Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

I have not built a boat yet.  I have finished two harp kits, however.  I am looking for suggestions on a good sailboat.  I like things to be exact and like things to go together well.  Some of the photos of gaps in boards makes me nervous.  I'm not a perfectionist, but I do like things to be done properly.  Please suggest a kit that would be good for me - thanks.

9 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

can you let us know what a 'harp' kit is?  do you mean the musical instrument?  just trying to understand your point of reference before making any suggestion.

any have you sailed before/have sailing experience?   just trying to understand as there are kits for beginning builders and good boats for beginnng sailors.  but knowing a little bit about what kind of sailing you expect to (just you, you and a guest, high performance, pretty dinghy, etc...) do is also important to making any suggestion.


RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations


There are different quality requirements for different types of construction. Small gaps brtween boards are really bad for fine joinery, hurt nothing for stitch & glue and are absolutely necessary for carvel planked boats.

Finishing techniques are also different. Polishing with steel wool and waxing have no place on an object that will be exposed to water, possibly salt water at that, or that will need to be refinished/repaired with epoxy products in the future.

So you'll have to be sure to leave your fine carpentry habits at the door to your boatshop, otherwise you could end up with a lovely piece of furniture that will deteriorate in a few years.

That said, the level of skill with  woodworking tools, the ability to follow instructions, the ability to learn the required skills and the drive and organization that it takes to bring 2 kits to completion, especially if they had musical instrument finishes, shows that you're more than ready for pretty much any of the boat kits sold here.

For an absolute first timer, I would recommend one of the easy-to-sail boats. The Eastport Pram is small, easy to handle and a fun one person boat for a day on the water. The Jimmy Skiff II is larger, so you can take friends out with you and even sleep on it overnight if you set up the right equipment. Both boats will actually hold more than one person, but there's more room in the Jimmy Skiff II. Both boats can be rowed, which is good for when the wind dies, and both can accommodate a small electric or gas motor if that tickles your fancy

The EP has a nice lapstrake hull that will let your woodworking skills run wild and reward your love of precision. The JSII is a classic flat-bottom skiff that has wonderful initial stability and an undemanding build. The EP can be solo cartopped, the JSII will need a trailer if your going solo (unless you have a large vehicle and can lift 75 lbs or more over your head),

Storage at home is easier for the EP since it's smaller. There's also a nesting version of the EP that splits the boat into 2 pieces that store nested inside each other and are assembled before launch. That also lets you potentially transport the boat inside your vehicle. Building the EP is cheaper because it's smaller. It also needs a less spacious workshop.

Having said all this, with your demonstrated skill set if time, money, storage, transport and shop space are not a problem, if you are already totally committed to owning a small boat, I would say go to the next level and build the Tenderly Dinghy or Lighthouse Tender Peapod. Either will be a boat that you'll be happy with for many years and that you'll be proud to show off as something you've built. The Tenderly is an amazingly forgiving sailboat, very easy to sail yet capable and the Peapod is the best rowing sailing dinghy I have ever rowed. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to sail it yet, thanks to lack of wind and then the Plague, but everyone who's told me that they've tried it loves it.

Finally, keep in mind, this is all my own personal opinion. The Dory gang will probably show up with their recommendations. Whatever you pick, they're all great boats here.




RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

Paula welcome to the forum here.

Your experiences building harps (really? You can build those from kits too? These are the big, floor-setting instruments with strings & pedals?) ought to give you lots of confidence for starting out on a boat kit.

Have you done any sailing before?

Have any friends who share an interest in sailing?

I built my first boat 49 years ago from scratch to plans published in Popular Science magazine. Fortunately I had a new friend who taught me the rudiments of sailing a scow on inland lakes 'cause I was a complete greenhorn. Managed not to drown the few times I got dunked too....

Second boat's an 'in progress' endeavor presently, one of CLC's Waterlust expedition canoes. Kits are a lot easier to assemble than a scratch-build.

It may help bring you suggestions for appropriate kits if we learn more about where you are (for the info about what kind of conditions you'll be encountering on the water there) as well as what, if any, kinds of sailing you've had exposure to before deciding to select a first kit.

RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations


Beware, building (and sailing) boats is addictive. That being said, I believe that Lazlo has the right of it. The Jimmy II is probably a better beginner's project and you'd  be surprised by how much fun you can have sailing a flat-bottomed skiff. But,,, The Lighthouse Tender Peapod is a thing of beauty and a fine outlet for your crearive urges,

Have fun whatever you choose. I can attest to the quality of CLC's kits and customer service.


RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

The exact nature of the question is unclear, but you "like things to be exact and like things to go together well".

This is going to be equally true of any CLC precut kit. 

RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

   You mentioned building a harp. That is something that I would like to explore. Could you tell me more?

RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

   You mentioned building a harp. That is something that I would like to explore. Could you tell me more?

RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations


I'm Greg. I'm a professional musician. I've sailed for years but have never built a boat. My daughter and I are attending the Jimmy Skiff II class that is being held at CLC in July. That boat will probably be less of a hard sailor than I am used to but I anticipate it being a great first building project- especially at the class.

Still, I was drawn to the Jimmy Skiff II due to its ability to sail, row, motor, and tow behind our 4-cylinder vehicles. I am 62 now and really just want something to gunkhole with, daysail, fish from, enjoy as a motor boat with a silent electric outboard, and take family and friends out for easy sails. My days of pushing the limit of wind and wave are over. I am looking now for ease rather than expedition. I hope my story helps you. My vote for you would be the Jimmy Skiff II.

All the best!


RE: Beginner - Sailboat recommendations

   So I have no idea how to send a message to people that want information.  I appreciate all the detailed comments about my hope to begin to build a sailboat.  I haven't taken off with it yet.

Someone wanted info about building a harp from kit.  I have done two builds and really enjoyed it.  The web site is:

I made the Limerick Harp and then, a Jolie Harp.  I was especially happy with the Limerick Harp, but sold it.  It kept its tune better and went together without a hitch.  I bought the Jolie as a very, very new kit - they have changed some things with it since then, so that is good.  I really love it, but have some issues with the levers that I haven't solved yet.  They have lots of kits for other instruments, too.

« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.