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Old 11-07-2009, 11:00   #1
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Recommend a Trainer Sailboat?

Hello -


I'm new here, hoping for some advice.

I'd like to get a "trainer" sailboat, something in the 14' - 17' range. I intend to have it for about a year, then stepping up to a cruising sailboat.

Any recommendations on either a specific boat, or characteristics to look for that would make a boat in that range a good trainer?


Thanks!
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:29   #2
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Monohulls - Rebel 16, Rhodes 19, Flying Junior 14, Lido 14, Capri 14, or whatever you find cheapest and easily trailerable. Make certain it is a sloop so you get used to handling a main and jib.
Catamaran - Prindle or Hobie 16.
Make certain whatever boat you get that it is in pretty good shape (take an experienced sailor with you to look) you don't want to be working on boats but sailing right?
Your area of sailing determines what boats are available to some extent. Check local marinas and clubs to see what they are sailing just to get an idea of what might be out there.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:47   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icewater View Post
I'd like to get a "trainer" sailboat, something in the 14' - 17' range.
Are those just arbitrary numbers you picked out, or is there a main reason for them.

Our first sailboat (our trainer) was a Tanzer 22. The reasons (looking back on it) that it worked so well for us were:
  1. priced where we could afford it
  2. was pretty much bullet proof (built like a tank)
  3. sailed well
  4. has a very active "user group"
  5. was big enough to go inside if we got caught in a rain storm
  6. virtually impossible to tip over (we have a friend who bought a 16 foot sailboat - two weeks in he tipped it, lost a sail and a bunch of other stuff and promptly sold it)
  7. we could actually do a weekend over-nighters in it
  8. gave us the start of a list of "things we wanted in a bigger boat"
I mention Tanzer 22 because that is what we had - there are lots and lots in that range that are good stable "training" boats.

Congratulations - you are embarking on an adventure that you can potentially enjoy the rest of your life!

Rik & Linda
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Irwin Citation 34
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Old 11-07-2009, 14:18   #4
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I think when first learning to sail it helps to start out on a a really small boat, preferably one without a keel. These types of boats tell you immediately when you are doing something wrong. Many many people have started out on keel boats and have done well for themselves. I just think starting out on a smaller keeless boat gives you a bit of an advantage though. I would not start out on a catamaran. Too much initial stability which is not good for getting feedback. Cats are also a little too difficult for beginners to tack.
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Old 11-07-2009, 14:26   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far

Quote:
Originally Posted by RikHall View Post
Are those just arbitrary numbers you picked out, or is there a main reason for them.
I'm on the Pardey plan, and they recommend starting with something under 20 feet. I've resisted the temptation for something larger that offers the advantages you mentioned, but my priority is small, simple, in the water cheap, and instructive!

Also, I'll be trailering this boat.
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Old 11-07-2009, 14:36   #6
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All good answers - I just wanted to make sure you knew what you wanted. Very valid answers.

Still - I continue to congratulate you on choosing this fantastic way to spend your time. In Canada we have a TV sitcom called "Corner Gas" and they end each 30 minute segment with:

"Time well wasted!"

Cheers

Rik
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Old 11-07-2009, 15:23   #7
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Flying Scot--17' GREAT boat---extremly stable and offers a spinnaker as well to learn. After your are done, you can sell it what you paid for it.
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Old 11-07-2009, 17:11   #8
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I second the Flying Scot. I have one that I'm teaching my wife and son to sail in. Check out the videos on their website, I've found it all to be true.
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Old 11-07-2009, 18:01   #9
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Under 20 ft., the Flying Scott is a good choice, or maybe a Rhodes 19.

Over 20 ft., a Sonar.

I'm not so sure it is a good idea to learn on really small boats, especially if you are an adult. I learned on Tech Dinghies and Lasers, and on boats that size you should be prepared to get soaked every time you go out.

A Sonar offers plenty of sailing fun without the cold shower.
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Old 11-07-2009, 20:21   #10
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I don't know a damn thing about sailing yet, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I happen to think a great trainer sailboat would be the same ones all of the training places use to train with Around here, they use what they call J22.

