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What boat to buy?

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MSaxp View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 11:17am
Hi all,

One more of the many beginners asking the question. About to buy my first boat and don't know what. so any advice would be very much appreciated.

I am 36, 5ft10, 11st and reasonably fit. Got my Level 2 a few months back and maybe another 20 hours or so on club boats for practice. all of my experience has been on Wayfarers and 420s.

In terms of the requirements.

I want a single handed dinghy but would like to be able to take my wife on board for some casual sailing.

For now, I just want to be able to practice, but don't want something that will get boring after a few months. don't want a boat designed for pros only either.

While I am reasonably fit, I wouldn't want a boat that is very uncomfortable to sail.

Budget-wise, I was thinking of something around 2k but it can be stretched. Its not that I cant afford to pay more, its that I am thinking that its not worth for a beginner to spend a lot of money (on a boat that he is likely to damage as well).

Looking at the club boats, most single handed seem to be Solos and Vareos, with a few Lasers. I was thinking of buying a laser to be honest (as I think Solos are too expensive), but the club instructors don't seem very keen on them (and they do look very uncomfortable)

Any advice or thoughts welcome
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turnturtle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote turnturtle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 11:28am
if there are Vareos actually active, then that boat fits your brief perfectly- for 2 grand you get a lot of boat for the money.  

 Solos are expensive, but retain their value, so the true cost (depreciation) isn't as bad as initial reactions would have.... not sure I'd be too keen spending less than four grand on one though, not with any expectation that it will be competitive if you choose to sail it in any races.  Plus for 2 grand you are almost certainly looking at a wooden boat... love it or loathe it.  

A Laser is what it is and you appear to have a good grasp already... no, its not comfortable.  Yes it's cheap and relatively easy to learn to sail it.  Yes you can take a passenger out on them for a jolly, but this might mean they have to sit on the foredeck getting a very wet arse while you trim with your bodyweight back a little.   Its main forte is that it offers good racing against other Lasers and a very low cost of ownership.  2K buys a very good club boat.  In fact, don't bother spending the full budget would be my advice!   

A Solo would be very cramped with the passenger, I'd not really recommend it for anything other than a very occasional summer drift in light winds.  

FWIW - you are doing the right thing in seeking out something that's already sailed at your club.  Best of luck.  


Edited by turnturtle - 02 Nov 15 at 11:30am
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 12:07pm
I don't think any boat really does that dual purpose bit very well.

My advice is always to join a club where they have two handed club boats available to borrow/rent and use those when you want to take the wife out for casual sailing, and get the singlehander that best suits you for singlehanded sailing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MSaxp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 2:15pm
Thank you for the advice. My club does have proper double handed boats, so that isn't a problem. I don't expect the single hander to be able to comfortably accommodate loads of people but was hoping that it could allow for the occasional passenger.

If I took that requirement out, would you recommend a different dinghy to the Vareo? The Laser seems to be not as good and the Solo seems to be expensive (a wooden one would probably mean extra maintenance work).

maybe something else from the RS range?
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 2:29pm
I think you have to go and sail them really, because different people like different things about their boats.

The Vareo has the spinnaker which adds [extra interest/unneeded complication] (delete as applicable).

I personally don't like sailing Lasers much (other than messing about in waves when I was younger and fitter) so I'm not a good judge, but its probably a better boat upwind than the Vareo.

The modern foam sandwich Solo is undoubtedly a more sophisticated and thus rather more expensive boat to buy than the Laser, but various design features mean that it should cost rather less to run, so it probably all evens out in the long term.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MSaxp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 2:37pm
What do you mean by 'costs less to run' ?

Like I said, the capital itself is not the issue. If I can buy a Solo and sell it 2 years later for 1k less, its the same to me than buying a Vareo, and sell it for 1k less
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 2:54pm
The Solo sails will last much longer before needing replacement, the hull material will stay stiffer longer are probably the key things. Don't ask me to predict depreciation!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote turnturtle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 2:55pm
If you've got the circa 4k needed to get a Winder FRP Solo, then in my opinion, it's a far more sophisticated boat that either of the other two.  It's certainly nicer to sail for pure sailing than a Laser in light to moderate winds, although I think the Laser has the edge once you are competently reaching in 15 knots +.

The Vareo needs a test sail really - it's a bit marmite, but out of the three, is definitely the best for a passenger.  Jim's approach is sounder though- if renting a wayfarer for a couple of hours is an option, take it and don't compromise on your singlehanded toy.  

Ask one of the guys at the club if he would let you out for a spin in his Vareo.  If he says 'no', then take it as a sign to probably steer clear.  You need approachable people around you who are vaguely knowledgeable about the boats you both sail.  Most dinghy sailors are happy to let someone take their boat out if they think they are helping to grow their local fleet, if they're not, then take it as a sign and check out the Solo or Laser options- focus on who sails what and when they sail- it's almost more important than the hardware itself.  At 36, at out club, you would firmly be in the Laser demographic, whereas the Solo attracts an older clientele - this stuff varies place to place though.

Neither the Solo or Laser should lose you too much money in the longer term.  



   


Edited by turnturtle - 02 Nov 15 at 2:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Terry Dactyl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 4:29pm
I've just bought an old GRP Solo for 400 as a first boat.

My plan is to develop my technique in it then buy a laser.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Terry Dactyl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 15 at 5:20pm
Originally posted by Terry Dactyl

I've just bought an old GRP Solo for 400 as a first boat.

My plan is to develop my technique in it then buy a laser.


BTW I realise I won't be at the front of the fleet but hopefully have something solid enough to develop skills in after doing the RYA 1 and 2 this year.
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