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Advice on a single/double handed beach dinghy


pdedge

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Hoping to prevail upon the acquired wisdom of the group here to answer yet another "which boat for me" post. I'm looking for advice on a good dinghy to meet the following specs:

 

1) Most important: can be sailed well single or double handed.

2) Light enough for practical beach launches

3) Speed of setup is important. Our city (Evanston, IL, suburb of Chicago), has a dinghy beach. I can store a dinghy on the beach mast up; there's a locker big enough for mast, sails, rudder blade, centerboard etc. Ideal: hit the beach at 5p, on the water by 5:10p (recognizing that might not be practical).

4) Waiting list for cat spots is around 8 years; spots for monohulls sit empty, so I'd prefer to stick with a monohull. 

My facts:

1) 40 year old, reasonably fit, but not looking to get beat up while sailing it. Looking to sail solo, with a kid , and with one other adult at various points.

2) This will be my second boat. I already have a Wayfarer Mk III that I love. It's a bit of an undertaking to get her launched from the beach with only one helper, so I'm looking for something I can get right in the water without too much ado and I can just sail for 45 min to an hour without a bunch of prep/recovery time. 

3) I'm an "intermediate beginner". I can sail a dinghy around in a circle and recover from a capsize. Hoping to improve. 

4) I've never raced, although I harbor secret thoughts of taking it up. 

5) New or used is fine. 

Thoughts to date:

1) Vanguards are great, but hard to single hand, and a little heavy for solo beach launches.

2) Sunfish, lasers, barnetts and the like are a little small for two, and hard on 40 year old knees.

3) The best I've found would be a Megabyte and the Topper/Topaz "uno Plus/Race/Race X" options. Using an asymetrical spinnaker like on the Race X seems fun, although a mainsail on a sleeve seems like kind of a hassle to get up and down everytime (but happy to be convinced otherwise). Megabyte association seems small but committed to getting bigger and being active, which is a plus.

4) Seems like there should be a good RS boat like this, but their line-up doesn't seem to match (maybe I'm missing something). 

Thanks in advance for any good advice!

 

 

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2 hours ago, pdedge said:

Hoping to prevail upon the acquired wisdom of the group here to answer yet another "which boat for me" post. I'm looking for advice on a good dinghy to meet the following specs:

 

1) Most important: can be sailed well single or double handed.

2) Light enough for practical beach launches

3) Speed of setup is important. Our city (Evanston, IL, suburb of Chicago), has a dinghy beach. I can store a dinghy on the beach mast up; there's a locker big enough for mast, sails, rudder blade, centerboard etc. Ideal: hit the beach at 5p, on the water by 5:10p (recognizing that might not be practical).

4) Waiting list for cat spots is around 8 years; spots for monohulls sit empty, so I'd prefer to stick with a monohull. 

My facts:

1) 40 year old, reasonably fit, but not looking to get beat up while sailing it. Looking to sail solo, with a kid , and with one other adult at various points.

2) This will be my second boat. I already have a Wayfarer Mk III that I love. It's a bit of an undertaking to get her launched from the beach with only one helper, so I'm looking for something I can get right in the water without too much ado and I can just sail for 45 min to an hour without a bunch of prep/recovery time. 

3) I'm an "intermediate beginner". I can sail a dinghy around in a circle and recover from a capsize. Hoping to improve. 

4) I've never raced, although I harbor secret thoughts of taking it up. 

5) New or used is fine. 

Thoughts to date:

1) Vanguards are great, but hard to single hand, and a little heavy for solo beach launches.

2) Sunfish, lasers, barnetts and the like are a little small for two, and hard on 40 year old knees.

3) The best I've found would be a Megabyte and the Topper/Topaz "uno Plus/Race/Race X" options. Using an asymetrical spinnaker like on the Race X seems fun, although a mainsail on a sleeve seems like kind of a hassle to get up and down everytime (but happy to be convinced otherwise). Megabyte association seems small but committed to getting bigger and being active, which is a plus.

4) Seems like there should be a good RS boat like this, but their line-up doesn't seem to match (maybe I'm missing something). 

Thanks in advance for any good advice!

 

 

Are you going to be dragging the boat up onto the beach or using a dolly?

What is your approximate budget?

Who is sailing with you (little kids, spouse, friend), what are their weights and sailing experience?

Pretty big V15 fleet in Chicago so if you ever wanted to get competitive that'd be an option, a bit heavy to singlehand but don't have to always rig a jib.

