I have owned a Whistler since 1972. It is a nice easy to sail small boat. A 12 or 13 year old should have no trouble sailing it. The boat is actually just under 12' at the waterline. The features that I like best about it are the hinged centerboard and the spacious seating. With a hinged centerboard, if you run into shallow water or a rock, the board just kicks up and does not damage the hull or the centerboard trunk. My boat has nice Phillipine Mahogany seats up both sides and is ver confortable for adults to sit in.