sailing log: October Sunfish sailing

right now it is cold and drizzling rain outside – the kind of weather where you just want to sit inside with the fireplace crackling and have a football game on the TV. but during the early part of October, we had some incredible warm weather days – and one weekend when T2 was home from college for the weekend, he and I took a short drive to sail a bit on Sunday afternoon at nearby Ford Lake. windfinder was predicting wind speeds in the mid-teens and air temps were in the low 80’s.

there were a couple boats out on the lake, but the boat ramp was pretty empty, so we just pulled up our trailer near the ramp, used the PVC dolly to take the Minifish and Sunfish down to the water and rigged up the sails. T2 set off sailing first while I finished getting my Sunfish set up, but I followed him towards the southeast end of the lake – it almost seemed like we had the lake entirely to ourselves.

we both turned around and ran with the wind at our backs for a long stretch, following the lake up towards the northwest. I cut my run shorter than T2 – he elected to go all the way around the small island in the lake. after that we zig-zagged back upwind, tacking back and forth making our way back towards the boat ramp. at one point, I saw a bald eagle soaring along the lake’s coastline! I’ve never seen a bald eagle this far south in Michigan.

I got a nice shot of my newer Allen ratchet block in action, with a gybe-ho sticker on display on my daggerboard.

I recently updated my everyday watch (I broke the glass screen on my apple watch), so opted this time for a Garmin GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 55. overall, I’m loving it – the GPS feature for tracking activities like hiking, biking, etc is fantastic, and the Garmin Connect app is really amazing. and the battery lift is amazing – I can go days, even weeks w/o charging, can sleep with the watch on so that it tracks my sleep patterns, where with the apple watch I had to charge almost every night.

for sailing, I select “other” as the activity on the watch itself, wait for it to sync with GPS, and then hit “go” to track the sailing activity. after completing the sailing and syncing the watch with the Connect app, you can then go into the activity and edit the type from “other” to “sailing”, and it will update the data to show speed in knots and total distance sailed in nautical miles.

is that little switch to knots and nautical miles necessary? no… but I like it. not sure that the calorie count is all that accurate for this activity, though…

usually my September and October weekends are pretty booked with kid’s soccer games and yardwork and house projects, and the weather doesn’t usually cooperate either – so I’m not sure I’ve sailed much past the 1st or 2nd weekend of September very much, and I’m 100% certain I’ve never sailed my Sunfish in October before. it was a great day for it, though, and I’m really glad that T2 and I took advantage of the Indian summer weather to get out on the water one last time for the year.

catch the trade winds

a builder update from Laser Performance

the latest issue of the Sunfish Class “Windward Leg” had an interesting update from the manufacturer of the Sunfish sailboat:

Brand new Sunfish boats manufactured at the LaserPerformance LDA facilities in Setubal, Portugal being inspected and boxed for shipment to the U.S.

LaserPerformance faced considerable headwinds in 2020. A combination of Covid-19 lockdown and supply chain disruptions curtailed Sunfish plans for continuous supply, growth and expansion. In 2021 the primary goal has been to get back on track. Last year LaserPerformance LDA successfully established manufacturing facilities in Setubal, Portugal. They also put into place technical teams for production, product development and quality and compliance. Sunfish hull production started this year in Setubal with one shift and, as of June, they have added a second shift to meet forecasted demand. The goal of meeting Sunfish boat construction standards has been attained. For the remainder of the year, priority will be given to bringing further design and quality improvements to the boat. To this end, the LP Team in Portugal is working closely with the Sunfish Class to incorporate their feedback and sailor experiences into the continuous improvement process.

LaserPerformance LDA also has an initiative to identify local and reliable vendors for Sunfish parts and accessories. LaserPerformance LDA aims to have all Sunfish boat parts sourced locally before the end of the year so that it can ship “a Sunfish in a box” to customers around the world and get parts to customers more rapidly. Equally important to LaserPerformance LDA is its commitment to seeking every available opportunity to introduce sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in all its activities and is excited by prospects for development and growth of the Sunfish.

Sunfish parts and new boats have been hard to get from suppliers… it’ll be interesting to see if this new build location will improve the Sunfish parts supply chain.

sunfish pvc dolly – handle upgrades

I love when I get feedback from fellow Sunfish sailors after they build their own Sunfish PVC dolly, more or less following the Sunfish PVC dolly plans that I posted several years ago. often they mention little tweaks here and there, but now Mark has made some major improvements and we both thought it would be great to share them with the rest of the Sunfish sailing community. here are a few of his modifications:

  • modified the handle attachment to use hitch pins to allow the handle to be removable (major upgrade!)
  • adjusted the axle design so that instead of a long threaded rod, you can use short bolts instead
  • the axle design changes allow you to widen the dolly width (so as to not be limited by the length of threaded rod you can easily source)
  • changed to all stainless steel hardware to allow use in saltwater environments
  • added bunk supports to keep the dolly bunks from dragging

Mark put together a very thorough blog post that outlines his ideas and directions on how to tweak my dolly plans to incorporate his changes. if you’re interested in his improvements, check out his blog post and his very detailed instructions.

Mark’s handle connection and bunk supports
Mark’s hitch pin handle connection

my2fish blog birthday: 12 years

twelve years. the length of time I’ve been blogging about Sunfish sailing.

anyway, thanks again to all of you who follow along and pretend to read my posts, and extra special thanks to those of you brave enough to make a comment or two. [once upon a time, in a land far far away, Baydog used to comment a lot… ]

I’ve had fun blogging, sailing, and blogging about sailing, and hope to keep doing it for the near future!

cheers, my2fish

50th annual world’s longest Sunfish race

late notice, but for those in the New York or east coast area, this weekend is the 50th anniversary of the world’s longest Sunfish race – a race around Shelter Island, NY.

As the crow flies, the nautical distance around Shelter Island, starting and finishing at Southold Yacht Club, is 21.3 miles. Since crows don’t tack, however, it is estimated that the distance for the average race sailed over the years is the equivalent of a nautical marathon (approximately 26 miles).

Southold Yacht Club – 165 N. Parish Drive, Southold, NY 11971

Saturday, July 10, 2021

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this unique nautical marathon, Southold Yacht Club is pulling out all the stops. Sunfish singles and doubles fleets for both youth and adults will start together but be scored separately for awards purposes. Awards for first 10 finishers, adult doubles, youth doubles, and more! The title sponsor of the 50th Race is Laser Performance. They are donating one new Sunfish sailboat and two Sunfish racing sails which will be raffled off at the awards ceremony. Each sailors will get one free raffle ticket with registration. No additional raffle tickets will be sold. The odds are in your favor! Beach party and awards follow a beautiful day on the Bay!

photo via Southold Yacht Club

notice of race can be found here: NOR (.pdf file) and online registration is here at Regatta Network.

swag for/from the event can be bought online here.

Lee Montes has a “preparation” video he recently posted to get you ready for this race:


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