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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I haven't posted in a long time. My previous posts were about trying to obtain a Snark or similar, and that didn't end up working out at the time, but now I may have another shot at either a Snark, a MiniFish, or an O'Day Swift.

Are there are any bigger guys or gals out there who like smaller boats? I'm 6' tall and weigh around 245lbs. I like doing outdoor fitness and exercise, and have lost some weight in the last month. I've been as heavy as 275, but that was a long time ago and I won't let it happen again. I do intend to loose more, but this is where I am right now, so that's what matters the most.

The reasons I'm asking about this topic include the fact that I'm not the most social of people. Not a person-hater or anything like that, but for many of my hobbies and other pursuits, I tend to be alone while doing them. Since I have sailed before and enjoyed it, I thought about getting a boat and having a go this summer since we have a large inland lake and a river in this area. There's also a sailing-centric yacht club, which is were I first learned to sail, and they're great people.

Since I would be alone most of the time, the boat would need to be something I could transport and deal with by myself. I've been looking at stuff like Snark, Minifish, O'Day Swift, and similar craft. Something I could car top, handle their weight by myself, store them in the rafters over my garage in the off season etc. I would prefer not to deal with something that requires a trailer since that takes up space and requires a registration. Also, these smaller boats seem to fall in a low price point on the used market, and let's face that that's an attractive thing as well.

So, anyone out there built like me who enjoys these smaller boats?

Thank you,
-William
 

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Sunfish is car toppable about 120 pounds, will carry over 400 pounds and is dirt cheap.

I sail a Grumman 17 sailing canoe. Hull weight 76 pounds. Maximum payload 805 pounds. They can be found for about as little as a Sunfish and are more fun to sail then ANY keelboat I have ever been aboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The sailing canoe looks interesting but not really what I'm looking for. The 120lb Sunfish is probably on the far outer limit of what I could handle by myself without some kind of special rig to help get it up and off the car. My '96 Cherokee has a factory roof rack, but I can't remember if it's good to 150lbs or if it's limited below 100.

Either way, the simpler the better. I'm just surprised that more small sailboats don't show up for sale around here more often given how good they would be here. I mean, as long as there's wind, something like a Snark or Sunfish could be used on the river downtown along with all of the paddleboards, canoes, and other craft like that.
 

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I would be really surprised if a 96 Cherokee could handle less than 100 pounds on the roof. They were solid vehicles. My Grand Caravan is rated for 175 pounds. I can and do carry a Hobie Bravo on my roof ~ 150 pounds. I do need my wife to help load it though...

I get not wanting to trailer, but the list of car toppable sailboats that aren't complete dogs is short. I am neither as big or tall as you, but I can get about a 100 pound boat on my roof on my own.

You can definitely find something.
 

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When I teach ASA 101 or US/Sailing Basic Keelboat I frequently get XL or XXL students. The greatest issue that many larger people have is their lack of dexterity in moving around the boat when tacking or gybing. Specifically, the issue seems to be with the strength in their legs, knees or hips. I'm not a small person, but I have the dexterity to get up from a seated position on a Colgate 26, an Ensign, or similar sized boat without using the tiller or the mainsheet as a support to change sides.

Two decades ago (wow, I am getting OLD!) my fiancée and I rented a cottage on a pond that included a small sailboat to play with. Her kids (now my stepsons) did not sail, but I had some experience. If I recall, the boat was an Opti (77lbs, >8' LOA).

In that boat I could not get up to change from the leeward to windward side without using the tiller to help me get my butt up, and I was MUCH more fit and nimble at the time (~40 years old, 5' 10", 175lbs). I ended up breaking the tiller handle while trying to change my position during a tack, and that ended the sailing portion of our vacation. I felt terrible, and looked everywhere that I could think of to find a replacement. In the end, I had to pay $300 to replace the tiller. I never sailed an Opti or similar sized boat again, because, while fun, they are waaaaaay too small for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I teach ASA 101 or US/Sailing Basic Keelboat I frequently get XL or XXL students. The greatest issue that many larger people have is their lack of dexterity in moving around the boat when tacking or gybing. Specifically, the issue seems to be with the strength in their legs, knees or hips. I'm not a small person, but I have the dexterity to get up from a seated position on a Colgate 26, an Ensign, or similar sized boat without using the tiller or the mainsheet as a support to change sides.

Two decades ago (wow, I am getting OLD!) my fiancée and I rented a cottage on a pond that included a small sailboat to play with. Her kids (now my stepsons) did not sail, but I had some experience. If I recall, the boat was an Opti (77lbs, >8' LOA).

