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Dinghy for the family and maybe racing.


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Im looking to getting back into dinghy sailing. I want something that I can take my 2 young kids and wife out to teach them and hopefully get my kids to fall in love with sailing. But I also want a boat that could possibly be raced single or double handed. I'm looking at a rs quest that seems to fit the bill, but not so sure on racing. Also looking a cat's. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I'm in the San Diego area. 

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Weta trimaran - easy to singlehanded yet has good performance with two adults or one adult and two kids. Two adults and two kids could be a little cramped. Can be a bit of a pain if you do not have a place to keep the boat rigged / assembled, however. With it rigged, you can be sailing in not much more time than it takes with a Sunfish. 

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Hope you can roughly decide on how much sailing you will do with your wife and kids versus the interest in racing. Very hard to find a boat design that will do both well. On the racing side, what dinghies are raced in your area? Are any of them also good for the wife and kids? The dilemma you face is common. Also consider just where you will sail the boat - where to store it - where to launch - how much time is involved. All these things can make enjoying the boat a struggle. Should be plenty of places to rent in San Diego. Try renting different kinds of boats before you buy. See what your wife and kids enjoy first. What they enjoy may direct you to the best boat. For your racing interest, you may just have to buy a second boat. Happy Sailing!

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Look at what is already raced locally and see if anything looks tame enough for sailing for fun with the family.  If it doesn't exist consider something different.  We were in a similar position last year.  The racing classes were either too intense for fun sails or spouse/kid friendly but boring for a racer.  There was nothing in the middle.

We bought Melges 15's as they looked fun and easy to manage.   There were 5 of us on the initial order in July of 20.  We will start the summer season with 12 of them at our club and another 7 within an hours drive.  The boats are both fun to race and easy to sail with kids or non sailors.  We are confident that we will continue to see more people sailing at our club because of how versatile it is.   

There are boats on the west coast but none in San Diego yet...

 

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I'd be happy to help you with any questions you may have about the RS Quest.

Most of the dinghy racing in San Diego happens out of Mission Bay Yacht Club in small one design fleets of F18 Catamarans (a bit high performance for a family), Lido 14s, Snipes, and maybe something else I'm missing.

The RS Quest will offer you an extra degree of stability, durability, excitement, and most importantly dealer support. You may not find a one design fleet, but I believe there is a resurgence in Portsmouth Handicap racing coming and much needed, just go out and race enjoying whatever you've got!

Have you seen this article? It might help too. https://www.rssailing.com/why-is-the-rs-quest-right-for-you/#:~:text=The durable rotomoulded polyethene construction,with up to 5 sailors.

Mission Bay Aquatic Center has a fleet of RS Quests, you should go try one!

I just found this cool review from Tripadvisor 

2 Person Sailboat "RS Quest" Rentals

Reviewed March 5, 2020

Smart boat choices for stability, durability and quick simple rigging.

 

 

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Just make sure its a later model Hunter 170. Or stay in a warm climate. The plastic, not fiberglass, cracks in cold weather, say under 25 Fahrenheit. 

I got one basically for the price of the trailer and repaired the several cracks. Won't sink, as there is thick foam and a fiberglass inner liner. But ugly. I call it Kraken and painted a giant squid tentacle over each repair.

The boat really is a great design. First boat I ever owned with cushions. Just installed 2 cup holders! Beats the Portsmouth handicap number regularly.

Dave Ellis

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8 hours ago, sailwriter said:

Just make sure its a later model Hunter 170. Or stay in a warm climate. The plastic, not fiberglass, cracks in cold weather, say under 25 Fahrenheit. 

I got one basically for the price of the trailer and repaired the several cracks. Won't sink, as there is thick foam and a fiberglass inner liner. But ugly. I call it Kraken and painted a giant squid tentacle over each repair.

The boat really is a great design. First boat I ever owned with cushions. Just installed 2 cup holders! Beats the Portsmouth handicap number regularly.

Dave Ellis

Dave,anything you sail beats the Portsmouth--when you sail it.

Is the rudder good then? The 14 footer (not the original one--the fat one) had an ininspiring rudder and tiller.

