into the bottom of the hull). 

HarpoonTrails.jpg

 

Yes, that is a common problem. The best hull support IMHO is to have at least two transverse bunks shaped to the hull, but it's work that is rarely done. The supports on the common trailers are adjustable and can be fitted better but who takes the time?

Fiberglass is flexible and having the boat rest on a trailer runner that pushes it in, is not a disaster. However, bouncing down the road, frost/thaw cycles, lengthy periods of deflection, etc etc, and eventually you have a deformed or delaminated hull. If you can loosen the straps, lift the hull a little, and the hull pops back out, then it's got some life left.

Interesting that this owner has taken the care to take the weight off the trailer springs but taken the boat's hull for granted.

Sigh

BTW the Harpoon is a nice boat.

FB- Doug

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IF  the hull support bunks are lined up with where the seat/deck tanks are joined to the floor, then it could/should be okay.  Worth checking it out.

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22 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Oh and Bacq2, listen a Javelin can -definitely- be capsized if you try hard enough! We don't do capsize drills in them, but we do teach the capsize drill (in either an FJ or a Laser). But if you panic and mess up both steering and mainsheet in a gust, or gybe it carelessly in 15 kt breeze or so, it will flop right over with a big smile.

Steam, maybe you missed the part about our particular Javelin having a 400lb (or more?) iron keel, and not a centerboard.  I don't doubt your experience with the centerboard model.

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3 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Interesting that this owner has taken the care to take the weight off the trailer springs but taken the boat's hull for granted.

Sigh

BTW the Harpoon is a nice boat.

FB- Doug

Thanks Doug, I didn't even notice the jack stand, I guess he has his priorities.  I know that the roller bunks on trailers are adjustable; it just boggles my mind that people wouldn't take the small amount of time to dial in the right support with the solid bunks.  Then again, I can't count how many boats I see along people's houses are uncovered, and left to rot out in the sun and the rain year after year after year...

The Harpoons do look like they would be a good boat for me, I think the 4.6 is actually referred to as a "trainer".  Apparently the self-bailers can leak and cause wood rot, so the course of action is to just seal them up and bail manually.  They seem to have a lot of provisions for rigging adjustments, even a Cunningham.  They didn't make many of them though, maybe just not a lot of demand for a non-racing boat.

1 hour ago, koolkat505 said:

IF  the hull support bunks are lined up with where the seat/deck tanks are joined to the floor, then it could/should be okay.  Worth checking it out.

Hey thanks koolkat, that is something I had not considered. 

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56 minutes ago, bacq2bacq said:

Steam, maybe you missed the part about our particular Javelin having a 400lb (or more?) iron keel, and not a centerboard.  I don't doubt your experience with the centerboard model.

Ah yes, that would make a big difference.... saw the reference to keel, didn't know the weight. I think the centerboard weighs about 80 or 90 lbs.

37 minutes ago, jonnycat said:

...   ...

The Harpoons do look like they would be a good boat for me, I think the 4.6 is actually referred to as a "trainer".  Apparently the self-bailers can leak and cause wood rot, so the course of action is to just seal them up and bail manually.  They seem to have a lot of provisions for rigging adjustments, even a Cunningham.  They didn't make many of them though, maybe just not a lot of demand for a non-racing boat.

...   ...

I think the problem with the Harpoons is that they were expensive to produce and the sailboat-buying public looked at the price difference and said, "Meh"

But they sail pretty well, look at the Texas Centerboard Circuit discussion thread(s), there's a young lady they call "Harpoonetta" that kicked ass.

Replacing a suction bailer (also called an Elvström bailer) is not a big deal, assuming you can get a new one that fits the same hole as the old one. I hate that these damn things are called "sell-bailers" because they are not. -IF- (big if) the boat is sailing fast enough then they will pull water out. If not, they will let water dribble in. And if they pull water out, they also pull in loose line, your shoe lace, loose cookies, etc. They also trap dirt & leaves & sculch in the bottom of the boat, making it difficult to keep clean. To me, "self-bailing" means a boat that the water runs out of, all by itself.... well, by gravity at least.

FB- Doug

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30 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Ah yes, that would make a big difference.... saw the reference to keel, didn't know the weight. I think the centerboard weighs about 80 or 90 lbs.

I think the problem with the Harpoons is that they were expensive to produce and the sailboat-buying public looked at the price difference and said, "Meh"

But they sail pretty well, look at the Texas Centerboard Circuit discussion thread(s), there's a young lady they call "Harpoonetta" that kicked ass.

Replacing a suction bailer (also called an Elvström bailer) is not a big deal, assuming you can get a new one that fits the same hole as the old one. I hate that these damn things are called "sell-bailers" because they are not. -IF- (big if) the boat is sailing fast enough then they will pull water out. If not, they will let water dribble in. And if they pull water out, they also pull in loose line, your shoe lace, loose cookies, etc. They also trap dirt & leaves & sculch in the bottom of the boat, making it difficult to keep clean. To me, "self-bailing" means a boat that the water runs out of, all by itself.... well, by gravity at least.

