Originally Posted by dhays
I'm going to disagree a bit.
I think that rather than give up on dinghies, you should find yourself another dinghy to sail. The Sunfish is not the most comfortable boat to sail. There are a lot of other small dinghies in the 13-18 foot range that are more comfortable and will still give you the sailing experience that is so valuable.
I think that almost everyone would benefit from learning to sail in a small dinghy, just as I think that every pilot should first learn to fly in a small plane. Sailing in a dinghy helps you develop a sense of the boat the same way flying a Cessna 150 gives a pilot the feel for "stick and rudder" flying.
You certainly can got to a keel boat sooner, but in the long run you will be a much better sailor (IMO) than if you get some dinghy experience beforehand.
I respect your opinion. However, I think if you never sailed anything smaller than a J24, you would still learn to become a very good 'stick and rudder' sailor.
Many, maybe most, of our military pilots never sat in a piston driven single engine plane. Their first trainer is a turbo prop, which is considered a seriously advanced machine for the average private pilot that begins in that C150. Of course, to be in the program, one must have above average aptitude, but I'm only saying that not everyone must start at the absolute bottom.
In my humble opinion, a J24 or a Colgate 26 are excellent trainers (the later of which is used by the Naval Academy to teach midshipmen who've never been in a dinghy sailboat).