What new dinghy should I buy? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-14-2004 Thread Starter
jbr
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What new dinghy should I buy?

I''m looking to buy a new dinghy for recreational sailing (maybe racing down the road) and would like people''s input to help me narrow down the choices. I''m 175 lbs 5''10" have been sailing a 17'' daysailor sloop singlehanded for a couple of years and I''m probably an average sailor.

What I''m looking for now is a smaller and lighter dinghy in the 12-15'' range (under 150 lbs) which can be sailed in gusty and high wind conditions on inland lakes and can easily be righted and unturtled singlehandedly.

I''m particularly attracted to dinghies which are are fast and maneuverable, but still reasonably stable in rough conditions, with excellent sail controls, and great manual and automatic depowering, ie, using an unstayed flexible masts such as the Megabyte.

I''ve never sailed a laser, looks like a great boat but maybe a little too challenging and unstable. Megabyte looks pretty good and from what I''ve heard it may be more stable. So, what are the hottest singlehanded dingies around which are still manageable in a blow and are easy to right and unturtle? I''m assuming that skiffs are too unsable? Thanks for any input!

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post #2 of 11 Old 02-15-2004
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Get out on a Laser and you will be hooked. They are simple, rugged, and "Laser" quick. They are not that much to handle, you can even reef by rolling the sail around the mast.

Other options are a Force 5, a Laser knock-off that has more controls and is a little more complex. You may also be interested in a Sunfish with the optional "S" rig. It''s basically a Sunfish with a Laser style rig installed.

There is always the Contender. If you think the Laser is a bit of a handful, the Contender might scare you to death.

If you are getting the feeling that many of these small boats are using the Laser theme, and modifying it, you are correct. The Laser is a wildly popular design, and you can see why, with their simple robust construction, you can take them from being a beach boat to one of the top-flight international classes.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-15-2004 Thread Starter
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Hi Silmaril,

Thanks for the input. So how''s a laser handle in 25 kts with gusts? I''d like recovering from capsize/turtle to be doable in tough conditions.

Contender looks great but I agree extreme!

Have you had any experience with the Megabyte?

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post #4 of 11 Old 02-17-2004
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What new dinghy should I buy?

JBR asks,

How''s a laser handle in 25 knots with gusts?

How does the water taste where you sail? You''ll find out on a laser in those conditions!

Seriously, Lasers are sailed yearround here on the Potomac (frostbiters wear wetsuits or drysuits), they go over easily in a gust but can be righted pretty easily. I wouldn''t sail one far from shore in such conditions, you can get fatigued capsizing and righting any boat after awhile. You''ll also get fatigued hiking out to balance your overpowered sail. I think Laser has different size sails meant for lighter skippers, so if you are packing "ballast" and had a smaller area rig, you''d be in better shape and less likely to be overpowered.

Someone once posted a query several months back about which sailing computer to buy to become a better sailor. I was tempted to tell him to invest his money on a used laser and race it for a season.

Have fun!

Allen Flanigan
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-17-2004 Thread Starter
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Hi Allen,

Thanks for the input. Laser sounds like fun but maybe exhausing if I''d like to take it out in the high winds. I''ve heard that there are modern small dinghies which can handle these conditions, and I suspect they have a more stable hull shape, flexible mast top, and either an easy to depower sail or reefable sail. Any other suggestions?

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post #6 of 11 Old 02-17-2004
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Replied to this post under boat-buying, which see. ......
For 25 knots, go with the laser Radial rig. (look it up on the laser class website). See what other people are sailing and go with that. Having the only Force 5 in six counties cuts down your racing options.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-19-2004
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Having neither sailed nor seen Megabyte or other designs in action in heavy air, I can''t offer any alternative suggestions based on experience. Paulk seems to have the right idea for you; at 175 lbs., I''m sure either the Radial or 4.7 rig on a Laser would be comfortable for you to handle in almost any conditions. See this website:

http://www.laserinternational.org/formula.htm

Allen Flanigan


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post #8 of 11 Old 02-20-2004 Thread Starter
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Allan,

Thanks for the suggestion. It looks like an interesting option, though more expensive to get than a rig that that can be reefed or depowered.

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post #9 of 11 Old 02-20-2004
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What new dinghy should I buy?

You actually CAN reef a stock Laser mainsail. I have done it, but not raced it. Because they are loose footed, you just wrap the luff around the mast. I wouldn''t do it to a good racing sail, but a working sail would be fine. you can reduce sail a lot, remove the top batten if you go farther than that on your wraps. You may need a longer outhaul line, but that would cost about ten bucks.

You can go out in pretty much anything then. Like I said, you wouldn''t race that way, because nobody else would be reefed. But just getting out there in a blow is fun.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-22-2004 Thread Starter
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What new dinghy should I buy?

Silmaril, thanks for the great input. I didn''t know you could reef a Laser sail.
I appreciate the help!
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