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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 11-17-2010
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Good small boat for learning?

Hi,

My sailing experience is limited to a few occasions of accompanying others, but my boating experience is more extensive, including several deep sea fishing expeditions. I'm going to be taking a sailing course, but I'm thinking about what might be a good learning boat for me.

I live in Oregon, near the coast and the Columbia river, and I'm wondering what would be a good small vessel which I can trailer to either place? I've looked at Mirror Dinghies and slightly larger vessels of that ilk, and also taken a look at boats in the low 20s. It's important to me that I have something I can sail off the Oregon coast safely - and yes, I know it's the "Graveyard of the Pacific", but I want to develop ocean sailing skills, not just big river sailing.

The boat needs to be able to handle two adults + two children, AND be under $20K.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 11-18-2010
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MACGREGOR 26 HOME PAGE The MacGregor 26 might fit your needs and can be had for $21K new and a good used one for $8-12K+. Trailer's easily (only 2,100 lbs., mast drops easy and has a water ballast for sailing, empty it for power boating and it does 20 mph w/ the outboard.

They're a nice cross of power and sail, wheel steering, usually a 40 or 50 HP so it's good on gas, roomy interior w/ head, sm. galley, V berth, full sz. bed under cockpit etc..


hth!
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Old 11-18-2010
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I'm sorry, but no. Sure, it can sail on the ocean on a nice day, but not in more challenging conditions. I've seen one out on a very cold day and 25kts with a short steep wave frequency. It wasn't pretty, nor safe. Many of us kept an eye on them as they really were having trouble tacking the boat and were within about 350 yards of a breakwater. The rig wasn't robust enough to control their sail shape well enough to do any more than simply survive. Now That said and before undies get too bunched up, I've seen Mac 26's out on a nice sunny summer day in 8 knots. Slow as hell, but they were having a great time sailing. Cheers to them for not dropping the iron sail and planing off to their destination, but there are many boats that will sail much better in a broad range of conditions for equal money or less, and be very effective for the conditions/location the OP mentions. To the OP, take the sailing courses and don't be in a hurry to get a boat. You're in that precarious state of not knowing what you don't know. Time on the water is your best friend. I'm guessing with some more miles and hours under your belt, you'll be looking at very different boats than you're thinking about at the moment.

Cheers!
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Old 11-18-2010
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Thank you for the input.

I won't be taking my weeklong live aboard class till the spring. I've kind of been thinking about building a kit boat, a little 10-12 foot skerry-type boat with oars and sail. There are a number of kits available, and it would be a fun winter project. I don't know that I'd be able to run it off the coast, but I could certainly do the Columbia River in it and learn a lot about sailing.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Sifu
your askin so I'm gonna tell ya.
They call the CR Bar "the graveyard of the pacific" because lots of guys have died there. A lot of these guys were pro mariners, big boats. They died because they made bad decisions, or didn't have the right information.
The right informatio is available now. Still, guys get into trouble crossing the CR Bar.
Where are you? Astoria?
If you want to learn to sail - here it is:
1 start learning. The first thing you'll learn is that there's more to learn.
2 Dont take your kids out sailing untill you know "how to sail"

So.....
Do you wanna: learn to sail? Build a boat? Adventure with your family?
Get advice from old sailors? Sail the CR?
I'll tell about any of that

Safe sailing. The question scares me.
Max
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Old 11-18-2010
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nolatom will become famous soon enough
The kit dinghy (and the lessons) are a much better idea than trying to learn on any "sailboat" that's designed to hang a 50-horse outboard on and go 20 knots under power.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
...on a very cold day and 25kts with a short steep wave frequency. It wasn't pretty, nor safe. Many of us kept an eye on them as they really were having trouble tacking the boat and were within about 350 yards of a breakwater....are many boats that will sail much better in a broad range of conditions for equal money or less, and be very effective for the conditions/location the OP mentions. To the OP, take the sailing courses and don't be in a hurry to get a boat. You're in that precarious state of not knowing what you don't know. Time on the water is your best friend. I'm guessing with some more miles and hours under your belt, you'll be looking at very different boats than you're thinking about at the moment.

Cheers!
I think puddinlegs has good advice. If you are just learning, knowing ones limits is difficult to assess let alone knowing where you want to sail and what you want to learn. When I retired, I needed something to do so went looking for a sailboat. I had no idea what I needed and looked at 26’ on down to the dinghy, but in the end bought an O'day Day Sailor II which is a centerboard a little over 16’. This has worked out very well on local lakes in Wisconsin but is unsuitable for the ocean or the Great Lakes. I joined a local yacht club and have gotten a lot of help and have crewed on other sailboats in the club although sometimes, because of my book learning, I realized not all advice was the best. For instance sail trim was not always very good, but I also learned some good things. I remember paying for a sail lesson just after I bought the O’Day and looking at a traveler and asking what it was for, but no answer, and from a young fellow who grew up sailing. I did learn some really good things from him. I had not been sailing for 35 years and he helped me get my confidence back. In retrospect, I might have made a better choice getting a Cape Dory Typhoon or a Cal 20. These are keelboats and would be more forgiving and much more sea worthy. They would be more difficult to launch, but with a trailer tongue extension or a 4X4 truck and a steep ramp, it should be alright.
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Old 11-18-2010
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bljones has a spectacular aura about bljones has a spectacular aura about
West Wight Potter 17.
Rhodes 22.
Nordica 20.
Montgomery.

All good boats for what you want to do without spending too much money.
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Old 11-20-2010
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So-
it's important to understand the diffence between these concepts:
1- a small boat, no balllast, open. Capsizing, swamping-
A. Righting
B. Self bailing ( does water drain after righting?)
C. All small sailboats (centerboard, daggerboard) capsize
D. Part of learning to sail these boats is learning to right them, and sail home safely.

2. Keelboats are a little different:
A. Bigger (18'+)
B. Self righting
C. Harder to trailor - weight
D. Almost no "newbie" builds one?
ok, so -
you can build boats - surf wooden boat, boatbuilder, etc.
You can learn to sail. Try it, read about it, understand basics.
You can live the dream of sharing sailing with younger people (your kids)
you can learn to sail on the CR. Current, traffic, cold water - stuff.

You learning to sail, teaching kids to sail, building a boat, deciding what kinda boat - all cool.
Asking which boat - good idea. You'll know a lot more about that after you learn to sail.
Thinking about what kinda boat you want - all part of the game.

There are lots of older boats out there. Some good, some toasted.
Ya gotta stay close to home - as you start learning to sail. If ya haven't actually sailed with "sailors", start slow. Slow means: your gonna learn about safe/unsafe. Your gonna learn that you're not sure what to do.

The idea of a novice taking kids offshore (CR bar, N Pac), small open boat.....

If wanna hear about learning to sail, ask that.
And - it's cool that you're asking.
Max
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Old 11-20-2010
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First take some sailing lessons so you have some knowledge.
Portland Island Sailing Club School (800) 303-2470
Portland Portland Sailing Center Portland Sailing Center | Welcome! (503) 281-6529

Learn to Sail in Portland : Sailing the Northwest
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