Is Sunfish Race right for me?

@last

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Sunfish, yes all the way. Having owned two Lasers and two Sunfish throughout the years ( am 64 and currently own a Sunfish if that tells you anything) the Sunfish is the better choice hands down for what you are trying to do. No dis on the laser or any of the other boats listed above which are all great, but I have a comparison I use when talking to folks about this. I say a hammer and a Philips screwdriver are both great tools, but what they are not is interchangeable. Based on the job you describe, I would say the Sunfish is the best tool for the job. A few random thoughts, as you are on the lighter side weight wise in a dinghy which relies on human ballast, pick your early days wisely when to go out, i.e. if it is blowing 18 plus, you may wish to work up to that and set your early threshold at like 13-14 or something. Also the suggestion of either getting lessons or having someone teach you/joining a sailing club are all good ones. Worse case scenario if you don't like it, as mentioned they are pretty easy to sell as many folks own cottages on a lake and have them out front. I would try and get post 1972 as they have the new style rudder assembly and condition/care given to boat is king as it is with anything else in life. Good luck and enjoy!
 

Sun

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The MC Scow is also great class

Every single boat on the Melges website looks awesome. In addition to MC Scow, I liked Melges 14 and Skeeta too. Thanks for sharing.

Well...Back to Sunfish...
 
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Sun

New member
29
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Sunfish, yes all the way. Having owned two Lasers and two Sunfish throughout the years ( am 64 and currently own a Sunfish if that tells you anything) the Sunfish is the better choice hands down for what you are trying to do....
(y)
 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
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Sunfish, yes all the way. Having owned two Lasers and two Sunfish throughout the years ( am 64 and currently own a Sunfish if that tells you anything) the Sunfish is the better choice hands down for what you are trying to do. No dis on the laser or any of the other boats listed above which are all great, but I have a comparison I use when talking to folks about this. I say a hammer and a Philips screwdriver are both great tools, but what they are not is interchangeable. Based on the job you describe, I would say the Sunfish is the best tool for the job.

I agree. Having owned four Lasers and three Sunfish and two RS Aeros throughout the years (I am 74 and currently own an RS Aero and a Laser if that tells you anything) the Sunfish is the better choice hands down for what you are trying to do.
 

LMI

Member
321
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east coast usa
I am 59yrs old, 149lb, 5'8ft. I am not in a bad shape, but joints, back, neck are all getting there. Is Sunfish Race a good choice for an old guy with no sailing background? Are there any better dinghies around that can be a better fit?
Absolutely yes do the sunfish.
 
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Sun

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Not that big of a deal, but where I live I don't have to register or title a sailboat under 12ft.
My mind is set with the Sunfish. Though, I liked the RS Neo and Zest too - both under 12ft.
Might any of these two make a better boat for me than the Sunfish?
 

tillerman

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Not that big of a deal, but where I live I don't have to register or title a sailboat under 12ft.
My mind is set with the Sunfish. Though, I liked the RS Neo and Zest too - both under 12ft.
Might any of these two make a better boat for me than the Sunfish?
If you think you might want to take other people for rides on your boat then the RS Zest might suit you better. It's designed to sail singlehanded or to take another adult or a couple of kids, and I see it's been adopted by learn-to-sail programs at both sailing clubs and community programs around here.

I have no personal experience with the RS Neo, but I can vouch that the folk at RS Sailing and my local RS dealer Zim are top quality. I suspect the Neo is more of a fun ride than a Sunfish and it looks 300% more sexy. This article explains why it could be a good choice for a total beginner. https://www.rssailing.com/the-rs-neo-perfect-dinghy-for-learning-to-sail/
On the other hand if you think you might want to start racing as soon as you have learned to sail, it would probably be better to go with the Sunfish (if there is racing near you.) As far as I know there is little or no one design racing in Neos or Zests. If you buy a Neo to learn in, you are probably going to want to trade up to a Laser or RS Aero if you want to go racing.
 
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Sun

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...This article explains why it could be a good choice for a total beginner. https://w.......If you buy a Neo to learn in, you are probably going to want to trade up to a Laser or RS Aero if you want to go racing.
No one design racing around here. I've researched both and would definately pick Neo over Zest.

If Neo is more exciting and faster than Sunfish and still is a good learning platform, then I might as well consider it.
 

Sun

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I see that Longshore Sailing School in Westport CT has some RS Neos. Looks like they teach beginner adults in RS Quests and use the Neos for their advanced course.

They treat Neo as a pro vessel. I will give the Zest another look and make a decision. Thanks for sharing the link.
 

tillerman

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They treat Neo as a pro vessel. I will give the Zest another look and make a decision. Thanks for sharing the link.
Bear in mind that it's a lot easier for a sailing school to put an instructor in the boat with one or more students for the initial lessons than it is to try to teach a horde of beginners in singlehanded boats from a RIB. That's one reason why boats like the RS Quest are popular with sailing schools. Then they turn you loose in something a bit more exciting like the RS Neo once you have mastered the basics. Not sure that means the Neo is a "pro" boat.
 
