New Sailor Question

Thread starter #1
Hello everyone,

At the tender age of 45, I have decided to fulfill my lifelong dream of learning to sail. After reading every book I can find on sailing, I'm signed up for a few lessons in dinghy sailing.

I would like to buy a dinghy, and I would like your advice on which to buy: I want something that can hold me (6'0 and 240) and my lady friend who is 5'6 130. Not really interested in going super fast; just something that we can have fun on and that can be easily transported.

I have no problem with buying used, except for the fact that here in Seattle, the used dinghy market seems non-existent.

I have been lurking this forum for months and I've really enjoyed it and have learned a lot.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.



Upside down?
Staff member
Many possibilities. It appears that the Capri (see the Capri 14 forum on this site) may be suitable. Can be sailed single and double-handed, I gather.
I just bought my first sailboat at the tender age of 67 lol. There is no rule for when you start. You are right - not much available in your area for a used smaller sailboat. Here is a link for used boats 14' to 18' in California - not an impossible drive from Washington. Play with the site. You can search any size and location here.
California sailboats for sale by owner.

I live on the border of SC/NC but drove to VA to get this one. Will never regret a long drive for a great deal.
1985 Catalina Capri 14.2 sailboat for sale in Virginia
RENT a few different boats... taking an experienced person with you.
It may pay off to join a local sailing club that owns some boats and go through their training and qualification programs on a few boats to learn what you like to sail the most.

You may find that something simple and small, like a Sunfish is all you need. Good cheap fun.

You may find that you want something more substantial...

Its probably best to stay with something that can be kept on a trailer, so you don't have to pay for dock space at least until you have found you are hauling the boat to the lake more than a couple of times a week and the launching + stepping the mast is getting annoying.

I see WAY too many boats parked in slips at the local marina that haven't moved in over 15 years and similarly a lot of boats parked in people's back yards.

Make sure you really will use it before dropping a few thousand on buying a lawn ornament.
If you're lady friend is new to the water as well, ensure your boat fits her needs. It is too easy for couples to argue over boats and sailing. So with that said, I would make sure whatever you end up buying is comfortable and suitable for your lady friend. This was my mistake purchasing kayaks, instead of a little dingy, for my Catalina. Gotta cater to the other's needs! Good luck