Looking for a boat to teach my children how to sail
I am looking for a boat to take my 6,4, and 2 year old Kids sailing on a small lake. I would take 1 or 2 at a time. I want something I can put on the top of my car - preferably by myself. I was considering something like a Snark. I just came across an ad for an Escape Mango. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the Escape and how it compares with a Snark for sailing, setup, and putting on the roof of a car. If there is another boat you recommend I would be very appreciative.
Thanks for any input you can give me.
The Snark is likely a better choice for putting on top of your car then a Sunfish as it is one of the lighter boats out there. I am not familiar with an 'Eclipse Mango' sailboat so I can't comment on that. A link to the ad or maker of the boat might help.
I don't want to discourage your idea of taking your children sailing at a young age but... I volunteered at a junior sailing program this summer that used Sunfish sailboats for ages 12 - 16. Many of those teens that were in our program had the attention span of a fly and could not adequately handle the helm much less the sail 'trim' or point of sail. A few of them were also quite competent and came to us after learning a bit of sailing from their families who started them young.
What age is appropriate to start sailing? I really don't know.
Even if they are good swimmers life vests should be mandatory even if it is a small lake.
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.
You should be able to find a simple small boat (sailfish, sunfish, snark, dinghy) in Craigslist for a reasonable price including a small trailer to tug it around on. Slap a wheeljack onto the front of the trailer and it's super easy to push the trailer around where you need it when it's not hitched to your car.
People seem to be selling Sunfish style boats by the dozen, at least around here, and other small dinghys like a Widgeon or Javelin. Most of them come with a trailer.
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