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post #1 of 10 Old 05-17-2010 Thread Starter
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Boat buying advice needed

Not sure this is the right forum but I was hoping for some advice on buying a small sailboat for my daughter and myself. What I am looking for would be the best compromise of the following;

1) Can be single handled by a fourteen year old daughter (5'10", 160lbs, good physical shape). She has taken lessons on the 420 but has not sailed a boat solo. I doubt she will get into racing. She definately wants a nimble boat that requires hiking out.

2) Can hopefully be sailed by dad (6'6", 230lb, 50, okay physical shape but not super flexible). I have sailed Sunfishes, Hobie 12 monohulls and Flying Scot. I am not a technical sailor or racer.

3) Can hold two teenager in a pinch.

4) Could be either kept on a beach or dolly lanched from a small beach. It could also be kept at a dock. How well will the boat stand up to being kept in the water for 6 months per year?

5) Can be righted if captized by one person.

6) Is fun.

7) Is affordable (for me that is). I am looking at used boats in the $1000-3000 range. This means that the boat could be 10-30 years old. I am leary of plastic boats of this age.

8) The boat does not have to be a one class design.


The boat will be kept on a lake. The winds tend to be moderate 5-12 mph. The lake is relatively large (30 miles) and sheltered. It doesn't get too rough but there are large (25-50) power boats. The season is about six months. The lake is in NC, USA.

Common boats on the lake are lasers, sunfishes, cats, flying scots and yatchs.

I have looked at the following:

Laser: Seems to a great fit. Tight for two. Hard to find a used one that was not heavy sail/raced. A little concerned about the mast step breaking on older boats.

Sunfish: Nice boat but i am looking for something more challenging. I might be underestimating this one.

MC Scow: A friend recommended this on. Could be a contender. Would probably need to be wet sailed. Is this boat a little heavy (350 lb) for launching with a dolly? I am concerned if my daughter could handle it. A little more complicated control wise. Also if it turtles, It appeares that you will need the assistance of a power boat to right it. Is this true?

Any other recommendations? Thanks.

Philip
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-17-2010
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Sounds like a Laser 2 would be a good fit...

Laser 2 -- Sailboats by Vanguard - Offered by Torresen Marine, Inc. -- The Sailboat Specialists

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-17-2010
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I was thinking a Laser/L radial. The radial is actually designed for lighter sailors. Wish this design was out when I was a teen, nothing like trying to keep upright a boat designed for a 200 lb person.

Reality is, ANY of the vanguard built lines might work. Altho the laser frankly, if she "DOES" gets into racing.......what a way to start. Even if it is an older not in as good a shape as a new one. If she progress's, then you worry about a new one at 6K later. BUT< you can still get parts and pieces for them.

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-18-2010 Thread Starter
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As suggested, I looked at the Vanguard line again. Any thoughts on the Vanguard 15? With both sails, it might be too much for my daughter. How well does it handle with one sail only?
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-18-2010
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In general, I'd stay with whatever is common in the area. Even if you don't want to race it (and you may change your mind) the fact that there are a lot of a certain boat in an area usually means it's appropriate for the area. You'll also be able to get advice and help more easily, and may be able to find a used one in the area.

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post #6 of 10 Old 05-18-2010
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I would buy a Hobie cat if I could deal with the storage and transport. Those things are a blast and would keep the kids excited. If not possible to make that work, the laser. Also look for a J9 instead of the laser - if you can find one. Fun sailing little boat.

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-18-2010
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Looking at the Vanguard/laser performance boats, while I like the V15, the club FJ looks to be the more fun boat. Performance, SH or DH options, along with a spinnaker option, and if she gets really good at it, it is sailied on a college level, so potential scholarship options. Same with lasers IIRC. I realize you are not buying from this latter option, but worth keeping in mind. You may have a tigress in her that once sailing like this, who knows the limits. Keep that option open too.

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post #8 of 10 Old 05-18-2010
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The truth is a dingy made for 2 will almost always be too much for a teenager to solo. A laser 2 or v15 will have a lot of weather helm without the jib, I know I have tried. In even a medium blow it will round up so hard it can be impossible to control upwind. The laser 2 can not be sailed without the jib anyway as it has a wire luff that is needed to keep the mast up. An average person can sail the laser 2 alone with some experience, but in any wind you have to sail from the harness, which takes some modification to the boat. It is a blast. Stay away from cats, teenagers will always push the limits, and getting a turtled cat upright is a big job. I sailed a laser for years as a kid, 2 can be cramped but fun. A force 5 is a similar boat, but has a bigger cockpit area, might work good too.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-19-2010
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I had one of these, might be perfect for what you want...



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post #10 of 10 Old 05-21-2010
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Sounds like the laser is the way to go. Easy to beach & move around, responsive, capable of carrying more than one person if you want to. (Though it can be tight.) The radial rig is an option if the standard sail provides too much excitement. There are lots of Lasers around, in various conditions, so there will be one at your pricepoint. It's also light enough to pull up onto a carpeted dock, to keep things dry and shipshape during nonsailing periods. Happy boathunting!
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