Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

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Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Judith Morris 2052
 - perfect for us that is.  We're planning to buy a new dinghy (new to us, or possibly actually brand new) but after fairly extensive searching we can't find any class/type of dinghy that fits our list of "must haves".  Before we decide where to compromise we're hoping we have missed the perfect answer - or that someone can persuade us that our list of must haves is wrong.

No. 1 requirement is (sadly) that it must be a "washing up bowl" - GRP or similar.  Experience has taught us that we do not get round to maintaining wood.

Ideal length is probably about 12 feet.  We have had a beautiful Leader (14 feet) dinghy for 20 years - ok for my husband to sail and launch/recover single-handed, but too big for me.  (We may have to compromise on length I suspect, because I doubt if even 12 foot would be ok for me alone.)  There seems to be a distinct shortage of 12 foot dinghies.  A Mirror, say, would be too short - we had one for a while.

Spars must stow inside the boat when towing.  This (together with the desirability of GRP) is really the make or break point, and the reason the Leader doesn't work for us any longer.  We want to pull the dinghy with a VW campervan.  With a Bermudan rig (as with the Leader) the mast up on a mast prop reaches ridiculously high if it is to clear the top of the van.  

We want a decent beam:  we are both early sixties and have a standard quota of currently only very slightly dodgy hips and knees, but they will only get dodgier with time.  So we want enough room to move about easily.

We want a kindly boat that will be forgiving of how rusty we are.  We both sailed quite a bit for ten years after learning in our early forties, but family problems mean we haven't sailed at all for the last ten years.  

Any suggestions of types of dinghy that would get somewhere near this specification would be very gratefully received!  

Judith Morris  DCA 2052

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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Alastair Law 2624
"There is no dinghy that is too heavy to launch single-handed, only
inadequate trailers."

I started collecting my State Pension some time ago and take little
exercise, but I regularly launch a boat, with a displacement of
nearly three quarters of a ton, single-handed, without problem.



On 23 Jan 2017 at 10:19, Judith Morris 2052 [via DCA Forum] wrote:

>
>
>  - perfect for us that is.  We're planning to buy a new dinghy (new to
>  us, or
> possibly actually brand new) but after fairly extensive searching we
> can't find any class/type of dinghy that fits our list of "must
> haves".  Before we decide where to compromise we're hoping we have
> missed the perfect answer - or that someone can persuade us that our
> list of must haves is wrong.
>
> No. 1 requirement is (sadly) that it must be a "washing up bowl" - GRP
> or similar.  Experience has taught us that we do not get round to
> maintaining wood.
>
> Ideal length is probably about 12 feet.  We have had a beautiful
> Leader (14 feet) dinghy for 20 years - ok for my husband to sail and
> launch/recover single-handed, but too big for me.  (We may have to
> compromise on length I suspect, because I doubt if even 12 foot would
> be ok for me alone.)  There seems to be a distinct shortage of 12 foot
> dinghies.  A Mirror, say, would be too short - we had one for a while.
>
> Spars must stow inside the boat when towing.  This (together with the
> desirability of GRP) is really the make or break point, and the reason
> the Leader doesn't work for us any longer.  We want to pull the dinghy
> with a VW campervan.  With a Bermudan rig (as with the Leader) the
> mast up on a mast prop reaches ridiculously high if it is to clear the
> top of the van.  
>
> We want a decent beam:  we are both early sixties and have a standard
> quota of currently only very slightly dodgy hips and knees, but they
> will only get dodgier with time.  So we want enough room to move about
> easily.
>
> We want a kindly boat that will be forgiving of how rusty we are.  We
> both sailed quite a bit for ten years after learning in our early
> forties, but family problems mean we haven't sailed at all for the
> last ten years.  
>
> Any suggestions of types of dinghy that would get somewhere near this
> specification would be very gratefully received!  
>
> Judith Morris  DCA 2052
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> discussion below:
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> Q5ODc5MQ==

--
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.

Alastair Law
Yeovil, England.
<http://www.little.jim.freeuk.com>


--
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.

Alastair Law
Yeovil, England.
<http://www.little.jim.freeuk.com>
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

John Lidstone 1503
In reply to this post by Judith Morris 2052
How about a tall mast prop at the transom too? Then the mast would only be a little higher than the van. Others have towed burmudans with vans - there must be a way!
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Roger Barnes 936
In reply to this post by Judith Morris 2052
I would have said 12ft is a bit short for 2 people. But you could look at plastic Tideways, which are 12 ft long and have a gunter rig.


