How to Rig a Sunfish – by Eduardo
106″-107″ measured upwards on the upper spar starting at the point where the black cap meets the upper spar on the bottom. Lowering halyard location raises the height of the boom above the deck. This adds power to the sail. Increasing the distance from the bottom to the halyard location will do the opposite. Make sure the line does not slip. Apply electrical tape on top of it.
* In light air, do not over tighten the halyard because it may cause the mast to twist.
Measure 160″ on the upper spar starting at the point where the black cap meets the spar on the bottom and tie the head of the sail in this position. Keep the luff loose, so you have power for sailing downwind, especially in light air.
You can set the gooseneck between 12″ and 22″ but I recommend starting at 14″ or 16” from the point where the black cap meets the boom at the front.
- Locate Outhaul Cleat on starboard side of the boom at 64” (from the front of cleat to where the front end cap meets the spar.)
- Locate Cunningham cleat on bottom of the boom at 41” (from the front of the cleat to where front the end cap meets the spar.)
Aluminum cleats with roller fairlead work better. Use a thimble where you tie the loops on both controls, so it makes the line running smoother. Spray Mclube or dry lubricant on the spars. Do not spray Mclube on the gooseneck area (boom and mast)
Mainsheet: 33 feet of ¼ for light air or 5/16 for medium/heavy wind. 5/16 will be better as all-purpose line. (Polypropylene line with spectra core. e.g. Yale light, rooster ropes, or ultra light Samson.) My choice; ¼ rooster ropes. Don’t use polyester or dacron lines. They are heavier and soak a lot of water. Halyard: 24 feet of 3/16” or 1/8” spectra 100% ( AmSteel 12 – Samson) or any line with polyester cover and spectra or dynema core. …My choice would be 1/8 spectra, but it’s very skinny, so it’s hard to tighten.
Outhaul: 25 feet of 7/64’’ spectra or dynema line (AmSteel 12 – Samson)
Cunningham: 15 feet of 7/64’’ spectra or dynema line (AmSteel 12 – Samson)
Replace sail clips with the 1,75 mm or 2,5 mm 100% spectra line. Leave 1/16″ or more of a gap between the spars and the sail grommets. Leave a bigger gap where the halyard is tied on the upper spar. Use longer sail ties (twice around the spars) on the clew tie-down, head, cunningham grommet and tack.
* important: Replace supplied tiller extension with an longer one (about 42 inches)
First of all, consider the four (4) primary adjustments to your rig/sail as wind conditions change.
Mainsheet tension determines sail shape and/or power.
- Be mindful of over trimming the mainsheet. Tight trim will flatten the sail and tighten the leech; help pointing but stall much more quickly.
- Make sure the leech stays open enough to “breath for speed” when needed.
- The outhaul and cunningham are fine adjustments of sail shape
- For maximum power, ease both the Cunningham and outhaul.
- For flat water, you can apply tension to the outhaul to point higher.
- For choppy conditions, ease for power.
Heel the boat to leeward to promote weather helm. Set gooseneck around 14-16 inches.
Sit forward to lift the stern of the boat but be aware of your own weight; you don’t want the bow to dip under water.
Apply maximum tension on the mainsheet. If you have trouble pointing, mainsheet tension might be needed.Both Cunningham and outhaul are adjusted according to wind strength and waves.
– More tension on the outhaul than on the cunningham if sailing in flat water.
– More tension on the cunningham than on the outhaul if sailing in choppy water.
Boat Heel/ Trim
Keep the boat flat (Hike first, then think sail controls for de-powering)
If the if the boat heels, it will create weather helm. Remember that you can balance your boat (decrease weather helm) by moving the gooseneck back.
Use more Boom-vang if you have to ease the mainsheet when the waves cause the boat to loose speed. Vang is the best way to: .
- Keep tension on the leech.
- Keep the sail flat by pre-bending the spars.
Always FOOT for Speed
- if the waves are high. Pinching will reduce boat speed, and speed generates lift
- in fresh breeze the net effective lift is favorable
Flat water: Sit forward or about 1 or 2 inches from the cockpit’s forward edge.
If it choppy, sit back to lift the bow until you feel confident about both helm and boatspeed. The sunfish hull is very low above the water, so at this point avoid dipping. Torque body fore and aft according to the waves.
Trim mainsheet according to puffs.
- The lighter you are, the more you have to “feather” the sail (or helm) to keep helm (and heeling) under control. Pull outhaul, cunningham and boom-vang tight to de-power the rig
- Adjust gooseneck according to your body weight (around 19-20 to 22 inches).
- If you are using a “Jens rig”, you can set the gooseneck to 17-18 inches.
NOTE: Keep in mind the asymmetrical sail.
- You can always trim the mainsheet harder on port tack (medium & heavy wind).
- On starboard, be aware how much mainsheet tension you have, especially in heavy wind.
- The boat sails faster on starboard tack in light air, but since the sail is fuller, it is more difficult to control in heavy wind.
- The opposite is true when sailing in port tack.
- Hike real hard to keep the boat flat>> in flat water sit around 3 inches from the forward edge of the cockpit. Move further back in choppy water.