What sailing dinghy should I buy [Best Boat To Buy 2020]

Boats

What sailing dinghy should I buy? A very common question we regularly get asked in our community. 


Instead of answering each person one by one, we figured we would just do an article on what we believe are the best dinghies to buy today. 


We’ll cover the costs, which of the dinghys are beginner friendly and other general information you might want to know before making a purchase. 


We’ll also go through what to look out for if you are buying a used dinghy so you don’t end up purchasing something rubbish or worse yet, getting scammed. 


For those on a budget, buying used is a great starting point and you can pick up some gems for half price in some cases. 


The trick however is how to find these in the first place so we’ll dig into that also. Now before you ever get started with sailing a dinghy, you’ll hopefully have some beginner sailing experience at a minimum, but like everything once you start, you’ll eventually get better at sailing these boats. 


And the best thing of all?..... You can have so much fun hitting the waters with them. We should also point out that this list is in no particular order of preference. 


So let’s dig into what are the best sailing dinghies on the market today. To divide this up into a more comprehensive and understandable list, we’ll break it down into the following:


  • Best sailing dinghies for beginners (training dinghies)
  • Single handed dinghies 
  • Double Handed dinghies
  • Dinghy Cruising boats
  • Multi hulls



Another huge factor in finding the best dinghy to buy is what purpose do you intend on using it for. A racing dinghy will be different than a family cruising dinghy and so on so keep this in mind too. 

If you prefer a hands on approach, you could always build your own wooden boat. This is very exciting and many of our readers choose to do this.

What’s the best dinghies for beginners?


If you are a complete beginner and looking to buy a dinghy as a beginner,  you’ll want to look at some of the well known smaller boats. 


1.Hartley 10 Dinghy


what sailing dinghy to buy
Image skyinternational.com


This is an easy to handle entry level dinghy and best suited for beginners. 


It comes with a single sail and is very manageable and forgiving on the waters so you won’t spend lot’s of time swimming. (we’ve all been there)


It’s also easy to sort if you capsize and it’s weight makes it easy to maneuver on shore. Another obvious benefit for rookies is the dinghy was designed with beginners in mind. 


You can sail with 1 or 2 people on it. Let’s look at the specifications: 


  • Max capacity - 2 people
  • Weight - 45kg
  • Beam - 1.28m 
  • Length - 2.94m
  • Main Sail Area - 3.7m²



Oh and the design means there are no lift handles to break (a pain on some other dinghies) 


What’s the cost of the Hartley 10 ?


A brand new harley 10 dinghy is approximately $4,130. You can find preowned versions for sale if buying it new is too expensive for you. 


Prices for a preowned version range from $1200 - $2500 but obviously you’ll see outliers in price based on condition etc. 


You can find pre owned boats in boating forums, or on hartleyboats.com in the pre owned section. 



2. Laser Pico Dinghy


racing dinghy
courtesy of Aquasail.com


Another entry level boat, this is well worthy of inclusion in the list of the best dinghies for beginners. 


With a high boom and a spacious cockpit, it’s great to learn on and is very popular in sailing schools around the world. 


When you buy this boat, it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect on any modern dinghy including: 


  • Boom
  • Rudder, Tiller, Tiller Extension
  • Hull
  • Mast Sections
  • Mainsail
  • Daggerboard 
  • All fittings (ropes etc)


It isn’t that difficult to get going on the water when you buy this either which also makes it a great boat to buy. 


Capable of holding up to 3 people, you can have lots of fun with your friends or family. Let's take a look at the specifications: 


  • Length - 11.75m 
  • Beam - 4.53m 
  • Sail Area - 55.33m²
  • Hull Weight - 154.3lb
  • Draft - 2.9m 
  • Jib Area - 11.73m²


What’s the cost of the laser pico dinghy?


A brand new laser pico will cost approximately $3,700. You can find a pre owned one on boat forums, craigslist, local sailing clubs etc. You can get a pre owned laser pico dinghy for approximately $1,700


As always, make sure you assess any pre owned dinghy in detail. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 


Laser dinghies offer a great resale value so keep this in mind when shopping for a boat too. 



Single Handed Dinghy


While the above dinghies are single handed, they are more beginner friendly. The next option are single handed dinghies with a beginner to intermediate level required to operate them (depending on model) 



RS Quba

sailboat purchase
Image courtesy of boatwork-ltd.com


Another option for beginner friendly boat is the RS Quba. With it’s spacious cockpit, it too is an easy to get started with boat. 


It comes with all the standard parts associated with dinghies including Boom, Rudder, Tiller, Tiller Extension,Hull,Mast Sections,Mainsail,Daggerboard , All fittings (ropes etc)


The specifications are as follows: 


  • Mainsail - 62 sq.ft
  • Jib area - 13 sq ft
  • Hull length - 11’7”
  • Beam width - 4’8”
  • Weight - 128lbs


Cost of RS Quba


To buying a brand new version of these will cost approx. $4200. You can get them second hand for approximately $1,500


This will obviously vary based on condition etc. but as we’ve stated throughout this article, make sure you inspect in dept the dinghy you plan on buying. 


RS Aero


purchase dinghy
Picture: sailboats.co.uk


This sailboat is one of the more expensive dinghy and ideal for those with some experience. .It’s also ridiculously light too with a hull weight of just 66lbs. 



It comes with: 

  • Stacking system 
  • Mast step 
  • Gunwale design 
  • Fine bow
  • Flat panel deck 
  • Dynamic 3 rig system 
  • Sails
  • Foils
  • Easy to fit out 


It also comes with all the other regular fittings you’d expect with a dinghy.



