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The ubiquitous what 1st dinghy question.

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Kev M View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 9:58pm
Apologies for asking what is probably the most hated question on the forum but I'm looking for some advice from outside of my club.

I'm after a single handed dinghy, I'm 6ft1, 15st 10, sail on a reservoir in the midlands and my budget is around 1300, less is preferable, might push to 1500 for the right boat.

I've only been sailing for six months, 420s and a Laser mostly and although I don't know what I do want, I do know that I don't want a Laser.  Despite all of the well meaning advice and encouragement from the club I can't help feeling there are less awkward, less painful ways to spend my weekends and still have fun.

I'm a big boy (read: fat knacker) and I'm forever getting caught on the boom when swapping sides, I'm sure this is a technique issue I will overcome with lots of practice but frankly I'd rather concentrate on more important fundamental techniques than working around a boat I'm not built for.  I also find it cramped, uncomfortable when hiking and looking to the future even if I had the money for a brand new Laser I'm still never going to beat the lighter helms at my club of which there are plenty.

I'm sure there is the right boat out there for me, maybe there are even two or three, the tricky part is finding one in my price range.

I love watching the Contenders at our club but realise they're going to be far too tricky for a newb.  Someone at the club said to skip the Laser and go straight for a Phantom because I'm big enough.  The problem is the Phantoms in my budget are all wood.  The maintenance puts me off along with whatever horrors might be lurking under that fresh coat of paint the seller has given it.  RS600s are just within budget but I've written them off for the same reason as the Contender.

There are two boats that have caught my eye.

1) Laser EPS.  I know all the reasons why I shouldn't, extinct model, small CA, bad PY (like the complete opposite of a bandit), tricky getting spares (with the exception of masts and sails), nobody else at the club to directly compare myself against.  But.....

It looks like it has the extra space and boom height I'm looking for,, it looks like I can sit on the edge rather than hang over the side of it and it has extra sail area over a Laser 1 for those light days where I'm just a fat bloke bobbing around going nowhere and for my level of money they're a hell of a lot of boat compared to a standard Laser.

2) The Blaze, I can't really see any negatives to these, I've been watching youtube vids and they look like great fun.  There was one on Apolloduck which was well within my price range, the only problem was it was in the wrong part of the country.  Now my problem is I can't see any that aren't 1000 or more over my price range anywhere.  So either that one was mis-priced and I need to write the idea off or I'm going to have to wait a very long time to see another one.

So, for my money have I discovered all there is and found my own conclusion or is there a dinghy that has been sitting under my nose that I've missed?

T.I.A.
Kev


Edited by Kev M - 06 Dec 11 at 11:32am
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GarethT View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GarethT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 10:16pm
Have you looked at the OK? I know the boom looks low, but the cockpit is deep and there is plenty of headroom.
 
There are a fair number in the midlands.
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rb_stretch View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rb_stretch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 10:21pm
At your weight and size it's got to be a Phantom.

The Blaze has a variant called the Halo, which is designed for heavyweight but I reckon it will definitely be over budget.

All boats are compromises and a woody phantom is as close as you are going to get to a perfectly matched boat.
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Vronny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vronny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 10:26pm
How about a Supernova? Would that suit Kev's size? There are several for sale for under 2000 on Apolloduck.
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G.R.F. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 10:33pm
Didn't say how big the reservoir was, I'd recommend the Blaze, speaking as someone who's first boat was a tad OTT to learn in. I don't think in the early stages the Halo rig would do you much good anyway. The boat is a good weight carrier, but it's rocker drags a bit in light flukey wind, but it's what makes it quick when the breeze gets up a bit. 
If you're heavy (the guy that bought my old Blaze weighs a fair bit) the rack things don't have to go out as far, which makes getting from side to side quicker.
It's great boat, quite stable (won't fall over if you let it go)and a bit sportier than all that wooden dross which is to be avoided like the plague.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ruscoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 10:34pm
There are a few boats you could buy within your budget.

1. You will get a blaze albeit an older model and i don't think you need the Halo rig for a while if at all.
2. Not everyone's cup of tea but a Vareo, will offer you maintenance free cheap sailing, there is one for sale on appolloduck for 1500 and new sails ATM.
3. GRP Phantom, you will need to stretch to about 2k and even then the boat is well off the pace of the newer epoxy models
4. Wooden Phantom, lightly built for a big boat and will need winter maintenance.

If i were in your shoes i would buy either the blaze or the Vareo, you will get all sorts of people giving you advice about how poor it is up wind, but simply pond for pound it offers the best value for you budget and size.

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G.R.F. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 10:40pm
Yep +1 on the supernova, another fair boat, not quite as sporty as a Blaze, but probably better if the water is more secluded and not quite as breezy as big open water.
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rogue View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 11:12pm
Supernova... No question

Odd suggestion on the Vareo Russy...? Much as I'd love more singlehanded asymmetrica out there, a lot of the local clubs infrastructure really doesn't support it. Maybe saddling yourself with an uncompetitive kite boat is not the best move a newbie???

Edited by rogue - 05 Dec 11 at 11:16pm
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NickM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote NickM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 11 at 11:35pm
Worth considering also if you want to race in a fleet at your club (what do they have?) or rely on uneven PY racing.  Do you eventually plan to find a good open meeting circuit?  Solos (there, I said it!) are pretty ubiquitous and you are probably about as heavy as the national champion. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Late starter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 11 at 8:29am
As I'm roughly the same size and weight as the OP I've sailed many of the classes that are mentioned. Phantoms at that sort of budget won't be remotely competitive. Unless you want to race for fun leave well alone. Blaze - definitely should be on your shortlist, though try one before you buy as some people love them, others don't. Laser EPS - lots of boat for the money but from what I recall they don't take weight at all well. Lots of expensive bits to break too, and parts may be hard to come by.  Solo - you're at the top end of the weight range and at your budget you won't be in a competitive boat, though from what I've seen the performance gap between new and old boats isn't as extreme as with, say, the Phantoms.  However, as others have said there are plenty of Solos to sail against if that's what you are after. Supernova -  haven't sailed one so can't comment but if I was changing class I'd have a close look at one as they now seem to be real value. Surprised that no one has suggested the Rooster 8.1 rig, as this is aimed at people who've outgrown their Lasers. Upsides is low cost, down side is you're still sat in a Laser !
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