U20 Class Member's Forum

General Category => U20 General Discussion => Topic started by: John Pane on January 08, 2019, 04:06:26 PM

Title: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: John Pane on January 08, 2019, 04:06:26 PM
I have been away from sailing for a very long time, and want to get back to it. We live in a community in Vermont that borders Lake Champlain, and, in fact, access to sailing was a factor in that choice. But that was in 1985, and we moved here with two kids under age 2, and life intervened.
I grew up sailing my Sunfish on Long Island Sound, as well as friends' Rhodes 19's. In the late 70's I bought a great boat, a Dyas, and sailed it extensively. You probably have never heard of the Dyas, but it was quite advanced for its time. A 23' German keel boat with a trapeze, it had a rolled furling jib and a spinnaker launching tube. Fast and fun!
Last year I made a tentative return to sailing with a fairly hot sailing dinghy, a Raider ll Turbo. Nice boat, but not the right choice for me at age 71. I am quite fit, and walk up our small local "mountain" (Mt Philo) 3 times a week. The small sportboats, like Viper or VX1, look like they would just be a larger version of my experience on the Raider. The Ultimate 20 looks like a good compromise, fast, but less demanding physically, and more comfortable. Or am I misreading the padding on the lifelines in the cockpit area.
One more factor, I want to be able to go out single handed most of the time, but have the ability to take a few others out a times.
Thanks for any and all advice.
Best wishes, John
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: Tac Boston on January 08, 2019, 09:48:53 PM
Good day Europa

I have sailed all of the options you mention and the U-20 is for sure the "easiest" to sail. By that I mean least physical of them all. I am lucky to sail a bunch of different boats like the J-70, Melges 20/24, Viper and VX. For everyday sailing including beer can racing the U-20 is the best bang for buck. Sure the other boats are maybe a bit fast or have huge fleets if you travel but the U-20 is fantastic and the U-20 sailors are a great group of people that are always helpful if you have questions.

I like the so much I acquired another this past summer.
Tac Boston
Flyer #28
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: Chris Chambers on January 08, 2019, 11:09:41 PM
Hi Eurpoa!

+1 to Tac's comments.  I have not sailed as many boats as he, but by far, the most fun I have had sailing is on the U20.  I single hand mine often and yes, it is quite comfortable and dry (the lip on the hull deck joint helps knock down the bow spray in a breeze).  One of our local U20's had slugs installed on his main sail to east the hoist and douse, which I thought was a good idea for single handed sailing.  Another point you (and friends) will find nice is the stability of the boat as you board. 

I run mine with just a 2.5hp Yamaha and it's all the boat needs.  And of course the ramp launching is super nice.  Looking at what $15K buys you today at the boat show vs a U20 and it's an impressive value. 

You are close enough to Tac and the Detroit fleet to have some good road trips if you are so inclined!

Good Luck!
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: John Pane on January 09, 2019, 12:05:20 AM
Thank you Tac for the enthusiastic recommendation, especially in light of your wide experience. Just the kind of feedback I need.
Thank you Chris for the equally positive review, and additional info.
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: Mike Rizza on January 25, 2019, 04:36:43 PM
John, I bought a new U20 back in 1996 which I sold around 2002/3 (with much regret). I replaced it with a Johnson 18 (a surfboard with a sail and a real knee killer) and then a Laser Stratos Keel (a nice boat but too small for me). I have since bought back my original Ultimate 20 after realizing how much I missed sailing it and how right the boat was for me. I bought the boat back about about a year ago but havenít sailed it yet. I have a house in Hague on the North end of Lake George. Iím getting the boat ready to hopefully sail it frequently this year. Iím 66 years old and believe the U20 is an ideal boat for all age sailors but especially for us more senior sailors that want comfort along with performance. If your interested in a test sail we might be able to connect. My phone number is 845-742-8439. Mike Rizza
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: John Pane on January 25, 2019, 11:26:34 PM
Thanks for the reply and the offer. I have a good friend at Huletts Landing. When do you start your sailing season?
Best wishes,
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: Mike Rizza on January 26, 2019, 03:47:33 PM
John, I start going up in the beginning of April and will be there pretty much full time thru October. Our docks go in the week before Memorial Day and we hope to have the U20 in within a couple of weeks of that. Letís keep in touch and can fine tune schedule in April. Mike
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: PurpleOnion on February 04, 2019, 02:36:52 PM
My sailing background is somewhat similar - only much more time on the Great South Bay than the Sound.  When I got back into sailing after many years, I spent a lot of time looking around and sailing various boats.  The larger and older keelboat designs didn't do it for me.  A little too slow, too much overhead in keeping them functional (cost, time, things that break, etc.), and, for me, not enough fun. The VX-one was/is a hell of a ride, but it was too aggressive for the wife, and not the best or easiest way to get back into sailing.  The U20 was a great compromise. It's quick, nimble, and with enough breeze, will get up and get running.  If you push it, you get rewarded every time. If you dial it back, you have a stable platform for you and some friends to enjoy a few beverages or grab a snack as you cruise.  The one thing I note is that even when I'm "taking it easy", I seem to be passing the other 20+ foot boats in the club.

