sunfish tacking technique

there is a thread now on the Sunfish Forum about the proper method to tack in a Sunfish.  novice and pro alike have offered their opinion, based on personal experience, from watching videos on Youtube, or by watching and learning from some of the Sunfish Worlds champions.

but no response has been nearly as good as this one, offered up by John Albrecht (or “Duckfat”) as “the only proper and true method” to tack a Sunfish:

1. Decide that for some reason that the direction you are currently sailing in is no good.
2. Brace your beer between your feet, amid the clutter of the mainsheet, beef jerky bags, and condom wrappers.
3. Look around to make sure there aren’t any waverunners bearing down on you. If there are, keep the pellet gun out of sight until they are within range.

1. Scream “LOOK OUT!” as a polite heads-up to your passenger(s).
2. Whip the tiller in one direction or another until the sail begins flopping wildly about.
3. Do not let the boom hit you in the head.
4. It’s important enough to list twice. Do not let the boom hit you in the head. And keep an eye on the beer cooler while you’re at it.
5. When the sail is flopping around on the other side of the boat and your passenger is sufficiently terrified, slide your ass to the side that isn’t dragging in the water.
6. Shout “NOW WE’RE SAILING!!” while awkwardly trying to change tiller and mainsheet hands. Get them caught on and wrapped around each other in the process.
7. Scull the rudder back and forth in a valiant attempt to get out of irons. Assure your passenger that this is how the pros do it.
8. When the wind has once again filled the sail (on the opposite side, otherwise what you just did wasn’t actually a tack), step on the mainsheet while you reach down and take a swig of that beer. Tacking is thirsty work. (Note: Occasionally a gust of wind will give you a rope burn on the bottom of your foot. This is normal.)
9. Have your passenger hand you another beer, then ask her why she still has that bikini top on. Ain’t no other boats round here.



9 Responses to “sunfish tacking technique”

  1. 1 Baydog June 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Where’s all this room in the Sunfish cockpit all of a sudden?

  2. 3 Jim B July 1, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I’ve raced with a passenger before. There actually is room. But tacking is pretty much moving the tiller and hoping two people are on the same side of the sail afterward.

  3. 5 Ol' Philosophizer July 1, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I know nothing about sailing, but reason number 9 has convinced me that I should give it a try. I guess that if you handle lines all of the time, you’re more apt to come up with some good ones.

  4. 6 Bonnie K. Frogma July 2, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Awesome. I am sending my sailing committee friends over here to learn how it’s really done.

    PS – I’m on my way up to Michigan for the 4th of July and Canoe-Buildin’ Uncles 80th birthday! Wish it was a longer visit, I’d ask you if you could point me to anywhere we could rent some dinghies for a daysail – I know my dad would be up for that, my mom might come along for the ride and then there are a few others in the Michigan clan who also sail. Unfortunately it’s just Wednesday through Sunday!

    • 7 my2fish July 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Bonnie, hope you enjoy your time here. I can dig on The Google for rental places, but I don’t really know any off hand. I hope to be on a lake for the 4th myself, sailing if the weather is nice!

      • 8 Bonnie K. Frogma July 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

        Only there from Wednesday afternoon through the weekend, wouldn’t be time for an expedition anyways. The Michigan clan owns a whole fleet of canoes and kayaks so if it’s pleasant we’ll probably end up doing something with those. Does look like nice weather up there for the holiday and the weekend!

  5. 9 Ante Mazalin | SailingEurope July 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I have sailed a couple of times with passengers, no biggie 🙂
    Cool blog btw

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