There are more flashy and many specifically well designed boats to sail but this early 1970s hard chine, lanteen rigged boat is perhaps the most affordable and inclusive one design sailboats ever built.
What is most impressive is that simple to rig and race such that juniors as young as 9 yrs old and seniors well into their 80s who weigh as little as105 lbs. to over 200 lbs. can compete at a world class level. No other singlehanded boat can so closely level the playing field, making age, gender and size relative non issues. Families have been doing this for over 40 years.
See Brilliant photos of how to rig a Sunfish
Pictured (left) is the 43rd Sunfish World Championship in 2013, (conditions were somewhat less conducive to everyday racing, but not too much for this boat 😉
The Sunfish Class provides perhaps the most widely attractive one design racing on a world class level.
As former world champions Eduardo Cordero and I feel compelled to support the Sunfish Class. particularly in that is how we met Aside from the competition, we both feel that many of our closest friends made over the years have become like family. Those relationships represent what Sunfish has meant to us and we hope that anything we might provide may help give others the opportunities the Sunfish Class has given us both.
Here is a link to the International Sunfish Class – sunfishclass.org
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.
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)
Mainsheet tension determines sail shape and/or 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: .
Always FOOT for Speed
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.
NOTE: Keep in mind the asymmetrical sail.