Recommendations for sailboat for novice sailors

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Recommendations for sailboat for novice sailors

Post by Phakumani » Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:05 am


I’m looking for advice and recommendations for a good plan or kit to construct a sailboat for a novice crew.

My 10yo daughter went to sailing camp last summer and had a blast. It was a skills based camp that eventually leads to racing and ASA certification. They used what appeared to be small dinghies that were considered pretty stable and relatively easy to right if capsized. We had been planning on her attending again this year, but with limited class sizes due to coronavirus she has been waitlisted for every session.

Since my wife and I would also like to learn to sail, we thought this may be an opportunity for our family to do something together. The crux of this whole plan is that, other than my daughters experience, none of us have sailing experience. Our sailing will be on smaller reservoirs so the it will be predominantly flat water with minimal waves (although motorboat wakes could be present). While I know the best way to get started is from someone who knows how to sail, given coronavirus precautions we will be teaching ourselves.

From an experience perspective I have small watercraft (including watercraft safety) experience with canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, and outboard powered skiffs. From a woodworking perspective directly related to boats, I have built a strip built kayak and have helped repair wooden rowing shells.

I’m looking for something that will handle 2 adults and 2 children but can easily be managed with a crew of 2 or even solo. It should be stable but be manageable to right if capsized. Speed is not a performance factor. Ideally, it should be easy to transport (our only capable vehicle is a Honda Odyssey mini-van with a towing capacity of 3000-3500 and without a hitch at this point), and light enough to easily get into and out of the water. I’d prefer a quicker build but do not want a disposable boat either. Something we could be proud to give away or sell when we upgrade to something else (like a daysailer). Cost is also a factor.

I have considered used boats, although I still need recommendations, but from what I’ve seen many or most in the sub $2k price range look like they need quite a bit of work. I also like the idea of building a boat together with my daughter since we will have so much time together for the foreseeable future. However, I would consider a used boat if the price/condition was right.

What do you all think? I’d appreciate any and all suggestions.


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