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aprilsails 07-25-2013 01:38 PM

How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
I'm a new member who is looking for expert advice!

Our friend has recently bought a nice cottage on a very large lake. He has never sailed other than on small day trips. He wants to purchase a small sailboat (either a dinghy or a daysailer) to keep at the cottage and learn how to sail on. He also wants to have something for people to "play" on when they visit. He's asked me for my recommendations, and since my experience is with dinghy's and Tall Ships, I feel a little underqualified.

He has a very large dock and storage/cost will not be an issue for him. However, his dock is next door to a very busy set of locks and there is a huge amount of powerboat traffic going by in front of him. Often lined up on a busy weekend. He's also on the lee shore of the lake.

I owned a 16' Invitation (now retired) and while part of me things a dinghy might be best for him to learn on, I think he's going to have a really hard time getting out from where he docks due to the lee shore issue and the boat traffic. I'm thinking he may be better off with a 20' daysailer. It doesn't have to be big, but having the option of an outboard to be able to motor away from his cottage (also to be able to go through the locks where the larger portion of the lake is, if desired).

Any thoughts? My husband is pushing for him to get a Hobie 16' cat, which while I agree it's cool and fun, I think our friend may find it uncomfortable to learn on. He's a quiet, classy kind of guy (and 20 years older than us).


SHNOOL 07-25-2013 02:04 PM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
If money isn't a real big object then a Capri 142 expo is easy, doesn't require stays, and will take a nice small outboard (or trolling motor). it's a centerboard boat, so it'll flip easy enough.

That's a pretty easy boat to learn on though, and not real complicated to rig, but still reasonably quick in the water.

A LIDO 14 is a more sophisticated step up from that (as is the Capri 14.2 and Precision 15).

But if you are leaving the boat at the house for others to use (who also have not sailed) then it's REALLY hard to beat a sunfish. They are practically disposable, but tough as nails and take ZERO effort to learn to rig/sail. There is a reason why they are so popular. The motor part isn't doable in one, but then a light paddle works wonders.

I know you put age in there as the reason for no Hobbie, and OK... the sunfish likely isn't gonna be any better on that part. But I submit that if the Hobie is no good, then most centerboard boats won't be either (think righting a capsized boat). You may want to think very small keelboat, or perhaps a cat boat.

Just for the record... my brother bought his first boat at the age of 18, he purchased it off of a 65 year old man, it was a sunfish. The reason for selling? It was too slow. 10 years later this same older gentleman was selling his Hobie 18, because he was taking up sailboards. Last I heard at 80 he was buying a Weta Tri-maran... Again cause it was "too slow."

Goes to show, you are only as old as you feel.

aprilsails 07-25-2013 03:18 PM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
I wasn't saying that he couldn't sail a Hobie - and I have taken a 95 year young great grandmother to the top mast and trestle trees on an 150' rig once - he's just not a super athletic type of guy and he's also 6'5" so I have a hard time imagining him being very comfortable learning in a dinghy (where another adult will have to teach him).

He's definitely the gentleman sailor type.

I'll look into your suggestions. I had flagged a couple of used catboats as possibly being a good idea. The lake he is on has very good depth and his dock and entrance is really deep (since he's basically right on the channel he's guaranteed to have at least 8').

baboon 07-25-2013 10:56 PM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
Given your description it seems he would be better of in a sit in rather than sit on type of boat, this makes sunfish lasers etc a problem. Becuase of boat traffic a motor and therefore proper transom will be needed. A catboat would be a good simple option, an old beetlecat is nice. The capri listed above is another good choice. In addition there are most likely 500 hundred other small sailboats that would work well, even one not meant to take a motor could be set up with a small electric trolling motor without too much trouble.

A hobie in boat traffic with a new sailor is not so great.

Sal Paradise 07-26-2013 07:30 AM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
assuming he doesn't have to trailer far, and he has depth, you should recommend a low maintenance fixed keel type such as a Rhodes 19. More stable, less hassle.

aprilsails 07-26-2013 09:51 AM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
Ok - I've been combing through the local classifieds, and although this is likely an older boat (I will check condition perdsonally), I think I've found a good option for my friend.

It's an O'Day 17 with trailer and outboard. It looks to have good stability and space for a couple of adults comfortably. Since it't at the yacht club I should be able to take it out to see the sails in action. Also the outboard.

I was going to post a link but my post# is too low. :(


imasaluki 07-26-2013 12:37 PM

Great choice with the O'Day. I'll second the Rhodes 19 for a classy kind of guy. :) Cool cool cool boats... and easy on the eyes.

aprilsails 07-26-2013 01:24 PM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
I've taken a look around and there doesn't seem to be any used Rhodes 19s for sale in my neck of the woods. I think we're going to stick to the used boat market since this is just for occasional use at the cottage. I've also found a Catalina 17 which is reasonable and in nice condition.

mstern 07-26-2013 02:16 PM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy

Originally Posted by imasaluki (Post 1065062)
Great choice with the O'Day. I'll second the Rhodes 19 for a classy kind of guy. :) Cool cool cool boats... and easy on the eyes.

Yes, yes, yes. The Oday Daysailer or the Rhodes 19 would be perfect. Both are easy to trailer, launch and sail, and are very forgiving designs for the new sailor. You can't tip them over or really even scare yourself too badly. And as noted, they are smart looking craft.

Catboats are ok too, but if you have to sail off a lee shore on a regular basis, keep in mind that cats are not closewinded boats. Doesn't sound like a good match to me. But hey, if you are going to use the motor to get someplace else before you sail, that would work.

TJC45 07-26-2013 03:23 PM

Re: How to choose a daysailer/dinghy
Can someone tell me why Hobie 16s are uncomfortable? This is the second thread in two days where that comment has been made. I've been sailing Hobies for almost 30 years. I can think of at least a dozen adjectives to describe these fast boats. Uncomfortable not one of them!

That said, I can sail a Hobie 16 off a lee shore any day of the week in any condition. And, yes, it's not a close winded boat. Add in boat traffic, obstructions current etc etc, doesn't matter. Bring it! I'll sail my Hobie 16 into your marina and put it in whatever slip you want. Am i saying this to brag? No!!! Far from it!!! There are sailors out there who can sail rings around me. The point: Learn boat handling! I had to learn these things because, sailing this boat, there was no Plan B!. It is either do it, or don't! Learning how to do it has worked out a lot better than elimating sailing locations because they weren't perfect.

Any sailboat can be sailed out from a lee shore, around obstructions, and thru locks. it could even be done without a motor. Don't let the location determine the boat. Sailing with these conditions, with practice, will make your friend an expert in how to handle them in no time.

Because of your friend's non athletic 60ish build, add Flying Scot to the list. Very comfortable, fast, and responsive. ( I learned sailing under sail into crowded marinas on Flying Scots)

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