And I think the Hobie Getaway may be the one. I am married with three kids ages 11, 9, and 7. Two of the three currently sail and race Optimists, but their dad isn't too much of a sailor yet
We own a Sunfish, but it is too small to take out more than one kid with me. We previously owned a small keelboat (Precision 21) for a few seasons, but I found raising the mast a bit challenging when the kids were younger and needed a lot of attention from their mom while I rigged the boat.
I would like to encourage their interest in sailing as well as nurture my own. I am drawn to multihulls, particularly since my wife doesn't like boats that heel too much, and my kids want to go faster as they get older. The Getaway seems like a decent size to hold the whole family, but small enough to still be easy to rig and use. I am tempted by faster cats like the F-16s but realize that only two of us could go at a time on something like that. I realize that all boats have trade-offs of course, but it doesn't stop me from trying to the the "perfect" one. I like the Weta trimaran, but it seems to small for us and the Windrider seems cool for adventures but less appealing as a device to teach the kids how to sail.
I think racing as a family would be fun, but I don't know of many easy options for all of us to race on the same boat at once. Most of the one design racing nearby is for smaller crews (Stars, Penguins, Comets, Lasers) or larger ones (Log Canoes). I think the Viper 640 or other sportboat would be an option but that is getting expensive. Otherwise, perhaps we could get a couple of Penguins or Comets and divide into a couple of teams? I don't see us racing the Getaway though as there don't seem to be many multihull races nearby.
A few specific questions.
1. Would you recommend the trapeze kit for kids? I imagine it would be fun for them to try this option out.
2. How about a spinnaker? Should I wait a season or two to see how we like it first. Often there is fairly light air where we will sail, and the kids will be bored if we aren't moving at a decent clip.
3. I am leaning towards the mast stepper III for times when I might want to try single-handing. Is there a general consensus on this device?
4. Any other boats you can think of that would serve my family well?
Thanks for any advice.