In that boat I could not get up to change from the leeward to windward side without using the tiller to help me get my butt up, and I was MUCH more fit and nimble at the time (~40 years old, 5' 10", 175lbs). I ended up breaking the tiller handle while trying to change my position during a tack, and that ended the sailing portion of our vacation. I felt terrible, and looked everywhere that I could think of to find a replacement. In the end, I had to pay $300 to replace the tiller. I never sailed an Opti or similar sized boat again, because, while fun, they are waaaaaay too small for me.
You've raised valid concerns, but I'm not too worried about it right now. During my days on the Flying Scot, I didn't see that there would be too many boats in the under 20' range that would be big enough for me to avoid a bump on the noggin from the boom if I weren't careful. I figured if I sailed or crewed on one enough, depending on the nature of the sailing that day, I could get some head protection.

Now, I do some cardio and resistance training at least three times per week, along with anything else, like walks, bike rides, yard an garden work etc. I could be in better shape, but at the same time, I'm not someone who's completely out of shape and trying to pick up a new hobby. Just from what I've seen, on some of the smaller boats, moving while tacking and gybing isn't always as mission critical unless you're in heavy winds. That could be a YMMV thing, though.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get a vibe that the really small boats aren't all that popular on this forum. Different folks are going to have different interests and goals for their sailing experiences, and right now, I'm focusing on the simplicity.

Thank you,
-Bill
 

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You've raised valid concerns, but I'm not too worried about it right now. During my days on the Flying Scot, I didn't see that there would be too many boats in the under 20' range that would be big enough for me to avoid a bump on the noggin from the boom if I weren't careful. I figured if I sailed or crewed on one enough, depending on the nature of the sailing that day, I could get some head protection.

Now, I do some cardio and resistance training at least three times per week, along with anything else, like walks, bike rides, yard an garden work etc. I could be in better shape, but at the same time, I'm not someone who's completely out of shape and trying to pick up a new hobby. Just from what I've seen, on some of the smaller boats, moving while tacking and gybing isn't always as mission critical unless you're in heavy winds. That could be a YMMV thing, though.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get a vibe that the really small boats aren't all that popular on this forum. Different folks are going to have different interests and goals for their sailing experiences, and right now, I'm focusing on the simplicity.

Thank you,
-Bill
This is SailNet, not BigBoatNet, and we get sailors of all kinds on this forum. You have just as much validity in your contributions as any of us idiots.o_O🤓

You do you, and have fun... Just leave your pit bulls ashore. I am only sharing my experience of combining big sailors and little boats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is SailNet, not BigBoatNet, and we get sailors of all kinds on this forum. You have just as much validity in your contributions as any of us idiots.o_O🤓

You do you, and have fun... Just leave your pit bulls ashore. I am only sharing my experience of combining big sailors and little boats.
Sorry, I didn't mean to come off snippy.
This may get some folks in a state, but sometimes the best place for kids and dogs is at home. I don't have any kids and only have one cat right now, so I may only have so much of a dog in that particular hunt, but the idea of taking a pet on board a boat even if I tried to make arrangements for safety, like a pet PFD, just doesn't appeal.
Several years ago, someone posted a pic on social media of a family out in some kind of smaller watercraft that had experienced an incident, possibly a capsize. Every person appeared to have on a PFD of some sort, though they were being launched into the air. Also present in the pic was a rather frightened-looking cat in the air who wasn't wearing a PFD. I was like, who thought they needed to bring a cat onboard? The cat must have been pretty chill to be interested in something like that, but everything went dinky-dau pretty fast, and the cat looked beyond scared.
Man, I felt sorry for the cat. Sure, everyone's going for a swim, but odds are their PFDs will keep them alive. But what happened to the cat? I almost hate to ask.
As far as boats go, I sometimes wish I could take on something more involved in the sailing arena, but small and simple is what's realistic right now, and I'm ok with that. Just wish finding something were a little easier.
Thank you,
-William
 

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No worries... I had a flashback to some of the more fun threads that we have had in the past. The one that I linked to was epic!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well shoot... The Snark I had my eye on and whose owner I'd spoken to got sold, and the MiniFish also sold. All that's left locally that I've been able to find is an O'Day Swift that the owner has marked down pretty far. It looks ok in photos and I'm trying to arrange to go see it if only because I've never gotten to see one of these smaller boats in person. The photos make it look like a decent used boat that needs some cosmetic TLC. Probably no reason why it might not make for a fun boat. But I've been told that buying what amounts to an orphan craft can come with its own complications. While this boat may resemble a SunFish, especially if you're squinting at it, it's not one, and the parts aren't likely to interchange. The sail might be just different enough to turn it into a rarity.
 
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