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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-25-2012 10:04 AM
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

And if we are talking sunfish and lasers I would laugh at you for taking classes on such a boat. Unless your a child or feeble. Seriously, those boats are just about idiot proof and sink proof. Just hoist the sail and go (specially on a SunFish) and they are GREAT for learning because you really get a feel for sail points and trim. Plus you can heel those babies damn near vertical before you take a drink and its nothing to re-right them and keep plowing ahead.

You need nothing but a VHF, life vest, and laser or sunfish to become a sailor.
If you are talking larger boats with systems then books/forums/experience comes in. Do not get me wrong I am not against advocating safety and preparedness I just dont think you have to take sailing classes to learn to sail. Thats all. Dont be stupid tho... Some old millionaire lady recently bought a moody with no experience and tried sailing it off in the sunset... Last I checked still no word? Yea, thats stupidity.
11-25-2012 10:00 AM
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

I say forget the class. Unless you have that kind of income to dispose of it is a luxury not required. Or unless you are an offshore sailor. Then you should atleast make friends with a competant skipper and go out with him 4-5 times to get the hang of things. I never took any classes and ive single handed the past three days up to 30 knot gusts with no centerboard and a faulty engine . Of course, I understand sail trim and points of sail. Docking tends to be the trickiest part of the entire day.
You can easily learn points of sail from a 2 min you tube video. The rest you need a few hours on the water in 10-15. Just get out on someones boat rented or otherwise and play around. Hike in the jib let out the main, set the travler in different places, turn in and out of the wind.. FEEL the tiller/wheel response.. Its quite easy.

Unless you plan on doing a solo or offshore trip in the net six months save your money (unless your well-ff) and go buy a Chapman and find a boat.

It is great to be safe and have every piece of equipment and an experienced skipper on hand but for most of us, or for me anyway, I never had that option.
It was either teach myself or don't go. I had a great day yesterday, maybe i'll see you out there soon.
11-25-2012 08:36 AM
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

The sunfish is an excellent starting platform. Also you should be able to find some for fun only races with them (if you look probably some serious ones as well)...

The Laser is the logical incremental upgrade to the sunfish (as is a force 5), but the laser is an active racing sailing class (one of the biggest), and it has some more grown up controls. You can usually find them all day long with boat/trailer in the $1000-$2000 range, and be competitive in racing with decent work on it, and a new sail/rig plan. Oh and anyone who says you can just slip a sunfish or a laser into a pickup truck, hasn't tried (lately). They are 14 feet long, and only a 8 foot bed pickup can hold them (8 foot beds are relegated to regular cabs or older pickups, I special ordered mine as a crew cab, but I'm weird). Cartopable - sure... but get a trailer if you can. It makes things easier.

Now if you want to get something that'll keep your interest longer, you can move up to the lido (also actively raced), or a capri 14.2 (personal favorite). If you can find one, a keel Capri 14.2 (trainer), or lido 14 keel, or Capri 16.5 keel (as opposed to centerboards).. are super stable, and self-righting. These are inexpensive upgrade boats that might teach you well for the next several years, and also keep your interest. In fact if you add a trolling motor, or small 2hp these boats are great family day sailors (but not great racers).

Alright, last recommendation is a larger move-up boat which is something that'll suit you for years, but might be a steeper learning curve, would be a Precision 165, Capri 18, or Compac 16. These are all small trailerable keelboats, with most of the big-boat feel in an easily handled/trailered package. These are not racers, or even fast, but are very fun/stable trailerable boats that a family would enjoy. They all hold their value nicely, because they are at a sweet spot for trailerables.

If you find something, and the owner is available (especially in these bigger boats), have them take you out on it, and show you how to rig/sail it.

Lessons? Absolutely! Books? Absolutely! ASA courses, SURE! But sailing blind works too... just use a PFD, and don't wait until it's blowing 20knots... 3-5knots is your friend for now.
11-25-2012 07:56 AM
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

El Toro |

Bay Area....check
cheap build.....check
8 foot sailing dinghy.....check
Built for the San Francisco Bay.....check

This is THE boat to start in.
11-25-2012 12:58 AM
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?


I see Cal Sailing Club has already been mentioned ... not just small dingies as they also offer keelboats as well as your experience level grows
11-23-2012 02:50 AM
Steve in Idaho
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

Ron - pay heed to the advice above about getting a sloop-rigged boat. I started with a Snark and then a Sunfish, and it wasn't long at all before I wanted more. Moved up to a C-Lark and am quite happy with it, at least until I retire in a few years and have a lot more time to sail. Could have skipped the other two with lessons or reading. Sailing with the main only wasn't any more difficult than sailing the Sunfish - and it's roomier and drier. In my limited experience, the C-Lark does better in light winds than the Sunfish. I would expect the same from a Lido 14 or the like.

OTOH - The Snark is still with us because it's easy to car-top, and I was able to recover all my investment in the used Sunfish.
11-18-2012 08:06 AM
Ron R
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

Originally Posted by groggy View Post
has anyone mentioned Cal Sailing Club yet? Not a bad way to try some dinghies and get some learning at the same time for a very modest price.
Dam fine information!
I have searched quite a few time for places that offer lessons and for some reason this never came up, thank you very much for the info !
11-17-2012 04:47 PM
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

has anyone mentioned Cal Sailing Club yet? Not a bad way to try some dinghies and get some learning at the same time for a very modest price.
11-17-2012 02:14 PM
Ron R
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

26' Thunderbird Sailboat

I know it's not a glass one but its still cool as hell
11-17-2012 02:13 PM
Ron R
Re: First boat, no experiance, what to get?

I think a nice fiberglass thunderbird would be nice but I don't know how to sail it, I don't have a place to keep it, or a way to ship it back to Seattle in 18 months when I am done working
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