I can't speak for how good it is, etc... since I haven't yet taken the course, but I think the concept of looking to see what various training programs use will probably get you a few boats to consider.
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Old 11-07-2009, 21:32   #11
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driven,
You have an excellent point. I used to work for a sailing school where we would start people out on Cal 20's and then move them up to J-24's. It worked very well.
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Old 11-07-2009, 23:21   #12
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Ice, since you're planning to step up to a cruising sailboat within a year, I would consider spending some of the cost of that trainer boat on some good keelboat lessons. This will depend on the availability of a good sailing school in your area. I'm thinking that it isn't the boat that's going to teach you to sail - exposure to some experienced sailors and a variety of boats will help you decide what larger boat you want to buy. The lessons will also get you "up the ramp" quicker than trying to learn on your own.

That said, we owned an O'Day Daysailer for many years and really enjoyed it. It is a centerboard boat so it was easy to trailer and store, but it was beamy and quite stable. The older models (like our 1979 DS-II) had a cuddy cabin where our then-toddlers could take a nap. This is an advantage over the Flying Scot. Also the Daysailer is a bit better-sailing boat and there are more of them around so they're easier to find.

You may have so much fun trailer-sailing that you postpone the purchase of that larger and more expensive cruiser. One couple sail-camped a Daysailer up the coast of Newfoundland - it was written up in Sail Magazine some years ago.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:29   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Local to me, there are available a Flying Scot for $2600 and a One Design Lightning for $900. Any opinions which might be the better "value"? I'll be trailering this boat for about a year, and then buying up to ~30 footer next season (or the one following at the latest).
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Old 10-08-2009, 23:34   #14
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ok, but i disagree, buy the boat you love to look at, be on and then learn to sail it but do your research first demo sail it , pick it apart, and buy once. things happen slower in bigger boats, less scary for some, sure its a jump and many will say im daft... but i had a sunfish one summer as a lad and we have a Shannon 43 ketch. nothing in between. the principles are the same, but if you know you love to do it then just do it. Walter at Shannon thought we were nuts, but we love it, lived on her for 5 yrs, went 1/3 of the way to hawaii , got becalmed, bored ,came home.
we did 186 made good the first 24 out of the gate on the back of a front and never had the main up..
so, thats what we did. i guess its my nature... i bought a tailwheel airplane and then learned to fly it because i knew i wanted to. as the lat Vince Lombardi said, sort of, its determination and desire.
GO FOr IT. its not a dress rehersal.
all the best
david
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:13   #15
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The best way of learning how to sail is more complex than buy the first boat now and step up to a 30' yacht a year later. There's also many ways of "knowing how to sail" like enough for a Sunday out on the water with a group renting a couple of open boats on one end and racing or blue water passaging on the other end.

My recommendation is to first take a couple of beginners lessons in an open keelboat, where the instructor sits next to you. Here, you learn the terms, rigging, knots, basic sailtrim, steering etc. Next step (not waiting too long for this) is a small open centerboard dinghy (which I would buy), like a Laser or Sunfish. Here you learn about balance, "feeling" the wind and sailtrim, like the boat is part of you, upwind tacking, gybing and most mistakes are "punished" immediately with you in the water. This is important because keel boats allow you to get away with mistakes and once you settle into them it's hard to correct them later and they will work against you for the rest of your life even in the biggest yachts.

When you are able to sail a Laser in 15-20 knots on all wind angles and do all maneuvers without major disasters, you are ready for every other boat, apart from motoring, docking etc. If you have a 1st mate, I would step up to a sloop rigged centerboard dinghy before buying the 30' boat. And my favorite for that is a 420/470 or best, a Flying Dutchman (okay, because I am Dutch ;-) Now, you learn how to be a team while sailing, and you just must have the experience of flying away in one of those with spinnaker set, 1st mate in the trapeze and the high pitched sound caused by pure speed of water over the centerboard- and rudder-tips! That would also be the day where sailing becomes a necessity for the rest of your life!

cheers,
Nick.
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