The Best Sailing Dinghies for Beginners

As a complete beginner to sailing dinghies, you'll probably want to know what is the best and easiest dinghy to operate as a newbie.

Well, look no further as we'll discuss what the top options available for rookies seeking to learn the ropes. For simplicity, we'll divide up the types of dinghies available to you into the following:

  • Training Dinghies: Boats designed specifically for training and learning the ropes.

  • Beginner Dinghies for One Person: Dinghies designed to be sailed by one person, otherwise known as a singlehander dinghy.

  • Beginner Dinghies for Two People: Designed to be sailed by two people, otherwise known as a doublehander dinghy.

  • Beginner Dinghy for A Family: Designed for cruising out on the ocean with a small group or family.

  • Beginner Dinghy for Children: These are dinghies more suitable for children.

After learning on a training dinghy, you'll need to decide whether you want to sail alone or choose the more sociable option of trying out the doublehander dinghy.

Typically, sailing schools will provide training dinghies to learn on. As a beginner, you should learn the common sailing terms before ever hitting the water with a dinghy but typically, the sailing schools will go through them with you.

Right, let's look at the options available.

Top Training Dinghies

If you join a sailing school, you'll usually find common training dinghies like:

  • RS Quba
  • Hartley 10
  • Laser Pico
  • Laser Bahia
  • Topper Topaz

So let's look at some entry level dinghies to try out.

Hartley 10

training dinghies for beginners
credit: sailingdinghies.ch

These Hartley 10 dinghies are very popular in many sailing schools around the world. Capable of holding two people, it's a great boat to get started learning the ropes on.

Benefits of this dinghy include:

  1. Lightweight & stable
  2. Easy to store & transport
  3. CE rated for 2 people


Hartley 10 Specifications

Price Range $73k - $88k
Length 12ft
Hull Weight 45KG
Sail Area 3 m2
Beam 1.28m
CE Certificed 2 People
Average Price (New) $4,200
Where to buy Boattrader, Sailing Schools, Facebook Groups/Marketplace,Hartleyboats

These dinghies are also great for children to learn on too. Have a look at one of these in action.

Laser Pico Beginner Dinghy

Another great vessel to train on is the Laser Pico dinghy boat.

laser pico dinghy
credit: laserperformance.uk

Another beginner friendly dinghy is the Laser Pico which is another great entry level boat for learning the ropes. This boat is capable of holding up to four people on and benefits include:

  1. Easy to handle
  2. Extremely durable
  3. Caters to both kids and adults
  4. Family friendly training boat
  5. Simple reefing system

Laser Pico Specifications


Length 11.75FT
Beam 4.53FT
Draft 2.90FT
Sail Area 55.33 ft²
Jib Aree 11.73 ft²
Hull Weight 154.32 LBS
Capacity 1-3 People
Transport Cartoppable
Where to buy Boattrader, Boat Dealerships, Facebook Groups/Marketplace, Laserperformance.uk
Price Range Approx. $4,000 (new)

These two dinghies are the most popular types you'll find at sailing schools around the world. They're the best options if you're a complete beginner looking to get started.

If you are planning on purchasing one, contact your local sailing school for information on where to get one. As they'll have local knowledge, they might know where you can pick up a solid pre owned one.

Alternatively, you can check out our top dinghies to buy guide for some further ideas on what's on the market.

Top Beginner Dinghies For One Person

These types of boats are known as singlehanders in the sailing world and the hint is in the name, i.e. they are only built to hold one person onboard.

So what are some great singlehander dinghies?

The Solo

solo singlehander dinghy
credit: hydesails.co.uk

These are another very popular brand of dinghy you'll find at local sailing clubs and are great singlehanders.

Benefits of this boat include:

  1. Inward sloping decks for comfortable sitting out
  2. Extremely durable
  3. Light, double-chined hull
  4. Popular racing dinghy (especially in UK)

The Solo Specifications

Hull Weight 70 kgk
Mast Length 5.97m
Mainsail Area 8.36 m2
Capacity 1 Person
Designer Jack Holt
Average Price $2000-$8000
Where to buy Boattrader, Boat Dealerships, Facebook Groups/Marketplace, solosailing.org.uk

As you can see from the specifications, prices can vary quite a lot. If this is a dinghy that interests you, contact your local sailing club as they may be able to find you a great pre owned one at a good price.

Rs Aero

rs aero dinghy
credit: wikipedia.org

The next singlehander for beginners is the RS Aero. This is a more modern dinghy with it launching in 2014. It's a solid dinghy to consider as a beginner with benefits like:

  1. Ultra Light Hull
  2. Durable
  3. Comfortable
  4. Easy to transport

RS Aero Specifications

Beam 1.4m
Length 4m
Hull Weight 66lbs
Capacity 1 Person
Sail Area 5.2m²
Rudder Shock Aluminium
Average Price $10k - $15k
Where to buy Boattrader, Boat Dealerships, Facebook Groups/Marketplaces, rssailing.com

You can typically find these a lot cheaper pre owned by contacting your local sailing schools/clubs or checking out forums.

