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Good Starter Boat for an Older Sailor

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Choosing a boat
Forum Discription: Ask any questions about the sport!
Printed Date: 23 Jan 18 at 4:12am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Good Starter Boat for an Older Sailor
Posted By: pij27
Subject: Good Starter Boat for an Older Sailor
Date Posted: 02 Jan 18 at 4:40pm
I am looking to return to sailing after a break of a number of years and like the idea of a dinghy or small keelboat. I would like a fairly stable boat that I can sail single handed and also with a partner. Nothing too sporty, but would like to use on the sea, as plan to sail in solent and around isle of wight, (though not a circum-navigaation).
Any thoughts of what should be looking for?
Don't want something that could capsize easily, as the one thing that has always made me apprehensive for a dinghy is seeing them topple over. 

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 02 Jan 18 at 5:56pm
There are "dinghies with keels" like boats, such as the Stratos keel and Venture keel. Then there are "proper" keelboats like the Squib, or dayboats, looking more old fashioned, like the Drascombe Lugger, Cornish cormorant or Explorer 18. Plenty of other examples of each, but if you figure out what appeals most, you may be able to narrow down the choices, then get test sails. Having a boat that can be reefed will be very important.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Leader, Topper 44496, yellow Minisail

Posted By: Time Lord
Date Posted: 02 Jan 18 at 6:22pm
If you're sailing in and around the IOW there are a number of local one design scows which can be sailed singlehanded but will easily accommodate 2.

Milford scows and Lymington scows are two that spring to mind but think that there are similar designs on the east side of the Solent. Gaff rigged, easily handled and these days in GRP.

If yiu fancy racing, the local clubs have races just for their local scow fleets.

Merlin Rocket 3609

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 02 Jan 18 at 7:30pm
Can't add much except that a mate of mine, fairly serious sea kayaker IIRC, did a sailing course and bought a Stratos keel 'cos it wouldn't fall over. He has sailed it in some pretty hairy conditions and the keel has proved it's worth. It's big and roomy and not slow (We had it surfing at 12+ knots on a two sail reach F5+ with me helming it). The only downside of these kind of boats is handling them ashore as they weigh a lot, Stratos Keel is 290kg hull so a good bit over 300 rigged. But OTOH a Waybarge is still too much for one to manage ashore at pushing 200kg rigged.

Another mate has a Cornish Coble (I think) and is rarely troubled when the conditions get rough, worst case he douses the sail and starts the donkey motor :).

Have a look at pics of those mentioned above and see which ones tickle your fancy then explore ebay and apollo duck to see if any are around at your budget. Then try to get a sail, don't be frightened to ask most of us are happy to have an excuse for another afternoons sailing.

Good luck.

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"
Supernova 395 "dolly the sheep"

Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 04 Jan 18 at 8:53am
Are you planning on keeping you boat on moorings, or hauled out when not in use?
If you have a mooring (including marina type pontoons), then a keel boat sounds a good choice.
If you're planning on land storage, you need to seriously consider how launching/recovery and land movement can be done.
I sail on an inland lake with no tide and gentle slope slipways. Even so, the Drascombe luggers are moored during their sailing months, not stored ashore.
Getting anything heavier than my Wanderer up the ramp needs more than 1 person (about 3/4 for a Wayfarer).
Also, consider if you're going to beach land for lunch etc., If so, you'll need a retractable keel that's easy to use.

I understand your concerns regarding dinghy capsizes, there are ways to reduce the problems - our sail training dinghies have masthead buoyancy - at its simplest an inflatable buoyancy bag fixed to the head of the mainsail. This prevents the dinghy inverting.
Second suggestion, take an RYA level 2 course (if you haven't already), capsize recovery is one of the topics (practical!) many of my students comment that the reality is much less scary than the anticipated terrors!


Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 04 Jan 18 at 11:46am
Thanks Colin. I think for cost that recovery and storage is probably a better option, quick look at mooring costs seem excessive. Will sign up for a course to do soon, so can enjoy the summer. do like the idea of sailing to a beach, have lunch and then sail back. So a cruising dinghy appeals, but understand issue of weight. Looks like some thinking and compromising is in order.

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 04 Jan 18 at 4:57pm
+1 to masthead floats, I use mine a lot on both the Spice and the Blaze when sailing without safety cover. Inversion on the sea can be difficult to resolve and sticking the mast in the mud at home is equally taxing so preventing inversion is well worth the extra windage. I have two floats, a fairly discrete double sausage one I use on the Blaze and 'The Pig' a pinky-orange 60 litre Crewsaver one that can keep the Spice from inverting even with two burly blokes climbing up the hull.

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"
Supernova 395 "dolly the sheep"

Posted By: Jack Sparrow
Date Posted: 04 Jan 18 at 5:36pm
Have a look at a Weta Dinghy. Small Trimaran. Fast (but fine for a novice), light and single-handable, and will happily take passengers." rel="nofollow -

-------------" rel="nofollow - Farr 3.7 Class Website" rel="nofollow - Farr 3.7 Building - Facebook Group

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 04 Jan 18 at 5:38pm
GP 14, really stable, good for cruising, still need two people on land though, you can always get a local engineering company to laser cut you a steel centreboard for extra stability, get it galvanised.

Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 05 Jan 18 at 7:15am
Couple of further thoughts:-

National sailing centre Weymouth had a couple of davit style cranes for launching - works with heavy dinghies and small keelboats. Some clubs will also have a winch at the top of the ramp.

Previous owner of my Wanderer used to tow down to Falmouth and sail single handed. The Wanderer has roller jib furling and slab reefing for the main so you can reduce sail area by 30% (roll jib) in about 30 seconds. Then reduce main by about 20% with reefing (reducing the height of the sail and the leverage)

If you're cruising offshore (as opposed to racing), think of the old adage "reef often, reef early". You take control, not allowing the wind make youjump about.


Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 05 Jan 18 at 8:59am
All good advice, so generally a good stable boat for two people is fairly heavy to manoever on the slip and hard standing by one. Watch sail area and make sure boat has sufficient additional boyancy, including a mast head bag, to help in any capsize issues.

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 05 Jan 18 at 10:00am
That probably sums it up nicely Smile I'd add that the buoyancy must be built in and that you can have a smaller suit of sails than the standard 'racing rig' (I used to use a suit of Firefly sails on an Enterprise for teachingg my sons).

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"
Supernova 395 "dolly the sheep"

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