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Sailboat Recommendation for a Smallish Lake in the Berkshires of Mass


New Member
Hey there.. I’m new here and this is my first post. I hope to get some advice on purchasing a sailboat.

Here is the info:
  • We live on a condo on a smallish lake in the Berkshires of Mass (its about 500 Acres).
  • We have access to a dock, so it will be hitched to the dock and floating during the warm months, so we don't need to worry about "launching" or "trailering" it. It will just be tied-up (moored?) to a dock for the season.
  • We plan to have it delivered/removed and stored by a local marina for us each season, so don't need to worry about it being "car toppable" or a "Trailer".
  • We are in our mid-50s, and although we are fit, I would prefer something with enough room that we can "sit in" without having to duck the boom or scramble across the deck, so that eliminates anything too small or with a flat deck such as a catamaran.
  • I will be sailing it by myself probably 50% of the time, my wife will probably join me another 25% of the time, and our kids (and their kids) will be up and visit and want to take it out another 25% of the time.
  • So, I want something that I can sail "singlehanded" by myself, but also has enough room for two full-sized adults or two adults and a kid or two (maybe sail it without the Jib so they can sit in front?).
  • I want something quick/simple to rig and easy to break-down and just leave "floating" and tied to the dock. If I get the urge to sail, I don't want to have to spend 45 minutes rigging it up and then another 45 minutes breaking it down.
  • I sailed a bit when I was younger (primarily smaller boats such as Sunfish, Sailfish, and Hoby Cats), but I also have been sailing with an Uncle on a much larger boat (30 foot Capt Dory?) so I know the "basics", but am definitely still a "novice".
  • Now that I am located on a lake, I want to get back into sailing and will maybe want something with the option of a Mainsail and an "optional" Jib (which will also give the second person something to do).
  • I want something that will be "fun" to sail (no slow "tubs") but isn't crazy/tricky to sail, and would be unlikely to Turtle unless I really push things.
  • I want something that if it turtles, won't "full turtle" (floats on the mast) and can be easily righted by one person
  • I want something I can "learn and grow with". Can start "simple" and then add more sails/complexity as I gain skills.
  • Would be fine to get something "used" but will get "new" if I need to. Would like to spend in the $3K to $5K range, but maybe would go a bit "higher" for the "right boat".
Here are some of the boats I have been looking at online, but I am open to any/all suggestions as well as any comments/experience on these boats:
  • RS Sailing's Neo (although I think it only has a mainsail), Zest (has mainsail and a jib option, but not sure about that ugly yellow color), and Quest boats. The Neo and Zest may fit the bill, although may be a bit "tight" on space. The "Quest" looks bigger, but may actually be a bit too big and expensive for me and not sure if it is something I can 'singlehand' and have fun with by myself on a windy day. And would worry about turtling a boat that size and righting it by myself.
  • Catalina Expo 12.5 (although I believe only has a mainsail with no option for a jib and may be a bit too small for two adults?) and the Catalina Capri 14.2 (but that looks like it may get pricey and not sure if it hits the "fun factor" for sailing by myself.. I want to go out and have some fun when I want to).
  • Hartley 12 (this one looks pretty good all around, and looks like it has a "jib" package).
  • Topper Topaz, Mango, and Argo (these all look very nice, but just read about these and still need to learn more about the differences between them.

Any other comments on any of the above, or any other suggestions/recommendations that would be a good "fit" for us?



Gray Young

New Member
Hi neighbor!
With first-hand experience with sailing a Capri 14.2 on Norwich Lake (if you know where that is, it is a quite small lake) I can say that it definitely fits your description of what you are looking for. I don't have a ton of experience with different boats but I have had two adults and two kids quite comfortably on the Capri.
I have also sailed solo on Hampton Ponds in the spring before it gets busy and I have found it very easy to handle alone.
With a roller furling jib, if the wind picks up, the jib is secured with a quick pull and the Capri is simple to handle on the main alone.
Any mast float will alleviate the turtle concerns and truthfully I have found the boat to be stable enough for me to be very comfortable going solo and I don't have a lifetime of sailing experience.

The guy I bought mine from sailed it for years on Pontoosic and raved to me about how much fun it was for years.

If you have the opportunity to leave it rigged and just sail from a dock, I would think it would be even better.

I have read that the keel boat version of the 14.2 is even more stable so you might want to check one of those out as well.

Then again, if I was searching for the "right boat" I would absolutely try to acquire a 14.2 Expo, just to keep it simple and just have fun.