What are the specifications?

 

  • Length - 4m
  • Beam - 1.4m
  • Hull weight - 66lbs
  • Sail area - 5.2m²
  • Mast - 2 part carbon fibre 
  • Boom - carbon fibre with center mainsheet
  • Daggerboard
  • Control lines
  • Rudder Stock - Aluminium
  • Gopro bracket - carbon fibre 

What’s the cost of the RS Aero ?


Brand new can cost anywhere from $10,000 - $15,000 depending on model and extras you buy with it. You can get a preowned one for $5,000 to $7000. 


Double Handed Dinghy


The next sailboats on the market are the double handed dinghies. Let’s dig into some of the popular ones. 


RS 200

best dingy to buy
Image courtesy of rssailing.com


The RS200 comes with a spacious cockpit  for comfortable hiking. The strong hull ensures a long competitive life. 


The Thwart gives comfortable and light wind crew position and an open transom means the rs200 can self drain if it were to capsize. 


This is a double handed racing dinghy designed for moderate weight teams. 


Here is the spec list for it: 


  • Length - 4m 
  • Beam - 1.83m
  • Hull weight - 78kg
  • Sailing weight - 114kg
  • Sail area mainsail & jib - 11.52m²
  • Sail area (spinnaker) - 8.29m²
  • Polyester Hull Construction 
  • Foils
  • Fully battened mainsail

What's the price of the RS200?


A brand new rs200 will cost approx. $15,000-$20,000. Again, this will vary depending on spec and what extras you include. 


Pre owned cam come in around $10,000. Look at the simple hack below to find these at much cheaper prices. 


Dinghy Cruising Boats


Prefer a more chilled environment with your dinghy? Then you’ll want a cruising one where you can enjoy the scenery. 



Wayfarer


 

dinghy to buy
Photo: classic boat magazine



With stability in mind, this is the ideal option for just chilling and enjoying the area. It can take up to 6 people per trip, which means you can enjoy sailing on it with friends or family.


It can also be used by novices or experiences sailors making it the best of both worlds for everyone. 



This is the specifications on the Wayfarer: 

  • Length - 4.82m
  • Beam - 1.85m
  • Hull weight - 182kg
  • Main sail area - 8.83m²
  • Spinnaker Area - 13.5m²




How much is the Wayfarer? 

The price for a brand new wayfarer comes in at approximately $12,500. If you want a used one, it will cost you anywhere from $2,500 and up depending on condition, age, etc. 


You will find all pre owned wayfarer dinghies on boat forums, boat trader, or in Facebook groups so always be on the lookout for a deal. 


Shopping around for these boats is a great idea as they depreciate a lot so you can pick up a relatively good one at a fraction of the brand new retail price in good condition. 


Multi Hull Dinghy


Other popular dinghies are the multihulls in particular the challenger trimaran. 


Challenger Trimaran 

best dinghy
Credit : smalltrimarans.com



This boat is best for sailors with disabilities or who are older and aren’t as fit as they once were. 


The cost of these boats will vary from $5000 all the way up to $15k + depending on specifications. 




Dart 18

used sailing dinghy
credit : aplloduck.co.uk


It’s one of the cheaper options for those wishing to hit the water on a dinghy with a good conditioned used boat for $2,000 


This is certainly a more affordable option for those on a budget but want to experience the water. 



Pro tip for finding used dinghies to buy




When you are in the market and want a cheaper sailboat to buy, a great option is facebook groups. There are loads all over the world where people are selling their dinghies.


As you can see in the screenshot above, they are pretty easy to find, just type in a search in the search bar on facebook and filter by groups.  


The best part is you can really find some bargains in these groups which could potentially save you thousands of dollars. 


Again, as repeated throughout the article, please be cautious whenever you buy a pre owned boat and assess it thoroughly before handing over cash.

A word of caution

Before you ever buy a sailboat, make sure you test it out to ensure everything is in full working order. 


Have a deep look at important areas like the hull/sails, mast, sails, foils etc. People have been scammed in the past so do your due diligence when buying pre owned. 


Conclusion 


Throughout the article, we went through the best options available on the market today. Finding the right and best dinghy is a bit like buying your first car. 


Whether you are looking to buy a new pathfinder,  maverick boat, using some of the worlds best sailing yachts for inspiration on your next  purchase or simply want to buy a sailboat for racing, there are loads of options out there. 


There will be some boats better suited for beginners and others better for the more skilled sailor. Another key factor is also factoring in your budget and what you can afford to spend will obviously differ from person to person. 


Luckily, there are plenty of sailing clubs with access to dinghies so you can pretty much test out a bunch of them to see which you would like the best. 


This is your safest bet so you don’t have any nasty surprises when hitting the waters in your new boat for the first time. 


You can also see how the cost to buy a dinghy varies a lot based on size, quality etc. so do your homework before buying. 


We  would highly recommend that you “test drive” the dinghy before buying. You might have some resistance from people but simply move onto another seller if this is an issue. 


There will always be a dinghy to buy so don’t get married to one before testing it out thoroughly. 


Hopefully you have some fun on your quest to buying a new dinghy and when you do, feel free to send us photos of it on the water as we’d love to share it with our community. (only if you’re comfortable and give us permission of course)



Paul L

I enjoy blogging, business & sailing. From Ireland, I've loved sailing from a young age and love to hit the waters whenever I have time. You can check out more info in the about us section. Hopefully you're enjoying the site and if you have any questions, you can reach out (just subject the email with my name) so it'll get sent to me and I'll happily get back to you. Feel free to share photos and stories of your sailing experiences with us too