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View Poll Results: Which of the two for singlehanded learning?
Laser 9 69.23%
Sunfish 4 30.77%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-04-2022, 06:51   #61
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

Sunfish is great because it will help you become sensitive to wind and direction but I would choose a boat with two sails and more lines and halyards
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Old 11-04-2022, 07:02   #62
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pirate Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

If your going for a Sunfish or Lazer you may as well buy a windsurfer.. you'll learn the same things.
If you want dinghy size with a lid and a keel get something like a Com Pac 16.
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Old 11-04-2022, 07:15   #63
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

Many years ago I was talking to a Olympic Gold Medalist in Stars about delivering his Tartan 10 (33’) back from Mackinaw Island to Chicago. I had sailed and raced for over 15 years. I had sailed the Chicago to Mackinaw race 7 times. He kept asking me if I could sail a boat. Out of frustration I said yes in fact he knew me from the local Penguin (11’) Frost Bite Fleet. He looked at me and then you do know how to sail!

Others have mentioned that dinghy sailing and bigger boat sailing aRe different. Yes they are. No question. But learning how to properly trim a sail and understand weather helm you will learn much quicker on a dinghy. I would suggest a more modern design so you can learn to trim sails like you will on a larger boat. An FJ or a 420 can be bought for the same money as a used Sunfish.
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Old 11-04-2022, 07:22   #64
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

The sail of a Sunfish places the center of effort far off the balance point of the hull and increases weather helm and downwind broaching / capsizing to frustrating, even dangerous frequencies. A Laser, or Banshee provides a much more enjoyable and safe experience. The Banshee's rounded sides and large hull interior is much more comfortable than the Laser too.


A boat with a small jib is an excellent choice if the budget and storage/transport option allow. Just make sure any boat you get is easily righted after a capsize. That's an important part of the experience, both for learning and for safety!


Have fun and stay safe!
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Old 11-04-2022, 07:59   #65
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

I have been racing sailboats for more than 75 years. Teaching sailing at a few Sea Scout bases plus other clubs. When it teach, sometimes they would not own a boat. And they would ask what should be my very first boat? My answer was always the same( buy a Sunfish, then next a Hobie 16) if you master them, and this will surely take time. And with maybe they most important thing to remember is time on the tiller. Because as good as you think I am at teaching, time on the tiller will always bring you home safe! With that info you will be able to sail and boat made!
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Old 11-04-2022, 08:05   #66
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

Just a suggestion, another good first boat for learning to sail is the Bluejay. A number of advantages over a Sunfish for Northern folks: It has a hard chine and good stability making it quite tolerant of those new to sailing mistakes. You can go sailing even when the water is colder and still stay relatively dry without having to purchase a dry suit. As you get better at sailing you can sail with main only as you learn to handle the boat in higher winds. Lastly, if you choose you can start out by sailing with someone with experience which will save you a lot of mistakes and accelerate your learning curve.
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Old 11-04-2022, 08:09   #67
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

Oh, hell yes! Any small boat is a good way to begin. Back in my youth, my girlfriend taught me to sail on her Alcort Sailfish. Her technique? Spend a couple of hours sailing together, stop for lunch, and when we were getting ready to go back out, she “failed” to jump on board, pushed me out, and told me to figure out how to get back. It was a small lake with a lot of wind. I dumped the boat over a few times, which she found most entertaining while watching from up on a bluff. By the time I got the hang of it, she had a small audience all watching from the bluff as I got pushed further and further across the lake. I could hear the cheering when I finally got the hang of tacking into the wind. It was a big moment when I finally beached the boat at the bottom of the bluff. Today, I’m sailing a 53 foot Amel ketch. When the weather is miserable and I’m wondering what I am doing out there, I still blame my former girlfriend! 😁
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Old 11-04-2022, 09:01   #68
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

For me, anything under 25 feet counts as a small boat. A Rhodes 19 is a great boat... I was lucky enough to sail as crew on the Santa Cruz 70, Merlin, the 20 year Transpac record holder with about 20 other sailing instructors. Four others and myself would get up, fix a problem and get back to our place on the rail before everyone else noticed there was a problem. After several times of doing this, I quizzed my four mates on their backgrounds: we were all dinghy sailers at one time, me as an adult. Two American greats, Paul Cayard, and Morgan Larson both learned to sail on dinghies on Lake Merritt in Oakland California. One of the best sailers I know personally learned on a Sunfish.
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Old 11-04-2022, 10:09   #69
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

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Originally Posted by lo2jones View Post
Two American greats, Paul Cayard, and Morgan Larson both learned to sail on dinghies on Lake Merritt in Oakland California. One of the best sailers I know personally learned on a Sunfish.
Hey I learned on Lake Merritt too!... but it was on a Sabot...

