National 12 - find out more...

Quote of the weekend

Started by David Copse, 11 Mar 2018, 02:48

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David Copse

I was talking to someone yesterday who said "I had a National 12 once, but didn't keep it long. It was surprising how nice an Enterprize was to sail after that". I have not sailed an Enterprise, so cannot comment. Am I missing out?  ???
3457 Ebba


In my opinion, and without resorting to rude adjectives to describe the Ent, no you are not missing anything. In the National Twelve we have the best two sail, small dinghy around.
But I guess we are all entitled to our own opinion. 



I have sailed both enterprises and 12s.
The great thing about sailing is that people get a great deal of different things out of sailing. I myself can't see any reason to sail an Enterprise rather then a 12, but then when you see the numbers of lasers sailed perhaps my views do not reflect the majority!

All smoke and Mirrors. N2153, 2969, 3411

David Copse

And there are many more Enterprises than there are National 12s. In the aviation world, the most popular aircraft by far is the ubiquitous Cessna 172, which is renowned for having very pedestrian handling characteristics. But that is not why people buy them; they are well built, safe and easy to fly. Tweaked only slightly since 1955, it is the most successful aircraft in history. High performance aerobatic aircraft are on the other hand, relatively rare; owned by enthusiasts seeking immediate response to light, accurate control inputs.

So where does the National 12 fit in? It is not perceived to be as exciting as the current generation of asymmetric skiffs and yet considered by some to be demanding to sail and unforgiving. A boat limited to devoted enthusiasts perhaps?

The same gentleman, who said to me that he preferred the sailing characteristics of Enterprises to the National 12, also said that he didn't think the N12 would last more than a few more years. His rationale was that development had taken the N12 too far (referring to winged rudders), and that development should have been restricted to hull design.

I didn't know the individual or his experience, but it was interesting to listen to someone who had a National 12 and preferred not to sail it. Is the National 12 a boat for enthusiasts seeking two-sail excitement, or is it a boat for everyone?

My own reasons are because Rowan and I are too light for most boats and I think the National 12 (especially Ebba) is aesthetically pleasing. The fact it is also responsive and rewarding to sail (now that we can mostly keep it the right way up) is an unexpected bonus.
3457 Ebba

Alistair Edwards

I learned to sail in an Enterprise and enjoyed the experience.

I made the move to a National 12 because in light winds on our section of the tidal Thames N12s are able to make progress when the Enterprises are not moving.

The N12 is a more 'lively' boat than the Enterprise and requires a higher level of skill as they are more tippy than the relatively stable Enteprise hull.
N3517 Carbon Paw Print (Big Issue 2)
N2903 Maxim (Paper Dart)
Previously N3143 Catatonic (Tigress)


Ents are ok: not many thrills, but not many spills.  Obviously nothing like as much raw fun as an N12!  The real difference is that Ents (and most dinghy classes) have been designed to appeal to a broad range of sailors and abilities and Nationals have been designed to win the Burton Cup.  Not too surprising there are more Enterprises!   Dave

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