On 23 Jan 2017, at 18:19, Judith Morris 2052 [via DCA Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

 - perfect for us that is.  We're planning to buy a new dinghy (new to us, or possibly actually brand new) but after fairly extensive searching we can't find any class/type of dinghy that fits our list of "must haves".  Before we decide where to compromise we're hoping we have missed the perfect answer - or that someone can persuade us that our list of must haves is wrong.

No. 1 requirement is (sadly) that it must be a "washing up bowl" - GRP or similar.  Experience has taught us that we do not get round to maintaining wood.

Ideal length is probably about 12 feet.  We have had a beautiful Leader (14 feet) dinghy for 20 years - ok for my husband to sail and launch/recover single-handed, but too big for me.  (We may have to compromise on length I suspect, because I doubt if even 12 foot would be ok for me alone.)  There seems to be a distinct shortage of 12 foot dinghies.  A Mirror, say, would be too short - we had one for a while.

Spars must stow inside the boat when towing.  This (together with the desirability of GRP) is really the make or break point, and the reason the Leader doesn't work for us any longer.  We want to pull the dinghy with a VW campervan.  With a Bermudan rig (as with the Leader) the mast up on a mast prop reaches ridiculously high if it is to clear the top of the van.  

We want a decent beam:  we are both early sixties and have a standard quota of currently only very slightly dodgy hips and knees, but they will only get dodgier with time.  So we want enough room to move about easily.

We want a kindly boat that will be forgiving of how rusty we are.  We both sailed quite a bit for ten years after learning in our early forties, but family problems mean we haven't sailed at all for the last ten years.  

Any suggestions of types of dinghy that would get somewhere near this specification would be very gratefully received!  

Judith Morris  DCA 2052




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Roger Barnes
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RE: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Graham Neil 2971
In reply to this post by Alastair Law 2624

Of course single-handed in your case Al means Vehicle Assisted.

Not so handy if you want to launch off a convenient beach.  

 

Reading Judith’s post she appears to want to sail on her own so a 12ft boat would be perfectly adequate, some would say even a tad on the big side if its heavy GRP.  A nice lightweight epoxy ply boat would require little in the way of maintenance and do the trick nicely.

 

Just sayin’

Regards Graham.

 

From: Alastair Law 2624 [via DCA Forum] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 23 January 2017 20:20
To: Graham Neil 2971
Subject: Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

 

"There is no dinghy that is too heavy to launch single-handed, only
inadequate trailers."

I started collecting my State Pension some time ago and take little
exercise, but I regularly launch a boat, with a displacement of
nearly three quarters of a ton, single-handed, without problem.



On 23 Jan 2017 at 10:19, Judith Morris 2052 [via DCA Forum] wrote:


>
>
>  - perfect for us that is.  We're planning to buy a new dinghy (new to
>  us, or
> possibly actually brand new) but after fairly extensive searching we
> can't find any class/type of dinghy that fits our list of "must
> haves".  Before we decide where to compromise we're hoping we have
> missed the perfect answer - or that someone can persuade us that our
> list of must haves is wrong.
>
> No. 1 requirement is (sadly) that it must be a "washing up bowl" - GRP
> or similar.  Experience has taught us that we do not get round to
> maintaining wood.
>
> Ideal length is probably about 12 feet.  We have had a beautiful
> Leader (14 feet) dinghy for 20 years - ok for my husband to sail and
> launch/recover single-handed, but too big for me.  (We may have to
> compromise on length I suspect, because I doubt if even 12 foot would
> be ok for me alone.)  There seems to be a distinct shortage of 12 foot
> dinghies.  A Mirror, say, would be too short - we had one for a while.
>
> Spars must stow inside the boat when towing.  This (together with the
> desirability of GRP) is really the make or break point, and the reason
> the Leader doesn't work for us any longer.  We want to pull the dinghy
> with a VW campervan.  With a Bermudan rig (as with the Leader) the
> mast up on a mast prop reaches ridiculously high if it is to clear the
> top of the van.  
>
> We want a decent beam:  we are both early sixties and have a standard
> quota of currently only very slightly dodgy hips and knees, but they
> will only get dodgier with time.  So we want enough room to move about
> easily.
>
> We want a kindly boat that will be forgiving of how rusty we are.  We
> both sailed quite a bit for ten years after learning in our early
> forties, but family problems mean we haven't sailed at all for the
> last ten years.  
>
> Any suggestions of types of dinghy that would get somewhere near this
> specification would be very gratefully received!  
>
> Judith Morris  DCA 2052
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the
> discussion below:
> http://forum.dinghycruising.org.uk/Any-suggestions-for-the-perfect-din
> ghy-tp672.html To start a new topic under Dinghies for Cruising:
> choosing, acquiring & using, email [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from DCA Forum, visit
> http://forum.dinghycruising.org.uk/template/NamlServlet.jtp?macro=unsu
> bscribe_by_code&node=1&code=UGFyYWRveEBhczZqZy5mcmVldWsuY29tfDF8MTk3Mz
> Q5ODc5MQ==

