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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, first time poster here … I have canoes, but have been fascinated with sunfish since I got to sail one once as a kid. Now at age 48, I seem to have passed that fascination onto my 14 year old and want to buy a small sailboat for us. I’m hoping for advice … ideally we’d buy:
  • something we could cartop to our camp, then it would live there.
  • a boat that’s either easy to right in the water (sunfish?) or a boat that’s stable (snarck?)
  • A single sail that’s easy to rig for beginners
  • Overall simplicity since we have minimal sailing experience
  • $1,000 or under
My Craigslist has several small boats listed: sunfish, a snarck sunflower, a snarck Mach V, a nutshell pram, amf force 5, and a super porpoise. I’m paralyzed and can’t figure out what is going to work best for us … any advice would be really appreciated! Thanks in advance.
 

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For me it would be a Laser, hands down!

They are light, dead simple to rig and a blast to sail! There is no standing rigging to deal with they can be carried on roof racks, and they are still a very popular racing class so there are plenty of sails and parts available for them.

They can be sailed by 2 but are really designed for single handing. Our yacht club keeps a pair of them at several outstations and they are very popular, even the power boaters like them.

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Small catamaran would be a good option. Hobie 14, Hobie Bravo etc. Fast, stable, easy to sail, fun, make good swim platforms.

Another option would be to add a sail kit to one of the canoes you already own. There are several manufacturers of canoe sail kits ranging from affordable, to not so affordable but fast, as well as semi and complete DIY projects. Can't beat a canoe for car topping.
 

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Everything feasible but the price

just fixing up a CL bargain can cost that in parts
I just picked up a ~ 15 year old Bravo in great condition for free with a trailer because it was taking up room at somebodies cottage. Something like that would be ideal, the deals are out there, finding them takes patience.
 

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Small catamaran would be a good option. Hobie 14, Hobie Bravo etc. Fast, stable, easy to sail, fun, make good swim platforms.

Another option would be to add a sail kit to one of the canoes you already own. There are several manufacturers of canoe sail kits ranging from affordable, to not so affordable but fast, as well as semi and complete DIY projects. Can't beat a canoe for car topping.
Yeah a small beach cat would be fun, but transporting them is a bit more difficult, and righting them could be challenging for a beginner, even with a masthead float!

Something else to consider is the depth of the water you are sailing in. A dinghy with a tall mast in shallow water can be a problem if you turtle it and bury the mast in the bottom!

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Yeah, my Bravos rigged weight is 195 pounds. So without mast and rudder? Not sure. 140 maybe? Heavier than a Laser, but I still think do able if only once in a while.

Some Hobies can be disassembled for car topping, like the Wave. Not sure about finding a Wave for under $1000. Probably not.
 

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Another fun boat would be a Tasar. Rigging is a bit more complicated, and it has a jib as well as a main, but it is a great double handed boat.it weighs in at 150lb.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah a small beach cat would be fun, but transporting them is a bit more difficult, and righting them could be challenging for a beginner, even with a masthead float!

Something else to consider is the depth of the water you are sailing in. A dinghy with a tall mast in shallow water can be a problem if you turtle it and bury the mast in the bottom!

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Hmm, sounds like we’ll be learning about “turtling”! :)
 

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@CVermont

Check out this thread. This is one of my 3 dinghys right now. It meets your specs perfectly if you can find one.

Very safe with mast head float easy to right, and roller furling main. You and your daughter can sail it together or either one of you on your own.

And yes, you can definitely find an older dinghy for under $1000. I wouldn't pay more than $1000 for one unless it was a new design from the last 20 years or so.

My current line up includes a Prindle 16 with trailer that I paid $800 USD for and raced much of the Gulf Coast of Florida on. (Too big to car top). Sailed it the day after I bought it.

A 1967 Petrel, came complete with trailer slab reefing main, 3 jibs, anchor, life jackets and paddles for $600 USD. (Too heavy to car top also). Sailed it the day I bought it.

And a recent Hobie Bravo, which I think probably is car toppable. Paid nothing for the boat. "Get it out of my yard and its yours" type of deal. Sailed it the same day I got it.

Any way, here's the thread on the Bravo.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@CVermont

Check out this thread. This is one of my 3 dinghys right now. It meets your specs perfectly if you can find one.

Very safe with mast head float easy to right, and roller furling main. You and your daughter can sail it together or either one of you on your own.

And yes, you can definitely find an older dinghy for under $1000. I wouldn't pay more than $1000 for one unless it was a new design from the last 20 years or so.

My current line up includes a Prindle 16 with trailer that I paid $800 USD for and raced much of the Gulf Coast of Florida on. (Too big to car top). Sailed it the day after I bought it.

A 1967 Petrel, came complete with trailer slab reefing main, 3 jibs, anchor, life jackets and paddles for $600 USD. (Too heavy to car top also). Sailed it the day I bought it.

And a recent Hobie Bravo, which I think probably is car toppable. Paid nothing for the boat. "Get it out of my yard and its yours" type of deal. Sailed it the same day I got it.

Any way, here's the thread on the Bravo.

Oh thanks so much for this! These are great recommendations. I never realized there was such a thing as a cat that small. I’ll look for these. I’m in Vermont so options are a bit limited but I’m finding a few more boats in NH.
 

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I picked this boat up not far from Vermont in Quebec.

Multihull sailing is big in Quebec, so when it becomes feasable to shop in Canada again, it might be another option.
 

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I would vote for the Force 5 if you are reasonably agile. Like the Laser they are a lot of fun to sail. They are easy to right if capsized. They can be easily cartopped. While designed for a single adult, they can be sailed by a couple adults. The single sail rig is quick to set up and go.

Jeff
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would vote for the Force 5 if you are reasonably agile. Like the Laser they are a lot of fun to sail. They are easy to right if capsized. They can be easily cartopped. While designed for a single adult, they can be sailed by a couple adults. The single sail rig is quick to set up and go.

Jeff
Thank you! I just found a Force 5 on CL two hours away for $750 that looks pretty clean in the photos … would you have any thoughts on a Force 5 vs a sunfish??
 

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A Sunfish is easier to sail and is a little more forgiving. It is a little lighter and so slightly easier to cartop.

The Force 5 is a more sophisticated design and is more fun to sail. There is a bit bigger learning curve with the Force 5 but it will also teach you to be a better sailer and you won't get bored with it. The Force 5 has a bigger cockpit making it easier to sail with two people.

Jeff
 

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If you want to work at sailing, all of the above mentioned options are great. If you want to just relax, lay back in the boat with the tiller over your shoulder, feet over the rail, beer in hand, the Nutshell is hands down the most versatile of the bunch. Sails decent (though not fast), can easily carry two and a dog, stable, rows well when the wind dies, and is a pretty boat (designed by Joel White, EB White’s son).

Depends on what you really imagine yourself doing.


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