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Sun

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Bear in mind that it's a lot easier for a sailing school to put an instructor in the boat with one or more students for the initial lessons than it is to try to teach a horde of beginners in singlehanded boats from a RIB. That's one reason why boats like the RS Quest are popular with sailing schools. Then they turn you loose in something a bit more exciting like the RS Neo once you have mastered the basics. Not sure that means the Neo is a "pro" boat.
I am not so sure what "pro boat" means either.

You're making a good point. I didn't think about the instructor wanting to be on the boat with the students at the beginner classes. That must be one of the reasons why the Zest can carry two like the Quest.

It comes to RS Neo vs. Sunfish then. I don't think I can go wrong with either of them.
 
I'll just point out that none of the boats suggested are bad ideas. For a beginner, I really believe that the best boat is the one that's going to spend the most time on the water. If the sailing bug bites you, you are going to want ALL the boats (and your vacillation is probably an early symptom of that). Don't worry about finding the right boat. Find a boat you can afford and can transport/launch any time you want and you'll be on the right track. (And FWIW all of those Sunfish racing mods can be added to any lateen board boat for a minimal investment, so literally any reasonably dry Sunfish hull can be raced when you get to that point).
 

martin 'hoff

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I am not so sure what "pro boat" means either.

You're making a good point. I didn't think about the instructor wanting to be on the boat with the students at the beginner classes. That must be one of the reasons why the Zest can carry two like the Quest.

It comes to RS Neo vs. Sunfish then. I don't think I can go wrong with either of them.
You wouldn't go wrong, but I'm surprised here.

The Sunfish is the go-to entry point bc it's a great learner boat, and you can get a cheap 2nd hand beater Sunfish. You'll put dings and dents on your very first learner boat.

You are unlikely to find an RS Neo 2nd hand.

For cheap, beater boats, a 2nd hand Sunfish (check it's not waterlogged), is hands down the right option.

For new boats, spendy, you have more options, including
- Rocket from Fulcrum – lighter, much more modern
- Brand new Sunfish!
- The Sunfish knockoff I-forget-name-of

And for plastic/rotomolded you have
- RS Neo
- Topaz Uno
 
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CrazyR

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I would recommend to start with a somewhat different approach. Find a local dinghy sailing club. Active one. With weeknights can racing. Regattas on weekends. With beach boat storage. And see what they race. Even if it is a different boat than Sunfish, you will benefit enormously from group sailing and your learning curve will be much steeper. You will get connections and friends, you will get a helping hand any time and there is always someone to sail with/against. A type of boat is irrelevant.
 

highlander709

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The Ville
It might help to tell us where you are planning to sail. That said, I'd echo the Sunfish as a great boat to learn and progress on. I regularly sail and race both a Sunfish and an MC Scow. We have a large active Sunfish fleet and sail Tuesday evenings in the summer and early fall. Lots of fun. Even though the Sunfish is simple with just a few lines / sail adjustments available, it's still fun and challenging, and with just a few lines, it allows me to "get my head out of the boat" and focus on sailing fast. The MC on the other hand is more comfortable and has lot's more options for sail controls. It's also much bigger with lots more sail area. In the MC, at your size you'll want crew in anything over 10 mph of breeze. I love both boats for very different reasons.
 
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Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
I am 59yrs old, 149lb, 5'8ft. I am not in a bad shape, but joints, back, neck are all getting there. Is Sunfish Race a good choice for an old guy with no sailing background? Are there any better dinghies around that can be a better fit?
My 2 cents, for what it is worth and I've known some guys over 60 that have jumped out of keelboat racing and into Laser racing to improve their helm skills and increase their time on the water. Age is an issue but not a limiter. I'm going to ignore the boat, sail what you think you will enjoy.

Before hitting the water consider working out two times per week to get yourself ready. Various planks including ones on the sides to improve core strength for overall balance and hiking. Low weight but high repetition dumbbells with the arms for sail trimming and launching/recoverying the boat from the water and to help right the boat from capsizes. Rubber bands can do this as well. Squats to help with tacking and squatting in the boat. A couple of sessions with a personal trainer or a physical therapist, since you are over 50, can establish what you need to do. If you have decent insurance, tell your doc you want to work out but are concerned, get a reference to a PT and get it paid for except your co-pay, much cheaper than a gym if you are only going to do it for a short while and then work out at home.

Find someone that will take you under their wing as a mentor and will ensure you learn what you need to learn onshore so that your time on the water is maximized with putting what you learn into action. And if that person is willing to sail near you and coach in a helpful manner, you will further jump up the learning curve more quickly and hopefully safely.

If there is no one to help you up the learning curve, take an on the water course. Watch videos that specifically teach dinghies and when possible, Sunfish. Practice in light air, don't go bigger until you feel comfortable. Be safe, have fun, you'll get there.
 

Sun

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If I can find a used Sunfish in 'reasonable' condition, I'll buy it. I can dry the foams in the hull and upgrade the sails easily.

I compare the RS Neo to a brand new Sunfish or a Rocket - Pricewise. If I end up having to take the brand new path, then I'd rather spend a couple of grands more and buy a Neo. Yes, the price difference between a used Sunfish and a Neo is alot, but the price difference between a brand new Sunfish and a Neo is worth it in my opinion.
 
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