4 years ago, I bought a small boat with the intention of getting back into sailing, as well as learning how to buy a boat and what to look for. The boat I bought was small, inexpensive and did not sail well. Hoping to get my family to enjoy what I enjoyed, I scheduled a vacation on a lake, where we could sail off from our campsite every day. It was hot, there was little wind and the family hated it. My kids felt that sailing was boring. In the years that followed, none of them would ever go sailing with me. My wife went once, mainly to fulfill her marital duty. She was OK with it, but it was mainly an excuse to spend time together, rather than be on the water.
So thus set out my guest. My gut feeling was the boat had a lot to do with it their lack of enjoying it. The boat lacked speed, and therefore lacked excitement. It also steered poorly, because of the flat blade rudder. So I looked for a boat based on Portsmouth ratings. My criteria was the boat had to rate in the 80s, be trailerable and have a cabin. What I found was a RL 24. It took me a year and a half to buy it, after first contact with the owner. The boat rates 173, which converts to 84 Portsmouth.
So after 2 shake down sails, I took the plunge and scheduled the week long vacation on the lake. Camped at Carlyle Lake, with the best view of the lake. Things started out well, everyone loved the campsite. First day out had winds peaking out at 25 mph. It was a little touch and go, but everyone had fun. My oldest daughter started out huddled in the cabin, a bit scared to move. Eventually she worked her way out and up on the bow to recreate the Titanic moment. She was getting wet, and having fun. (yes, everyone was wearing life jackets). Since I was overpowered, I reefed the main, but still felt like I was over powered. Only had the main up, left the jib down to keep things simple. Waves splashed over the cabin and into the cockpit. BUT all went well, everyone had fun. Second day was much less wind, flew both sails. The boat still moves well, even in light winds. I believe this is the key to fun. Wednessday was almost no wind, so filled a rubber raft, towed it next to the boat, and everyone went swimming off the raft. The boat drift around in circles, but the point was to be on or in the water. But the best time sailing was a night sail Wednesday night. Steady 10 mph winds out of the south. no gusts, just a super steady breeze. It was great looking up at the stars. The only fear was trying to keep site of our campsite, so we could make it back to our cove. I will tell you, it is very difficult to judge distance at night. Hard to judge how soon to drop the sail and motor in. No I was not going to sail into a mooring that is only about 30 feet wide, lined with rocks on either side, an S-curve at the entrance and too shallow to leave the center board down.
We topped the week off with a visit to 6 Flags. But the big news everyone loved the vacation and wants to go back next year. They really liked sailing. So I succeeded. I'm almost in disbelief.
My previous discussion is here: Kids think sailing is boring