Buying a used boat is the easiest and quickest way to get on the ice. They can be found at local swap meets, a few marine retailers or on-line. (link to supplier/on-line listings) There are enough boats available on line that pricing is kept in check.
For cruising, you’ll enjoy just about anything as long as it’s not a pile of troubles. Similar to any used craft, look for rotted or cracked wood, rusted hardware, fraying sidestays, mildewed sails and bent runners. Most any problems can be repaired or replaced. Just know what you’re buying.
If you want to jump into racing right away, your best bet is to purchase a boat that has recently been campaigned. You get the assurance of knowing the pieces are all there and in working order. Ask the seller if there is anything on the boat that needs attention. As with any boat, there are items that gradually wear out, and most likely the seller will tell you.
If a new boat is in your budget, you have two choices – have it made for you or make it yourself. There aren’t many shops around that make DNs, but those that are in the business do a great job.
For those with an inkling to build a hull and plank themselves, basic plans can be found at idniyra.org for free or full-sized templates with instructions can be purchased at (link) Some sailors pool their energies and talents together to produce a group of boats as a team. They usually get together one night a week until completed.
Don’t underestimate the value of boat builders, sailmakers, retailers and service centers that support our sport. They make a huge contribution to our sport through new products, service that keeps us on the ice and information that makes us better competitors. (link to supplier list)