Best Beginner Dinghies for 2 People

For those a bit more sociable and want other people onboard too, you can check out our favorite beginner dinghies for 2 people, otherwise known as doublehanders.

Most doublehanders have a spinnaker as well as a main and jib.

The Fireball Dinghy

fireball doublehander dinghy
credit: wikipedia.org

The fireball is a cheaper entry level doublehander dinghy to try out if you're a complete beginner too. It's flexibility to fit the boat out to suit you, makes it good for smaller helms or crews.

Fireball Specifications

Upwind Sail Area 11.427 m2
Boat Weight 170lbs
Capacity 2 people
Spinnaker Area 13 m2
Mainsail Area 8.13 m2
Jib Area 3.30 m2
Average Price $1k - $3k
Where to buy Boattrader, Boat Dealerships, fireball-international.com

The RS 200

rs 200 sailing dinghy with 2 crew onboard
credit: rssailing.com

The next great doublehander for beginners is the RS 200 dinghy. Designed by Phil Morrison and manufactured by RS Sailing, this is definitely a popular dinghy worth considering.

Rs 200 Specifications

Sail Aree 20 m2
Hull Weight 172 lbs
Spinnaker Area 8.3 m2
Hull Construction VE
Capacity 2 Crew
Beam 1.83m
Length 4.o m
Where to buy Boattrader, Facebook marketplace/groups, rssailing.com
Price Range $4,000+

Best Beginner Dinghies for Family Sailing

Next up are the dinghies perfect for learning on and taking the family out sailing.

Rs Zest

rs zest family sailing dinghy
credit: rssailing.com

The Rs Zest is a modern family sailing dinghy perfect for beginners too! Popular amongst sailing schools and training centers, this is a wonderful choice for you and the family.

Rs Zest Specifications

Centerboard Type Lifting
Length 11'9"
Beam 1.47m
Capacity 3 Crew
Hull Weight 161 lbs
Hull Construction PE3
Mainsail 6m²
Where to buy Boattrader,rssailing.com
Average Price $4,500 (approx.)

It comes with great benefits including:

  1. Extremely Durable
  2. Lightweight
  3. Easy To Transport
  4. Spacious
  5. Great for training on

The Wayfarer

wayfarer sea sailing dinghy
credit: wikipedia.org

The Wayfarer is a great inland cruising dinghy for beginners and experienced sailors alike.

The Wayfarer Specifications

Price Range $55k - $65k
Mast Length 22.2ft
Beam 6ft
Capacity 6 Crew
Hull Weight 169KG
Hull Type Wooden or Fibreglass Options
Designer Ian Proctor
Where to buy Boattrader, Boat Forums, hartleyboats.com
Price Range Approx. $15,000

Although on the more expensive side, you can browse forums or contact your local sailing club for potentially great pre owned versions for a lot cheaper.

Best Beginner Sailing Dinghies for Children

Next up are sailing dinghies that are children friendly. Typically, children will learn their sailing on these dinghies.

Rs Tera

rs tera dinghy with children onboard
credit: rssailing.com

The Rs Tera offers great fun on the waters and is a great dinghy for kids starting out. Kids, aged 8 and upwards will have plenty of fun with friends and family on this dinghy.

Rs Tera Specifications

Length 2.87m
Beam 4.0ft
Capacity 1
Hull Weight 43 kg
Designer Paul Handley
Average Price $4,100
Where to buy Boattrader, Boating Forums, rssailing.com

Topaz Taz

Another great dinghy for children is the Topaz sailboat.

topper sailing dinghy
credit: toppersailboats.co,

With the super lightweight design, it's a great boat to get your start on. The Topaz Taz is a sailing dinghy created by Topper International. The Taz is an ISAF Learn to Sail class.

Topaz Taz Specifications

Sail Area 5.39m2
Length 2.95m
Beam 1.20m
Capacity 1-2 Crew
Hull Weight 40KG
Jib 1.00m2
Where to buy Boattrader, Boat Forums, toppersailboats.com
Price Range $3,000 (approx.)

It's always best to have the best gear for children and ensuring they are safe. These dinghies are the perfect starting point for any child that has a love or interest in sailing.

If you are planning on getting your child into sailing, you can read our children's sailing guide for information.

Conclusion

These dinghies listed above are all round great boats for beginners looking to get their feet wet sailing. Whether you're looking for a singlehander or a family sailing dinghy, there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from.

Other dinghies not mentioned both worth considering for beginners include:

  • Hartley 15
  • Laser Vago
  • Topper Xenon
  • Sprint 15
  • RS Venture

As you're looking for a boat for beginners, you might also want to check out our learning how to sail guide for some useful tips on how to get started sailing.