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29er bad move???

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    Posted: 01 May 05 at 9:32pm
Hi, all -

I've been reading all of the topics in the "Choosing a boat" forum, paying particular attention to Blobby's "Which Skiff...." and NickA's "Single handable double hand trapeeze boats".

I am an experienced keel boater and an adequate dinghy sailer. I owned a J/30 which I could single hand (sans chute) despite the TuffLuff and bolt rope main and have owned several simpler sailing dinghys. 

I am eager to get a dinghy that I will not outgrow, I am not at all afraid to get wet, and I am not afraid of looking silly while learning.  At 5'5" I weigh a little more than 11 stones and am 38 and fairly athletic. 

The boats that I am considering (for better or worse -- and in no particular order) are the B14, RS200, 29er, and the Vector.  There seem to be no fleets for any of these near me, which is fine by me.  I primarily want to go fast on the water (good fun and good exercise).

After all of my looking around and soul searching, I am ultimately disappointed to find an almost nonexistent market for used dinghys and skiffs in North America... and I live near the sailing capitol of my area (Annapolis, MD).

Here's the rub:  I may have committed to buying a 29er from someone and am second guessing how well suited to me it might or might not be.  I'm a little heavy for it, although maybe not if I could figure out how to single hand it (saw Blobby, but am not pretending to be him).  Also saw another post of someone who claimed to see someone single hand a 29er every weekend at his/her club.

Nonetheless, I find this particular boat to be very attractive.  I guess I really want this boat, but want some help justifying it.   So a resounding chorus of, "Yeah!!! That's the skiff for you, mate!!!" would do just nicely.  I would, as well, welcome the voice of reason.


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bigwavedave View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bigwavedave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 05 at 10:08pm
Have you thought about a Musto Performance Skiff.  I think they now have a US importer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mazzas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 05 at 10:26pm
I can get ahold of any number of new boats in the North American Mid-Atlantic, but lack the money to do so.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iansmithofotley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 05 at 10:37pm

Hi Mazzas,

In my opinion, at the moment I would not advise you to buy any boat until you know what you really want to do.  I do not know anything about dinghy sailing in the USA, but I would suggest that you get around your dinghy racing clubs first and see what is going on and what boats are regularly raced there.  Visit several clubs, on race days, more than once and see what is going on.  Talk to the sailors. Unless it is suitable, don't just join the first club that you visit or the nearest one to your home just for convenience, look for one that has good racing, good fleets, good organisation, training,a good social scene and members who you like and can easily get along with.  If you sail at a club, on the sea or inland, there is usually adequate support cover on hand to assist you if you get into difficulty.

My other bit of advice, for what it's worth, would be to buy a boat that suits your needs - if you are going to sail single handed then look at buying a single hander, if you are going to sail with a regular, keen and reliable crew then look at buying a double handed boat.  It is possible to sail any boat, single handed, in light conditions but with many double handed boats you will struggle in a breeze and particularly if you capsize. At you height, weight and experience you will struggle in a Laser (full rig) in a blow. I, personally, would not recommend that you get a 29'er to sail single handed.

If you really get into the sport of dinghy sailing and you do join a club, you will no doubt, eventually, want to start racing which adds to the joy of sailing and quickly enhances all of your sailing skills, besides sailing with like minded folks. If you do get into racing then, in my opinion, it is best to get a boat that is raced at that club and has a good sized fleet.  If you do this, you will always have someone to race against as the competitors in club fleets, in my experience, have all levels of skills and there will be others who are in a similar position to yourself.

Just one final thought, if there are no decent single handed dinghy fleets near to where you live, you could consider a single handed catamaran which, generally, go faster than most dinghies and are more stable for single handed sailing (you said that you wanted to sail a fast boat).  However, at your size and skill level I would not recommend that you get a 'high performance' cat as, again, you will struggle in a blow and particularly if you capsize.

I hope that this helps.

Ian  (Yorkshire Dales S.C.)

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil eltringham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 05 at 11:21pm

With the possible exception of the RS200 none of the boats you mention is suitable for sailing single handed, and the 200's performance is far from blistering (single handing a 29er can be done, but its not that great, the hull is just too twitchy with the weight of a second body removed).  For out and out speed the B14 and Vector are the ones to go for, I'm a B14 man myself and I can say that the boat is VERY fast in a straight line (and being a hiking boat its great exercise and very rewarding to sail). 

The main thing you need to decide is are you going to sail a one or two man boat.  Single handed, the best option for speed is the musto skiff.  However if you are already comitted to getting the 29er, maybe stick with it and get the X rig when that becomes available. 

I'm a bit biased but I genuinely believe that the B14 is the best boat of the lot, having said that you will have to import one as i dont thin there have ever been any in the US, and to that end going for the Vector may well be a better idea as you will be able to race against other boats if you want (unless you can covince lots of people to get B14s, which would be cool)  the optimum weight for a B14 is about 22 to 25 1/2 stone all up, so provided you get someone at least as big as you to sail with, you'll be fine. 

the final option, is get a second hand 49er, bit expensive to run, but is undeniably quick, and there will definately be people to race against. 

good luck with your decision, let us know how you get on

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Post Options Post Options   Quote mazzas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 05 at 1:07am
There are no skiff fleets out here.  The gentleman who designed the Vector for Vanguard lives near Annapolis and is trying to get a fleet going.  But there is no used market for the boats.  And at $9K USD I could start my own fleet of (pick your other favorite skiff).

Lack of skiff fleets is apparently due to the overwhelming dominance of the established dinghy fleets (laser, vanguard 15, thistle, opti) and the underwhelming enthusiasm for dinghy sailing in general here (keel boats rule the day).

I cannot locate any 49ers for sale within 1000 miles.  I have emailed the skipper of the closest I14 fleet in the hope that he can direct me to a seller.

But the 29er looks like the only remaining viable choice.  And I'm going to have to drive 8 hours (one way) to pick it up.  Maybe I should relocate my family to Australia. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mazzas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 05 at 2:07am
Strangely, the Midwest US I14 fleet site has four skiffs listed in my area.  I have emailed each owner to inquire if their boat is still available.

Sooo... anyone know anything abut the I14.  It's a developmental class that's 70+ years old; crew of 2, both on the wire; looks like fun.  But I can't find any really good articles relating some of the more recent skiffs to other contemporary boats.  How does it compare to the 49er?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 05 at 2:26am

I would say go for the 29er - it was very entertaining single handed.  What you will need to do to make life simpler is to get a cleat platform attached to the boom so you can cleat the main.  If you look at www.single-handedskiffs.com you can find a neat design for one of these...(That site has some good advice for boat handling etc.)

Also need to fit twin tiller extensions to helm from the wire.

Not quite clear if you will be mainly sailing solo or with a crew?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote mazzas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 05 at 2:35am
Blobby -

Mostly (exclusively, initially) sailing with crew.  Thanks for the link; very interesting reading.

With your words of encourragement, I've closed all of the browser tabs that I had open to I14 websites and sent off an email to the seller of the 29er committing to the purchase.

Besides... with no active skiff classes in my area, I might as well sail whatever I like.  Thanks for the push!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 05 at 3:16am

Nice one...I'm sure you won't regret it.

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