the future of Sunfish sailing (part 2)?

bucking the traditional thought process that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, there has been some developments recently for new sails for the Sunfish sailboat.

a few weeks ago, an article was published in the Sag Harbor “Express Magazine” called: Local Sailors add a Modern Twist to a Classic Sailboat

Julian Shapiro (L), James Merrell and Gloria Fraze compete in a Sunfish regatta on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in Sag Harbor, New York.  (photo by Lori Hawkins)

Sag Harbor is a small village on New York’s Long Island, and the sailors there wanted to tinker with the sail design for the Sunfish, wanting to improve performance and make the sailing more interesting.

The new sail design sought to solve a few issues common in sailing: weather helm, pointing and deceleration after tacks. Steering a traditional Sunfish sail in stronger winds can require so much muscle to counteract weather helm that a wooden tiller arches. Working against all that force on the boat can make for tiring sailing.

the local group of sailors worked with a local sailmaker, Farrar Sails, in New London, Connecticut, to develop and create these new sails.

Nothing else was altered about the rigging and the new sail was designed to fit onto the existing lateen-style spars of the traditional Sunfish design.

The end results? The sailboat points higher and moves with more zip. The boat accelerates noticeably faster after a tack. On the flip side, the sails require quicker response to puffs and wind shifts, so boat handling skills need to keep up. By switching out the sail, it’s like having two different boats: one that is great to learn on and another that sails faster and requires faster response time.

this certainly seems like a more feasible (and economical) option than the X-Wing sail that came out after a recent America’s Cup introduced the wing sails.

4 Responses to “the future of Sunfish sailing (part 2)?”


  1. 1 Bft 5 Pete September 5, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    … Thank you for posting this.
    I sail a sunfish 4 seasons in Central Switzerland and would love to try the farrar sail on my boats. I just sent an email to farrar sails and asked for a quote. ( I wonder if they will reply at all ?)
    I’ll keep you posted 🙂
    Cheers, Pete

    Liked by 1 person


  1. 1 the future of Sunfish sailing (part 3)? | my2fish: a blog about sunfish sailing Trackback on August 27, 2020 at 8:02 am
  2. 2 a “modern” Sunfish sail | my2fish: a blog about sunfish sailing Trackback on March 8, 2021 at 12:01 pm

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