Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

I'm looking to buy my first boat to sail in LI Sound and am looking for suggestions on a dinghy, small cat boat or catamaran (not for racing, just day sailing)

I have a few years of experience renting Sunfish, Hobie Waves and Getaways. I love Sunfish and am leaning toward that, but I'd ideally like something slightly bigger/more stable so I bring along a second adult sometimes and have them be relatively comfortable. I'm only 120 lbs and need to be able to sail/right the boat single handed, even if turtled...

Hoping to find:

14 feet or less
beachable and light enough to use a hand dolly to launch on my own
simple to rig and low maintenance
good for 1 lightweight skipper to sail solo but also good with 2
ideally something I can find used

My ideas so far...Zuma (have read some negative reviews saying it's even less stable than a Sunfish?)...Hobie Wave (the height of the mast is a little more than I want to deal with being a novice, and the Bravo hull is too small)...Pixel/RS Feva/Megabyte (more controls/sails than I need). I'd love something like a traditional Beetle Cat, Sturdee-Cat or other small cat boat, are there any small ones that are low maintenance and lightweight (plastic or fiberglass rather than wood)? I'm not familiar with the brand names on those.

Thanks a lot for any advice!
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

Gabe,
There are many boats that might fit your criteria but the Sunfish (or equivalent Zuma etc knockoff) would be a great choice, in my not so humble opinion (IMNSHO).
I have sailed a Sunfish with two 150+ pound adults in 15 knot winds and you need the ballast of both adults to keep it stable. Two people on a Sunfish is not a crowd; three or more is. Great exercise for the abs too, hiking out.
You should check out some Hobie 16's though. Hobie or Prindle 18' cats would be more stable but would cost more.
I still sail a Sunfish on the LI Sound every summer and I'm only 55 (a speed limit!).
Sunfish are great and pretty cheap to keep in working shape.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

I sail a Holder 14 by Hobie. HOLDER 14 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Had that boat for 15 years and love it. Very stable (wide beam) but also fast and fun to sail. Sailed it with my 3 kids all the time. Plenty of room. Easy to rig and launch, no nonsense boat.

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post #4 of 8 Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

if you can find one in your neck of the woods.. the GP14 is a wonderful sailing dinghy. Mainsail, Jib, Spinnacker, CB, able to hold four adults in a pinch and if you get a boom tent, you can even sleep aboard for a weekend of Gunkholing

Consider them a smaller little sister to the Lightning.

While never very popular in the states, they are all over the UK. I think one of the biggest "pockets" of them is just south of your location in Southern NJ. I know of two fleets in Cape May County


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post #5 of 8 Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

I have a Lido 14' by WD Shock that I sail in Mission Bay San Diego. Lots of fun and easy to sail single handed. There are several clubs associated with the Lido on the West Coast and they are raced quite a bit. Overall weight is approx. 300 lbs with a 6" beam 110 sf sail area, main & jib. I do not race but cruise around the Bay on weekends. They are durable. Mine is a '72 model and holding up well.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

There are a few GP 14s for sale at the Cooper River Yacht Club In Collingswood NJ. Fast boat!!!

Technically, the Hobie 16 needs about 285 pounds to right it in dead air. In reality, a lot less weight can get it back on its feet. Hobie sells a righting bucket system for light crews and single handers. One person can right a Hobie 14 and they are a fun boat!!! The Hobie 14 Turbo adds a jib to the mix and the boat gets faster. I've sailed Hobies for almost 30 years. they can be sailed as fast or as conservatively as you like and can take just about whatever the weather can dish. IOW, these boats can take more than you can.

Other boats to consider, Laser, or Laser Radial ( a smaller rig for lighter weight folks), Capri14.2, Oday Daysailor, Chrysler Mutineer.

Last edited by TJC45; 08-22-2013 at 02:35 PM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-22-2013
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I enjoy my American 14.6 on LI Sound. She's not a racer at all, but she is very comfortable. Add a cooler for lunch and beverages, and a nice radio and you have a recipe for a nice day on the water. Room for 3 easily.

I guess it all depends on your preferences. If you want to race, it's probably not the right boat.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-24-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Ideas on which dinghy/small boat to buy?

Thanks everyone for the ideas...the GP 14 in particular looks like a beautiful boat, as does the Hobie 14T, although that Hobie looks a little more intimidating than the Wave for a lightweight novice like myself, at least as a first boat.

I'm still figuring out where I'll be keeping the boat, but due to cost I'm probably going to have to get something light enough to launch solo with a hand dolly rather than keep in a slip or mooring. So I'm going to focus on the most lightweight options I can find.

Would the Laser Radial have a little more room for a second person and gear than a Sunfish? Not looking to race at all but something with more space for day sailing/dinghy cruising would be great. If I could find a used Bauer 10 that looks like a spacious boat for its small size, but not sure if it would sail as well as a Sunfish?

Thanks for all the info, keep the ideas coming!
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