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On 4/5/2021 at 2:55 PM, Captianrumham said:

Im looking to getting back into dinghy sailing. I want something that I can take my 2 young kids and wife out to teach them and hopefully get my kids to fall in love with sailing. But I also want a boat that could possibly be raced single or double handed. I'm looking at a rs quest that seems to fit the bill, but not so sure on racing. Also looking a cat's. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I'm in the San Diego area. 

A 2-hand racing class that daysails 4... seems like a very reasonable request to me.

If you're content racing in a handicap fleet, then there's a huge variety of choices. Many already named, the Vanguard Nomad and Boston Whaler Harpoon would be two I'd suggest. But you could take on almost anything from an Oday Javelin to a Venture 22 a huge range in between. Oday Daysailer.

I've never seen a Hunter 17/170 sailing but a bunch of people have said they don't sail worth a poot. I also know Sailwriter (Dave Ellis) and would put a lot of weight his opinion over many others. There's a bunch of these around and often cheap... there was one here last year being given away (would have needed new sails).

But there just aren't that many choices in one-design, unfortunately. I suggest a Buccaneer 18 if there's a fleet nearby.

Also worth taking a look at the RS Quest, if they are working out as a rental fleet then there's a nascent fleet right there.

FB- Doug

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If racing is important to you, find out what is raced near your home.   From the responses here, the Lido 14 and Lightnings have strong fleets.  I'm not familiar with the Lido, but the Lightning has a long history of being a great family boat.   We hosted the nationals here in Vermont several years ago, and many of the boats were sailed by kids, parents, and grandparents, and it was obvious on shore that many of these families had been sailing together and with each other for years, perhaps across generations.   So if you want your kids to get indoctrinated into a strong family racing culture, the Lightning would fit the bill.

I've never sailed (or even seen) a Lido 14, but from the photos on the web, they look nice.  It would be a better boat than the lightning to double hand, but seems small for a full family outing.   It looks similar to a JY15, which is also a very nice doublehanded dinghy that would serve fine as a family sailboat.

Our community sailing center received an RS Quest as a gift two summers ago.   It has been a huge hit.   It is fairly stable and easy to learn on, but has plenty of performance to keep it fun.  The rotomolded hull is really durable.   Last summer I watched two young kids, maybe 12 years old, pulling it up the ramp with all their might after a day on the water.   They looked happy and exhausted.  I asked if they sailed the Quest that afternoon, and they said "Yeah!"   I asked if an instructor was aboard and they said "No way, it just the two of us".   I asked if they flew the spinnaker, and they said "Of COURSE we did."   They were so proud of being able to master this boat on their own, I wish I had the exchange on video, it would have been a great statement for our sailing center (and for RS Boats).   Interactions like that are why I love volunteering there.    Clearly, we have created two more lifelong sailors here. 

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We have lots of Lidos in the PNW. Nice little boat. Seats 3-4 depending on size and wind. Lots of family racing as well as spouse here 

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12 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

A 2-hand racing class that daysails 4... seems like a very reasonable request to me.

If you're content racing in a handicap fleet, then there's a huge variety of choices. Many already named, the Vanguard Nomad and Boston Whaler Harpoon would be two I'd suggest. But you could take on almost anything from an Oday Javelin to a Venture 22 a huge range in between. Oday Daysailer.

I've never seen a Hunter 17/170 sailing but a bunch of people have said they don't sail worth a poot. I also know Sailwriter (Dave Ellis) and would put a lot of weight his opinion over many others. There's a bunch of these around and often cheap... there was one here last year being given away (would have needed new sails).

But there just aren't that many choices in one-design, unfortunately. I suggest a Buccaneer 18 if there's a fleet nearby.

Also worth taking a look at the RS Quest, if they are working out as a rental fleet then there's a nascent fleet right there.

FB- Doug

Perhaps the folks who don't think the Hunter 170 sails well treat it as a keel boat. Like any dinghy, balance is attainable. Just raising or lowering the weighted centerboard a touch changes the helm.

Not putting the rudder foil all the way down causes big weather helm in all boats.

Cranking the mainsheet tight closes off the mainsail, etc.

The most docile boat I've owned. Cushions and two cup holders are nice for this 76 year old sailor.

Mug Race May 1 in Florida. Then sell it. Next?? 

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Just now, Admiral Hornblower said:

Easy. Hobie 16. Has good racing as well as being a good boat to take the family out on in moderate winds. And, it can also be singlehanded!

