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Thread: Just took a sailing class and I really do not like dinghy sailboats. Go bigger? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-24-2011 03:55 PM
rgscpat another good first keelboat would be the Santana 20, which has some dinghy-like traits
07-24-2011 03:43 PM
puddinlegs IMHO, when learning sailing as an adult, the most important factor to becoming 'competent' is frequency. Sail whatever gets you out on the water, and out as much as possible. Doing ASA or similar courses on a keelboat, and some dingy sailing at the same time, etc... is really the ideal. But I like the OP's idea about sunburn and small boats. Guess we just have to get a much bigger boat!
07-24-2011 03:36 PM
Originally Posted by Mr.Ritz View Post
... Not to mention I baked my legs in the sun which I have never done before. Everything was ultra hot from the touch. This is my fault but it sucked...
*Big Meany Alert ON. *
A bigger boat won't make the sun gentler or you less negative. Wear sunscreen and gloves and give it another shot. *Big Meany Alert Off*
07-24-2011 02:06 PM
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
Still, nothing beats the experience gained (or the ab work) of sailing a dinghy on a day with variable wind for really internalizing the concepts of wind, waves, weight, and water.
I suspect you've just hinted at a way to set this debate to rest forever. There's no one right answer, it'll depend on the student. There's a theory of learning that says: each person has a preferred pathway for taking in information and they learn best when the stuff comes in through that route. If it comes in through another route, they may not get it at all, or may need to work very hard to accomplish the same thing that would be easy if it came in through their preferred path.

Some people learn and retain information best if it comes in through visual pathways, i.e., they see it. You probably know someone like this - you've *told* them your name a half-dozen times, then the first time you're in meeting together and you're wearing a nametag so they can *read* your name, they never forget you again. That person is a visual learner. Hearing your name, over and over, will never really help him, because the information is coming in by the auditory path. As soon as he sees and not hears your name, it sticks. By contrast, other people learn best by auditory pathways, and a third group learns best by kinetic pathways.

My strong suspicion is that people who are visual or cerebral learners - it won't matter if they learn on a 14-foot dinghy or a 40 foot heavy cruiser, they'll accomplish just the same. Because they're not learning by "feel;" they have physics diagrams in their heads and they're busy superimposing vector diagrams on a mental sketch of the boat, sails, and wind. People who are kinetic learners, who learn by feel - they're the ones who seem a bit slow in the classroom and only get it when they get out on the water. But when they get on the water, they get it right away. They're the ones who have to learn first on little dinghies before they go on to medium-size Colgates to big boats.
07-24-2011 01:25 PM
sck5 You can definitely learn a lot by sailing dinghies

You can definitely be put off of sailing forever more by sailing a boat that isnt comfortable or fun.

While I learned in dinghies first, I see no reason for an "eat your spinach" approach to learning to sail. It is supposed to be FUN. Sure, you can learn some things more quickly on a dinghy. That doesnt mean you cant learn them on a bigger boat. And what good does learning any of it do if it isnt fun and you end up not sailing at all?
07-24-2011 11:14 AM
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
In my humble opinion, a J24 or a Colgate 26 are excellent trainers (the later of which is used by the Naval Academy to teach midshipmen who've never been in a dinghy sailboat).
I certainly understand what you are saying and I'm not trying to imply that someone can't learn to be an excellent sailor without dinghy experience. I started sailing dinghies when I was 5 years old and sailed and raced everything from 9' Mintos to Thistles and Lightnings. However, there are a lot of sailors who have never sailed a dinghy who are much more accomplished sailors than I.

I spent a lot of time sailing (and some racing) in San Juan 21s and San Juan 24s. FWIW, I think there is a huge difference between a 21 and 24 foot boat. So, while a J24 would seem like a dinghy compared to either of our current boats, a smaller boat such as a Cal 20, Catalina 22, or San Juan 21 would be better I would think. I'm sure there are other boats in the 20 foot range that I'm not aware of as well.

Still, nothing beats the experience gained (or the ab work) of sailing a dinghy on a day with variable wind for really internalizing the concepts of wind, waves, weight, and water.
07-24-2011 09:46 AM
Sublime There's other larger dinghies to sail and dinghies will accelerate your learnings.

I know a guy about your size who loves his flying scot. There's larger lazers you can sail.

If you don't like it, then you don't like it. It's all about finding a boat you like. You can hate to sail dinghies but love to sail keel boats. But don't give up the potential education a dinghy boat can give over one boat.
07-24-2011 07:58 AM
dnf777 Try a bigger boat, and also try another dinghy, if you want more time in a small boat.
My Prec-15 is quite a bit more comfortable than a sunfish, and good for learning basics.

Having said that, I much prefer a larger keelboat for a relaxing day on the water.

Sailing has multitudes of happened to find one you don't enjoy.
07-24-2011 07:44 AM
HPLou Definitely try the bigger boats. At least there will be room for the cooler without the worry of hitting your knees when you are reaching for a cold one. Enjoy and good luck.
07-24-2011 06:53 AM
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
I'm going to disagree a bit.

I think that rather than give up on dinghies, you should find yourself another dinghy to sail. The Sunfish is not the most comfortable boat to sail. There are a lot of other small dinghies in the 13-18 foot range that are more comfortable and will still give you the sailing experience that is so valuable.

I think that almost everyone would benefit from learning to sail in a small dinghy, just as I think that every pilot should first learn to fly in a small plane. Sailing in a dinghy helps you develop a sense of the boat the same way flying a Cessna 150 gives a pilot the feel for "stick and rudder" flying.

You certainly can got to a keel boat sooner, but in the long run you will be a much better sailor (IMO) than if you get some dinghy experience beforehand.
I respect your opinion. However, I think if you never sailed anything smaller than a J24, you would still learn to become a very good 'stick and rudder' sailor.

Many, maybe most, of our military pilots never sat in a piston driven single engine plane. Their first trainer is a turbo prop, which is considered a seriously advanced machine for the average private pilot that begins in that C150. Of course, to be in the program, one must have above average aptitude, but I'm only saying that not everyone must start at the absolute bottom.

In my humble opinion, a J24 or a Colgate 26 are excellent trainers (the later of which is used by the Naval Academy to teach midshipmen who've never been in a dinghy sailboat).
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