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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Lots of questions here about first boat recommendations, so I apologize for throwing out the same question, but here goes......

I'm just getting back into sailing after many years.....learned on the Laser 15 years ago, and then moved up to the Flying Scot briefly. Now with a wife and two small kids (8 and 6 years old), I'd like to get back into sailing with the whole family. Long term picture is to start in an open boat, and then move up to a cruiser as interest and skill levels increase. All of our sailing will be on Long Island Sound.

Most important features for us will be: (1) trailerability behind the family sedan, (2) capacity to seat all 4 of us + the family labrador, (3) stability - having sailed Lasers, my capsize tolerance is high, but I'd rather take it easy with the kids, and (4) opportunity to race maybe down the road.

Flying Scot is a natural choice (I think), but a bit pricey....I'd like to be under $2K w/trailer. What about the DS II? I don't know much about the O'Days - would they fit my criteria? Are there other boats that I should be looking at? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Advanced beginner
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Flying Scott

I sail Flying Scotts, and I gotta say, 4 people and a Labrador Retriever on a Scott seems a very tight fit. There's not a lot of floor space for a dog, and the dog is bound to be in the way when you switch sides for tacking and jibing. Four people, however, can fit in a Flying Scott quite nicely.

I don't have an alternative boat to suggest but will be interested to see what the others post.
 

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Francophobe
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The dog is the problem

There are many good boats in that size. The Scot is obviously one that you are familiar with (and you may be able to find a used one in your price range but not easy). The biggest problem is going to be fitting the dog in. Maybe the dog would be willing to sit under the foredeck or the rear deck, but if not he is going to be a major obstacle. We regularly sail with 2 adults and 2 kids and have had 4 adults and 2 kids on several occasions.

You may want to try and find a Boston Whaler Harpoon 5.2. Take off the cuddy cover and you have a completely open boat. My dad regularly has 4 adults on his with the cuddy on. I am thinking that if you take off the cuddy the dog might be convinced to lay down in front of the mast and be out of your way when tacking.

The Thistle may also be worth considering. Not quite as family friendly, but more open space than a Scot. Also, the boom is so low you are really going to have to duck.

May also want to look at some of the offerings from Precision, Hunter, Catalina Capri, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The wife just rolled her eyes when I mentioned the dog too. So maybe the pooch stays ashore until we move up to a bigger boat someday. So the Scot is definitely a good possibility.

Any thoughts on the O'Day Daysailer? I'll admit I know nothing about them. There's a few here in the $1.5K range, but how do they compare vs. the Scot on performance, stability, or capacity? Thoughts?
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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I have sailed the O'Day DS 17' and it is a fine smallish boat. Getting 4 people on one (without a Labrador retriever) will be tight though.
I have an older Lightning 19' that was rigged for racing by a PO and I regularly have 4 people on it with room for lunch and a small cooler. In many ways it is comparable to the Flying Scot but perhaps a bit longer. I got a deal on mine ($1K for boat w/trailer and 2 sets of sails).
Good luck.
 

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Compac makes a variety small trailerable boats that fit your specifications. Probably they will fit the stability requirement more than the racing requirement. I believe most of the small ones are cat boats vrs sloops. I dont know if that affects your decision making at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mark - cat boats are definitely pretty, and light enough to trailer. Most of the ones I see here in New England are a bit pricey. Also, I think I'd want to become proficient on a sloop rig long-term.

Caleb - thanks for the insight on tight fit on a DS 17'. Talking to a few guys in town here, they thought a DS II would be perfect (although no one had experience on one). Good to hear first-hand advice.

Frog - will look at a Harpoon. Your own experience - you bought a Scot recently, right?
 

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Daysailer Comments

I sail an O'Day Daysailer and I think it should fit your needs nicely. It has lots going for it in 17 feet.

There is room for four, but you'll probably typically have three on the high side and one on the low side... four abreast is tight but we've done it many many times when the wind is brisk.

The boom is above heads, better for less-experienced companions. Rigging is simple and hardware is plenty adequate (unless you intend to race).

It has a very active class association (DaySailer.org) with an excellent web-forum for repair, maintenance and upgrade advice. I've learned a lot there. All parts are readily available and in-stock at D & R Marine or www.capecodshipbuilding.com. (Overnight replacement of my standing rigging saved my vacation in the boonies of Maine one year, and a new spreader overnighted saved me last year).

The DS is actively raced if that interests you though its performance lags some others in the sub-20-foot range (Chrysler Buccaneer, Lightning, Scot, Highlander, Interlake); mostly due to its shorter length and less aggressive sail plan. But it'll plane and what you give up in that last bit of performance you gain in it being somewhat less "demanding", more forgiving, to sail.

My wife and I (mid-fifties) trailer exclusively. We've gotten to where we can be in the water within 15 minutes of hitting the ramp... about the same for retrieval. We'll often launch for as short as a 60 minute evening sail. Do not underestimate the ease / difficulty of launching and retrieving... if it is a chore, you'll sail less and less.

There were a zillion Daysailers made, so there is always a market to buy and sell. Good ones (decent sails, trailer and general sail-ready condition) are out there for $1500 (real price) all day long... if you're patient, you can do much better. I paid $950 for my very good condition 1968 DS I with an engine. My friend just bought one for $400 that's a bit rough, but sailable. Give him 50 hours to work on it and another $500 (he's handy and retired) and he'll have a beauty (hope its not nicer than mine).

Last... there were two DS models built in volume, DS I's and DS II's. Hulls, rigging, sails and rudder were identical.

Where they differ is that DS I's have:
- a totally open cuddy (a dog could easily lie down in there) but it cannot be secured with hatches,
- mahogony or teak floorboards lying on the single hull
- teak coaming around the cockpit
- handle-mechanism for the centerboard
- a 12-inch-or-so transom (with molded-in outboard well) that reduces cockpit space by that 12 inches.

DS II's have:
- a semi-enclosed cuddy; secureable, but also less accessable,
- fiberglass one-piece floor-pan / seats / deck. Causes seating to be a tad higher than in a DS I.
- all plastic (no wood floorboards or coaming)
- pulley mechanism for the centerboard
- 2-inch transom... provides a slightly larger cockpit than the DS I.

I have owned both and much prefer the DS I... it is saltier looking with its wood trim and the open cuddy is much more accessable when under sail. But if you were to dock or moor, the DS II with its securable cuddy would be the better choice. They sail identically (though I think avid racers prefer DS I's because they may be a tad lighter).

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hriehl, thanks for the great review of the DS. Sounds like patience is the name of the game, but at least I have some choices to look at. Will keep you posted on the search.
 

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Francophobe
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Frog - will look at a Harpoon. Your own experience - you bought a Scot recently, right?
Yes, I bought a Scot last fall. Really like the boat, just can't picture a large dog being happy on it.
 

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Mud Hen #69, Mad Hatter
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We sailed Scot #4188 for many years. Great boats.

Friends of ours have owned #667 long-term and raised two kids from cradle to married & out and a series of Lab. dogs. You can cram a lot in a Scot.

A Precision 185 would be maybe a little more comfortable (though you sit on both boats rather than in the cockpit), but they haven't been out long enough to have reached your $ cut-off.
 
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