The Blue Jay, designed by Sparkman & Stevens, is still the primary Jr. Trainer on Long Island Sound. We have about 100 of them at a regatta at our club each summer. It is a simple boat that works well as a trainer because it has a main, jib
, and spinnaker
and requires teamwork from the skipper and crew. Fast Opti sailors who move to the Laser get to the 420 and find themselves surprised by things like jibs
, and having to coordinate with someone else in the boat. The Blue Jay''s hard chine and adequate, but not overly generous sailplan makes it a relatively stable platform for learners (quite unlike a 420). An adult will find that the size of the sails makes them easy to handle. If the spinnaker
gets messed up, twisted, for example, it''s small enough for to stand up, grab the sail and and untwist. Shorter, (younger) hands would find such a maneuver more difficult. The fact that it is a known quantity means that when its time to sell again, there should be a market for one. Older boats may have leaks around the centerboard. I re-glassed ours this season. The keel can also have problems if the boat''s been trailered a lot or left with water in it on the trailer. (The weight or shock of bouncing on the trailer can damage the keel.) Also make sure the air tanks don''t leak too much. (Check the Blue Jay Class Association Website for more info.)
That said, you may find the Blue Jay a bit small for two adults. Something like a Rhodes 19 would give you similar stability, training and resale potential with enough room to invite some friends out with you. You''d also be able to put an engine on a larger boat without totally killing performance. If you look around in your area you will see what boats are there that fit in your niche and suit your needs-- and post again about that one.
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