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There's several threads here about which dinghy to sail.  Here's an interesting article reporting on some classes which are doing well at the moment. 

https://www.sail-world.com/news/238992/Whats-their-secret

Great to see the Sabres get a mention.  As the article says, great boats where there's a bit of wind and waves.

 

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31 minutes ago, fastyacht said:

Well that was useless for Americans

Doing well:

505, thistle, snipe, mc, and a bunch of others. Not doing well: gp14. Comet, sadly.BUT diwn but not out! Core group of comets continue   

the Comet is a cool boat. One of the old-school hot rods that I remember from days of yore.... enough around that they occasionally pop up. One of my junior sailors got a nearly-free Comet from a neighbor and spent some fun time sailing it.

When is the USA going to have one of these new classes actually catch on? The Aero seems to be doing the best

FB- Doug

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We've built a fleet from 5 to 15 Melges 15's over one year in New Jersey.  

A reasonably priced "new" boat has proven very appealing compared to the time and skill required to refit an older existing option.

 

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the E fleet is doing well but certainly not growing as it had in the past.  Were hopeful that a 2 person boat with an asail will help the E long term and attract some younger owners to the E fleet in the future.  

 

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1 hour ago, Fretz said:

the E fleet is doing well but certainly not growing as it had in the past.  Were hopeful that a 2 person boat with an asail will help the E long term and attract some younger owners to the E fleet in the future.  

 

That sounds like a plan!

E is on list of wants to sail.

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You are absolutely correct, high speed and high tech don't equate to strong classes. Price, accessibility and the class atmosphere have a lot more to do with strong classes. I've begun sailing an MC Scow this year and those reasons are why the class is so strong in the US. It is so strong that it's nearly impossible to find a used boat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are 125 Thistles registered for Nationals this year in Cleveland. Keys to success: fun boat, low cost entry boats, boats last a long time, lots of great sailors in the class, top sailors help newbies. Nonetheless, the Thistle Class is aging, with too many competitors over 60 and not enough under 40. 

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the venerable OK Dinghy is regaining strength in a number of places. New plastic boats are available and new plywood boats are just as good. I built three in the late 70's and felt they were a much better boat than the gawd awful Laser. Even in Covid times the OK's turn out a good group For an event on Lake Como.

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37 minutes ago, fiddlecanoe said:

There are 125 Thistles registered for Nationals this year in Cleveland. Keys to success: fun boat, low cost entry boats, boats last a long time, lots of great sailors in the class, top sailors help newbies. Nonetheless, the Thistle Class is aging, with too many competitors over 60 and not enough under 40. 

I was at that club for a regatta last month with 110 lasers and 420s and things were pretty chaotic, there just isn't enough space! I can't imagine what it would be like with 125 boats the size of a Thistle! The launching area is especially bad, you have to launch into a 15 ft wide channel  through the marina. Even in the relatively maneuverable Lasers and 420s we had horrific pileups in the launching area.

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12 minutes ago, Admiral Hornblower said:

I was at that club for a regatta last month with 110 lasers and 420s and things were pretty chaotic, there just isn't enough space! I can't imagine what it would be like with 125 boats the size of a Thistle! The launching area is especially bad, you have to launch into a 15 ft wide channel  through the marina. Even in the relatively maneuverable Lasers and 420s we had horrific pileups in the launching area.

Wait till you take your Laser to CORK in Kingston, Ontario! (highly recommended but I suspect not this year....)

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13 hours ago, Admiral Hornblower said:

I was at that club for a regatta last month with 110 lasers and 420s and things were pretty chaotic, there just isn't enough space! I can't imagine what it would be like with 125 boats the size of a Thistle! The launching area is especially bad, you have to launch into a 15 ft wide channel  through the marina. Even in the relatively maneuverable Lasers and 420s we had horrific pileups in the launching area.

I've wondered about that, too. Except for one exhibition race at the beginning, we won't all race together but in three fleets, two at a time so everyone races against everyone else. But that will still involve 80 boats which will mean a starting line of 1920 feet. Maybe the launching will be phased like airplane boarding.

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An alternative to a new boat for those with limited budgets is to improve a used boat, especially the Sunfish.  A good used Sunfish can be found for a few hundred dollars. For another $1000 one can replace the lines, sail, rudder and daggerboard and with a bit of practice mix it up with the best. A complete restoration of the hull  is not all that difficult - I did it last spring to my late 60s Sunfish in about two weeks, following directions in Kent Lewis' book, "The Sunfish Owner's Manual".  Find an image gallery of what I did at aerosouth.net    Before and after images below.  Once a new sailor has somewhat mastered the Sunfish, he will likely start looking at higher-performance boats, probably first the Laser and eventually something like a FINN, RS Aero or even one of the new foiling boats.  The new Fulcrum Rocket is a neat improvement over the Sunfish but retains its simplicity and ease of transport, key aspects to lowering the hurdles for getting and keeping people on the water.  Board boats make life pretty simple, see the popularity of SUPs.  Add a sail and you are wind surfing.  Add a wing beneath the board and you are foiling.  KISS remains a good goal to help people enter the sport.

