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Which dinghy for sailing with a child?

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Jon Meadowcroft View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jon Meadowcroft Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 6:38am
Needs to be a boat with a pretty small jib so child can cope with it.
We sailed a National 12, the key benefit being it moves nicely in light winds so everyone is interested.
If it does get windy the jib remains small.
Small children do not need the complication of a kite and you donít need the frustration of having one and not using it.
A key factor is how big you are.  There is a substantial difference between a 90 kg adult sailing with a small child and a 70 kg adult doing the same.
You seem to know the options!  Take it easy.


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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 7:13am
My kids grew up in Firefly and Mirror, but I'm 5 foot 5. The Mirror went to my brother in law, but he found it simply too small. As someone with experience of sailing singlehanded with a giant kite, sailing the 200 with a small child has proved pretty easy for him. Personally, I'd stick with the slow boats, but the OP sounds more used to "modern" boats and I'm sure the child will love the ride if the usual care is taken.

Picnics better in a Mirror, though!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 7:49am
So:

Our kids loved trimming the assym kite from age 4.

You can sail a Tasar with a 5 year old, but itís hard work.

You can mitigate jib size if 2:1 sheeting is allowed/works.

We sailed and raced a 2000 with our two from ages 4 and 6. Iím your weight.

Theyíve now made the step to the back of the boat and are winning races at Opens.

Couldnít recommend the 2000 more for your purposes.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GybeFunny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 8:29am
I got a Mirror for this purpose but there are no others at the club and we get left behind in every race (unfortunately explaining handicapping to a 6 year old is hard) despite using the spinnaker (with flyaway pole). I suggest you look at what else is sailed at your club by people in a similar position, my club has lots of Graduates so I expect I will get one of them in a year or so when we get more into the racing side of things.
If its a small pond I would avoid assyms as they need more space, its a shame as a 2000 would tick all the other boxes for me.


Edited by GybeFunny - 15 Sep 20 at 8:33am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Iain C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 8:57am
Some good suggestions there, thanks.  GybeFunny, small pond...oh, about 3000 acres so we should be good!

A Mirror is tempting, I had one as a kid myself (11973 Miss Piggy) but that gunter rig is a bit of a faff, I'm 5'11" and I think it might just be a bit small.  If I went for something slightly bigger then the other half could come out too, she's 5'9" so with all three of us I just think it would bee too much of a squeeze.  Probably worth mentioning she has been dinghy sailing twice only in her life, both times with me, and I might not have told her that a 2.5 mile downwind blast in the Fireball on the wire with the kite up with a peak speed of 14.6kts is not the normal way to learn, but she's obviously a very fast learner!

A 200 or 2000 would be very nice, but out of budget.  An Enterprise doesn't look like a bad shout...simple is best initially I guess, I certainly have enough bits kicking around to convert to a centre main with no outlay, and I think the "benches" might give him a feeling of security if we have a "I don't like it" moment.

I'm not too worried about the singlehanding side of things...I bought one of the earlier Teras (blue hull, yellow foils, not an RS version) for £100 whilst he was still a baby, so he can get into that as soon as he is able.

Some good suggestions...thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote andy h Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 9:45am
We started with a Mirror when my son was nearly 3 then moved up to a National 12 when he was nearly 8.  Looking back on it the 12 was probably too wobbly and extreme.  Whilst it kept me entertained, was not a reassuring ride for him while he was learning.  A Graduate might have been a better bet for us.  All children are different so it might come down to what's right for him rather than any "default" answer that this forum can offer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote andy h Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 9:45am
I do miss that 12 though!
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Iain C View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Iain C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 10:08am
What about a GP14?  Or is that jib (code zero????) a bit big for small people?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 10:44am
This National 12 is probably perfect for you, given your current experience you mentioned in your first post:

https://www.national12.org/adverts/index.php?page=item&id=1757
3513, 3551 - National 12
136069 - Laser
32541 - Mirror
4501 - Laser 4000
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 20 at 11:26am
Originally posted by Iain C

What about a GP14?  Or is that jib (code zero????) a bit big for small people?

Does anybody sail a GP with the small jib these days? The genoa introduced in the '70s is pretty huge.

WRT the Ent, as far as I can tell from the class rules, you can sheet off the boom skiff style which would give the best of both worlds. With the mainsheet led from forward so you can tack/gybe facing forward to keep an eye on the nipper during transitions but there is nothing going from boom to CB case in the middle of the cockpit to get in the way of you can siting further forward for better trim (with 90kg helm and a 20kg crew you'll want the helm well forward much of the time).
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