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post #31 of 57 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

People keep suggesting a sunfish for a first boat. I am going to suggest something different. My first sailboat was a sunfish. I had a trailer but it was not wet launchable I had to haul it on and off the tall trailer every time I wanted to go sailing. It did not get used much. I have a friend who has a sunfish, she is trying to get rid of, she does not like it wants to trade it in for an 8 foot dinghy she can sit in. A sunfish you sit on with your feet in a well.

I would suggest a 12-19 foot open boat as your first boat. You could sit in it and be more comfortable when sailing, you will more likely be dry when sailing. The larger boat would allow you to carry spare clothing, a cooler with lunch and drinks, down the road you could also take a friend or family member.

If I lived on a lake and had a dock i would add a sunfish to my quiver of boats but would not choose it as my first boat.

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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

I've sailed Nockamixon, and Wallenpaupack, and I too would have a different suggestion for a first boat. I'd suggest a keelboat, small is fine. They are less likely to flip or fill the cockpit with water.

TakeFive is 100% on Nockamixon, Haycock mountain screws the winds terrible there, but it is a pretty easy lake to learn on, and the sailors there are pretty great.

Freedom, a 1983 C&C 32 sailing Smith Mountain Lake, VA
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

So I'll definitely check out Nockamixon, and it's less than an hour from my house!

As far as a boat, the consensus seems pretty clear that I should get a Sunfish, but also definitely not a Sunfish. I'm actually not married to a particular style or type of boat, largely because I don't really even know what I'm looking at yet (beyond something along the lines of "Well...that's a pretty boat"). I learned to ride a motorcycle on a cheap, durable, rough around the edges bike and I think I'd prefer to take that same approach with a first boat if possible. My thinking is that if I get into an inexpensive boat, I can sell it when I outgrow it or if I decide I'm not too keen on sailing after all. Even if I lose a bit on the sale I wouldn't be out much. Also, I expect that in all reality I'll be the only one in the boat most if not all of the time. Perhaps if I take to sailing (remember I've never done it at all) and really enjoy it, then I'd upgrade/upsize.
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Last edited by motoben; 1 Week Ago at 12:35 PM.
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

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Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
I've sailed Nockamixon, and Wallenpaupack, and I too would have a different suggestion for a first boat. I'd suggest a keelboat, small is fine. They are less likely to flip or fill the cockpit with water.
I agree with the above. A small boat with a swinging keel or centerboard would be much more comfortable if you plan on spending a morning, an afternoon, or the whole day on the boat.

Nothing wrong with a boat with a cuddy as well. Gives you a place to store stuff. Just make sure that when you are sailing, you have the cabin area close so that there is less of a chance of swamping the boat if you get water in the cockpit.

Jim
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

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Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
I've sailed Nockamixon, and Wallenpaupack, and I too would have a different suggestion for a first boat. I'd suggest a keelboat, small is fine. They are less likely to flip or fill the cockpit with water.

TakeFive is 100% on Nockamixon, Haycock mountain screws the winds terrible there, but it is a pretty easy lake to learn on, and the sailors there are pretty great.
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I agree with the above. A small boat with a swinging keel or centerboard would be much more comfortable if you plan on spending a morning, an afternoon, or the whole day on the boat.

Nothing wrong with a boat with a cuddy as well. Gives you a place to store stuff. Just make sure that when you are sailing, you have the cabin area close so that there is less of a chance of swamping the boat if you get water in the cockpit.

Jim
I was under the impression that a keelboat was (in the most basic terms) a sailboat with a fixed keel (maybe weighted?). Conversely a centerboard is a boat with a pivoting "keel" that swings fore/aft into a cavity in the hull, right? Am I wildly confused (very likely) or are you guys recommending different things?
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

I hope that we are not being loosy-goosy with the terms?

Bigger boats will likely have a fixed keel that is permanently bolted to the hull of the boat

Smaller boats often have a swing keel, often called a centerboard, that pivots into a cavity in the hull. (That said there are a few large sailboats that came with a centerboard option.)

Some even smaller boats will have a dagger board that can be inserted by hand.

All of the boards help keep the boat from blowing sideways in the wind.

The advantage of most swing keel, over a dagger board, is that the swing keel is also weighted. As an example of my WWP15, the dry weight of the boat is only 475 lbs, yet the swing keel weighs 80 lbs. The weight of the swing keel helps keep the boat upright. The swing keel is very easy to lower or raise, as the rope passes through a couple of pulleys.

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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
I've sailed Nockamixon, and Wallenpaupack, and I too would have a different suggestion for a first boat. I'd suggest a keelboat, small is fine. They are less likely to flip or fill the cockpit with water.