--
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.

Alastair Law
Yeovil, England.
<http://www.little.jim.freeuk.com>

--
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.

Alastair Law
Yeovil, England.
<http://www.little.jim.freeuk.com>

 


If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:

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RE: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Steve Shone 3398
Graham makes a good point, Judith. If you're going to use the campervan to launch and recover, it does open up your choices somewhat. I use my T5 to launch/recover my 1.3 tonne Cape Cutter single handed without difficulty, albeit always via a decent slipway.
An elderly member of my club who sails a hefty Hawk 20 recovers his using an electric winch mounted on the trailer for an effort free recovery.
In addition to Roger's excellent suggestion of the Tideway boat, a Drascombe Scaffie is a very capable little boat and simple to sail with it's single lugsail and easy to rig. It also has a large clear cockpit so would be ideal for camping. For a bit more string to play with then the Lune Pilot (another 'bilge keeler') is a pretty little boat too. There are two at the sailing club on Kielder and their owners are very complementary about their safe handling and stability. In fact I do have my eye on one of them that was rumoured to be coming up for sale in the near future. Can you ever have too many boats?
I'm a great believer in having spars that stow inside the boat since owning my first Graduate dinghy of many years ago. It makes them much easier to store at home (unless you have a spare field of course) and with an overall cover the weather is kept out between trips. I'm also a convert to boats without a centreboard casing - the space in my recently acquired Lune Whammel, which is ridiculously easy to get on and off the trailer, is phenomenal compared to the Drascombe we had previously.
Like Graham says, if you want to launch off a beach or without vehicle assistance then a much lighter boat will be needed.
I would recommend having a read of Roger Barnes' book - he's probably too shy to mention it  The Dinghy Cruising Companion' for some first class information and advice on choosing a boat.

Good luck. Steve

As a PS. If you are concerned about reversing the campervan with a trailer attached - the view of a small trailer isn't fantastic through the mirrors, until it's gone too far  (the odd curvature of the nearside one particular is strange), and the small overhang at the back of the van tends to make the trailers response seem somewhat slower at first before it takes on a life of its own until you get used to it, there is an option. I fitted mine with a front mounted towbar from Watling Engineering. Manoeuvring the boat with one of these is a breeze in even the tightest of spaces. They are an excellent company to deal with and offer a fitting service if its required, though if you live too far away, any local garage would be able to do it for you.
http://www.watling-towbars.co.uk/front_towbars.html

Steve and Eileen - ex-Dabber sailors, almost ex-Cape Cutter 19 sailors, now Lune Whammel Coastal Weekender sailors. Based in East Yorkshire and looking forward to some DCA rallies.
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Judith Morris 2052
In reply to this post by Judith Morris 2052
Many thanks indeed to everyone who has given comments with usual DCA generosity!  We have quite a bit to be thinking over there, and more options than I had realised.  I'll be getting a copy of Roger Barnes' book, and have already started looking at the net about the specific boats suggested.  You have all also made me accept that we can't have everything, but at least I'm much clearer now about making the choices between the trade offs that have to be made!  

In digging around on the net following up suggestions, I came across this

http://www.noblemarine.co.uk/boats/dinghy/Drascombe-Scaffie/ 

and thought might be useful to any others looking into possible boats.  It's Noble Marines' database intended to help you compare different classes of boat for insurance purposes, but it gives a rather fascinating variant on "If you liked that, then you might like this ...".   Obviously they have compiled it from an insurance point of view, but I can confirm it is easy to spend a lot of time clicking around thinking "I wonder how X and Y compare ..."

