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  #1  
Old 08-18-2008
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Question Daysailer - fast family dinghy?

Starting off on the 10 year plan to cruising. First step is to get my own boat for the local lakes to improve my skills (and the wife's).

We live in the Atlanta, GA area. Two boys (4 and 2). Sailing would be primarily on Lake Lanier and Allatoona Lake. Want a boat that is easy to tow behind the minivan. Needs to fit in a long garage stall. Due to the two young kids it needs to be fairly stable when sailed conservatively. Due to my need for exhilaration I want something that can sail fast (easy planing).

For the eventual move up I would like a boat that can fly a spinnaker and a furling headsail is a nice bonus (both are typically on my current top choice - see below)>

If possible I would like a boat with at least some one-design racing, I would probably never be hypercompetitive but like the idea of others sailing the same boat available to give advice. I have sailed on FJ, Laser, Capri 14.2, O'Day Sprite, Harpoon 5.2.

Currently I am considering the following boats:
Buccaneer 18 - top of my list, fast, roomy, light, active fleets. Is it too tender for the family?
Flying Scot - seems like a nice stable boat, very active fleets, a little big and heavy? How big of an issue is the balsa cored hull?
Harpoon 5.2 - nice sailing boat, stable, lacks active class

Are there any other designs I am missing out there? Ideally the boat is sized to fit up to 4 adults (the kids will grow and guests do come visit). I am budget limited to less than $5000 (with trailer, sails, repairs, etc.). Obviously I want to keep it as cheap as possible but do not want to end up with a project boat.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Greg
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Old 08-18-2008
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Seems like a pretty good plan, and I'm sure you'll find the right boat...but I'm just trying to think of the distance to and from the lake to your garage, as well as the height of the latter. "Dropping & popping" the mast each time could be a problem you may want to consider...
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Old 08-18-2008
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I sailed a Bucc a couple of times last year before I got my boat and one time it was loaned to me to take my kids out. I grew up in Atlanta and know Lanier well; there are some large coves that stay a lot calmer than the big pool. Taking those experiences and thinking about them together, I would say a Bucc is a reasonable choice if you watch the weather carefully and if a rare capsize could be tolerated if it occurred. You would want a furling jib so you could make it disappear in a hurry without going up there (they get really tippy when you go on the foredeck). They are somewhat wet; water through the trunk seems to be common. You can open scuppers to make it go away, but you will have a wet floor. But they have a nice roomy cockpit laid out much like a cruiser cockpit; nicer than a lot of racing dinghies.
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for a family of 4 and OD racing, have you considered a small keelboat like a Catalina 22. especially a swingkeel with current lake levels.

there are tons of them on Lake Lanier and therefore always good ones on the market in your budget.
Fleet 58 out of LLSC is very active C22 one design racing group of friendly folks with current and former national champs.

whatever the boat... rather than tow from home, consider getting a dry berth at one of the marinas (eg Aqualand). you keep the boat on the trailer at the marina and the rig up (a big plus if you value your time and fuel costs). drive to marina, splash the boat, go sailing.

hope this helps :-)
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Old 08-18-2008
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What Jeff said!

C-22's are great boats!

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Old 08-18-2008
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If you're searching for a fine quality, stiff and stable daysailer, check out Marshall Sanderling - an 18 ft. gaff-rigged trailerable catboat, that certainly isn't as fast as many much lighter, more tippy dayboats, but lots of fun for the family. They've been produced since 1962, so a few are always available in the used market. But, you'd have to look very hard for an older one matching your budget.

I particularly like the folding mast feature and considered one as an interim daysailer to keep on a mooring off our backyard beach - winter stored on a trailer . . . at least 'till we decide on another, larger boat to replace our NC33. Our sights are currently set on the diesel powered Marshall 22, Sanderling's slightly bigger sister. The Sanderlings come in both open and cuddy cabin versions.





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Old 08-18-2008
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Thanks for all your comments!

Robby, yes I am thinking about the hassle of rigging/derigging and mileage to/from the lake, dry storage may be attractive if the price is right but I would still like to be able to pop the boat into the garage at home. In addition there is a trade off on wear and tear if the boat is outside all the time.

Andy, tolerance for capsizing is high for me, low for the wife, kids would probably think it is a blast. I capsized a Hobie on our honeymoon and the marriage survived...

Jeff and Ifly - interesting thought on the Catalina 22. Will still consider but seems a bit more boat than what I want.

TB - wouldn't expect much different from a man who sold his Nauticat. That is one salty looking boat, would probably help the wife feel secure. Doesn't match my tastes and doesn't get me a modern rig like I would like to have to start honing my skills for moving up to a bigger boat.

Keep the suggestions coming, I am loving it.
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Old 08-18-2008
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My first boat was a Flying Scot and it is definitely a great family boat. Very stable, beamy boat that was designed to sail on the Great Lakes. Huge cockpit, fractional rig with spinnaker. Not as fast as a Highlander or Lightning but still can get up on plane is certain conditions. Never had a problem with the hull or deck. Easy to raise the mast and rig. Good luck with whatever you decide; it looks like you are taking the right approach.
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Frog,
After posting that suggestion, I realized your tastes were honed to Bermudian rigs. Sorry if this is off-topic. But for me, the sight of catboats sailing against a New England backdrop is inspiring.

Edward Hopper's wartime era Ground Swell has always been a favorite painting, depicting a simpler life of catboat summers, but mindful of ominous threats - symbolized by the dark buoy.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFrog View Post
Andy, tolerance for capsizing is high for me, low for the wife, kids would probably think it is a blast. I capsized a Hobie on our honeymoon and the marriage survived...
I think you are probably well aware that you can't get it to zero chance in any boat and the lighter and faster you want the boat, the higher the capsize risk will be. I should have also mentioned heeling though. Someone with more Bucc experience may correct me, but I felt like it had decent secondary stability but little primary. In other words it heels over a little bit in just a slight breeze but then hits a point where it holds pretty well. Talking to a Bucc racer, seeing them go over in spring time races was not unusual. However, this racer is who loaned me a Bucc - his "recreational" one which wasn't set up for racing and he told me the recreational one had not capsized since he had owned it. But he or people he loaned it to had come in under main alone on days the boat could have stayed out with a crew that had a higher risk of capsize tolerance. So be prepared to come in with the family on some days that are near perfect from another viewpoint.

I ended up going to the bottom end of cruisers, partly because I wanted something I could do an overnight in and prtly because of stability. Buccs will pass right by me, but I have had my kids out in 15 knot winds with no worries.
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