There are also a ton of them available used for reasonable prices.

Hobie 16 UK National Championships at Poole Yacht Club

 

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1 hour ago, Admiral Hornblower said:

Easy. Hobie 16. Has good racing as well as being a good boat to take the family out on in moderate winds. And, it can also be singlehanded!

Hobie 16 UK National Championships at Poole Yacht Club

In the 70s I was racing a GP-14 and the 16 and the Prindle were basically brand new. The 18 was absolutely new. They all sailed circles around us unless the breeze was under 4 kts. This picture makes me nostalgic for those days on the PA lakes.

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No one mentioned the usual "do you want to stay wet?" metric - which is going to apply to the Weta and some others.

It's fairly easy to put together your list - how heavy of a boat, etc.

In a monohull I really like something with a nice large cockpit and seats all around. Sitting up on the edge of the boat seems more of a racing or OD thing. 

It really is important to consider everything - storage, ease of assembly, etc. 

I think if you list out some of those things (can you store it near the water - mast up? - can you even leave it in the water for a week at temp. dock or mooring if you are on vacation, etc.). 

For me, boating is all about the least time and hassle in prep. In fact, you might want to see if they are clubs or squadrons nearby that let you rent their boats...or, store your boat mast up with easy access.

I like a number of the boats mentioned above. "Keel or no Keel" can be a fairly big deal on a monohull, especially in 12MPH winds. 

I like Hobie getaways! Waves are even nice - both have those bench seats available. You will get wet in 12+ MPH. Less so on a getaway if you sail it well. 

Rotomolded RS boats look like they will last you decades with very little maintenance. You might want to dig through some of the "Craigslist finds" threads on this forum - not that you are going to buy that way, but you will see many types and comments. Check out this post - Sanderlings, etc- nice boats! Look at that cockpit - it's as if you are cruising luxe!

https://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/170020-craigslist-finds/&do=findComment&comment=7488753

The Marlow-Hunter 18's and similar have that open rear (good, IMHO!) and seating...so they check a lot of the boxes also:

https://www.marlow-hunter.com/fiberglass-trailerable-daysailers15-22-feet/the-18-much-more-than-a-daysailer/

(the weighted centerboard makes it sail like a keel boat....a great compromise for shallow launching waters and beaching)

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The Marlow-Hunter 18 is the answer to the Hunter 170 (17-feet).

With all the bad press with the cracking of H-170 hulls due to the plastic not taking the cold, the boat was redesigned a foot longer, renamed and made of good old fiberglass. Hard to tell them apart by looking.

Dave Ellis

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Oh, and try as I may the Hunter 170 that I salvaged just will not plane. Solid breeze, broad reach, no reef, hull speed only.

Does very well in light air and is embarassingly comfortable.

Dave Ellis

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8 hours ago, sailwriter said:

Oh, and try as I may the Hunter 170 that I salvaged just will not plane. Solid breeze, broad reach, no reef, hull speed only.

Does very well in light air and is embarrassingly comfortable.

Dave Ellis

I'm the decadent type, I like "embarrassingly comfortable" ...

but I also like a boat that has some jump when you boot it up.

Last couple of years, I've got a lot of hours sailing the Oday Javelin. Our high school sailing program has 6 of them. They are comfortable and remarkably stable without some of the quirks that boats designed for high stability often have. It's still against my nature to walk around on the foredeck of a 14-footer. We got sets of oversized sails, the mains are almost square-top. They're better in light air with added horsepower, but I am not sure if they will ever plane.

FB- Doug

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A170 sold to a local family looking for a first boat. They love the boat and don’t see the cracks all over the cabin top!

As an aside, the first Hunter 310 out of the mold had the same problem. I reefed out the cracks and filled them with gelcoat. I sanded and buffed the surface smooth and now you can’t tell the boat had that horrible appearance. Of course, the pic of the finished product isn’t loading because it’s too big a file...

 That said, I think the 170 would make a fine family boat.

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Here you can see the cracks close up and me using the edge of an old debit card to lay the gelcoat in the opened up cracks. The green stuff is poly vinyl alcohol(PVA) release agent, which cures gelcoat. The last pic is washing down after sanding and buffing. All the old cracks are gone!

Thread drift over!

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7C2D9D4A-DE0E-4741-898B-88055061E18E.jpeg

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