SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

Thread: Buying our first sailboat Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-08-2012 06:29 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

Even if you don't capsize dingy's can be wet, and that sounds like it will be cold up where you are from. I have a sunfish. Its a blast to sail, I paid almost nothing for it used on Craigslist. I have only capsized once and that had more to do with not being able to get the sail down when I was done sailing.
10-06-2012 06:28 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

Really capsizing is a relatively rare event,
during my first year of sailing it happened only three times,
two of which were mandatory components of sailing course,
and the third was while I was practicing sailing in high winds of 17+knots on a lazer.
10-01-2012 05:32 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

Very sorry - I missread the post about fitting in the back of the pickup. Neither of those will.

10-01-2012 05:31 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

From someone that spent a year and a half in Vancouver, WA I would never get a boat that wasn't pretty stable. That water is wiked cold!

A hard to tip sailboat that is still trailerable would be a Catalina 250, Compaq, maybe even something like a Catalina 22. The 250 has a head that would make it more enjoyable. I would avoid the water ballast, but that is just me.

You will hate trailering boats of that size. THere are a lot of marinas right around there to keep her at. I think you would use the boat more if you kept her in the water.

I have owned the C250 and still own the Compaq. Neither will break any speed records, but pretty stable little boats.

09-29-2012 10:12 PM
Capt. Gary Randall
Re: Buying our first sailboat

Ian, When I was seven years old, my dad bought me and my sister a (optimist Pram). This little boat was not big enough for four people, but for me and my sister it was perfect. They used to have pram races sponsored by different organizations including yacht clubs.They were Gaf-rigged.and very easy to rig from a pickup truck with a square Bow. ,However after reading post 7 I think that would be a much better option.
09-29-2012 06:43 PM
Sal Paradise
Re: Buying our first sailboat


I had the same scenario. Had a 19' powerboat. We have an old sunfish we loved too. The Sunfish you can throw on the roof or in the bed and its a good little boat. I wanted to move up.

Sailboats require a little more. It hard to find the perfect size. Anything big enough to be stable needs a trailer at least. Then setup is a pain. Came to the conclusion that I'd rather have a boat worth putting everyone on. Got a Cat22 on a trailer. Its perfect for us.

09-27-2012 08:01 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

You could get a 10ft dinghy or tender, such as a baywalker, they can be rowed or sailed, and big enough for 3 adults.

Theoretically at least, people can use tenders if they have to abandon ship in the middle of the ocean, so should be quite stable.
Though if the winds are high and you're not very experienced or there are no winds to speak of, may be good to simply use it as a row boat.

Another benefit is that if you do later decide to upgrade to a keelboat, you can use it as your tender, or boat for going to and from shore, if you are at anchor or moored.

I'd strongly advise against a laser or any other racing class dinghies, since they aren't as stable nor as roomy. For instanec in a laser there is only enough room for your shins in the boat.
wheras a tender boat while slower, is roomy enough to carry cargo along with passengers.

In terms of the three year old, as with everyone should be wearing a life-jacket, and it would be best to practice swiming beforehand. Children are old enough to swim as early as 6-months, and at 3 they can do it in a variety of ways.

It would also be a good idea to practice capsizing and recovery, it will actually enhance how safe everyone feels, as they can overcome their fear of capsizing or ending up in the water and build confidence. You may wish to take a basic dinghy sailing course, so can learn about the proper procedures yourself first. Though basically it is, walk off the boat when it's capsizing, when in the water ask if everyone is okay and make sure, then point the bow into the wind, pull down or even get on the centerboard to right the boat, then swim around to the transom and get in, with preferably some lines like the mainsheet to haul yourself in, then help others in, while making sure boat stays in irons, bail out the boat, ang get underway. So that way if it does happen in an unplanned fashion, everyone will know what to do, and you can continue sailing afterwards. Who knows, maybe on a hot day, when the water is warm, everyone will be up for a swim, it certainly is one of the ways of doing so.

Also it's good to also know and practice crew-overboard procedures, which is useful not only if someone falls out, but also if something gets dropped overboard. Go on a beam reach, perpendicular to the wind for around 3 boat lengths, then tack or turn through the wind onto a broad-reach or going 45 degrees with the wind, then harden sheets to a close reach, going into the wind, and loosen them to break as you approach the overboarded on the leeward side, practice with something like a spare lifejacket.
09-23-2012 08:53 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

Something like a Laser would be a blast on the Columbia, but definetely not a family boat. The 7 year old would have fun with Dad on it, and would be whipping back and forth across the river on his own in a few year's time.

I know the Columbia a little bit (used to live in Eugene, OR) and I don't really see it as a family day-sailing body of water, so you might be disappointed if you did go that route. It's known for it's high winds with little chop, so small and high performance is what I think of for that area-- get out the harness and trapeze.
09-22-2012 09:31 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

Thanks for the advice everybody. It sounds like I'm going to have to sacrifice the stability for the family or find room for a trailer. At this point I might just start with a two-person boat to see if the family grows an interest in sailing… Then upgrade at a later time.

Does anyone have recommendations for a lightweight non-trailerable boat?

Thanks again,
09-20-2012 12:01 PM
Re: Buying our first sailboat

+1 on centerboard boats being tough for starting with a (young) family. It can be done, but probably a better idea once they can all swim. Rogue wave or puff in inexperienced hands, and everyone swims.

What makes it tough is we'd be hard pressed to give you a sailboat that isn't a centerboard that you can fit into the bed of your pickup, that would be stable for the whole family.

If you have to car-top or truck bed it, then light 12 footers would work to learn on (zuma, snark, escape).. but they aren't real big or comfortable for several people.

If you move up to trailerable, then a stable keel-boat is a great starter boat for a family, like a Com-pac 16, or West Wight Potter 15, or a Precision 16, or keel- centerboard boat like a Catalina 22, or Precision 18.

Another option that is an easy starter is a cat boat, and something like the com-pac picnic cat might be an option, but you'd still need to trailer it.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome