Advice for beginner boat?

Bebarclay

New member
5
2
My husband and I have minimal sailing experience, and are looking to purchase our first sailboat. It seems a dinghy is our best boat type. Beyond that we are seeking:
  • Trailerable (a must)
  • Shallow water/beachable
    • So centerboard, not keel
  • can carry 2 adults
Looking to sail mainly off of a beach in Buzzards Bay Massachusetts, but also some river and lake sailing.

We've been looking at Lasers, and Hunters.

Any and all advise is very welcome!
 

sunseeker

Super Anarchist
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634
If you are looking at Lasers, consider a Rocket. Great boat, the builders are awesome people, and less expensive than a laser.
 

Alan Crawford

Super Anarchist
1,389
656
Bozeman, Montana
For sure a dinghy if you really want to learn to sail! Immediate feedback plus very fun.

+1 on the Rocket although depending on adult size, one may not be enough. Hers and His Rockets!

Others can speak with greater authority on Buzzards Bay than I, but based on a few Buzzards Bay Regattas in a Laser it blows pretty good in the Summer. Since that's your main sailing place, you need to take that into consideration. For a first boat with the desire to use with two adults and on Buzzards Bay, a Laser is not an option (nor is one Rocket most likely).

Something easy to sail, easy to right and resume sailing after a capsize without outside assistance are very important considerations.

For a two person fun dinghy, the Melges 15 may be a good choice. It's a new design so you will not find any cheap ones. There's an active Melges 15 thread here and quite a few sailing in the Northeast. Contact someone and arrange a demo.

See: https://forums.sailinganarchy.com/threads/melges-15.216187/page-11
 

Fabricensis

New member
23
32
In a thread like this everybody will try to peddle the boat they own (on that note, have you considered a First 14? ;))

There are two important decisions that you need to do now:
a: Do you want a boat that is forgiving and will be an easy start into sailing but might become boring once you get the hang of it, or would you rather struggle now but have still have fun once you figure it out?
b: There are very few dinghys that can be sailed similarly well with one and two crew. While most boats designed for 1 person can carry the weight of 2 people, usually its gonna be very cramped and one person is always gonna feel like they're 'dead weight'. So you need to decide if you want a 2 crew boat or a 1 crew boat now.

Personally I'd suggest a 2 crew boat, as for one having two people on it means that one of them can fuck up and it can still turn out well and also you learn communication. Generally if you can sail a boat with other people you can sail alone, but not necessarily the other way round.

For 1 crew boats, a simple one would be a sunfish with a laser a bit more 'exciting'.
For 2 crew boats, you can look at a 420. Its quite small (designed for teenagers) but also quite forgiving and gereally cheap. I know a few married couples that own a 420 for relaxed sunday sails. If you want something more exciting a 470 would still be realtively cheap, its an olympic class so a lot of people sail them. There are also a lot of "family dinghys" for 2 people that might be exactly what you want, in that case you should simply look at whats available in your area.

One last point of note: don't buy new, if you think a new car will depreciate quickly you haven't owned a new boat. 40 year old dinghys are just as fun as new ones, the technology doesn't move that fast in this area. If the structure is good there is no reason to buy a new one over an old one, especially if you are just starting out.
 

Dex Sawash

Demi Anarchrist
2,626
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NC USA
Surely there is a near enough community sailing center to help get you up to speed until you can really work out your requirements. Some may have a variety of boats to try out.

Does "sailing off the beach" mean launching a very small, light boat on a hand-pulled cart, or just you want the ability to sail up to a beach after launch from a ramp/hoist?
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
45,426
10,207
Eastern NC
My husband and I have minimal sailing experience, and are looking to purchase our first sailboat. It seems a dinghy is our best boat type. Beyond that we are seeking:
  • Trailerable (a must)
  • Shallow water/beachable
    • So centerboard, not keel
  • can carry 2 adults
Looking to sail mainly off of a beach in Buzzards Bay Massachusetts, but also some river and lake sailing.

We've been looking at Lasers, and Hunters.

Any and all advise is very welcome!

A Laser will a bit cramped for two people, plus the second person won't have much to do. But one advantage is that the Laser is very portable, two people can pick it up and carry it around, which will not be true of the Hunters or many other boats bigger than 14'

Vanguard 15? A little bigger & roomier, still pretty light. The above-mentioned Melges 15 is also a good option and when you get th basics of sailing it, you have the spinnaker for a new dimension of excitement. If i lived in your area, I'd consider a classic catboat.
 

Ventucky Red

Super Anarchist
11,580
1,309
Here are a few good options for you..

