upgrades for a Minifish

the recent addition of a Minifish to our fleet required some minor upgrades to make it a little bit easier for my boys to sail. typically with an older Sunfish style boat, it is almost always a good idea to get rid of the old style of mainsheet control, a snub-nosed hook on the wall of the cockpit.

a few recommended upgrades to consider (in no specific order):

  1. a mainsheet ratchet block
  2. a cleat for the mainsheet
  3. a mast cleat
  4. a hiking strap
  5. a tiller extension

our Minifish already had a decent hiking strap, but the other upgrades should be simple enough.

the mast cleat is a horn cleat, screwed onto the mast a couple feet above the deck.  I typically use stainless steel screws, with small pilot holes drilled into the mast.  a small dab of 3m 4200 or caulk helps seal everything up.  the mast cleat allows the majority of the tension on the halyard (the line holding up the sail) to be resisted by the strong aluminum mast, and more importantly – it doesn’t put that very large tension force on the fiberglass deck of the boat.  important note: you should still run the tail of the halyard down through the fairlead on the deck and cleat off the line.  this will prevent the entire sail/mast/booms from falling away from the boat if you do end up tipping over and turtling the boat.

minifish mast cleat_2

the mainsheet controls (a ratchet block and a cam cleat) are a little bit trickier to install on a Minifish, as the cockpit is a bit different style of construction than a Sunfish – there is not a cockpit lip that gives easy access to the underside of the fiberglass at that location.  so you will have to install an inspection port somewhere in close proximity to where you’ll be placing your mainsheet controls. I chose to cut mine in on the deck, off to the side of the daggerboard slot. depending on where you cut the deck, you may run into some of the flotation foam blocks that stiffen the deck – removing a small portion to give you access should not be a concern.

minifish port_2

for the mainsheet ratchet block, I bought a Holt Nautos 57mm block from Intensity Sails.  add a stand-up spring and an eyestrap, and screw it down through the deck – some larger fender washers below the deck are a good idea to help spread out the load.

minifish mainsheet block_2

on the front edge of the cockpit, I install a cam cleat, a Harken H150, in the same location where the old snub-nosed hook used to be.  I like this location for a cam cleat, as it is not really practical to cleat off the mainsheet while hiking out and sailing with decent winds.  but in a lighter breeze, it does give you the option to cleat the mainsheet and grab a drink or just float along one those calmer days.

minifish cleat

lastly, I replaced the old wooden tiller extension with a Ronstan Battlestick.  theses newer tiller extensions have a rubber universal joint – which allows for more degrees of freedom while holding the tiller extension.  the old wooden ones just fastened to the tiller with a single bolt, only really allowing left/right movement.

minifish tiller ext

all told, there are mostly easy and simple upgrades that will make a Minifish (or similarly for a Sunfish) a much nicer sailing experience!

and the end result? happy boys sailing the Minifish!

Noah minifish





13 Responses to “upgrades for a Minifish”

  1. 1 linda March 23, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    might you have an idea where I can find MINIFISH Stickers??? the internet is dry….


    • 2 my2fish March 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      linda, do you want stickers for the boat or a minifish insignia for the sail? stickers you might have to get a sign shop make for you. sail insignia you can make yourself with sail insignia cloth, as long as you have a pattern to follow from an old Minifish sail logo.


  2. 3 John Mulholland October 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Very nice work , I was planning on making a list for upgrades. This solved my wish list in one read. Thanks
    Maybe one more, any idea how to make a minifish logo for a sail and material to use?
    Thanks again


    • 4 my2fish October 3, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      John, you can make a logo using insignia cloth. I have a post on my blog for making one for a Sunfish. Tricky part would be getting the Minifish logo if you don’t have an old sail to copy or trace.


  3. 5 John Mulholland October 3, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    All any ideas for stickers for the hull


  4. 7 Jim Bosman July 13, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Do you know what length of battlestick tiller extensions you are using on your Sunfish and Minifish? Same length on both boats or? I see Intensity has a 33″ and a 49″.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 9 Matt Callahan May 10, 2021 at 12:17 am

    In regards to the inspection port. Where is the foam exactly in relation to the hole you made? I’d like to cut into as little of foam as possible, so I’d like to know whether to move left or right or forward or back from the location you used. Thanks so much in advance.


    • 10 my2fish May 10, 2021 at 6:24 am

      Matt, the foam was on the left in my case, so you’d have to shift the hole closer to center. Removing a little of the foam is really not a big deal, though.


  6. 11 Karl August 31, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    Great read and pleased to see a 6 plus year old blog still active! Found a Minifish locally that’s original and spouse wants for cottage. Concerned with her and friend hauling a 130# sunfish. The upgrades appear to be a real plus for ease of use. Did you use a 4″ or 6″ inspection port?


    • 12 my2fish August 31, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Karl, I typically use 5″ inspection ports. look on my blog for the PVC dolly I made – that might make moving it around easier.


      • 13 Karl August 31, 2022 at 4:46 pm

        Thanks for info-have large paws. Saw PVC dolly several days ago-did not realize same blogger. Have seawall on Lake Huron. 2 yrs ago 2 ft water against seawall. Last year 2-3 ft of beach and now 20ft. Not sure what the future will bring. Any craft will need to be hauled out


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