in a sailor’s life, there comes a point in time where a decision must be made: do I want to race my sailboat competitively? the issue for me, having a Sunfish sailboat, is that to race competitively in class-legal events, it would require a significant cost investment. the Sunfish Class has rules that apply at any class-legal racing event – rules in regards to sail manufacturer, sailboat hardware measurements, etc. as my initial interest was mainly as a hobby, I bought my boat(s) as they seemed nice and appeared to be sea-worthy, without thought/care/consideration for the rules & requirements that might apply down the road.
but, if I were to join the Sunfish class (I haven’t even done that yet!), and my Sunfish were up to spec, then there are several Sunfish regattas in the Midwest that I could trailer over to participate in, and I’m sure have a great time with fellow lovers of the ‘Fish (like this one I watched and photographed in September). as I seem to have trouble convincing my friends how much fun it is to sail, maybe that might be a good option to consider. I think I might be in a bit of luck, though, in that the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (I haven’t joined this one either!), holds several races over the course of the summer, and they are a bit more relaxed on the class rules, probably a bit more family-focused, and have several camping trips scheduled around racing weekends as well.
to break down some of the costs I’d be looking at for the two options:
- Sunfish Class: $35 yearly
- Sunfish racing sail (class-legal, Laser Performance): $462
- FRP(or GRP?) Sunfish daggerboard (supposed to be amazing): $357
OR… going the alternate, cheaper & recreationally-inclined route:
- Greater Detroit Sunfish Club: $40 yearly
- Sunfish practice racing sail (by Intensity Sails): $149.99
- Replica FRP Sunfish daggerboard (also by Intensity Sails): $159.99 (on sale now)
class-legal: ~$850, and it doesn’t include new lines and a new ratchet block for my mainsheet.
recreational: ~$350, IF I want to upgrade to the racing sail and racing daggerboard. granted, if I wanted to keep using my old sail and current wooden daggerboard for a while racing in the club, that would be even less expensive.
being mostly self-taught at this point, not really up to speed on the rules of racing, and skippering a 40-yr old overweight beast of a Sunfish, I think I’d be a bit foolish at this point to dive right into the class-legal side of things. I think that this next summer will be a good gauge, as I continue to try to improve my current Sunfish (drying it out, leak test, maybe new lines & a new practice race sail?), as well as get a better handle on how often I can squeeze in sailing days with my 3 boys constantly craving a master Lego craftsmen and wrestling partner to keep them occupied!
and I think that over time, as I hopefully sail more and more, and get my boys sailing more and more as they grow older – when the time comes to switch to class-legal sailing, at that point, it will probably be in our best interest to upgrade to a new(er) boat that is already class-legal, and not a dinosaur like I currently have!
for now, I get to just dream of these things – we have a few inches of snow on the ground, and I just saw that the weather man says a “major freeze” is coming our way. it makes is so difficult to read the blogs of other sailors in warmer climates as they enjoy the sun, the surf, the wind – all while my wife throws on our giant down comforter and keeps sneaking to nudge the thermostat up a notch or two.
ps. sorry about the long delay between posts – been busy with the usual hectic life around the holiday season, and am spending a lot of my free time down in my workshop, crafting a wine cabinet/sideboard out of cherry – a gift for my wife.