Join Date: Aug 2008
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First boat - Hunter 170?
I've been lurking in sailnet for some time now, reading all the threads I can as my interest in sailing has continued to grow. From all my reading, it seems that the recommended way to learn to sail is by starting with a small boat, which will be more responsive, letting the novice know what to/not to do. I want to learn to sail right, so I figured I'd start small.
So I started looking at Sunfishes and Lasers, as those seem to be the most popular small sailboat. But given that I want to eventually graduate to a larger boat, I want to start on something with both a mainsail and a jib, which will let me practice things like trimming and reefing the sails, heaving to, etc. With that in mind, I went to the local sailing shop today and spoke with a salesperson who recommended a Laser II or Hunter 170. I could go with either, but am leaning towards the 170 - both boats have a jib, but the 170 seems like the better option - small enough to learn on, but with a roomy enough cockpit for a few guests.
From reading posts here on sailnet, I've seen both positive and negative feedback on Hunters, but not many reasons supporting either the positive or the negative opinions. Can anyone provide some substantive information regarding whether they would/would not consider the Hunter 170 for a beginner boat? For those of you who don't like Hunter 170s, is there a similar sized boat you'd recommend?
My main considerations are these:
1) I want to learn to sail well, so it sounds like smaller is better. But I'm not opposed to a larger boat, if it handles well, and others think it would be a better starter boat than the 170.
2) I live in Kansas, so I'll be sailing on Lake Perry - I imagine this will limit the adverse weather that the boat will have to endure.
3) At this point, my budget is limited - I may have more to spend on a boat in the future, if my wife enjoys the hobby with me, but until then, we're counting our pennies. At present I'm entertaining used boats like the one advertised in yachtworld at tinyurl.com/5h236t (can't post links yet - it's a '99 170 for $4800)
4) At some point in the future, it's my intention to upgrade to a boat that I could spend decent amounts of time on. I dream of sailing the Caribbean, - that's obviously a ways out, but I figured mentioning what I want to do in the future might effect what I start with.
Thanks for your advice!