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vabuckeye 08-08-2010 06:57 PM

American 18
What are your thoughts on an American 18?

I am looking to sell my Hunter 22 and move down in boat size. I like the American 18. It is a very simplistic boat. I like the larger cockpit and the ease of setup and sailing. I sail in the James River and am looking for something I can single hand easier.

Or is there something else I should be looking for?

CalebD 08-08-2010 09:22 PM

It looks like a nice boat. American 18
Similar to a Lightning 19' but hopefully simpler. I'm just not sure how easy it will be to single hand when the wind pipes up. Boats like this can rely a lot on crew weight and placement if there is any wind. In light winds it looks like it would be fun.

sailingdog 08-08-2010 09:37 PM

Look for a Farrier Tramp/Eagle 19... :)

jnorten 08-09-2010 11:35 AM

Go for the American!
I learned to sail on an American 14-6 about 10 years ago. It is BY FAR the MOST stable 14 foot boat around (aside from a catamaran).

The 14-6 can be singlehanded with ease. I've sailed it with my two toddlers aboard. I was able to manage both boat and toddlers safely in modest conditions.

I imaging that the larger version (American 18) would by more stable that the version that I learned on.

Good luck.

poltergeist 08-09-2010 02:23 PM

Go for it
That's a pretty conservative sailplan for an 18-ft. boat. For comparison, at 19 feet, a Flying Scot has 191 sq. ft., and the Lightning has 177. You should be fine singlehanding on all by the breeziest days.


vabuckeye 08-09-2010 06:52 PM

Thanks for posting the link. I should have done that.

Dog, I have actually looked at that boat as I like the thought of the training wheels. The marina I sail out of is in my neighborhood and rather narrow at the ramp and around the slips. It would be close as to getting in and out.

jnorton, How was the constuction? I have yet to see one other than on the web. I have read where it is hand laid fiberglass and the backing plates are metal instaed of wood.

I looked at the Hunter 170. The construction with the plastics looks horrible. The one boat I looked at I almost put my fingers thru the deck.

Thanks for the input

jnorten 08-10-2010 07:13 AM

I'm not an expert when it comes to craftsmanship and construction, but I believe the construction is VERY strong.

Here is why I have this opinion:

--The fleet of park district boats that I have rented from for years are often rented by folks who do not care for the boats terribly well. It's nothing malicious, but when you do not own the boat yourself, you're not going to take care of it as if it was your own.

--The boats are often dragged up onto the beach to rig and de-rig.

--The lake is rather shallow in spots. The boats often sail up onto the shallows and scrape bottom. The retractable centerboard is bent every which way in these cases.

--Speaking of the centerboard, the boat is righted by standing on the centerboard with your full weight.

--Don't mistake this last point as suggesting the boat is tippy. IT'S MOST STABLE. I've capsized the boat only one time (and remember this is the American 14-6). This was on purpose as the very first activity of my sailing instruction class. To right the boat, at 180 pounds, I stood on the centerboard.

--When I started sailing these boats ~10 years ago, the park district had a fleet of 3-4 American 14-6's and 2-3 smaller CL-11's. Over the years, the smaller boats have gone away somewhere and the district has acquired a fleet of 6 American 14-6's. Most newly acquired boats are obtained used from somewhere. Some arrive with nicks and dings.

--These nicks and dings, combined with the renters' abuses, cause the boats to lose chunks of fiberglass over time. This damage generally goes without repair for a while. The boats still sail fine. When a boat gets bad enough, usually a not too cosmetic fiberglass repair is performed. The boats hold up just fine. I suspect with a caring owner, the boats would remain in great shape.

So, the park district likes these boats. They are great for sailing instruction--have jib and main, are STABLE, and fun! You need to know that they are NOT high performance. But they are MOST easy to singlehand and since you are so close to the water it's a fun ride. I am disappointed with the jib sheet leads. It seems the sheets are led so that the side stays are smack dab in the way of the ideal jib lead. I was taught to run the sheets inside of the stays, so that's what I do. I've seen other instructors lead the sheets outside. Neither is ideal. I've improvised temporarily with an arm or paddle to alter the sheeting angle. Even with the American 14-6, I've actually STOOD on the bow to tinker with the headsail.

vabuckeye 08-12-2010 06:24 PM

Thanks for the info. The boat sounds very solid. I am not looking for a racer or such. Just a stable family type boat. My wild days are behind me. A cold beer, fine cigar and lite winds are fine with me.

Thanks again.

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