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Hi. I hope everyone is healthy and doing well. I'm an inexperienced sailor living in DC who has taken four or five two-week courses on dinghies and a keel boat (in Santa Cruz on Monterey Bay). I want to improve my skills and that basically means getting time on the water. I had hoped to take the ASA 101/103 course this spring, but COVID-19 has cancelled everything for the time being. So, I'm looking to find an inexpensive boat to work on my skills on the Anacostia/Potomac Rivers and would love to be able to trailer it to the Chesapeake for some day cruising. It needs to be able to fit in my garage and not cost very much. (I'd be fine with having a slip in the summer and then garaging it over the winter). I will also wind up single-handling the boat for a good chunk of the time, so it needs to be simple to handle. I'd also like a strong class association to get advice and have a ready market if I ever want to upgrade. I don't mind getting a bit wet, but I'm not really into wetsuits and lasering.

I like what folks have to say about the Wayfarer, but they seem to be hard to find.

I have found a 17ft O'Day Day Sailer I that seems to be the right price and size. My question is: Does this boat meet my criteria for being easy to learn on and for single-handling safely on the waterways in the DC area (Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and the Chesapeake)? Any particular things I should look for when I inspect the O'Day? Thanks much! Stay safe!
 

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O Day Day Sailers meet your criteria. Reasonably easy to sail, good performance, should trailer fine. Nice boats.

If you are looking for a Wayfarer in North America, include CL16 in your search. They are based on the Wayfarer design but with a few minor changes. They are likely a bit more common than Wayfarers in your neck of the woods.
 

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May do ok with what your purpose is and they are trailerable

The mouth of the Potomac can be one of the toughest places to boat when wind and current oppose especially but doable. 17 ft certainly is ok for the Bay on calmer days.

Good luck and welcome aboard
 

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Thanks! Don't worry, I'm only planning on tooling around the Potomac in DC/Alexandria -- heading to the mouth of Potomac sounds way out of my league. Thanks for your info!
 

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Barquito
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Seems to me the O'Day Daysailer would be a good choice. I think is has a fairly large sail area, so, would need to be a little cautious until you get some skills. May be a bit difficult to step the mast by yourself. There are a lot of OD sailors out there who may have some tricks. If you want to look at more of the weekending aspect, the usual advice is the Catalina 22 because of number of other people sailing that boat, and the massive aftermarket support. This site is actually a good resource for all small boats: https://www.catalinadirect.com/
 

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Washington Sailing Marina, in DC offers sailing lessons and day rentals of Flying Scots sailboats.

https://boatingindc.com/

They operate the boating concessions at:
National Harbor
Thompson Boat Center
Tidal Basin
Washington Sailing Marina
Columbia Island Marina
James Creek Marina
 

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Oday Daysailers also make for pretty decent camp cruisers if that is on your to do list. People throw their tent and cooler in the little cuddy cabin and just beach and camp for the night, or even anchor and sleep on board with a boom tent (the cabins are pretty tight).

They are pretty capable boats too. Lots of people sail their DS 17s on some large bodies of water, with appropriate experience. Its a boat you can grow with.
 

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My thought is a 17 footer is a good size boat for the rivers, not so much for the Bay itself. Had a Sovereign 17 on Galveston Bay (when I lived in Texas many years ago) and spent a lot of time bobbing up and down like a cork. Ended up sailing mostly on Clear Lake until we got a bigger sailboat.

I currently live in Maryland and have a West Wight Potter 15 that is a great boat for larger lakes and some of the rivers. I have heard that the upper part of the Bay is great sailing for small sailboats! As I live near Baltimore, I hope to have a chance to check it out

I would suggest that you measure your garage to make sure that your desired boat/trailer fits. My garage is about 19' deep and my 15' boat, on the trailer, has only about 4 inches to spare. Some folks will mount a swinging hitch on their trailers so that they can gain an extra two feet or so.

Regarding safely single-handling, I would suggest running all of the lines to the cockpit. I have done this with my Potter, including the main and adding a jib downhaul.

Hope you have a much fun on your trailerable boat, as I have had on mine. I am going to miss the simplicity of a day sailer when I move up this Summer to a much larger boat.

Jim
 

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If you just want to sail around the DC/Alexandria area the most cost effective way to go is to join the Sailing club of Washington. They club has a small fleet of Flying Scots and a couple Catalina 25s that club members can use. https://scow.org/
 

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Small Boat Journal has a review of trainable cruisers many years ago. I could scan and send it.
 

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I had a Mariner 19 for well over ten years and can recommend it a a great boat to learn on. I had the Stuart version, but it was really just a copy of the older O’Day Mariner 19. I had the center board version, and it was easy to trailer and step the mast single handed, though it was easier with two. I sailed in on the Potomac, in the Potomac Creek area just downstream from Quantico. It taught my kids (and myself) to sail over the years and was actually very sad to see her be driven down the street by her new owner. I can’t say that for any other boat I’ve owned.
Terry
 

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The Oday Daysailor would work out well for what you want but you might be better off with a school or club you can join and have access to their fleet, lessons, and maybe sail with other club members and participate in club events. After a year of playing around on the club's boats you will have a better idea of what you want in a sailboat if you choose to buy one then. This is assuming clubs will open for the summer.
 

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A while back the Small Boat Journal did a review of trainable boats. I can scan it if you'd like. I used it to decide on a boat when I was in D.C. in the mid-90s.
 

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One thing that a lot of first time buyers don't think of is where will they launch the boat? Will it be a steep, wet, ramp where 4-wheel drive might be helpful? Will it be on a very shallow ramp?

Until recently, I sailed my boat on a large lake. Water access was via one of the lake's beaches. This meant that I had to put the trailer pretty far into the water to float my boat off of the trailer. Fortunately, the previous owner of my boat/trailer added a trailer tongue extension. On level land, I could very easily unpin the extension and roll the trailer back (while still attached to my truck) and get an extra 6' of trailer length. This way I could float the boat off the trailer and not even get the tires wet on my trailer. This was a great option given that I had a 2-wheel drive truck.

Just a bit more to think about. :)

Jim
 

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Dakota Lee
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Consider a Cape Dory Typhoon. Cape Dories are fantastic boats and the larger ones (25+ to 30) can be had for very little in respect to their abilities which can literally take you around the world.

The Typhoon, can fit your needs depending on the size of your garage, and is in a class that has a great following .... the National races are held right here in southern Virginia.

I reentered sailing out of the DC area after leaving it for 30 years while I was in the military. I kept my CD at Ft Belvoir and later Quantico Marine base and would routinely sail it down the river for trips of a month or so in the Bay. Note both the Potomac River (especially in its Southern end near Saint Clemente island and PoInt Lookout can be some very serious water.

Cape Dories will keep you safe and are well respected to be able to take more than it’s crew would ever want undertake on purpose. It can be used for day sails and then with some roughing it can be used for weekend trips. A Senior model can be used for trips of up to a week or so but it would be like camping.

Good luck

Pete
 

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I owned an O'Day DS III for many years and sailed it on the Potomac and the Bay. It was a great boat to learn on and fun with up to 4 people. I didn't make any alterations to the fundamental layout or rigging of the boat - no roller furling, no straps on the centerboard cabinet to hook your feet in, etc. It's quick to set up and launch. I agree that the Washington Sailing Marina ramp can get kinda' crowded, and you'll learn to pay attention to the tides. Best when the winds are 10-15, it can get exciting above that
 
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