Thank you all, and I'll let you know how we fare.

Judith  
JPH
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

JPH
Smacks boats 12', Grp, trad rig, roomy for the size.  

 I think it may tick your boxes !. ;-)  Cheers. J
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Elizabeth Baker
In reply to this post by Judith Morris 2052
I sail a Cormorant and love it. She's grp, 12 6" but very beamy and stable (5' 8"), and will easily take four for a day-sail. Lovely and roomy for camping single-handed, a bit conjested but possible for camping with two as the floorboards will raise to create a roomy double-bed. She is cat rigged with a high-peaked gaff sail and is brilliant to windward. I sail single-handed most of the time and find her very easy to handle. I'm in my 70s and have had her for 20 years. There is a newer version now available which has shrouds and a jib and a slightly different cockpit lay-out, but the original Cormorant, like mine, is no longer available other than 2nd-hand.

She's heavy, but apart from Cobnor, where there is an electric capstan, I use the car and a long rope to recover the boat, and sometimes to launch too. The mast is hefty, but just about fits inside the hull for stowing. It's free-standing so no shrouds to worry about, and I stand on the foredeck to raise and lower it through a hole in the deck. You would need a jockey wheel for the launching trolley to prevent it digging into the ground if hauling up by rope from car or capstan.

PS:  GRP no longer means the boat has to look like a washing-up bowl; there are loads of very attractive
       grp boats about, the Cormorant (from Cornish Crabbers) being one of them.



Liz Baker
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Judith Morris 2052
Thank you Liz for your addition to a set of comments I am finding incredibly useful!  I have admired and coveted your Cormorant through the pictures of it in the DCA magazine for all your 20 years of ownership and for my 20 plus years of readership.  I'd looked into getting one in the early days but had concluded it was well out of my price range.  It was then, but now it doesn't seem to compare at all unfavourably with other possibilities.  I'd also assumed that anything that looked so nice must be wood, and so hadn't really pursued it as part of this round of dinghy acquisition.  Shows how wrong you can be.

Since we'll mostly sail with two of us the fact that the new Cormorant has been changed to add a jib is positively welcome (one sail each!), and I love the idea of a bowsprit on such a small boat.  

Top of our list at the moment are this and the Tideway, but investigation into all the possibilities mentioned continues.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us on our search.

Judith
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Alan Stancombe 3253
Judith
You might like to look at Character boats Lytham Pilot or Lune Pilot as it used to be known. I was going to sell mine but I can't bring myself to part with it. You can get them from 2-3K.
Alan
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Judith Morris 2052
Alan, thank you very much for this suggestion - I've had a look on line and they look like very attractive boats that tick a lot of our boxes. Lovely to have the extra space of no centreboard case, but do you find that having a bilge keel instead of a centreboard affects how well they sail to windward?  After some digging I've found that there's some suggestion in discussions on other forums on the net that because of no centreboard they tend to slip sideways, despite the bilge keel, and can get stuck when going about in light airs unless you back the jib.  I don't think we really mind if that is the case - we aren't after high-performance sailing, but better to know that sort of thing before rather than after purchase.

After the very helpful advice we have had on the DCA Forum our current top three contenders are the Tideway (Essex), the Cormorant (Cornwall), and the Lytham Pilot (Lancashire).  Perhaps someone could suggest something in the far north east, so that we have all points of the compass covered ... this summer will see some lengthy trips away in the campervan that will eventually tow the dinghy once purchased!

Judith
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Alan Stancombe 3253
Hi Judith
I am happy to be corrected but I'm not sure that any of the Character Boats built have centre boards. These boats were modelled on the Pilot boats that used to go out from the Lune Estuary. I am no expert but I have not noticed much slippage. Certainly I learned to back the jib but that is a doddle. If you want expert advice talk to the folks at Glenridding Sailing Centre on Ullswater. They have dozens of them and really know what they are talking about.
Some people put sandbags in the bottom for stability but I don't know of a lune pilot that has capsized, again someone will put me right on this. These boats are really stable. I don't know where you are but I would be delighted for you to come and see mine in Leyburn N.Yorks.
Some people have a removable thwart so that they can sleep in them.
I must say I have always admired Tideways. I do think the Character Boats are practically indestructible.
I wish you good luck with whatever you choose.
Alan
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Judith Morris 2052
Thank you Alan - this is very helpful and these sound very attractive boats indeed in a number of ways.  I've also been to the Lune Pilot website ( https://thelunepilot.com ) you mention on another thread on the DCA Forum and found that full of stuff to digest.  Thank you too for the kind offer to have a look at yours - we're in the extreme south east of England, so could hardly be further if we tried!  But this is tempting me to think about planning a visit to the Glenridding Sailing Centre and the Lake District, so there could yet be a trip north this year.