FB- Doug

Thanks Doug, that makes sense.  They sure do look like a sturdy boat, and right in line with what I am looking for. 

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Apologies if its already been said above - but don't write of getting a Laser - even for the start phase. Easy to sail with a 6 year old. There are plenty available everywhere, plus are simple. If you get stuck, there are plenty of videos to teach you rigging and technique. If you capsize they are easy to right, and easier than a lot of the boats mentioned above. You are more likely to sell it easier than other boats, and often for a similar price to what you bought it for. And there are local fleets most places. Lasers are light enough to move by yourself... loading and unloading etc. Some of the other boats can be hard to launch...

Once you have spent a season learning the basics, don't be afraid to switch to something else. After a season, you'll know a ton more - and you'll have seen what's on the water in your locality...

Be mindful going into your new boat type/class how much time you want to spend setting it up, how much time learning the ropes, and how much time sailing. Simpler is usually better when you are starting out.

No matter what you get, try to get something that has a local fleet. That way you can get advice locally, more likely to source parts, and generally have less hassle.

If you want to learn fast - then race! Don't worry if you don't finish the first few races - that's not the point - it is to learn! Racing forces you to think about things you wouldn't normally think of. Just one afternoon will accelerate your learning which will contribute long term to your sailing enjoyment... ...and often the more experienced will sail next to you before the start and freely give you great tips! If racing isn't for you - that's fine too - there are no rules - have a go!

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I sailed the heck out of Mutineer single-handed when I was a kid. It's not the fastest thing, but man I had tons of fun with that boat!  Even used to run with the spinnaker sometimes, and I went out many times when the wind was howling.  That was the most fun for me.   I don't remember if I ever capsized?  Seems like I must have, but if so it wasn't a problem or I'd surely remember.  I must have weighed 160ish at the time I guess?  Anyway, can definitely recommend the Mutineer.  Also, there were some Wayfarers on our lake that looked to be fairly similar in handling and we had some Rebels, which seemed even more stable.  Seems like any of those would probably suit you.

BUT!-  Why so concerned about stability? Let me tell you, I remember well when dad got our boat.  Man, I was so afraid it would tip! He had to practically drag me to the dock and force me on the boat the first few times we went out. Seems I got used to it pretty quickly and after we dumped it a few times (Drills maybe? That was like 45 years ago, I don't remember now)  there was no more mystery or fear about that.  That's just part of sailing a small boat and some will have you swim more often than others, that's all.   Don't be afraid to sail a bit on the edge, it's much more fun!

By the way, what town are you in? Maybe we can meet up at the lake one day for a sail! I got this old 505 I'm fixing up. Need to get my butt in gear and finish my project but I can't get too excited about spending a lot of time out in the garage when it's 100 freekin degrees out :P

Also got my 1974 Laser, but that's not a very good boat for two full-sized guys!   By the way, you know that thing had to surely have spent 99.9% of its life on the trailer with the flat bunks too.  I think the hull has sagged out a bit in those areas.  Yeah for sure.  But so what, she seems to sail perfectly fine and I'm not looking to win any races anyway.  Best $150 boat I ever had, lol!  I'm also using the old blown-out sail and she's good fun on the cheap!! I did replace most of the lines though, that was probably another $200 or so lol.  Pile of ropes cost more than my boat and trailer, that's kind of crazy to think about...

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11 hours ago, Bruce Hudson said:

Apologies if its already been said above - but don't write of getting a Laser - even for the start phase. Easy to sail with a 6 year old. There are plenty available everywhere, plus are simple. If you get stuck, there are plenty of videos to teach you rigging and technique.

Thanks Bruce, I'm sure cat rigs are a great boat to pilot, but I'm looking for a sloop rig right now. 

 

7 hours ago, Cheapster said:

I sailed the heck out of Mutineer single-handed when I was a kid. It's not the fastest thing, but man I had tons of fun with that boat! 

Hi Cheapster, I was looking at a Pirateer recently, it was in great shape but was just a bit to tippy for me, looked like it would be a fast boat for the right person, though. 

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I reckon you'd be well off with a Gull, hull weight of 80kg with a moderate sail are (main and jib) and a small symmetric spinnaker for when you get more adventurous. plus there temds to be pockets of good class racing, not overly expensive either

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17 minutes ago, GeorgeT415 said:

I reckon you'd be well off with a Gull, hull weight of 80kg with a moderate sail are (main and jib) and a small symmetric spinnaker for when you get more adventurous. plus there temds to be pockets of good class racing, not overly expensive either

Hey thanks George, i appreciate it, that looks like a fun boat!

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no probs, i'd aim for one with the hard chines for that little bit of extra performance and stability, plus can be single handed very easily 

 

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