Fireball replacement?

Discussion in 'Sailing Talk' started by GTR-Dad, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. GTR-Dad

    GTR-Dad New Member

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    I grew up sailing a home-built wooden Fireball with my dad in the 70's and have now taught my children to sail in it over the last 10 years or so. We now tend to go hard and have the most fun in wind that's driven most others off the lake.
    The problem relates to my desire to preserve the old boat, but still enjoy the rush of the boat planing and humming with spray shooting out from midship back. It just doesn't feel right to work the Fireball this hard, an opinion backed up with a couple of repair experiences.
    I'd like to find a boat that's at least as fast the Fireball, and wouldn't mind something that would let me access the speed and thrill at lower wind speeds. Preference is for monohull, probably for no rational reason, but I love beating cats at local 'run what you brung' races. (Can't beat 'em all, but enjoy trying.)
    RS800 and 49er are under consideration. Feedback will be appreciated, particularly from those who've sailed them, regarding skill requirements compared to the Fireball.
     
  2. monkey_feet

    monkey_feet Arlington, TX

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    Look at the scow, they are great fun! the Inland 20, M-16, MC, C Scow, E Scow and the Mighty A Scow. You can check out ILYA.org that has links to the various classes.
     
  3. GTR-Dad

    GTR-Dad New Member

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    Thanks for the note. The M-16 and the MC look very close to the mark!
     
  4. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    Have you considered a 29er? Very affordable, high performance, top level competition if you go that direction, though youth oriented for youth sizes.
     
  5. GTR-Dad

    GTR-Dad New Member

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    I've looked at it, but was put off a bit by the 'youth' focus and thought it might not be a very good family boat. Would there be room for an adult and, say, two 12 yr olds?
    I've read some opions that the 49er is difficult to sail. Whether it is or not, I'm curious to know if the the 29er would be easier to handle or similar.
     
  6. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I wouldn't characterize the 29er as a family boat. I mentioned it because you commented that you were considering he 49er and RS800, which are quite athletic boats for an adult and two twelve year olds.

    The 29er started life as a trainer for aspiring 49er sailors, since the 49er is definitely not an entry level boat (how's that for understatement). The 29er is intentionally easier. The 29er does have youth appeal as it is best with lighter teen crew. The twelve year olds would probably really, really get into this in a year or two. In a couple of years it would be within their abilities to sail alone and even race.

    For the boats you are considering you need some level of athleticism and balance, but in the 29er the skipper at least gets to sit. We used to joke that the crew position was the catapult, since the teenaged girl tethered to the trapeze would get some pretty impressivive launches in capsizes.

    Watch some video of all three, especially tacks and jibes. Keeping the boats relatively flat and not tripping on their wings in maneuvers is key.

    I have a 29er in my garage that hasn't been sailed in some time and I'm getting some pressure to finally divest (I've been accurately accused, like John McCain with houses, of not being able to put a number to how many sailboats I currently own) and in checking current pricing I saw that resale is modest, especially compared to the boats you are considering - or most anything.

    If you can test-sail, or guest-sail, the boats you are considering, that might really shed some light.
     
  7. GTR-Dad

    GTR-Dad New Member

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    Thanks for a most helpful reply.
    My reference 'Family boat' might be a bit misleading. We currently enjoy the Fireball most when it's on the step and humming. There are times when I can only fill the back half of the main sail. It's a boat I can manage in a pretty decent wind with a fairly young crew, and I don't want to give too much on the 'ease of use' front. This is the only boat I've ever sailed, so my frame of reference is limited. (BTW, I have a car problem that's a bit like your boat situation. Remember, if you know how many sailboats you have, you really don't have very many.)
    Ideally, I'd like to find a boat that is at least as fast as the Fireball, and not too much harder to sail. As it is, we get out in some pretty crazy wind - which is rare compared to more moderate days - and I'd enjoy a boat that flies on moderately crazy days, rather than just the really crazy.
     
  8. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    Don't forget that Portsmouth ratings can aslo be convenient for quick comparisons of relative performance, just for a ballpark idea:

    http://offshore.ussailing.org/Portsmouth_Yardstick/Current_Tables/Centerboard_Classes.htm

    Fireball: 85.6
    49er: 68.2
    RS800: 77.0
    29er: 84.5
    MC: 87.8
    M-16: 89.3
     

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