Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
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Re: stabilizing the boat?
For stability you need heavy. Heavy generally means bigger, and bigger means more money most of the time. Even a Lightning (19' with a 150 pound steel centerboard) can capsize if you don't know what you're doing in a good breeze. A small keelboat might be more expensive, but will definitely be more stable. We acquired a Pearson Resolute for our first family boat, for about what you're looking to spend. It was old, from the '60's, but essentially indestructible. (That's how it got to be so old.) It had bench seats in a huge cockpit, enough sail to move it when there was wind, and a big enough transom for a small motor when there wasn't. We felt secure enough to take our 6-week old out in it. A Daysailor (keel version) or Ensign would be similar, and you might be able to find one of these around that needed some paint for not much more than your FJ. The sense of security a keel provides can be priceless.