- Do you have any experience with hands-on sailing?(in other words, you've experienced participating in making the boat go, not just sitting on one sipping cocktails - you'd be surprised how many count imbibing aboard as experience sailing)
- Where do you plan on sailing?
- Small inland lake
- Large inland waters (Great Lakes)
- Coastal waters
- Caribbean Island hopping
- Ocean crossing
- What size boat interests you -
- Beach Boat like a laser
- Dinghy like a Capri 14.2
- Trailerable Pocket Cruiser like the West Wright Potter
- Cruising keel boat for coastal sailing
- Blue Water sailing vessle for a jaunt to Hawaii
What's your budget
- < $1000 (used Laser)
- $1000 - $5000 (new Laser)
- $5000 - $10,000 (the Capri)
- > $10,000 (everything else, +20% a year for upkeep)
Many, many years ago I bought a 10 foot sailing boat that I could easily carry on top of my car and take to the lake. As a novice sailor, I felt the boat was the perfect choice since I could get it going pretty fast, but not too fast. It reacted quickly to my every movement of the mainsheet, and for that I was grateful as there was never a time I worried about capsizing. "Just let go if you're in trouble."
After a while I managed to get pretty good with it and decided to take my oldest son out on it. He was 7 at the time and just loved it. But 7 turned into 8, then 9, then... well, soon there wasn't enough room for the two of us. I got really busy with my work, so decided to sell it years later after it hung from the ceiling of the garage just collecting dust. But, gee, it sure was fun!
2008 Lund 1750 Fisherman
2008 Merc 115hp 4-stroke EFI
2008 Shorelandr' Trailer
And two wonderful golden retrievers
I am new in this forum, this is my first post.
I most say I agree with Saildan. Its a big can of worms and no doubt you will have in your dreams the perfect boat.
Have you done any sailing before?
I have sailed most of my life and this question comes up a lot, and a very good question it is indeed. I would suggest that you become a member of a sailing club and offer yourself as crew. It will give you some idea of what you are looking for in a boat.
I sail a Sadler 34 in the north sea Here on the East Coast of England.
My reasoning for a boat of that ilk?
Size is perfect for short handed sailing (just my Wife and I).
She has a deep 6 foot keel, initially tender but VERY stiff at about 15 degrees.
She is a well proven boat and is sea kindly. Very important in our short steep seas where we sail.
Very forgiving and easy to handle for a short handed crew. Having made that statement most boats can be made easy to handle , given a little thought and forward planning.
Has good sea berths, galley and generally built to go to sea (you may laugh at this, but a surprising number of boats are not IMHP).
This particular boat is also designed to be unsinkable, one had its stern holed in the English channel and floated until help arrived.
Horses for courses.
You need, as has been said already,to think about what you want out of your sailing. wander around sailing clubs, ask questions (usualy you will get invited abourd if you sound truly interested). and do a lot of research.
Good luck and welcome to the world of sailing.
start with a swing keel,and make sure it has a trailer and that you can pull it with whatever you are driving.
if you are just starting sailing.
go with something like a sunfish and then move up to something with a swing keel/trailer sailor. thats what i've done. i had never sailed, bought a sunfish went to anapolis sailing school. moved up to a 21' trailer sailor and now have a 33'
I'm also looking to buy a boat. This will be on Lake Bomoseen Vermont which often doesn't have much wind. I want a fast boat that will be good in very light air (and be really fast in heavy air!). I'm currently looking at two used boats- a 16 ft AMF Apollo (like a Laser) and a 16 ft. Hobie Cat. which should i get?
I started with a sunfish with the wrong mast sail area was to large.But boy she was fast. Moved up to a Lightnig (race sail boat). Boy wass she fast fast now i have a 37 foot cruiser she's not fast but i can take the Famly and some friends and stay out for days at a time.All i can say to someone new is make sure not to have to mush sail out if it's windy and if you think it might get windy trim.before it's to late.
I'm in Florida and have been sailing and racing for almost 50 years. I started in prams when I was 10 years old and have competitively sailed many different types of boats in many venues: from around the bouys to distance ocean racing.
I advocate someone new to sailing to start very small. The smaller the better. That allows you to FEEL how the weight placement and sail trim and adjustments affect your speed. You learn how to take waves efficiently to keep from losing too much speed. You can just FEEL everything so much easier.
THEN: Everything you learn translates to larger boats!!! It's much tougher to learn the same things on bigger boats because of the lack of FEEL and the response-time delay.
The small boat experience doesn't have to last a long time and can even be done in conjunction with bigger boat ownership. Just put in the time in a small boat: pram, laser, 420, sunfish, etc. That time will pay back many times.
....just my $.02
All great advice above... The key is what do you want from sailing? At a minimum it pays to get the feel of the wind...best way to do that as suggested is start small.
