DS2 or FJ or both?

Topics primarily or specifically about the DS2. Many topics are of general interest, so please use forum sections on Rigging, Sails, etc. where appropriate.

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DS2 or FJ or both?

Postby bulldog39 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:17 pm

I have always wanted to learn to sail, (my wife thinks I'm off my rocker) I found a very nice looking 1973 DS2 with trailer and outboard for $1000. I have only seen pictures of it because it is still in winter storage. I want to buy this one if it is as nice as it seems. it also has new running rigging that hasn't been installed yet that goes with it. I also found a FJ on craigslist nearby and contacted the guy, he said that if I wanted it to come and get it. the pictures of the hull look good but have no idea about the mast and rigging ect. I know that anything free is never free but what does the collective wisdom say? I am 57, overweight and not athletic, but the FJ looks like a fun addition to the DS2.
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Re: DS2 or FJ or both?

Postby GreenLake » Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:30 pm

Welcome to the forum.

When I started to sail, I went with a really small boat (an 8' Walker Bay) with a single sail. That boat was really underpowered for my weight, which made it easy to keep level in all kinds of wind and the single sail, was one less thing to worry about while figuring out the fundamentals (on my own, trial an error, in my case).

Now, a DS2 is a much heavier boat than a FJ. The advantage is that it is (somewhat) less lively in its reaction than a bout 1/3 the weight. It's a matter of degree, but I'd say, you would find it noticeable. You get that extra split second of reaction time with the DS.

Much of my early sailing with the DS was with some kid as crew, and some of them really young, so effectively, I was single handing in company pretty much from the start. So that can be done, but you might want to make sure you have crew. On a FJ, if you are trying to sail with someone your own size, you may be too heavy. It's meant as a youth trainer - that should give you an idea of the weight the designer assumed for the crew of two.

I've sailed in a DS2 with a rather substantial skipper (and I'm not small). And we had gear, food and water, lots of, on board. Wouldn't have won a race, but the boat sailed well in those conditions - we had wind to spare.

Wanting to learn to sail is anything but crazy, quite the contrary. It's very rewarding activity that you can grow into more and more over the years (and decades). Wind and water are never static, the art of sailing well is subtle: you won't run out of ways to learn more and enjoying things differently as you get more practice. At the same time, the initial threshold to where you can get a boat to move about on the water with some success is relatively low.

As I and many others have proved, it's quite possible to do this all on your own. However, if you can get someone to teach you, or get someone experience to sail with you a few times, that may keep you from making too many mistakes and increase your confidence. Your wife may not feel safe with you and or may not get the same psychological reward from being on the water. That's not uncommon; but there are the occasional exceptions.

The main thing with starting out would be that you don't have the experience to evaluate things like different types of boats, but also different types of weather conditions and the like. We can try to help you out here, but being at a remote, some of what we write here is guess work. Only you know yourself.

About being athletic or not. It helps if you are able to climb into the boat when it's on the trailer, because you need to do that when setting up. Likewise, you should be mobile enough to get from dock to boat (unless you beach launch). The skipper I mentioned had difficulty walking, but persevered and managed all these tasks. A bit of extra crew weight means that you may not have to sit on the edge of the boat in many conditions, so I wouldn't call a DS2 necessarily a boat that requires an "athletic" crew. A smaller, more reactive boat may. (I own another slightly smaller and much lighter boat, and the experience is quite different).

Boats will require some maintenance and upkeep. I would recommend you limit yourself to one at first. Get to know that one really well. Later, you can branch out.

The price for the DS2 seems in the ballpark. Make sure you get the previous owner to walk you through setting up the new running rigging (and, if feasible, give you an introductory sail). If you decide to go with the DS2, you'll find this forum has extensive amounts of information, both in archived posts as well as live from some of the members.

Good luck in getting a boat and getting out on the water.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: DS2 or FJ or both?

Postby GreenLake » Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:39 pm

PS: learn to reliably tell wind speeds from the state of the water (google Beaufort scale) or purchase a wind meter. Breezes for beginners: 5-8 knots. (A knot is 1.15 mph). Anything less, and it will be hard to get the feedback from the wind in the sail, much more than that, even in a temporary gust, and you will at first struggle to control the boat.

Wind forecasts are nice, but wind is local. If you live in one of the places where it always blows stronger than that, you are better off finding someone to skipper for you as they teach you. Experienced sailors will enjoy single handing up to around 14knots and with good crew perhaps to 20, but at that point most people not in a race would have put in a reef.
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Re: DS2 or FJ or both?

Postby lemsteraak » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:57 pm

You will not go wrong with either of these two boats. We teach sailing with 420s a boat almost identical to the FJ. They are responsive and fun but no one would call them roomy or comfy. A DaySailer II on the other hand is roomy with a nice high boom to duck under. We have thought of getting a couple DaySailers for teaching adults. Both boats are about the same speed but we all find the DaySailers much more roomy and comfortable. You will not find cup holders in a FJ. Our club is able to buy new 420 for under $10K while a new DS would be over 20K.

If you plan to sail extensively, I think you would prefer the DaySailer in the long run. I had a small cruising boat and didn't think too much of the DaySailer. While sailing a friend's DS we were caught in a huge puff of wind with the spinnaker up (don't ask) and I've never been on a boat that sailed so fast. I was positive it was going to death roll but she just picked up her skirts and flew. I learned a lesson, that a DaySailer will plane and become more stable. You can sail out of just about anything getting her up on a plane and sailing to safety.
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Re: DS2 or FJ or both?

Postby GreenLake » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:15 pm

I own a V15 in addition to the DS. It's lighter and more spirited, and that can be very enjoyable. But at my size and weight, the lower boom position can be challenging and, in light air, there's no comfortable seating position - basically, it means kneeling in the foot well to keep the weight in the center. I don't know the FJ, but would expect this to be broadly similar, given size and weight of the boat. With the DS, if the winds get light enough to where I can't sit on the windward bench, it's often so light, that heeling the boot to leeward is preferable, so I can sit on the other bench instead.

(With crew, you of course have the choice of sitting on opposite sides for balance.)

All things being equal, smaller, lighter sailors may find a lighter boat more compatible and vice versa. If you are new to sailing, it may not be apparent how much of dinghy sailing is a balance act. That's quite different from larger keel boats where the keel provides the balance and the crew contribution (other than in racing) is optional.

772
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