All of the systems are simple and straight forward and maintenance is relatively low.  Others, with greater skills/experience, may disagree but it's not the easiest boat to single hand.  However, I can take complete newbies out and get the boat moving 10+ knots downwind without any drama.  Again, others can probably do this singlehanded, but I'm not there yet.  As long as I can find a semi-protected area to douse the main, I'll go out singlehanded in up to 15 knots of wind.  Reefing the main is essential for me.  Others may not need to, but keeps the boat more controllable and balanced for me when I'm out by myself.

There are probably better, cheaper, easier solutions, but I purchased this to hold the tiller in place and it works reasonably well.
I bought it on some kind of sale for <$50.  The current $115 price seems ridiculous. On the same site is this one:
for $27 that's probably as good or better.
Also,  I'll bet that $5 worth of shock cords will probably do fine as well, but I haven't experimented yet. 

The other thing to note is that where I sail, there's typical 2-4 waves/chop and a decent current.  I'm going to guess you don't have to contend with that on the lake which should make it easier.

Good luck and go with the U20.  As others have noted, it's a great boat and this community is available and supportive.

Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: John Pane on February 05, 2019, 03:40:22 AM
Rob C,
Thank you for the very encouraging information. I had looked into the only U20 "close" to me, but it had been sold only a few days earlier, after being for sale since Jun e. Poor timing.
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: Scott Gammon on March 10, 2019, 05:36:24 PM
Hi Europa,

I think that I'm the new owner of the U20 that had been for sale since June. . . If you are ever in Ontario, near Toronto/Hamilton, get in touch and we can go out on Lake Ontario together.
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: Scott Gammon on May 12, 2019, 01:05:06 AM
If you are still looking, this one is for sale in the Montreal area. . .


Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: David Krausz on May 12, 2019, 02:11:36 PM
Hi John,
Adding to what others have said:   some of the things that attracted me to the U20 was that it didnít require someone to be athletic.  There are no foot straps and there is no extreme hiking.  Nor is it needed.  Padding on the lifelines is a comfortable feature.  Another convenient feature is that there is a belowdecks to store items for longer trips (even for overnight camping) or a place for women to find some privacy to relieve themselves while on the water. This was critical for me as my boat partner was a female and weíd sail in day-long regattas.   It is also a very dry boat. I sailed on San Francisco Bay regularly in 18kts of breeze and nobody gets wet except for the feet of the people hiking out.  Anyone with feet inboard stays completely dry.   The U20 also doesnít require more than 1 person to know much about sailing in order to sail.  There is no need to find rockstar sailors to go out and have a good time.   Single handing the U20 while cruising is quite doable.   Even when racing, I am comfortable single handed upwind in <12knts and downwind with the spinnaker in <8knts.  Finally, if you are into racing, it is a very competitive boat in PHRF given wind conditions above 5knts.  If you do want to get the boat going on a plane, in my opinion, you will need crew.
Title: Re: Is U20 right choice for me?
Post by: John Pane on May 13, 2019, 11:45:12 PM
Tinfoil, thanks for the link. I am currently in the process of trying to sell my raider and actually have a prospect. I can move on after that.
David, thanks for adding more positive feedback on the Ultimate 20.