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Old Aug 06, 2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 11290 View Post
As the title says, for a total newby to RC sailing, would the "experts" here recommend the Nirvana or the Vela. Not interested in the least in racing, just going out on the lakes to kill some time in my retirement.

I'm currently leaning toward the Vela just because of the increased size and my old tired eyes but the Nirvana is still fairly large enough to see at a distance. Have read through the threads on here for both and also the rcsails website.

I've never even seen an rc sailboat in person but am hoping to go to a lake on Monday that I've been told that 3 or 4 people will show. If this doesn't pan out, I may wait until I go back to Orlando in mid September as I am sure there is a lot of sailing there.

Thanks in advance for any help.

I don't think of a Vela as a first boat. I say this as they come with some inherent problems that to sort out require some experience and knowledge.
These issues are discussed in the Vela thread on this forum. If you are still interested in the Vela, reading the thread will be of interest to you.

There are few folks that will argue with the long held consensus that the Nirvana is the best starter boat.

There are of course many choices out there, each having it's own merits and short comings.

A first boat should be one that encourages the new sailor to want to get further into the hobby not discourage them. The Vela while and attractive boat, has issues that could turn a new sailor off. For a guy that is handy and has some knowledge of how sail boats work, it might be fine. If you buy one you should watch the sales at Tower so you don't have to pay top dollar for the boat. Best deal I have seen on one was last month at $249.99 from
Tower Hobbies. They lowered the price and had their membership discount going on. For that price it is a much better value than $350.

Dick L. often laments about boats the are advertised as RTS actually being "fixer uppers". His point is well made and valid. The reality is that many of those boats are indeed "fixer uppers". The Seawind comes as kit, and requires some finish work and electronics, but once set up, makes a fun boat to sail. I agree the rudder could be larger, but hey, not much is perfect.

The deal with the Nirvana is that it is "dirt" simple to put it together and take apart if that is needed for transport. Once together even out of proper sail tune, will sail pretty well. After very little sailing time, a new sailor is out there having a good time and enjoying the experience.

I usually like to ask new sailors a few questions - so I understand their budget, how handy they are, are they into assembling things, building things, their tastes as they relate to the look of a particular boat and so on.

Since these two boat fall into a similar price range we can deduce that your budget is around or up to the price of Vela. This puts a number of other boats in the running.

There are the Hobby King boats which are very inviting because of their very low purchase price. Countless pages have been written on their two most popular models the Phantom and the Monsoon. Both run around $100 + shipping cost - they need a radio and receiver and battery holder. Once a few well known tweaks have been done, either can make a good first boat.

There is the venerable Victoria, with a kit going for under $100, once completed makes a very nice boat. There is the Micro Magic 21" racing boats - bit pricey but a very good sailing boat.

I can go on, but the more choices the more confusing it can become. In a "nut shell", you won't loose with a Nirvana ll.

If it turns out you don't like RC sailing as much as you had hoped, a Nirvana in good condition, is easy to sell!

The bigger question should be what color Nirvana should you get?

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Last edited by Boomer1; Aug 06, 2011 at 04:01 PM.
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