Judith
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Roger Barnes 936
The Deben Lugger is also worth a look.

R


On 29 Mar 2017, at 12:17, Judith Morris 2052 [via DCA Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Thank you Alan - this is very helpful and these sound very attractive boats indeed in a number of ways.  I've also been to the Lune Pilot website ( https://thelunepilot.com ) you mention on another thread on the DCA Forum and found that full of stuff to digest.  Thank you too for the kind offer to have a look at yours - we're in the extreme south east of England, so could hardly be further if we tried!  But this is tempting me to think about planning a visit to the Glenridding Sailing Centre and the Lake District, so there could yet be a trip north this year.

Judith


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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Alan Stancombe 3253
In reply to this post by Judith Morris 2052
Judith
Yes hire one for the day. Not only will you enjoy the sail but you will see the most beautiful scenery. Funnily enough I was born in Kent but it is not quite the same as the Yorkshire Dales!
Alan
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Roger Barnes 936
In reply to this post by Judith Morris 2052
And the 12ft Smack‚Äôs Boat. You will have to google for photos though, as the boat builder does not seem to care for them: http://www.briankennellboatbuilders.co.uk/12ft-smacks-boat/

On 29 Mar 2017, at 12:39, Roger Barnes <[hidden email]> wrote:

The Deben Lugger is also worth a look.

R


On 29 Mar 2017, at 12:17, Judith Morris 2052 [via DCA Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Thank you Alan - this is very helpful and these sound very attractive boats indeed in a number of ways.  I've also been to the Lune Pilot website ( https://thelunepilot.com ) you mention on another thread on the DCA Forum and found that full of stuff to digest.  Thank you too for the kind offer to have a look at yours - we're in the extreme south east of England, so could hardly be further if we tried!  But this is tempting me to think about planning a visit to the Glenridding Sailing Centre and the Lake District, so there could yet be a trip north this year.

Judith


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Roger Barnes
President
Dinghy Cruising Association

president@dinghycruising.org.uk
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

John Button 3320
In reply to this post by Alan Stancombe 3253
Word of caution- anything with bilge keels that are deep enough to have any effect on leeway  is a pain to launch /recover from a trailer because of the increase in draught over a centreboard boat and need to float the boat precisely onto the trailer.  If it's only got shallow bilge keels, then you're going to spend a lot of time motoring or rowing.

And if you sail in shallow water bilge keels really do make getting off after you go aground difficult.

I will now duck behind the parapet.

JohnB
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Tom Hart 2280
In reply to this post by Roger Barnes 936
Photos of Brian Kennell's smack boat are located in the Gallery of his website.
Tom. Wayfarer and Michalak Twixt. Solent.
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Re: Any suggestions for the "perfect" dinghy?

Steve Shone 3398
In reply to this post by John Button 3320
How's the view from behind the sandbags, John
I can speak only from my experience with my Lune Whammel so far - but the bilge keels are there mainly to keep the boat more upright when taking the ground. The full length keel is by far the lowest point of the boat and I would suspect that the smaller Lunes are similar. I've also found that the whammel is by a long chalk the easiest boat Ive had to launch and recover using the excellent Character Boats trailer so I honestly don't believe that a 'word of caution' is at all relevant.
On a personal note, I would gladly accept any such imagined trade off, even if it did exist, to have a boat with a huge open cockpit. I doubt whether I would willingly go back to having a centreboard casing taking up space again  
If the Lune Pilot sailors of the past had been unable to do their job quickly and relatively safely in days of yore, I'm sure any inefficiencies in the design would have died out long ago.

Steve
Steve and Eileen - ex-Dabber sailors, almost ex-Cape Cutter 19 sailors, now Lune Whammel Coastal Weekender sailors. Based in East Yorkshire and looking forward to some DCA rallies.
12