Force 5 - use to own and sail one and was a good two person boat. https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/boa/d/boston-amf-alcort-force-sailboat/7504764503.html

Vanguard 15 - other mentioned, and there is one close to you... https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/boa/d/jamaica-plain-day-sailor-vanguard-15/7512114456.html

Maybe one of these if one could be found in your area https://miami.craigslist.org/brw/boa/d/deerfield-beach-megabyte-14-sailboat/7511360294.html


I would also consider a "beachcat" as there are some simple rigs out there like a Prindle 16. Maybe not this one as it looks a little beat, but food for thought..


Good luck...
 
Last edited:

LakeBoy

Random Internet Guy
So many questions....

How is your mobility / physical fitness for rigging the boat and getting around on the boat when you are sailing?
As noted above, what type of sailing are you interested in, sedate / comfortable or fast / exciting / possibly perilous (potential capsize/recovery)
What to you have to tow the boat with? May limit larger dinghies
What limitations do you have on parking the boat when not sailing? Again, may limit larger dinghies.
What is your favorite color?
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
 

sailor-cfn

Member
248
76
The usual readers of this forum are dinghy racers, and usually respond to questions like this with "race boats". If you're looking to race, find out what is raced locally and get one of those.

But if you aren't looking to race, or to sail a boat which was primarily designed for that, there are many, many other types of dinghies which will be far more comfortable, more stable, less twichy, carry much more gear for a cruise, that will be great vehicles for you to increase your sailing skills, and which can be picked up really cheaply (especially where you are looking).

(Note - I'm assuming your definition of beachable means, that you can sail up to a beach for a picnic, not that you're going to drag it 1/4 mile down a beach to launch it every time).

There are a ton of boats in the 14 to 17 foot range that would meet your requirements generally (I'm not familiar with buzzards bay, so it might be that some of these won't work in the usual conditions you'd encounter). I think the best thing to do is see what is available around you, in your price range, do a bit of googling/asking on forums, and them pick something that seems like it will work.


The 17 foot O'Day Daysailer is a classic - and still raced not too far from you. I see at least three for sale in the area :



This looks nice:


And so does this
If you were looking for something smaller

 

Bebarclay

New member
5
2
Surely there is a near enough community sailing center to help get you up to speed until you can really work out your requirements. Some may have a variety of boats to try out.

Does "sailing off the beach" mean launching a very small, light boat on a hand-pulled cart, or just you want the ability to sail up to a beach after launch from a ramp/hoist?
Launching a light boat on a hand-pulled cart. We have beachfront property, and would like the option of keeping the boat on the beach, and launching from there.
 

Bebarclay

New member
5
2
Launching a light boat on a hand-pulled cart. We have beachfront property, and would like the option of keeping the boat on the beach, and launching from there.
 

Bebarclay

New member
5
2
So many questions....

How is your mobility / physical fitness for rigging the boat and getting around on the boat when you are sailing?
As noted above, what type of sailing are you interested in, sedate / comfortable or fast / exciting / possibly perilous (potential capsize/recovery)
What to you have to tow the boat with? May limit larger dinghies
What limitations do you have on parking the boat when not sailing? Again, may limit larger dinghies.
What is your favorite color?
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Mobility/fitness - very good.
Not looking to race - looking for fun/fast sailing. Ability to recover after capsize and keep sailing is important.
Toyota Rav4 for towing.
Plenty of space for storing boat.
Blue
African or European?
 

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,209
1,075
Miami
Good advise on dinghies –– also consider: a small catamaran is also a good option. The Prindle 16 is pretty old and comparatively heavy. A classic Hobie 16, a Hobie 14 (great boats, a bit hard to find), or a Hobie Wave (a bit heavier, but much much sturdier) are all good options. If you are beach launching, cats are great.
 

pvaiko

New member
1
0
Or, you can get a modern dinghy like the Topaz Argo, with a rotomolded hull so don't have to worry about the gelcoat, it is light enough for two adults to launch, with roller reefing jib and single reef main, very comfortable cockpit, great for beginners but with the optional asymmetric spinnaker with chute and trapeze has a lot of potential.

After we sailed it in a Nielson beach club a few years go I finally got one for myself this April.
 

TBW

Member
474
270
For beach launching you can't beat a beach cat. Prindle 16, Hobie 16, Hobie Wave are all great beach boats. Sail on sail off, no centreboard so you don't need to walk the boat out to deeper water. Just get on and go at double digit speeds. Drop the hook and you have a comfortable place to lounge/hang out/picnic/swim.
 
fun, fast, beachable, 2 crew with high mobility...sounds like you two are made for beach catamaran living. If leisurely cruising and exploring were your goals, I think I'd suggest a monohull in the 15-17ft range, like many that have been offered above.

In my opinion, knowing what you want from your boat and the availability of parts for when things inevitably go bad are probably the two most important things to have right before setting your short-list of models.
 

Bill5

Right now
2,905
2,453
Western Canada
Indestructible and safe. And it looks like a very fun recreational boat.



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