Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ask the Tillerman #273 - Can You Suggest a Good Single-hander for SUER?

Readers, I need your help.

I received this question via email this week from a lady Laser sailor we will call SUER. She wants suggestions for a single-handed boat to replace her Laser...

I'm 70, and I can't get around my Laser in the allotted time anymore. Getting to the other side of the boat when tacking, in some wind, is difficult on a knee that doesn't bend well. Also just general flexibility is not as good as ten years ago. So where I sit is important. Changing of my weight can't depend on my springing up and shifting to the other side.  
I'm a lake sailor.  
I love to go fast, heel and bring water in the boat.  
The Sunfish is a lovely boat, but it doesn't have enough deck space for lots of heeling and hiking out. 
Any suggestions for an easy rigging replacement boat? Just to explain what I mean by "easy rigging."  I rig my Laser at start of summer, it stays on a mooring. I step the mast once from the dock. It stays up. I wrap the sail around the mast after a sail, bungie it and leave it. 
It must be a single hander, but a little less frisky than a Laser would be prudent.

I really don't know what to suggest for SUER.

My immediate reaction of course, given my current obsession with the RS Aero, was to suggest the RS Aero. But I don't think it would be right for her. If anything it's more "frisky" or "twitchy" than a Laser. I like that. It forces me to have quicker reactions and to be more agile - which are good things until the day when my body decides they aren't any more.

But perhaps an RS Aero with a 5 rig (the smallest rig) might suit SUER? I received another email this week from a sailor who is quite a bit older than SUER who said that sailing his RS Aero 5 was like being in heaven.

Or how about a small catamaran like a Hobie Wave? Catamarans tack much more slowly than dinghies. That can be frustrating, but for someone who needs a bit of time to cross the boat it might be a benefit.

But what do I know?

Can you help SUER?

Please leave all suggestions in the comments.


Dan Gurney said...

Hobie Wave could be the ticket. I've sailed them a bit. Easy to rig, that for sure. It's about as fast as a Laser, but it feels slower cause it's a cat.

You don't need much agility or flexibility to sail a Wave. She says she likes to heel. Well, flying a hull is sort of like heeling and Waves can do that.

But should she capsize, I'm afraid getting it back up might be a challenge...

Bursledon Blogger said...

The Solent SCOW - very popular with our "seasoned" sailors. Active fleets in Chichester, Benbridge, Lymington, Yarmouth, Keyhaven and Christchurch, plus a more local connection a. SCow won the 1932 Frostbite over your way. Not modern but great boats for those of us with less bendy knees.

Anonymous said...

Force 5 with the Cullen short rig. Top mast section is ditched and smaller sail (76 SF vs. 96 SF) fitted. Much more comfortable than a Laser and much less twitchy. Sorry for anon but I don't have any social media accounts

Tillerman said...

Thans for those ideas. Keep them coming.

By the way, even if you don't have any social media accounts you can still make up a name to leave comments here. (It does get confusing some times if we have multiple Anonymous commenters on the same post.)

just click on the "Comment as" box and choose the "Name/URL" option from the pull-down menu. Enter a name and leave the URL box blank.

Tillerman said...

An Anonymous commenter left this comment on the next post, although I suspect it was meant for here...

K1. Rondar Boats did launch this in the USA too (they make it for Vandercraft in the UK), although a quick look at Rondars website doesnt show this any more? Yes, it has a keel, although the hull is no heavier than a Laser, and it has a carbon rig.

Anonymous said...

Hobie Wave, no question.
Easy on my 72 year old knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders. Tension the battens and go sailing in less than ten minutes, (no more replays of the raising of the flag on Iwojima). Almost as quick as a Laser. I've capsized mine once in six years, so unless you're being a complete numpty ....

Scow! Keelboat! C'mon guys this is the 21st century.

PS At most regattas there are a significant number of women sailing in the class. Raises the standards of behaviour. Just saying'.

Tillerman said...

Pleased to see that two other commenters agree with my suggestion of a Hobie Wave. I have sailed a Wave quite a lot in the BVI when we visit there. I have sailed it in all sorts of weather including in big ocean swells and haven't capsized it yet. For what it's worth my wife is a non-sailor but the only boat she will sail with me is a Hobie Wave. It's fast to rig. It's comfortable. You can get wet if you want to. You can fly a hull if you want a bit more excitement. And it's so slow to tack you will have no trouble having time to cross the boat.

Steve from Indented Head said...


Mind you it helps if you are in Oz

Tijuana Taxi said...

Agree, Sabre

Dotty said...

I would like to add my vote for the K1. I purchased mine from an 80 something year old gent who was very reluctant to part with her but his sailing days were finally over and his body at least knew it.

It's sort of like a single handed flying fifteen, goes great in all weather and is exciting without the capsize hassle.

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