Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
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There's a lot involved with selecting a good boat to learn on. Optis are great for learning independence and being responsible for getting one's self into and out of trouble. Lasers are a step up, but are still too much for the standard sized 14-year old to handle optimally in many weather conditions. (Thus the Laser Radial). A singlehanded boat with one sail can not help teach kids about working as a team, or about handling jibs or spinnakers. The suggestion to look at the JYALIS website is a good one, but it fails to mention that the 30-some clubs that belong to that organization spent YEARS looking for a replacement for the venerable Blue Jay (a Sparkman & Stevens design from the 1930's). They selected the Pixel based on a number of criteria. Two (or three) crew means learning teamwork. Jib and spinnaker mean learning sailhandling skills. A planing centerboarder means learning how to make a boat perform, bringing in teamwork again for things like roll tacking and spinnaker gybes. A stable hull form means not worrying about easily capsizing while you're learning (UNLIKE the 420), while a self-draining cockpit and flotation in the hull and mast make the boat easy to right if it does capsize and unsinkable. These are all factors worth considering, and you can probably think of more that pertain specifically to you and the boat you end up selecting. There's plenty of homework and research to do before you decide. A fleet of boats that already exists - like Sunfish, for example - can be a good starting point, but that shouldn't be the sole criteria. There are a lot of different designs out there that might suit your needs better. It's up to you to decide what your goals are and how to best meet them.