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Old 07-02-2012
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Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Hi sailing folks. So I've been wanting to get a sailboat for sometime now. But, coming from an automotive background, I also want speed with a little bit of panache. I've seen some videos of Moths and 49ers on Youtube, and obviously they look like a lot of fun. I'm of course understanding that their beyond my ability now, but I don't want to go all the way back to something like a Laser, which really seems kind of docile to me. So I'm kind of looking for something in the middle I guess with two sails, that's quick, but would be forgiving while trying to learn on, but that I could also single hand. Thanks for suggestions!
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Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

More information:

How big?
Keel or centerboard?
Trailerable or beach boat?
Monohull or cat/trimaran?


The list of boats fitting your desires is endless. There are lots of small centerboard or keelboats that are relatively easy to learn and can be singlehanded without difficulty. In general, the faster the small boat, the less forgiving it is.

For speed and ease of sail, a small trimaran such as the Weta may be a good option. It is fast, easy to single hand, relatively stable and forgiving, and can be beached or trailered easily. But there are many others that fit those specifications as well.
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Old 07-03-2012
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Hi padean. Thanks for the response!

I'm definitely not taking a bunch of friends out, so I was kind of thinking 20 ft maximum length. Seems like a good round number, reasonable length for trailering, and can have a friend or two out on it as well. As for keel or centerboard, a centerboard would certainly be easier it seems as far as trailering.

I've definitely always been a fan of catamarans and trimarans though. The Weta definitely looks pretty sexy, but I was thinking a little cheaper since it'd be my first boat. Lol. It makes sense of course that the faster the boat the less forgiving, and for that I'm certainly not out to find a Top Fuel Dragster for my first boat. For examples those Moths, while awesome with the hydrofoils, would likely be discouraging trying to get up and foil-borne. So certainly not there yet! But I know just for myself if I was out there in a single sail Laser or something similar, I'd feel like I was in an old clunker of a boat. Lol.
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

So here's the deal. If you have an active laser fleet in your area, there isn't a better performance platform for learning, and if you think Lasers are 'docile', you are very very mistaken. Get back to us after doing some downwind legs in 20kts of breeze. Bottom line is you're a long way from a 49'er, and years away from a Moth. You're not at 505, nor will you be for awhile. On the other hand, you could 'sail' a Laser tomorrow, but you won't sail it well. I'm guessing you're confusing a laser you saw pulled up on the local beach with one that is properly prepped and rigged for more serious sailing. Locally, many of the best sailors around have spent a bunch of time in them including competing at high levels (Master's worlds, National Championships, etc..) Look at Olympic champions in Finns, etc... and you'll see someone who sailed a Laser at a world class level.

Understand that the boats you're interested in aren't one's you casually go out for a spin with a couple of friends. You could look for a two man trapeze boat, either mono or multi-hull, Maybe an older 505 (new ones are expensive) or 470 if you and your sailing partner is a smaller person. A Fireball or older I-14, but again, you aren't ready for any of these until you spend some time in something like a Laser, and FJ, or the like, and this is assuming that you're both smart and athletic. It's a bit like downhill skiing. Sure, you can buy a pair of World Cup GS or DH skis, but unless you're a very good skier, they will kick your butt. Again, I can't recommend a Laser enough.

Other ideas? A Lightning, a Snipe, maybe a Thistle. Maybe a Hobie 16.

If you want a keel boat that performs pretty well and you can sail and race with 2 or 3 friends, maybe a J22. If you can afford a Viper, then maybe that'd be the way to go. What's your budget and how much sailing have you done and do you plan to do?
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Last edited by puddinlegs; 07-03-2012 at 04:36 AM.
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Actually I was thinking a Viper, or if you want to stay in the 20' range the VX one. Both are great boats, and honestly the VX is pretty accessible for learning, but is also capable of 20+kn speeds when sailed to its limit.

It would help knowing where you are, since you may have a local class. But don't overlook the laser, they can be rocket ship fast when sailed well.
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Not sure where you live. If you want to race, find out what the popular classes are in your vicinity. You probably want to join a yacht / sailing club as most racing is under the auspices of a club. What are the club members racing? My club has a huge number of San Juan 21's. Most of the sailing school / junior members race Lasers.

I occasionally will crew for some friends. You might also start by crewing on a boat in which you are interested. If I want to go racing I just show up on Wednesday night with the suitable gear.
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

want to sail a moth or 49er someday then get a laser. best boat to learn in and to perfect big wind sailing. saying you don't want a laser means either you have not sailed yet or you are a great sailor and need more boat. I don't know any intermediate level sailor that does not like sailing a laser.
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Old 07-03-2012
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
saying you don't want a laser means either you have not sailed yet or you are a great sailor and need more boat. I don't know any intermediate level sailor that does not like sailing a laser.
Laser's are great boats to both learn on and race on. If you know how to sail a laser well, you can sail any boat out there. The cool thing about a Laser is that is a boat that a kid (adult) can learn on and that a person that really knows how to sail (weight distribution, tiller feather, sail tweaking, etc.) can really finesse around a course. Also, as others have mentioned, it can pretty much go in any wind condition from 1 kt to 30 kts.

You can trailer it and pretty much launch it yourself. You can sail it alone or with another person.

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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Don't discount the Laser! There is a reason why there are thousands of them out there, and after all these years they are still being produced!

Another boat to consider if you want to be able to take someone out with you is a Tasar. (No relation to the Laser)

It is a little more boat than the Laser but still can be single handed. They are comfortable to sail and quick.

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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?

Ultimate 20

There are 250 made, so relatively easy to find a good used boat at fair price. It is only 1250 lbs can be towed behind a family sedan. Park in driveway.

fast and forgiving sportboat. Great class support
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