The best boats for a sailing school

by Chris Kameen on February 25, 2015

Sailing School boatsWe regularly get asked what are the best boats for a sailing school and if I had my time again what boats would I get. This is a great question with a couple of answers depending upon the club or venue where you are operating.

If the aim of the sailing school is to develop a new racing fleet at the club or is it just to train up potential new members to sail existing fleet boats. Fundamental to my answer is that I believe that the boats must be plastic. This reduces maintenance and stress!

Develop a new racing fleet

4 Open Bics
4 RS Feva
2 RS Vision
1 RS Quba

This is essentially the fleet that we have at Sydney Sailing School with the addition of an extra RS Vision. My reasons for this fleet is that both the O’pen Bics and RS Feva are international classes with great racing circuits world wide. The same boats can be used for teaching and racing, training boats can be sold second hand to students to develop a fleet. The RS Quba is a great transition boat between the ttwo boats and allows for flexibility in your group as it can sail with the Open Bics reefed down or with a jib and with the RS Fevas. It is also a lot of fun, our students argue about how is going to take it! Having 4 boats means that you can get racing started without the need for members to buy boats from the start and the boats can also be used for pairs team racing.

The RS Vision is the ideal adult teaching boat and is our hardest working boat, out most days of the week, it can be used for kids and adults. It is better for teaching adults than the Feva and Quba as an instructor can go on board with 2 or 3 students. The downside of the Vision being it is a bit heavier and takes longer to rig than the other boats. The Laser Bahia is another option but getting spare parts might be a challenge in Australia

Support an Existing fleetQuba with three kids

If you want kids to start racing Manly Juniors or Sabots then really you need to teach them in those boats, though this would not work for a commercial school. Our experience has been once people have sailed modern boats, it is hard to ‘sell’ sailing an older class. Thus my recommendation below:

4 Open Bics
6 RS Qubas
2 RS Vision

The difference here is that we have replaced the Fevas with the Quba and increased the number to 6. With 6 boats you can run team racing with your local schools at a considerably reduced cost over the Feva. These boats are about half the price of a Pacer dinghy. The Vision then allows you to teach spinnakers which otherwise you would do in the Fevas.

Over the years Sydney Sailing School has gone through many iterations starting out with a 24 foot Endeavour yacht and growing from there. If I had my time again I would start with an RS Vision and slowly increase the fleet.

I hope this helps.

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