Hello Blaze gods and goddesses
I have returned to dinghy sailing after (too) many years away and am trying to make up for lost time. I kept myself fit windsurfing (and racing) for 24 years and then triathlon for the past 10 years, but learnt to sail in West Wales in my teens on my Dad’s Enterprise, an Optimist and Toppers.
I am 50 next year, 5ft 11 and weigh 71kgs and have joined my local sailing club in Portsmouth, which sails on the tidal estuary of Langstone Harbour. I am very keen on racing and am very much feeling my way back into the scene - I am using the club’s very “tub-like” RS Feva at the moment but it’s not much fun watching the fast fleet disappearing every weekend and having to sail shorter courses. My endurance and cardio fitness are good from 4 years of Ironman training, my flexibility and coordination are fine for my age and strength is my winter target.
So, if possible, I’m after some advice on a possible future dinghy purchase. Having been recently overpowered in the beginnings of a F4 due to the inability to change the power of the sail, I’m interested in boats with control lines to prevent this feeling.
I was initially interested in the RS Aero 7 and Devoti D-Zero as they were light, able to be put on a roof rack, easy to launch and recover on my own, be more comfortable and modern than a Laser.
However, my focus then switched to the mighty Blaze! It looks like a great boat, with plenty of rig control, good width, the wings for more moment, the Fire sail, the centreboard - ah, the centreboard! Then I noticed the Supernova - smaller sail (plus even smaller small sail) (but less moment), beautiful boat (saw the stunning “Ghost Rider” for sale recently), plenty of control too, a good CA web site with lots of info and support, big Nationals turnout, but no 2nd hand Mk2s and a daggerboard.
Having mentioned this to our dinghy captain, after a laugh about jumping from a Feva straight onto a Blaze, she suggested I find a cheap Laser Radial to get back into racing rather than the overly-big step straight up to a Blaze. There are 35 Lasers at our small club (and one Mk2 Blaze) so it is indeed worth considering. But do I want the discomfort and future knee problems?
So, I was wondering (if you have read this far, then thank you), what your two pennies’ worth might be, please? I have heard back from Ben Harden about “Blaze life” (“don’t go straight out in 18kt+ winds!”), plus I have a Blaze to look at and a promise of a trial at my club, and might travel to the Cotswolds to try a Supernova at some point. However, do I go down the well-worn Laser step first, for perhaps a year, and then have to sell it, or do I give myself a challenge and jump straight to a Hartley boat? And if the latter, Blaze vs Supernova? Both fiery prospects! My budget won’t ever stretch to a brand new boat but, after selling my triathlon bike, I should be able to afford a good Mk3 Blaze or Mk2 Supernova should one come up for sale in the future (£6-£7k).
Sorry for the long spiel but it would be great to hear from you, please, the assembled speedy cognoscentI!
Thanks very much in advance for your help with this.
Buy a Blaze, no contest. I had both for a season, Blaze for the costal holiday club and a Supernova for my inland home club.I simply didn't get on with the Supernova and sold it the same year. The Blaze is a joy to sail and you dinghy captain is dead wrong about jumping straight into one. I'm 20 years older than you, 5' 6" and 78kg. I too stared in an Oppi and my dads Ent at 11 YO and raced windsurfers (Div 1 and Raceboards) fairly seriously for 25 years but am nowhere near your level of fittness. I was out in 25 knots last week in the Blaze, a windsurfing mate bought a Blaze last year as his first dinghy and is progressing fine. The Fire sail is lovely to use but if you pick your weather you'll be fine on the full rig despite being a little on the light side. As I said, buy a Blaze it's a lovely, well mannered and entertaining boat to sail in all conditions.