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Boat For The Grandkids

Jun 25, 2004
939
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Yes, Laser Picos are tough, fun little boats. One local sailing club on San Francisco Bay has a fleet of them that are 15 years old or more, and they're all still in good shape. They fit 2 people.

After seeing how indestructible they were, I got one for my kid and his friends. We used to keep it up on the lake. The kids had a zillion adventures without me. They are fun to sail and they point decently well.

The jibs are so small they are silly. You con't need a jib. It points just as well without the jib.
 
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Oct 19, 2017
6,317
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Between the ages of 10 to 14, I sailed my Opti all over Clearwater Bay without any help or supervision. I explored deserted spoil islands, sailed miles North to Huricane Pass, down to fish under the Clearwater Bridge to Indian Rocks Beach, even once to Clearwater Bay Marineways.
I felt a lot of independence as the captain of my pram.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Dec 1, 1999
2,388
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
I learned to sail (as an adult) on a Snipe. I think it’s too much boat for a youngster to learn on. As others suggested, a small keel boat (Typhoon, Sea Sprite, Ensign/Electra, etc.) is a far better choice. But these boats tend to be pricey for their size. Everything is a trade off in boating....
 
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Sep 20, 2014
1,136
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
Let me give you some advice, kids do not like slow unresponsive boats. My kids hated sailing when I had a very slow 15 footer. I upgraded to an RL24, which is a much faster, more responsive boat. Totally changed the kids attitude for sailing. They went from hating it, to really enjoying it. So my advice is to shop for a boat with a Portsmouth rating of 84 or lower. You starting getting above that, and the boat will be too slow to be fun. If you want a dingy, I would got for something like a Thistle. Its fast and well designed. If you want something bigger, look at a Holder 20. It has a tiny cabin, good seating, and is a well designed responsive boat. Of course the RL 24 is a great choice if you want something with a cabin, but still is light and fast. There is enough space for them to be out on the bow in their own little space. Bring along a small towable inflatable, so on hot days you can drag them along in the water. My kids also liked having a line tied to their life jackets, and being towed through the water.
 
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Jun 25, 2004
939
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
RS Zest's and Feva's are popular dinghies used at sailing clubs for teaching jr sailors.
 
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Jun 25, 2004
939
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Oh, by the way, I recommend that you get a boat that's FUN to capsize. The kids will learn faster.

And it all depends upon where you are going to sail. I'd recommend sheltered waters where the wind is usually under 8-10 knots. Then any small, lightweight fast dinghy will be a blast.
 
Jun 25, 2004
939
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Between the ages of 10 to 14, I sailed my Opti all over Clearwater Bay without any help or supervision. I explored deserted spoil islands, sailed miles North to Huricane Pass, down to fish under the Clearwater Bridge to Indian Rocks Beach, even once to Clearwater Bay Marineways.
I felt a lot of independence as the captain of my pram.

-Will (Dragonfly)
:plus:
 
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Oct 19, 2017
6,317
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
That looks like a real blast.

However, if you buy something like that for your grand kids, how will they ever be happy sailing with you on your boat?
"Thanks for the invite, Grampa, but your boat's too slow."

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,344
Hunter 216 Kingston
That looks like a real blast.

However, if you buy something like that for your grand kids, how will they ever be happy sailing with you on your boat?
"Thanks for the invite, Grampa, but your boat's too slow."

-Will (Dragonfly)
OH! I misread the title of this thread. I thought it was “boats for Grandparent’s. I would love one of these and I’m a grandpa.
You never know maybe the grandparents own an AC45!
 
Sep 20, 2014
1,136
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
As much fun as that looks, its also a ton of work to stay balanced at all times. No time to relax. I'd much prefer a design like a Tri-foiler, which is self regulating. I also noticed when its not on the foils, it does not sail up wind at all. He had all kinds of trouble getting it initially oriented.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,417
Starwind 27 Barnegat, NJ
If your choices are limited to the list you provided, I say the Laser hands down. Your 14 year-old will already be done with an Opti as soon as she/he figures it out (real soon). A 10 - 12 year old is in the target age group but will soon be done with it. The Opti is good for a yacht club fleet where there is a continuous supply of 10 year-olds moving into the fleet.

The Sunfish is good for girls and boys to hang out on and do a lot of flirting, which is what they should be doing when they are that age! The Laser is made for sailing and by the time the kids are 14 they are ready for it. I wouldn't worry about it not being a "family" dinghy. Chances are, one kid can't get enough of it, 2 others won't be so interested. When I grew up on a small lake, I sailed solo as much as I could on a boat with 2 sails. My brother and sister, not so much, but we sailed together as well. When you want to fit it a small boat, it works out very easily.

