Which Boat to Sail?

Boats sailed

We’d like to see you an enthusiastic club-member and regularly out on the water, so everyone at the club is keen to make sure you get the best advice and encouragement on both developing your sailing skills and buying the right boat. If you are an experienced sailor and either already a boat owner or have a clear idea of which boat is right for you, we’ll be pleased to introduce you to like-minded sailors.

If you need advice on what style of boat to buy, whether for junior members, family sailing, or racing, use this chart to get an idea of the range of dinghies available, then visit the manufacturers’ websites and the dinghy section of a good on-line second-hand mart like http://sailingdinghies.apolloduck.co.uk The most popular boats are those that have proved themselves over decades and consequently have a large following and many opportunities for both new and second-hand purchases.

Click on the boat to obtain more information:


The Optimist is the original safe & stable flat-bottomed, sprit-sail pram-bow dinghy, or more popularly: "the bathtub that breeds the best young sailors". Raced competitively single-handed, it will hold two youngsters for training. Sailed in over 110 countries by over 150,000 young people, it is the only dinghy approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors between 6 - 16 years of age. 70% of medal winning Olympics helms started as Optimist sailors.
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Laser Pico

The Laser Pico is a beginners to improvers boat with a high boom and self draining cockpit. Although a single person dinghy, it can also take a crew for training. The Pico is a popular boat for beginners and competent sailors alike: many sailing schools use Picos for training whilst the boat is exciting enough for more experienced sailiors to race. The rudder and centreboard are easy to lift, and the centreboard has a shock absorber. Sail area can be reduced by reefing. Like the Topper, the Pico is tough, requires virtually no maintenance and is ready for action in minutes.
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The Topper is perfect for beginners and youngsters; newcomers to sailing like the Topper because it is simple, safe and stable, inspiring confidence in young or novice sailors. The polypropylene hull is very strong and light, and the rig is very simple and can also be reefed, and so the boat is easier to handle on the water and ashore. The Topper is the ideal single-hander race training dinghy as competence levels grow. Durability and reliability means that there is a large second-hand market & resale values remain high.
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RS Feva

The RS Feva is the entry-level 2 or 3 sail dinghy from Racing Sailboats and is a good example of a modern asymmetric racing dinghy with a self-extending bow-sprit & single hoist line for the third sail. Easy handled by two young sailors or lightweight family crews, from novice to racer experience, the Feva is confidence-inspiring and an ideal training boat. Rig options include reefing mainsail with optional jib & gennaker packs, or fully race-rigged with battened mainsail, jib and gennaker.
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GP 14

The GP14 was designed in 1949 by Jack Holt as a general-purpose fourteen-foot training, racing and general-purpose family boat, hence the name GP14. Although heavy to handle on-shore and launch, the GP14 is very safe & stable, can carry four adults for training and is equally suited to recreational family sailing and strenuous racing, and is thus an ideal club-owned boat. Modern fibreglass hulls hold their second-hand value although older wooden boats can be a liability.
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Standard Laser

The Laser is the ultimate one-design racing boat, and in GSC, as in most sailing clubs, Laser fleet racing is very popular and very competitive. Race-pack rig upgrade kits allow an older boat to remain competitive with the latest specification Lasers. It is easy to tow & handle, rigging takes minutes, the build and parts quality is excellent, virtually no maintenance is required and the resale value is in a league of its own. Although Lasers are easy to start sailing, the experience needed to beat the very best Laser sailors at every age level provides a challenge for many years.
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Laser Rigs

Three simple, interchangeable Laser rigs take the growing sailor from the Optimist & Topper to an introduction to youth Laser Class Racing events with the 4.7 rig, and then on to the Radial sail (5.7sqm) for teenagers and lighter weight sailors, or the full rig (7.06 sqm) for 12st / 80kg plus sailors. The hull & spars remain the same, with the only difference being the choice of sail and lower mast.
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Laser 2000

The Laser 2000 has unique versatility and a high confidence factor as a perfect family boat thanks to a real 'sit in' feel. Newcomers and youngsters can be taught easily and can have different power for different days using the reefing mainsail and furling jib. The Laser 2000's handling and performance will impress the racing enthusiast and the rig's versatility allows you to take it easy for a relaxing family day out. Although heavier than purebred racing dinghies, the Laser 2000’s versatility makes it a popular boat, and second-hand values remain strong.


What do you sail when you become too big for your Laser? The Phantom is a high performance singlehander sailing dinghy which has proved to be the ultimate performance racing dinghy for 15 - 18 stone helms. The Phantom has a hard chine hull with a deep 'V' bow, a flat run aft, and planes easily, offering great acceleration in a blow. With a lightweight hull and large rig on a stayed mast, the Phantom has a high power to weight ratio but is relatively stable and responsive.
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The RS200 shares the racing pedigree of the larger & more powerful RS bosts, but responds to finesse rather than physique, allowing lighter to medium weight 2-person crews of youngsters, teenagers and adults to share the excitement of asymmetric sailboat racing without feeling over-powered by a large rig. The RS200 is light & easy to handle on or off the water, and the open transom allows the RS200 to virtually self drain after a capsize. The strong hull laminates and high-quality build of RS boats ensures a long competitive life, trouble free sailing and high resale values.
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Racing Sailboats’ RS400 is hugely popular in championship level racing, in hundreds of sailing clubs and in the hands of both men and women helms and crew. Offering speed and manoeuvrability for agile & experienced sailors, the RS400 offers maximum transfer of power from the large rig into high speed competitive asymmetric racing. A new trapeze-rigged dinghy, the RS500, completes the Racing Sailboats range, offering cutting-edge design single- and two-hander race dinghies for novice to expert helms.
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The Javelin is a very fast two-handed racing dinghy with conventional spinnaker and crew trapeze. Its large sail area and ultra-lightweight hull gives the Javelin amazing acceleration and allows it to exceed speeds of 25 knots, giving an exhilarating "ride" and exciting fleet racing for the expert, National and International level sailors in the Club.
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Handicap System

The handicap system: our club members have many different dinghies of different speeds and performance. All of them race together, and a Portsmouth Yardstick handicap number is applied to the elapsed finish times to even out the performance between faster & slower boats. New members should look at the most popular boat classes and those boats sailed most regularly by club members. These are the boats that are good value to buy new or second-hand, easy to maintain, not too hard to handle, and offer fun and excitement. Talk to the owners: all of us are pleased to discuss the merits & appropriateness of our class of boat.
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ISO means equal - and equality in Topper International's revolutionary single trapeze boat is provided for a wide range of crew weight - from 125 to 165Kgs - by the incorporation of quickly detachable wings. Lightweight crews gain power with the wings in place - but carry the burden of the wings carefully calculated weight. Heavier crews don't need the power of the wings and leave them - and their payload - ashore. With a total sail area of 35.5 sq m and asymmetric spinnaker, the ISO has tremendous upwind performance for experienced crews with sensational but controllable speed off the wind.
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