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Old 08-15-2010
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Hi Stuartmango,

Welcome to Sailnet!

Good for you for wanting to get out sailing with your kids. It's a great way to spend time together and maybe even teach them the art of sailing along the way.

Reading about how you plan to use the boat, a couple of thoughts come to mind. First, having spent a lot of time in sailing dinghies with kids, I have a fairly strong preference for dinghies/sailboats that you sit down inside of, rather than on top of. A sit-inside configuration, with thwarts (seats) is generally more comfortable, drier, does not require hiking, and so imparts a sense of security to the youngsters.

By contrast, sit-on top boats (such as that Mango), tend to be very limited in capacity and seating arrangements, and tend to be very wet. Using them can feel as much like going for a swim as a sail.

Second, cartopping: Requiring that the boat can be hefted onto roof racks, single-handed, is going to greatly limit your available options. You will need to keep the hull weight well below 100 lbs, but even something in the 60 lb range can be tricky getting up to the racks all by yourself. Unless you are the Hulk, something like a Sunfish (150+ lbs) is out of the question.

If cartopping is your absolute only option, look for something from the lighter end of the spectrum. Also, poke around a bit on the web and you will find some ingenious methods folks have developped for getting boats on their roof racks. If you have a small station wagon with a long, low roof line, you will have an advantage. These are the vehicles of choice for cartoppers.

But would you possibly consider a small trailerable dinghy? By moving over to a trailer, you will increase your boat choices vastly, and I think you will use the boat more frequently since launch/retrieval will be so much easier, especially if you will be the lone adult on these outings.. Trailers don't have to be big and heavy -- in this size range the aluminum trailers are lighter than many of the dinghies. And they are light enough to double as "dollies" for moving the boats around by hand in your yard or at a launch site.

Given your situation with 3 young kids, my final bit of advice is to look for a boat in which all of you can sail comfortably. I suggest this because I am having trouble envisioning what you will do with the remaining kid(s) if you only take one or two along? If you will be leaving them at the water's edge, on their own, then I think it would be far safer to find a boat that can accommodate all of you and take them along. This again steers toward a sit-inside dinghy, rather than a sit-on top like the Mango.

Good luck with your decision. I'm sure you'll hear plenty of different opinions here. Regardless of which way you choose, I hope you get out on the water soon with your kids and that you all enjoy the sailing.
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Last edited by JohnRPollard; 08-15-2010 at 10:26 AM.
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