I was capsizing the boat and sailing away as soon as it was up again because it was self-bailing as soon as it was moving. I could easily right it alone when I was 14. I learned how to handle 2 sails single-handed very easily. Way too many adults worry way too much about what their kids can handle in my opinion. Without any formal instruction, I think it is amazing what kids figure out completely on their own. Imagination is a wonderful thing! We had a Ghost 13 for our second sailboat. When I was about 12 we had another small sailboat, but when it capsized, we had to drag it to shore to get it back upright and bailed out. My dad got tired of that real soon.
https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/ghost-13
This is what I sailed from age 14 until I left for college. I bought a Hobie 16 when I got back.
https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/sea-scouter
This is what we had when I was younger. It was a PIA because I sailed it always on the threat of capsize, which it would do. Then my dad would have to chase me down and drag the boat back to shore so I could bail it out and do it again.
My granddad had some Japanese business guests out to the lake one day and a few wanted to sail it. They capsized and the mast and sail slid out from the slot (very bad design, it was unsecured). It settled in the mud on the bottom 40' below and we had divers out to try to find it. They were from the local volunteer rescue squad but they quit early because the water was too dark and cold 40' down. They quickly came back to shore and tapped a keg for a long party, which is what they really came for.
My dad bought the Ghost the next season because my mom insisted that we must have a sailboat because we had a "lake cottage". My dad was interested in farming and had less interest in the lake. He bought the Ghost because it was advertised as self-bailing and easily-righted after capsizing. That meant he wouldn't be tied down being the rescue boat for the "kids". Mom gave up sailing because she couldn't keep the boat upright. Dad wasn't very good at choosing sailboats. That's when it became almost exclusively "my" boat. It was perfect. It was fun taking girls out sailing and capsizing the boat.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,344
Hunter 216 Kingston
As much fun as that looks, its also a ton of work to stay balanced at all times. No time to relax. I'd much prefer a design like a Tri-foiler, which is self regulating. I also noticed when its not on the foils, it does not sail up wind at all. He had all kinds of trouble getting it initially oriented.
I don’t want to :hijack: but .....

I would agree that the Hobie tri-foiler is likely a much more “comfortable” ride but also much more complicated so not likely kid friendly, the UFO might be complicated as well but it doesn’t look so in the videos.

I don’t quite see what you mean by not sailing up wind at all as he tacked out of the harbour to get in water deep enough to drop the foil??

The fact that it constantly needs adjusting is the value to a younger sailor. Settling into a groove gets boring when your 14.

I suggested this as an option as there is a real “trend” happening with foiling that is getting more accessible to the mainstream each year, accepted in the Olympics etc.
 

Mikem

.
Dec 20, 2009
688
Hunter 466 Bremerton
Hmmm. Another heavier more “conservative “ boat would be a Lido 14.
 
May 25, 2012
2,882
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
from 7 to 9 i was being taught on a lightning, from 9 to 11 i was being groomed to helm a star, at 11 it was an alden, 38', US one design. at 14 i was allowed to captain the 38 footer and go sailing with friends. my great grandfather got his commercial schooner captains papers at 17. hauling stone and timber for his father on the lakes in the 1870's.
compare it to skiing. by 10 kids are banging the steep stuff. keeping then on the bunny hill or green lines only,......... NOT!
 
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May 25, 2012
2,882
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
but i'm 6'5", the little boats...... i just don't fit. and as they grow up they can start crewing on the Ascow for that high speed stuff.
 
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Sep 20, 2014
1,136
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
I don’t quite see what you mean by not sailing up wind at all as he tacked out of the harbor to get in water deep enough to drop the foil??
When he first tried to board the boat, it took a couple of tries as he kept getting blown back into shore because the boat wanted to get blown down wind before it would develop enough speed to steer. Once he did get going, his angle up wind was very shallow. Once the boat finally got on the foils, you notice he was able to turn up wind. I was comparing to my Hobie 14 days, which never seemed to have directional stability issues, and always wanted to take off.
 
Jan 1, 2006
4,754
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
This is the bane of off the beach sailing. Usually there is an onshore wind. You often have to some version of walking the boat out far enough, with the sail flogging and possibly hitting you on the head, until it's deep enough to get at least a little of the foils in the water. Then you try to jump aboard and sheet in and hope you can head upwind enough to get in deeper water, drop the foils the rest of the way, and get a few tacks in to gain distance from the beach. I have never done this without getting wet over my waist.