Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd
I love watching the dinghies race around us. They're amazing. I'm considering a membership with the West River Sailing Club so that I can access their fleet of Flying Scots.
I'm a keelboat sailor myself and only got into dinghies this year. I can say they are quite a rush. My club has Snipes, Vanguards and 420s as the dominant 2-person classes with Lasers for the singlehanded and the larger dinghies (Lightning) and small keelboats (J/22, J/24, Soling) for the multi-crew setups.
I've been mainly on Snipes and hiking out under sail is an experience you need to have first-hand to appreciate. A foot off the water, held in by your ankles, soaked and grinning the whole way. You can actually see the effects your weight and position have on the boat as you do it. 5-10 knots or surfing feels a lot faster when you're that close to the water. Leaning over or sitting on the windward rail of a keelboat don't quite match up (with the exception of the Soling and Star where you droop-hike).
I like the experience so much I bought a Laser and will continue to crew on any of the 2-3 person dinghies as needed. I'm popular on windy days since my 6'1" height and 200 lbs make for excellent hiking. I've never had my C-27 out in 15-20 knots of wind but I've been on a 15 foot Snipe in 20 knot gusts and four foot rollers at the mouth of the Severn surfing downwind towards the Naval Academy or beating upwind and throwing myself further overboard as the boat heels hard in a gust.
On a Laser, it's all you. I like that individual aspect of setting up the boat the way I like it. You learn a lot just being on it. I just love that back-on-the-water rush you get. On the small 2 person boats you get the conversation along with the rush.
A Star keelboat is next. I want the same rush as a Snipe or Laser with a keel. Droop hiking looks like a blast. I'd take a Soling but Stars are more familiar as a Snipe sailor and they tend to race them as match racers. Plus, there's something about a 22 foot keelboat that displaces just under 1700 pounds but carries as much sail area as my 27 foot Catalina which displaces almost 5 times as much. Plus, no spinnaker and one fewer crewman. The fact it is beautiful is a bonus. There is no mistaking a Star for a pleasure daysailer.
Seriously BubbleheadMD, if you live in the Edgewater/Annapolis area, wait until the Tuesday night racing starts back up in March at the Severn Sailing Association. I'm a new member there but if you want to get a ride on something, I can contact the appropriate fleet captains. The Snipes are a blast and I think I have loaner privileges for 2011 so I can get you out on one of those or get you a ride on someone elses boat. On the Laser side, you can take my tired old POS for a ride and I'll hitch a ride on a 2-man or go out on the committee boat. If you're looking to crew, you'll almost always be able to get a ride. Wait long enough and I'll be looking for a helmsman or crewman for my future Star.