 

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IMG_3624.thumb.jpg.0e9da1449ba3709471325700fdad0c92.jpg 

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18 hours ago, Alan Crawford said:

Wait till you take your Laser to CORK in Kingston, Ontario! (highly recommended but I suspect not this year....)

The organizers need to have a traffic control person (maybe in a boat) to make landing easier for returning sailors.

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4 hours ago, kmisegades said:

Once a new sailor has somewhat mastered the Sunfish, he will likely start looking at higher-performance boats, probably first the Laser and eventually something like a FINN, RS Aero or even one of the new foiling boats. 

 

Everybody has to start somewhere.
 

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:56 PM, jlrubin83 said:

You are absolutely correct, high speed and high tech don't equate to strong classes. Price, accessibility and the class atmosphere have a lot more to do with strong classes. I've begun sailing an MC Scow this year and those reasons are why the class is so strong in the US. It is so strong that it's nearly impossible to find a used boat.

There is a lot to like with the MC Scow. Single-hand or double-hand. Not slow. Will readily plane. Stable non-tippy hull shape. Designed for fluky light winds of mid-west US (but can de-power when it blows), it is still fun to sail and race when there isn't much wind. No foiling, no trapeze. Proven rugged design with excellent manufacturer support.

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Thistles worked for me. A sweet design and fun to sail.  50 years was not enough for me, but my body wore out.  They will be around for a long time. My last boat , #769, is still sailing after 70 years. Great boats attract great people. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/15/2021 at 1:37 PM, tillerman said:

Everybody has to start somewhere.
 

As a long time Sunfish sailor and racer I am always amused at the beginner boat/stepping stone attitude. It is a one design and the playing field is level, unless you're winning all the big events maybe you haven't yet mastered the boat. More often then not we see new sailors come into the class, never come up to speed with the top Sunfish sailors, and move onto a more "advanced" boat. Like so many simple things, the racing a Sunfish easy to learn, but maybe not as easy to master.

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14 hours ago, weakhobo said:

As a long time Sunfish sailor and racer I am always amused at the beginner boat/stepping stone attitude. It is a one design and the playing field is level, unless you're winning all the big events maybe you haven't yet mastered the boat. More often then not we see new sailors come into the class, never come up to speed with the top Sunfish sailors, and move onto a more "advanced" boat. Like so many simple things, the racing a Sunfish easy to learn, but maybe not as easy to master.

It may be more a case of moving to a more "exciting" boat, or some other boat they want to play with. No offense to the sunfish, but I just don't find it to be as fun as some of the other dinghies. All a matter of personal choice, and I'm sure the racing is fantastic in the sunfish fleet.

For me, the MC has just enough gadgets/excitement, without getting into the realm of $6,000 suits of sails. There's a lot to do and keep track of, and it's powerful enough to keep me on my toes. It's not that the racing is more competitive than a laser, it's just that (in my opinion) the boat is that much more fun to sail than a laser. 

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43 minutes ago, DougH said:

If where I lived the only boat raced was Optimist Prams then I would buy an Opti and happily race it.

post-30927-0-82449000-1409689234_thumb.jpg

BTDT got the T-shirt

The nice thing about sailing an Opti, as a 6' 180lb adult, is that agility is totally not required.

Fb- Doug

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On 10/28/2021 at 9:14 AM, Steam Flyer said:

post-30927-0-82449000-1409689234_thumb.jpg

BTDT got the T-shirt

The nice thing about sailing an Opti, as a 6' 180lb adult, is that agility is totally not required.

Fb- Doug

No agility required whatsoever.  If there's any breeze, and you move, you flip. 

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As probably the world's only 6'1" 80 kg Laser Big Race sail Bug sailor I can recommend the fun aspect of sailing very short boats in strong winds. I expect an Opti is just as good.

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44 minutes ago, Dart96 said:

As probably the world's only 6'1" 80 kg Laser Big Race sail Bug sailor I can recommend the fun aspect of sailing very short boats in strong winds. I expect an Opti is just as good.

Maybe you need to start a Frosty fleet over there! 6 feet long.

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