Sunfish, Laser, or Force 5?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by roger l, May 15, 2009.

  1. roger l

    roger l New Member

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    I am trying to decide between a Sunfish, Laser, or Force 5. I currently have a Catalina 14.2 that I love to sail but the family is not interested in sailing. The Catalina is to much for me to sail by myself. I am trying to sell the Catalina and when I sell it I want to get a smaller boat. I like the ease of rigging the the Sunfish has but I am a little worried that I will be unhappy with its performance. The Laser looks like fun but I am worried that it might not be stable enough for me. I am not interested in racing. I have read many good things about the Force 5. It looks to be a very stable boat. I am interested in your comments. For the record I am 48 years old 6' tall and weigh 168 pounds.

    Thanks
    Roger L
     
  2. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    This message was originally posted by Roger L here but it deserves its own thread.
     
  3. Webfoot

    Webfoot New Member

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    Here's the relative performance. . .

    http://www.ussailing.org/portsmouth/tables08/tables08cb.asp

    Only way to really know for sure is to beg, borrow or steal you're way onto each of the boats and sail them for yourself. If you're not happy with one of the boats, I don't think you would have a bit of trouble selling it in short order. Force 5 seems to span the gap between Sunfish and Laser.
     
  4. roger l

    roger l New Member

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    Webfoot thanks for the reply.I looked at the link that you attached and I do not understand what it is telling me.:( I have not raced and I do not know what the handicap is telling me. It looks like very good information to compare boat to boat. Could someone please explain.

    Thanks
    Roger L
     
  5. Mike Fortner

    Mike Fortner New Member

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    I am primarily a racer and own both a Sunfish and a Force 5. I am 45 and weigh 190. If you want to race, I think the biggest factor is making sure that you have the same boat as everyone else in your club/organization. It is no fun to have the only ...(fill in the blank).. on the water if you want to race. The only single hand boat at my club is the Sunfish. That is the main reason I race that boat.

    If you want to pleasure sail, having the same boat as everyone else around is also beneficial if you eventually want to sell the boat. Probably related to the problem with the Catalina 14.2. No use buying something that no one else has an interest in or wants.

    If you strictly want to choose among the Sunfish, Force 5 or Laser, it depends on what you want to do. You are probably a good size for the Sunfish and will enjoy the performance of the boat, especially if you have racing daggerboard. It is lighter than the Laser and Force 5 and would be easier when it comes to launching.

    I purchased my Force 5 because I find it easier to take people out sailing on it and I can also solo sail it. It is also the boat that is raced by a group at a cottage my in-laws own and will be easy to sell there if the time comes. The Sunfish is more difficult to take another person sailing than the Force 5. The Force 5 can also be a lot of fun in a breeze and is comfortable to sail. I have only sailed a Laser a few times so I am really not qualified to comment.

    Mike Fortner
    Rochester Canoe Club
     
  6. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Roger: Here are two prior threads that relate to the topic:

    http://www.sunfishforum.com/showthread.php?t=28533

    http://www.sunfishforum.com/showthread.php?t=28312


    If you find your Catalina 14.2 a bit much to handle by yourself, I predict that you will face a learning curve on a Force 5 because it has a good bit of sail. Whereas a Force 5 is more stable than a Laser, I wouldn't call it 'very stable'.

    What kind of sailing do you intend to do? Assuming you will be sailing in Ohio, what are the (average) conditions out there? Nuking, like on SF Bay, or more like Long Island Sound in the summer? Also relevant is whether you like to interact with other sailors. In that case, having a boat like them is a definite plus.

    PS: Regarding the handicap numbers, lower is faster. Or in other words, a full-rig Laser (Portsmouth number = 91) is about 10% faster than an up-to-date Sunfish (Portsmouth number = 100; under average conditions). But since you don't intend to race in mixed fleets, this is pretty irrelevant.

     
  7. roger l

    roger l New Member

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    Thank you for all of the good information. I am looking for a boat for recreational sailing only. I typically sail on small inland lakes. I would typically sail in 15 MPH or less winds. Above 15 MPH was a little to much for me and the Catalina. I am looking for a small boat that would be easy to rig and sail by myself.

    Thanks
    Roger L
     
  8. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    Based on the above, you should get a Sunfish. Above 15 and a Laser can become a handful, especially downwind, unless you spend a lot of time learning to handle it. I think an F5 may be similar. You will be happy in a Sunfish in almost any conditions above 5 kts or so. BB
     
  9. jbushkey

    jbushkey New Member

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    parts for the force 5 seem to be tough to come by. I saw a force 5 for sale cheap but when I started googling for parts almost nothing came up. I did not see any listings of any force 5 stuff on ebay.

    If I am wrong and someone has good sources for used parts and new parts please post them. This was based on 20 minutes of research. I decided not to go see that force 5 because I like my parts easy to find and inexpensive.
     
  10. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Have you tried the builder or a dealer? Or did you just want to shop for used parts.
    Remember too, there's a little bit of difference in the quantity built between Sunfish and Force 5.

    Force 5® Sailboats Manufactured by Weeks Yacht Yard
    http://www.force5sailboats.com/products.htm

    Bosun Supplies
    http://www.bosunsupplies.com/ProductForce5.cfm


    . . . for a boat?? :rolleyes:
     
  11. jbushkey

    jbushkey New Member

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    LOL I guess I got spoiled with my first 2 sunfish. One I cleaned up, made a few dollars on, and kept a homemade dolly that lets me to take it to a pond a couple blocks from my dads house. The second I got the hull for free, rounded up some inexpensive parts, and for a few hundred dollars and some elbow grease I am going to have (need to finish that project if I can get the boat to where I moving, no place to work where I am right now) a sunfish to enjoy on the weekends.

    I dont think that force 5 is for me. They are asking $250 without a sail and it has some functional but rough patchwork. I realize in some ways it may be better than a sunfish, but I am still new and probably wouldn't know the difference anyway.

    I guess I am just keeping my eyes open for that next deal where I can clean and fix up a boat and make a little spending cash. Definately possible where my dad lives near the beach. Might not be as good where I am moving 1.5 hours inland even though there are lakes and ponds.
     

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