10 great cottage sailboats

Looking for a sailboat? Here are 10 of our favourite models

By David HarrisDavid Harris

fallsailboat

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We’ve assembled a fleet of great sailing dinghies for cottage use that vary in basic design, capacity, cost, and performance. Here is our review of 10 sailboats for the cottage.

Albacore

Designed in the UK after the Second World War and still popular in England and North America; most hulls are fibreglass but a surprising number of the old wood versions are still sailing.

Length: 15'
Beam:
60"
Hull weight
: 240 lbs
Crew
: 2-3
Why we like it:
A two-man racing dinghy that offers great performance and adapts well to family use
The downside:
Round bottom makes it tippy at the dock
Expect to pay:
$12,000–$14,000

Byte

Designed by Canadian Ian Bruce for lighter-weight sailors as an alternative to the Laser

Length: 12'
Beam:
51"
Hull weight:
105 lbs
Crew:
1-2
Why we like it:
Well-engineered and simple to sail; a good choice for two kids or lighter women and teenagers
The downside:
Too cramped for larger, heavier sailors
Expect to pay:
$5,900

CL-16

Based on a UK design, it has been produced in Canada for 40 years.

Length: 16'
Beam:
73"
Hull weight:
365 lbs
Crew:
2-4
Why we like it:
Well-built, good performance, and a comfortable cockpit
The downside:
Heavy; self-bailers are optional
Expect to pay:
$10,500

Flying Scot

Popular in a few pockets of cottage country for racing and picnicking, this boat can seat eight adults.

Length: 19'
Beam:
81"
Hull weight
: 700 lbs
Crew:
2-4
Why we like it:
Very stable and surprisingly quick and competitive; will happily cruise with a family of four
The downside:
Heavy; must be ordered from the US
Expect to pay:
$15,000-$18,000 with trailer

Hobie 16

Designed by Hobie Alter, this is the boat that popularized catamaran performance sailing.

Length: 16'7"
Beam:
93"
Hull weight:
200 lbs
Crew
: 1-4
Why we like it:
Strongly built; suits both beginners and experienced sailors
The downside:
Large sail plan for its size makes boat harder to control in a strong wind
Expect to pay
: $9,500

Laser

Bruce Kirby’s napkin sketch lead to the biggest success story in Canadian sailing. Now the singlehanded Olympic-class boat

Length: 13'10"
Beam:
54"
Hull weight:
130 lbs
Crew:
1-2
Why we like it
: Fun, fast, and simple; three different-sized sails are available to accommodate sailors of different weights
The downside:
Sail goes up with the mast, so boat cannot be left rigged and unattended
Expect to pay:
$5,300-$6,000

Optimist

Designed in the late 1940s, it’s now used worldwide as a youth training boat; spawned the similar Pram and Mosquito designs for non-racers

Length: 7'7"
Beam:
43"
Hull weight: 77 lbs
Crew:
1-2
Why we like it
: Provides children with independence at a young age
The downside
: Too tiny for adults or larger youth
Expect to pay:
$3,000

Sunfish

Designed in 1951; more than 500,000 of these boats have been built.

Length: 13'9"
Beam:
49"
Hull weight:
120 lbs
Crew:
1-2
Why we like it
: Simple and efficient design; only two control lines; stable
The downside:
Less efficient upwind than the Laser or Byte
Expect to pay:
$4,000

Vago

Popular in Europe and introduced in Canada at the Toronto International Boat Show in January 2008, this open-transom design meets the demand for a rugged, versatile performance sailboat.

Length: 13'9"
Beam:
61"
Hull weight:
193 lbs
Crew:
1-2
Why we like it:
Tough, rotomould construction; good dockside stability; planes in moderate conditions; very quick, modern dinghy
The downside:
More complex rigging than on other cottage sailboats
Expect to pay:
$10,000, including launching dolly

Hobie Wave

A very safe and simple starter boat.

Length: 13"
Beam:
84"
Hull weight:
235 lbs
Crew:
1-4
Why we like it
: Simple beginner-oriented multihull; rugged polyethylene hulls; mastfloat prevents “turtling” should you capsize
The downside:
Slower and less responsive than some other boats
Expect to pay:
$4,700

This article was originally published on February 13, 2007


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