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Old 09-24-2013
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Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

Hey All, I realize most of you sail much bigger boats than these, but.. what small, say under 18', single person boat will go fastest on a small reservoir with fickle 15mph or less winds? Opinions and experiences welcome.
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

They are quite different boats. The Lighting and Flying Scot are racing boats, the Sunfish and especially the Snark are more of a "have fun" type of dinghy.

The Lightning is somewhere between a keel boat and dinghy with a heavy weighted keel. It weighs about 700lbs and would be harder to trailer. I've sailed them and they are a lot of fun, though in most conditions they are more of a two person boat.

The Flying Scot has 191 sqft of sail area, which is a lot to manage on a dinghy when single handing. I haven't sailed one, but I think it's probably better as a two person boat too. Based on it's 850lb weight it must also be a weighted centerboard.

The Sunfish is the first boat that I ever sailed on, but worlds simpler than the Scot or Lightning. It's fun, but I think there are boats that you'll grow more into than this one.

The Snark is basically a styrofoam Sunfish and should be close to free.

I think you'd probably be better served with a Laser (maybe with a radial rig) than any of these. You might also look for two handed dinghies aimed at the juniors market, they can often be sailed well single handed. Flying junior and 420 are two examples.

This is a heavily biased (towards the 505) list of dinghy classes, but I find it useful even to see what it says about other boats. You can learn a lot by reading between the lines:
http://int505.org/old_site/compare.htm

The 505 is a high performance two person dinghy with tons of sail area, so I don't think that is what you are looking for either.
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

I should add that I don't have a lot of experience with boats this size, I've just done a lot of reading. I've sailed on a few of them and teach sailing on a small keelboat called the Blanchard Junior. I just (two days ago) bought a 505 for racing, but haven't actually sailed it yet.
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

Quote:
Originally Posted by HollieMac View Post
Hey All, I realize most of you sail much bigger boats than these, but.. what small, say under 18', single person boat will go fastest on a small reservoir with fickle 15mph or less winds? Opinions and experiences welcome.
Fastest: Moth or similar. If you want something fast but more stable, a cat of some sort.

Traditional Monohull: Laser, or perhaps a lake scow like an MC.

I sailed Lasers when I was a kid and spent a lot of time in MCs this past summer. MCs are bigger, heavier, and faster under light to moderate conditions. They don't like big waves or big wind. You can sail them with a crew, but I wouldn't say they are spacious.

Lasers are a true single handed boat. It's not that you can't get two adults on them but they are meant for one. They are simple to rig and a blast to sail in just about any weather but I think it's fair to say that you should be prepared to be fairly active while sailing them. Body position is important. They are very easy to right if they capsize.
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

it has more to do with your launching and storage requirements then how the boat sails. will you launch single handed? will you use a trailer or car top? do you need power to get home if the wind stops. do you want to stay dry or wear a wetsuit? if you want fast and wet then a Catamaran. if you are asking this question then not a 505. Laser is a good starter and you will be able to buy cheap and will sell for the same.
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

I'd vote for the laser or an MC Scow. Both are fast and should be available for pretty resonable prices for a good starter boat. A Hobie 16 is also a great bet if your looking for speed. I've sailed all three before, and all of these boats are a blast to sail. There is a video online somewhere of Buddy Melges pulling a skier behind an MC Scow.
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

Thank you Alex, and All responders, your comments greatly appreciated.
There is a great buy on a Lightning very near me, so I was interested again in sailing my local reservoir, but I bought a Siren years ago and it sat in my barn for 15 yrs because I couldn't raise the mast alone. The buyer of my boat said that was actually doable but he was near to driving away with it at the time. I absolutely need to be able to raise the mast alone. Launching and trailering are no issues. I trailer and launch power boats alone.

While I was windsurfing at a different reservoir last week a couple of great sailors put me in the cockpit of a Windrider and the afternoon just blew by.
So that got me thinking again about what I could get on the water with locally (our local puddle does not allow you to be in the water, so a cat is a bit more risky there) Yes I would love to have tons of sail area, but I have to be able to single hand it. So I wondered how closely a 90 pound boat with a 120 pound person could go as fast as a 400 pound boat with 4 times the sail area. You've given me a couple of other options to look at and I Thank You All.
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

You risk being in the water with any small boat including every boat on your list. it would take a jerk LEO to cite you for being in the water to right a boat.

That said, the fastest small boat you can buy would be a cat. The Hobie 14 is a single handed boat. The Hobie 14 turbo adds a jib and is still a single handed boat. Both versions can handle extra crew members.
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Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

While a Scot is really meant to be doublehanded, I singlehand mine regularly. And it's okay with that up to about 15 knots, after that it becomes a bit overpowered, at least with my moderate skill level. They are quite difficult to capsize, you pretty much have to try or have something go very wrong. I trailer sail mine and raise the mast myself, but it's pretty heavy and not that easy. I suspect that although they are considerably easier to capsize, that a Laser might be better suited to what you're looking for. My .02.
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Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Lightnings vs Scots vs Snark vs Sunfish

If you want a boat easy to single hand, go with the sunfish.

Lightnings and the scots are fun but above 12 kts of wind will be a handful singlehanded.

That said, if it were me, I'd learn how to singlehand the lightening and make a sailing friend for those days that I'd like to try setting my hair on fire.

Getting a dinghy planing is a fantabulous adventure.
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