I'd just repeat my own two cents, don't choose a boat with a jib to learn on.
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Old 11-04-2022, 10:16   #70
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

My own El Toro, Hobie 16s, Capri 15s are just a few of the boats I’ve sailed on Lake Merritt. A favorite birthday memory: Friends and I all rented Hobie Holders on Lake Merritt. We would sail around casually until someone shouted, “The last one to that buoy has to, bla, bla, bla!” And off everyone would go, sailing like lunatics to get the the buoy first.
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Old 11-04-2022, 10:29   #71
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

Laser II $1,000

https://norfolk.craigslist.org/boa/d...466817821.html
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Old 11-04-2022, 10:32   #72
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

I would recommend a boat with a jib as well as a main sail. Just having a main to tack you just pretty much have to duck when turning. Having a jib will get you used to using the jib to pull you around and handling the lines.

Besides my 50ft boat I have a little boat that is a Lido 14 but it works better in lakes as it is not a self bailer. Another good boat that is a self bailer (better for the ocean) would be a Coronado 15.

https://www.google.com/search?q=is+t...hQw_NIKfMKUJAM
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Old 11-04-2022, 11:01   #73
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

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Originally Posted by garyfdl View Post
I'm going to go against the prevailing 'wisdom' and say "don't buy a sunfish... or any other boat".


Instead? Take lessons. Here's why:
  • You will learn the right way to do things.
  • You will learn the 'language' of sailing
  • You will get to use their boat, which (hopefully) will be properly maintained - meaning you wont be shelling out for parts etc that fail or are worn out.
  • If you decide you don't like it, you won't have to unload the boat (probably at a loss).

Sailing is great! But it's not for everybody. Better to learn to do it correctly, right from the start, rather than by trial and error. That way you're less likely to get frustrated and quit.
^ I'm going to go ahead and underwrite this opinion right here. Where I sail, there's an ASA school that will teach in a week an absolute beginner to sail in an ocean port on a 27' sloop-rigged daysailer, which is far better instruction of "the ropes" if your goal is to someday sail unsettled waters.

Anyone can learn to sail a Soling 27 in a week. If you can sail a Soling 27, you can learn to sail a J-27 (or equivalent), once you learn the attendant systems. If you can sail a J-27, you can learn to sail any 30-foot cruiser, once you learn the attendant systems. If you can sail a 30-foot cruiser, you can learn to sail the boat of your dreams.

Other sloop-rigged boats I've seen at various schools/clubs that prepare one for the bigger boats: Rhodes 19, Sonar 23, Flying Scot 19, J 22, O'Day 19...

Of course, with the right mind-set, in sailing, you can't go wrong.

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Old 12-04-2022, 06:46   #74
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

The small sailboats can teach you about wind direction and positioning of sails. But I think that is a slow process to get where you want, i.e. on your 30' yacht. I would recommend joining a local sailing club and offering to crew for someone. Most of the clubs have beer can races, short courses that are fun. You can learn a heck of alot about sailing from racing.
Then buy a small swing keel that can be trailered like a Catalina 22. That will teach how to maintain a boat. Go from there.
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:02   #75
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Re: A Sunfish to teach myself the ropes???

The crux of the argument is this: the smaller the boat the quicker it responds to wind, sail trim and steering. When you do something wrong, you might go swimming (in a dinghy,) but when you do things right the boat responds quickly, thus you learn what you are doing right. Anything less than 25 will do, but there is an old saying: Dinghy sailers are the best! A 14 ft boat in 20 knots of breeze is like handling a 40 ft boat in 35 knots.
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