TakeFive is 100% on Nockamixon, Haycock mountain screws the winds terrible there, but it is a pretty easy lake to learn on, and the sailors there are pretty great.
Hey SCHNOOL, welcome back! I hadn't realized that you moved to Virginia. I guess at your new location you no longer have to sail uphill?

My recommendation of a Sunfish (or similar) was based on several advantages:

Easy to find
Cheap to buy
Big user base with lots of support
Easy to transport - by trailer (preferably) or on car top if needed
Easy to rig (lateen rig)
Positive buoyancy
Easy to sell

Since OP admits he doesn't know anything, and isn't even sure he'll want to stick with it, I figured it's the safest bet in lieu of lessons.

I have no objections to him going larger, but for a guy who wants to learn on his own (due to potential unavailability of lessons this year), it seemed like the least expensive and least risky way to get on the water, with an easy out if he doesn't like it.

For those who are suggesting larger boats or keel boats, let's see some suggestions of actual boats for him to buy. But let's not convince him to get a cheap project boat - the guy wants to sail, not spend a couple years refitting.
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

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Originally Posted by motoben View Post
So I'll definitely check out Nockamixon, and it's less than an hour from my house!

As far as a boat, the consensus seems pretty clear that I should get a Sunfish, but also definitely not a Sunfish. I'm actually not married to a particular style or type of boat, largely because I don't really even know what I'm looking at yet (beyond something along the lines of "Well...that's a pretty boat"). I learned to ride a motorcycle on a cheap, durable, rough around the edges bike and I think I'd prefer to take that same approach with a first boat if possible. My thinking is that if I get into an inexpensive boat, I can sell it when I outgrow it or if I decide I'm not too keen on sailing after all. Even if I lose a bit on the sale I wouldn't be out much. Also, I expect that in all reality I'll be the only one in the boat most if not all of the time. Perhaps if I take to sailing (remember I've never done it at all) and really enjoy it, then I'd upgrade/upsize.

motoben. I see you are taking opinion overload in stride. (makes me think you'll be a good sailor) This thread reminds too much of when I bought my boat. One difference. I had spent the summer learning to sail with a local club. Every member was telling me to buy a boat like theirs or wanted to sell me their's so they could upgrade. I went with my gut and never regretted it.

That said, I have to put in my 2 cents. Don't even look at a boat with 2 sails! If you are doing this by your self. One sail is all your going to be able to handle. Sure you don't have to have both sails out. But, most are designed to sail with both. IMO, learning to sail in an unbalanced boat will be overly frustrating and could ruin the entire experience.

As I was typing this I thought of one thing you have to learn. It is how to get the boating going. This video should help

Yes, this video makes me a liar. When it comes to sailing a boat with only one of two sails up, but he a very experienced sailor. And the method works just the same with a single sail.

Best of luck to you.

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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

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For those who are suggesting larger boats or keel boats, let's see some suggestions of actual boats for him to buy. But let's not convince him to get a cheap project boat - the guy wants to sail, not spend a couple years refitting.
Actual boat to buy? Well, of course my WWP15! Just kidding! The boat one buys should be SPECIFIC to their own needs/wants. I fully agree with the thought on a project boat. Nothing to take the fun out of a new adventure than to spend your time working on a boat, rather than actually sailing it!

I don't think we know enough about the OP's wants/needs to recommend a boat. Budget? Where he intends to use it? How he intends to use it? Is boat storage an issue? Is trailering (or storage) an issue? Towing should not be much of an issue as most small boat with their trailers are still under 1,000 lbs (including my WWP15 on the trailer).

If I were in the OP's shoes, I would seriously be looking at sailing clubs, even if I had to wait a little bit to get out on the water. I still think that learning the basics in an ASA 101 course is important, as it's much safer (and fun) to learn the basics and build upon those rather than develop bad habits early.

I think if the OP is thinking about buying a boat, the other running thread is a good one to read.

Jim
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania

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...I think if the OP is thinking about buying a boat, the other running thread is a good one to read...
While every thread is good to read, I think motoben is in a totally different situation from that thread. The poster there has family who have sailed, and wants to go out 2-3 nights at a time. He's looking at MUCH bigger boats, often with inboard diesels, and in his $1500 price range he's going to end up with years of project work before he has something that's safe to sail.

Maybe I've "sized up" motoben incorrectly, but I see him as a guy who wants to get out this spring on very protected waters to see if he likes it and see what he can learn on his own. He doesn't have family support to teach him, and doesn't want to wait another year until clubs and sailing schools are fully operational. I'd urge him to stay small and find a well known boat that will be easy/cheap to buy and (eventually) sell. I'd also strongly encourage a boat with only one sail. A sloop will be more complication than he can handle singlehanded.
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