I just bought a lake front cottage, and would like to get a sailboat. I
have sailed a few times before in 14' and 16' hobies and a sunfish.
I want something that is easy to handle, unlikely to capsize,
and durable cheap. (my priorities are in that order). I don't care how
fast it is, or how pretty. Used would be best. I have $1000 in mind,
but would go up to $2000 if necessary.
What suggestions do you have; both specific models and general
I'd consider a small "one person" boat like the Sunfish or Laser.
The Sunfish in more stable/practical, the Laser is faster & more fun,
(in my opinion).
The big advantage to a Sunfish is that it will cost you about half
what a Laser will. Used Sunfish often go from 500 to 800 dollars
around here. Sail a Sunfish for a year or two and you'll get a
better idea about what you like and don't like, (and learn a LOT
about sailing). There are lots of folk who think that learning on a
little boat teaches you sailing better, or at least faster than a
bigger boat. If you sell it a couple years later you'll probably
get back what you bought it for (used).
The basic issue, since you mentioned stability as a high priority
is that you either should get a boat little enough to easily right
if she does capsize, or get a boat with ballast if you're really
unwilling to go swimming. If you want ballast, look at the boats
that Larry Brown describes in "Sailing on a Micro-budget" and
other books. The Compact, Precision, Capri, Catalina or even an
old Venture may work for you in a 16 to 22 foot length. This sort
of boat will give you ballast, (suitable for inland lakes, etc.)
and room below, so you can drop an anchor and go below in a storm,
but will be much more work to sail with just one person. (Maybe
not an issue?)
If you do go with a "micro-cruiser" think about putting down a
mooring. You can use an old canoe or jon boat as a dinghy.
If you're interested in sailing with more than one person,
the micro-cruiser looks better, but also consider just getting
a couple or 3 Sunfish. (I currently have two Lasers).
I've had great luck putting a Wanted To Buy ad in my local newspaper's
sailboat section, every weekend for a month. This will often let you
see a boat or two a week, and not costing you while you're looking
and negeotiating, (midweek).