What boat should I buy?

by Chris Kameen on May 23, 2015

The other night I spent a good hour with a lovely couple who are thinking about buying  a boat. Their situation is that their two oldest kids (both under 10) have done quite a lot of sailing in O’pen Bics with the sailing school and the parents have done a couple of lessons on RS fevas sailing with the kids., but they are not yet super competent or confident.

They love the idea of doing sailing as a family and have loved sailing with Sydney Sailing School. The choice of boats is the RS Quba, RS Feva and RS Vision. We have an RS Feva left for sale so in the ideal world they would buy that one, which would suit me down to the ground, but would it be the right boat for them?

Vision with 4 peopleThe RS Vision is the ideal boat for their whole family to sail together and go off on trips. They liked the idea of sailing with a friend who would be able to teach them a bit more and help them gain more confidence. The boat will take a small engine is super stable etc. etc. it is a great boat… however it is a big boat and as such is not a toy, you need to be able to sail to enjoy it. You will need a trailer and somewhere to keep it. Buying a boat like this when you aren’t confident is a sure fire way of putting you off sailing for life!


Quba with three kidsThe RS Quba was designed for sailing schools and hotels by the beach in my mind, it is simple to rig, recover from capsize, reef down… everything is simple. This was the boat that I recommended to them. My reasoning was that with this boat the adults could learn to sail and practice their skills in a really safe boat, they could swim it out of danger if they had to. Until they are confident sailors they will not be able to enjoy taking the kids sailing with them. On the sailing side of things they could sail it with one adult and one or two of the kids and from a rigging point of view, it is as simple as the O’pen Bic, they wouldn’t have any problems there. Also the kids or adults could sail it on their own… as much as the parents don’t like it, I think the kids would probably prefer sailing on their own or with friends sometimes. And actually I think Mum or Dad would also like to go for a 15 minute blast every now and then on their own!!

Storing the boat is also much easier it can be stored on it’s side in the garage and take up minimal space, before being loaded either on to a box trailer or on to the roof of the car. I have been recommending that people buy a box trailer as they will get other uses out of it rather than a bespoke boat trailer.

RS Feva with 3 kidsWhich then brings me on to the Feva. The Feva is somewhere between the two boats. Unlike the Quba you can’t really sail it without a jib, the boat gets stuck in irons too easily, so instantly you have the complication of rigging a jib… Sure as sailors we know that takes less than a minute to do.. but it is a complication when you are first starting. Like the Quba they could sail it with one or two kids and if it was windy enough possibly two adults though I think for this particular family this would be a squeeze until they were very confident at going out in high winds. This point is I think the crux.. the Feva is the boat that they will all grow into and have a ball on once they have all got confident enough. The asymmetric spinnaker makes this boat the performance boat of the three. I love going out single handed in 15knots and getting the spinnaker up… it is a real challenge. Equally as the kids grow older they will love sailing this boat – there is a reason that it is the Worlds best selling Double handed sailing dinghy. The opportunity for them to do International Racing and progress on to high performance skiffs should not be overlooked, but this means nothing to a family that are just starting out.

So that was my recommendation The RS Quba, despite the price differential of only $1000 between the brand new Quba and the nearly brand new Feva (new mast, mainsail, spinnaker, daggerboard, cover, the rest 1 season old)

Hope you found this helpful!

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