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Thread: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    10

    Lightbulb Small Boat for Solo Sailing

    Hello All;

    I am looking for some suggestions for a small single-handed sailboat. It will be sailed in the ocean along the coast of southern California, between Long Beach and Newport Beach and points south. Day sailing (not long cruises) is my first interest, although I also want to learn to race it. (For racing, double-handed is OK.)

    As much as I like old but fast centerboard sloops (Thistles, Lightnings, Highlanders, etc.), I suspect that a keel boat is the way to go for my purposes. If that is true, then the next question is size. Most of my sailing has been in 17' - 20' dinghies. The 22' Star is the largest boat (and only keel boat) that I have sailed so far. (That will change soon.) I would like to get a 18' - 20' foot boat, but I see from my readings that most single-handers sail larger boats. (27' - 35' appears to be common - for stability, I assume.) The ballast to displacement ratio also seems to be mentioned a lot. Is higher better? What do you think about "water ballast" boats?

    At Long Beach, the Cal 20 is top dog among small keel boats. At Newport Beach, where there is much lighter wind, the Harbor 20 is very popular. However, both boats have their drawbacks. The Cal 20 is about as slow as they get and the Harbor 20 can be very wet if you take it into the ocean. In San Diego, they sail Santana 20's and Victory 21's (neither of which I know much about.)

    Having said all that, what do you think are some good boats for my purposes? What are the key things to look for in a good single-handed day sailer / racer?

    Thanks, Richard
    Last edited by rlltrash; 09-10-2012 at 03:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    10

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    Does anyone know anything about Victory 21's? I just found a nice one at a good price. Has anyone day sailed a V 21 solo?

    Richard

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    97

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    While I love my Wilderness 21, the small boat I would love to have for racing is a Moore 24. The Moore 24 is a great boat for downwind sailing. There were two people that took Moore 24s to Hawaii singlehanded this year. Many people doublehand on these boats. We get a large fleet of Moore 24 boats every year for the SSS three bridge fiasco.

    My Wilderness needs a longer rudder and is a little squirly compared to other singlehanded boats when downwind sailing. The Moore 24 boats have a lot more stability when working on the foredeck and is a considerably faster sport boat. If I step in front of the mast on my boat to work spinnaker lines, the boat will round up. If you are racing keel boats, you will need to consider the best boats to use with spinnakers singlehanded. Any size boat can be managed with a good autopilot but you need to consider how the boat will handle with a spinnaker and only you in control. In comparison to my Wilderness 21, I think the Santana 22 and Cal 20 are equally good boats for singlehanded sailing with a spinnaker downwind. If you want something a little faster for racing, then a Moore 24, Express 27, Olsen 30...

    I dont' know much about the Victory 21. From what it looks like, you would not want to take it to Hawaii but it would go anywhere a Cal 20 could go. The SSS has had members sail both the Wilderness 21 and a Cal 20 to Hawaii. Depending on the condition of the Victory 21, it might be a good starter boat. Like me, you will probably want to move up to something a little faster and larger after sailing the 21' boat for a few years.

    Matt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Capitola,CA
    Posts
    1,937

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    Richard,
    A pertinent question is how do you hope to store the boat? Will it be in the water, or hauled to a trailer. Will it need a hoist, or launch ramp?
    A Victory 21 is not really a boat for the ocean. The cockpit is too big and exposed, and I doubt it is self bailing. A Cal 20 would eat its lunch.
    Have you considered a Santana 22?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV and Alameda, CA
    Posts
    111

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    My Wilderness 21/trailer is for sale after extensively prepping for singlehanding...see Classy Classifieds in Latitude 38 and pm me if interested. I purchased a Moore 24.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2,129

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    I once sailed a Victory 21 on Wingra Lake in Madison Wisconsin. Wingra Lake is the size of an emptied South Beach harbor. Needless to say, it FLEW across that lake in about 30 seconds. It was a quick ride. It is a lovely lake and the boat is very pretty. Can't imagine how it would handle in the San Francisco bay.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    517

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    As for the relative speeds of a Victory 21 and Cal 20, I'll just point out that the Victory rates 6 sec/mile slower than the Cal in NCPHRF.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Sunnyvale,Ca
    Posts
    12

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    If you haven't found a boat yet I have a custom 20 that was built for
    The SHTP . It's p h r f is 198 and it sails wonderfully .
    Vince.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    1

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    I have a Victory 21, #552. Great boat. They were built by Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts, of a limited production of about 700, from 1959 to the early 1980's. Built for southern California conditions, light winds, although the San Francisco boats had bulbs on their keels. Great for conditions up to 14 kts, after that, reef the main. Sail in the ocean quite often. There are Fleets at Mission Bay Yacht Club, Fresno Yacht Club, Convair Sailing Club, and Torrey Pines Sailing Club. All you have to do is go online to www.mbyc.org. If you are in SoCal, pay us a visit, we'd love to have you join us, as we sail Nationals every three years in San Diego, Midwinters every February at MBYC, and other events. I hope this helps, and have fun!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    46

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    Live in San Diego, sail a Capri 25 that did SHTP. Boats I recommend for SoCal in the 20 to 25 foot range. 1st choice based on your local and short coastal uses and cost concerns- Capri 22 (full keel, not wing). Great boat to sail, best sailed off a trailer (cheaper that way), small cabin for those wonderful afternoon naps at the dock, races well.

    Other boats that I would consider more blue water ready: Fiberglass Thunderbird, Merit 25 (great boat), any Olsen, Santa Cruz or Moore, just to mention a few.

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