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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 02-14-2006
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Beginning Sailor

Hello everyone, I'm a new member looking forward to swapping stories for many years to come. I am new to sailing. Have lived on a lake in North Carolina for 15 years owning powerboats and pontoons. I am now looking forward to moving up to a gentlemans sport with sailing. I have looked around and been reading the sailing magazines. I would like to purchase my first sailboat and "think" I would like a Hunter 170 or a Catalina 16.5. I live on a smallish lake, approximately 110 miles of shoreline, but the lake will be cut in half for me by a bridge in the middle. I have sailing lessons scheduled, at "Orientals School of Sailing" in Oriental, NC and want a boat to come back to as to hone my skills. My goal is to learn the basics on this boat before trying to move upward and onward. I am asking opinions of these two boats as a starter but would entertain any other suggestions. Thanks to anyone in advance who might be willing to share their advise with me.
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Old 02-14-2006
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Most people don't use the smaller boat to learn anymore. I applaud you. The smaller boats are less forgiving and more responsive and you will be better for it. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2006
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I agree with Irwin, I have stated in other posts: you can learn very effectivly on a small boat.
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Old 02-15-2006
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The most common type of pleasure sailboat, by far, is a sloop (a single-masted sailboat that flies a mainsail and one jib at a time.) All the good commercial sailing schools use sloops as training boats. The most fundamental principles involved in sailing a 15' sloop and a 51' sloop are the same. So, most monohull sloops would be good boats for you to use for practice, although a few small racing sloops are notably tender, and would probably be a little more challenging than necessary. Either the Hunter or the Catalina would be good choices for your purposes, but you have a wide range of choices.
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Old 02-15-2006
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I'd give the nod to the Catalina 16.5 just from the drawings and specs, it's got a little nicer lines and a bit less weight than the Hunter, may be a bit livelier and better upwind.

I'll chime in with the others, learning on a smallish centeboarder is the way to learn sailing. The best big-boat sailors are the ones who started in small sailboards or sloops.

There are lots of used boats in this size range, too--The O'Day Day Sailer and Coronado 15 come to mind.
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Old 02-16-2006
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Well, had just about made up my mind to purchase the Hunter 170 when was offered a 2004 216 with a 2hp Honda on it with a trailer for $8500.00. Boat looks brand new. Looking around this seems to be very cheap for this boat. This too big a boat to get the "small boat" feel to sailing? Anyone have any thoughts about starting with this 216?

Last edited by Garrethe; 02-16-2006 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 02-16-2006
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We have a member at our marina with a 216. Seems to be a good sailing boat. While not a dinghy, it's certainly not a big boat either. One note, it does have a fractional rig, rather than a masthead rig. So your main will be your power sail rather than the headsail.

Good luck with whatever you choose,
John
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Old 02-16-2006
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The Hunter 216 should be easy to trailer, rig and launch. The fractional rig will make it easy to sail. It has a ballasted centerboard, so it will be more stable than a small, unballasted dinghy. It has a small cuddy cabin and vberth, and will accomodate a portable head. You could probably spend a few nights camping on the boat in fair weather, but you wouldn't want to be cooped up inside the boat on a steamy, rainy day. You should be able to tow it easily with a midsized suv.

It's nice if you learn how to sail on a small, unballasted dinghy, but I learned on a 25' ballasted cruiser, as did many of my sailing friends. If you have the desire, you'll learn on any kind of boat.
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