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Old 30-06-2013, 22:06   #1
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Looking at a starter boat

I have absolutely no sailing experience and someone on this forum gave me the suggestion of buying an inexpensive small sailboat like a sunfish off of craigslist and going out on the water and figuring it out myself. I found a sailboat I'm interested in and am going tomorrow to take a look at it. Is there any advice you can give my on what to ask when I go look at it? I just don't want to get stuck with something that wont suit my purposes, which is to get the basics down on how to make the thing go in the water.

Here's the link to the craigslist ad:

Sail Boat 15.5 foot Fast

Thanks.

-Sam
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:52   #2
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

If that doesn't work out for you, you might have a look at the Mirage trimaran models by Hobie. Imagine a kayak with a sail and (removable) amas fitted to either side. Learn to sail, and end up with what looks to be a decent kaya afterwards

-Chris
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:59   #3
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

Doesn't look too bad. If the guy is asking $800 I'm sure you could buy the thing for 600-700 bucks... If you decide you don't like sailing you're only out that money...

I would imagine the pickings are a bit slim in Vegas for sailboats?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:10   #4
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

Two reservations come to mind. The first is that "fast" in a small day sailor often equals "less stable", although that is not always the case. If you're just learning to sail it's helpful to do so in a more stable, forgiving boat. In general, the beamier the boat, the more stable it is going to be. Also, boats with a single sail, such as the Sunfish, are easier for beginning sailors to master because there is only one sail to manage.

The other concern is that this is not a well-known model of boat, which means that parts may be hard to come by and when you move on to something new it might be more difficult to sell. It does, however, look like a fair amount of well kept boat for $800, although it's hard to tell from just one picture. You could probably start out by sailing her with the main sail only which would make her less tender (likely to heel over) and more manageable.

If you are just starting you should consider looking for a boat with one sail. A Sunfish is a good suggestion simply because they are easily transportable, easy to set up, easy to sail, and a whole lot of fun. If it capsizes, you just stand on the centerboard and pop it right back up. I grew up sailing one, and it's predecessor, the Sailfish and have super fond memories of it. It is however a "wet" warm water boat. You wear a swimsuit if the wind or water is up at all. You're in Las Vegas...is this a boat you'll be taking out only on a lake?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:22   #5
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

Other option is to go find a sailing club and see what boats they have in their weekly races. Find out if anyone needs crew (everyone does!) and have a few sails. Then buy a boat of the same class and go race against them


Nevada Yacht Club -Lake Mead Sailing Club - Hobie Fleet 51 (Las Vegas, NV) - Meetup

Theres a whole heap of sailong clubs! Theres gotta be one right for you. How do they have so much sailing in the middle of the desert?????????????????????????????
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:25   #6
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

Sam, I think it is the perfect boat to learn to sail. Sounds like it has a jib so you can learn to tack it. Lazers and sunfish are a little tippier. I taught myself to sail on Lido 14's and bought myself a catalina 14 as a first boat. You really learn sail trim better than people that jump right into larger boats. Your Fast 15 sounds a little lighter than what I learned on but you'll learn to get it back upright. The sailing is a bit gusty there but at least the water's warm!
I've been thru a few boats and am currently sailing a 65' schooner around the world with wife and young daughter.
Go for it!!! Price sounds good and should be towable by small car. See if he'll take you out once and show how to launch and set it up. Good luck.

Cheers, Greg
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:53   #7
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonlv View Post
I have absolutely no sailing experience and someone on this forum gave me the suggestion of buying an inexpensive small sailboat like a sunfish off of craigslist and going out on the water and figuring it out myself. I found a sailboat I'm interested in and am going tomorrow to take a look at it. Is there any advice you can give my on what to ask when I go look at it? I just don't want to get stuck with something that wont suit my purposes, which is to get the basics down on how to make the thing go in the water.

Here's the link to the craigslist ad:

Sail Boat 15.5 foot Fast

Thanks.

-Sam

My *personal bias* is to buy something that doesn't have to be so carefully handled in order to stay upright and out of the water.

If you get something just a little bigger, you can still tow it (make sure someone experienced with trailing sailboats looks at the rigging and how the mast is raised so that part doesn't send you to a padded room, though!) ... and which has a little cabin.

It is soooo much fun to be able to take your boat out overnight, even if all you do is anchor out and eat the picnic supper you packed.

I think people are better off learning the basics on a slightly larger boat and *then* mastering the Sunfish types afterwards. When you have the basics down already, you'll spend more time flying across the water (some of those little boats can really scoot along!) ... and less time trying to right them and get back on.

I speak from personal experience. After two days in a Sunfish class (not teaching myself, mind you) I was bruised from hips to shoulders from getting back on the blasted thing. Then I bought a 25' sailboat (don't need to go that big) and the thing taught me as much as any class or person did -- without pitching me in the water if I blew it. It had a little cabin, and an outboard motor, and I was able to do much more with it.

Opinions will vary, and there's no right or wrong with opinions. That just happens to be based on my experience from about 6 years ago.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:34   #8
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The reason I was looking at this one is that it should accommodate me & my 15 year old son so that both of us can learn at the same time. Otherwise we'd be looking at a sunfish. There's one on craigslist in town as well.

http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/boa/3866624526.html

I really want a sailing dinghy I saw (forgot the name, hampton bay or walker bay or something bay) that is rigid with an inflatable tube around it. I figure that wouldnt be tippy. But that is more expensive & I haven't seen any listed locally.

We're about an hour drive from lake mead, so that's where we would be doing our learning. I don't think that at this price point (which is at the outer edge of my budget right now) that I'll get someone willing to drive out & show it to me on the water.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:00   #9
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In my situation (location & budget) you get what's available that meets your needs. This 15.5 footer is available & looks like it will meet my needs. What I really want to know: are there any questions I should be asking the seller, and things I should be looking at on the boat when I go?

I want something big enough to accommodate bo me & my 15 year old son so that we both can learn at the same time.

There is a sunfish someone is selling, but not big enough.

http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/boa/3866624526.html

What I really want is a walker boy breeze with the inflatable ring. That wouldn't be tippy, but none are for sale around here.

We live about an hours drive from lake mead. That's where we would be learning.

-Sam
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:01   #10
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Re: Looking at a starter boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonlv View Post
In my situation (location & budget) you get what's available that meets your needs. This 15.5 footer is available & looks like it will meet my needs. What I really want to know: are there any questions I should be asking the seller, and things I should be looking at on the boat when I go?

-Sam

Can you take someone with you who knows sailboats?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:08   #11
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Don't know anybody with any sailboat knowledge that can come with.
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Old 02-07-2013, 14:20   #12
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Don't know anybody with any sailboat knowledge that can come with.
Inspect the hull closely and the union of the mast and vessel. The sail and rigging attachments will be fair wear and tear items. The rudder attachment system, although repairable, may be beyond you comfort zone. Just" Get er done.!"

I started recently on a used Wind Rider 16. It's the little things that make up our sailor confessions. :-)
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