I'm firmly in the camp that 'n' number of Sunfish are the best cottage boats, they're the simplest boats in the world, you can find them for dirt cheap, and they last forever. If you're that worried about hiking however...

Zumas or Force 5's are capable of holding two, but it's a little bit snug since they're designed primarily as singlehanders.

I bet you can get a used 420 or an FJ from CYC or Northwestern for pretty cheap, although they're not ultralight or more singlehandeable than a V15.

Laser Vago had a similar design brief with the option of adding the jib, kite, and trap, although I have no idea how many are racing.

RS Feva and Laser Pico are designed for smaller sailors although if you're slight or your crew is small you could get it to work.

Rs200 could work although I don't believe there are very many in the US

Laser Bahia is probably closer to your Wayfarer.

Topper Topaz is an option, I don't know much about it beyond promotional materials.

 

 

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Sunfish all the way. Easy to rig up, about 5 minutes if you are slow as you can keep the sail/spars furled on the deck and if your second passenger is a child, it'll be perfect. Of course two adults is problematic but if that is a requirement then you are looking at a Vanguard 15 or larger, which is harder to rig in 10 minutes and requires a dolly or 2nd adult to lift it into the water. 

I'm never sure about the Vanguard 15 without a jib because the forestay is the jib, and if it is windy enough to sail mainsail alone then I'd be somewhat concerned about the mast falling over. 

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The RS Feva would be a great boat for this design brief.  It would be tight with two large adults.  It is great with an adult and a kid (I sailed one with my son and we had an amazing time in it!).    They are hard, but not impossible, to find in the US, however.   The Topaz Uno + is a similar boat.  I've never sailed one with the jib kit, but they are available.  

If a single-sail boat is OK, the Zuma and the RS Aero are both great options.  They sail best with one person, but have long enough cockpits to fit two pretty comfortably.   The Zuma's can be found used pretty inexpensively.  The Aero is a much more high performance boat (but not more difficult to sail) and gives you good racing options, at a much higher price point.

A 420, an FJ, or a Laser II would all work as well, but those boats are all heavier and really designed for 2 people, and will be less fun to sail by yourself.

 

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Thanks all.

In response to some questions, I would use a beach dolly for launching/recovery. The sand is pretty soft, which makes it harder. I think single-handed launching of a vanguard would be very tough.

The RS Feva is interesting—I’ll take a look. The Laser 2000 would probably be a bit like the Vanguard—a little heavier than I’m aiming for.

The appeal of the Megabyte especially is that it seems like it’s designed to carry two, but still with a hull weight of less than 150 or so. I don’t have any objections to hiking, but I also can’t sit crouching or with my knees in my throat for hours comfortably.

 

Thanks all! I need to look at some videos of rigging up the Uno + to get a feel for how trouble it is. Agreed a sunfish is super fast to get on the water!

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There was a thread in November on a similar topic, though looking at European boats, rather than American ones. My thoughts then on "dual purpose" dinghies are as relevant, though:

 IMHO, getting a dinghy, especially a quick one, that does 1-up & 2-up well is hard.   If you think about it, the boat relies on crew weight to keep it upright and you are planning to double (or halve) that critical parameter but keep good performance... it's a lot to ask.

 My suggestion would be to either get a decent double-hander that suits the sailing you want to do 2-up (RS200? RS400? old- Fireball/Hornet/Osprey etc) and then pick up a cheap Laser for when you don't have crew... or flip that and get the singlehander you want (Aero? Waszp? Contender? MPS?) and find an old 470, Enterprise, Wayfarer or something to take out with friends...

 Of course, if you have to spend a small fortune on dinghy park space, trailers or whatever that's bugger all use...

 To add to that, though, the Feva might suit... It's small enough for an adult to singlehand (and not set up for it, so it's tricky enough to make it interesting!) but is essentially a doublehander. Crew weight (both) around 100-115Kg, though obviously that'll depend what prevailing wind strength is like. It's too small for two adults to sail properly... but you have a Wayfarer!

 They are tough but a bit heavy- underpowered in light winds but once it's blowing they are good fun- there are some good videos around of kids caning them in 20-30Kt breeze. Mast stays up and they are fairly easy to rig but you do have three sails, including an asymetric, to knit in place, so it's minutes not seconds...

  RS also have the Vareo- a hiking singlehander with an asym.  That's a bigger (and heavier) boat, and sportier singlehanded (the kite is nearly 10sqm to the Feva's 6.8) but much less interesting to crew for. 

Cheers,

              W.

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