You honestly can't go wrong with a Sunfish for a season or two. They are relatively cheap and can be found in good shape between $500-1000 with a trailer. You can sail just about anywhere and they are 100% manageable by one person. For a newbie they are easier to sail then a Laser. When the wind picks up a Laser can feel like a lot of boat. You will learn a lot about basic principles of sailing without the hassle of a lot of rigging. Once you've mastered the Sunfish you can trade up to a laser, pocket cruiser or something larger that keeps you high and dry.
I bought a used Sunfish w/ trailer in 1984 for $300 and I still have it today. Sailed it for years in Long Island Sound and now my dad and kids sail it in Lake Hayward. All we've had to purchase in 25 years is a new sail and a replacement ruder (they tend to split after 20 years).
1974 Thunderbird Formula 180,
Mercruiser 888, Ford 302, Holley
1958 Rhones 18 (winter project)
Now don't laugh, my first "sailboat" was a styrofoam Snark. I sailed that boat all over the place! When my sail finally let go, I used a sheet! I could put that thing on top of my "66 VW bug and put it in the water anywhere!
I then sailed a Widgeon, then Beetle Cats. I now have a 30' Pearson Wanderer! It all started with a little styrofoam boat
"bought " with Kool cigarette coupons!
[quote=clamdigger1;2361171... "66 VW bug ...[/quote]
It seems you've had it all
1974 Thunderbird Formula 180,
Mercruiser 888, Ford 302, Holley
1958 Rhones 18 (winter project)
I like this one:
I like that 1 too ,For that price i hope it come's with a crew to take care of the wood
Oh the irony - a lifetime sailing in the fresh air started with a "boat load" of cigarettes...It all started with a little styrofoam boat "bought " with Kool cigarette coupons!
I agree to start small and cheap. You may find you don't like sailing. My wife and I started with a 17 ft Mariner
and now have a 17 ft Siren
The best sailboat??????
Someone else's...until you know what you want and why!
The comments about looking at lessor expensive boats have merits. It can also be expensive if good research did not precede that choice.
We had the benefit of observing, questioning and probing folks in a local sailing club that had several active one design racing fleets.
I highly recommend you look for a boat that is popular in your area and can participate in an active racing fleet to learn from. That racing focus accelerates your learning curve over what might otherwise be a lot of dull “riding around the lake.” You will become a much better sailor much quicker. Another big advantage of being in an active racing fleet in your area is that helping comments (and occasional hardware) is very near and readily available. And we made many new and very good friends both in that club and fleet.
Port tack is burdened.
The photos look good... and has newer sails.. They are made here in Ontario too, but haven't found testimonials of anybody who owns one yet... (which is why i'm searching here, and found your post)
1999 Princecraft 166 Pro
1998 Evinrude 70hp
2003 GMC Envoy 4.2L 4x4
Join your local sailing/yachting club - they will know how to help you with this question. The advantage is that to learn to sail properly after doing a basics course it's best to start racing and if you buy a boat that's commonly raced by your local club then you can measure yourself against similar boats during races and really get a handle on how to improve. Sailing is a mixture of science, art and mental gymnastics and your skill levels are IMO immeasurably improved when you have a couple of racing seasons behind you and you start to get to the pointy end of the fleet. Even cruiser sailors benefit from racing. So a good sailing boat to start off with - one you can race at your local club. Good luck.
As has already been said, join a sailing club at the local, talk to everyone, someone might take you under their wing.
Don't be backward at getting a small sailing dinghy to learn on, after you are comfy sailing and have your boat you already have a dinghy to use.
Sailing on "Imagine"
a 1997 Macgregor 26X with Force 40 on the back.
A sailing club is a great idea along with the many other tips mentioned!
My experience is that I learned to sail on a 15' cape cod mercury....then I was gifted a mini sunfish (just slightly smaller than a regular sunfish) that was about 20 years old and I still have it and use it 20 years later.
I have sailed on many different boats up to 42' and while I enjoy my powerboat, there is something special about harnessing the wind.
I found and bought a catalina capri 14.2 and LOVE it - we sail it on a lake in maine that has good and bad wind conditions....check http://www.capri14.org/forum/ for the group site.
Good luck whatever you choose and let us know!
I recently looked at various smaller sailboats too. I wanted a boat that is small enough for one person to sail and that is quick and easy to get out on the water with. This is for occasional day use on smaller lakes.
In the end, I ended up buying a 16 foot Bombardier Invitation. It's a bit like a Laser, although a little bigger. It has a mailsail only - no jib - and should be good to learn on. On the downside, it won't be as stable as a heavier boat; with the combination of possibly overturning and lots of spray, sailing will be a wet experience. I may have to wear a wet suit until the water warms up.
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