Posts Tagged 'chicago'

tack your Sunfish step by step [video]

here is another great video from Steve King of North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois. I’ve previously posted his great videos for “rigging a Sunfish sailboat” and “rigging a Sunfish sailboat – part 2” and a promo video for “North Shore Yacht Club“.

in this video, Steve breaks down the tacking sequence into the following main steps, and shows the sequence in slow motion for each part:

  • step 1: ease the mainsheet approx 1 foot
  • step 2: push tiller to full leeward (max 45 degrees from boat centerline)
  • step 3: duck and turn (you can certainly see the advantage of mainsheet hangers during the duck and turn step!)
  • step 4: center the tiller only after the sail fills with wind (note: your hands are currently still reversed with the tiller held behind your back)
  • step 5: slide aft hand along sheet to grab both the sheet and tiller
  • step 6: grab sheet in forward hand and sheet in

this is more or less exactly how I’ve been doing it, maybe not quite as smooth and practiced as he shows!  thoughts? anyone out there with a preferred method that you’ve perfected as an alternate?

this video method is certainly different than this previously suggested sunfish tacking technique.


rigging a Sunfish sailboat – part 2[video]

this is a great follow-up video on Sunfish rigging setups that was created by Steve King of North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois.  his 1st video was a fantastic introduction to standard Sunfish rigging.

this 2nd video goes in depth a bit more on some of the specific sail settings:

  • halyard position – gives a setting for racing and a setting for cruising or recreational sailing (especially helpful with a guest on the boat)
  • adjustable gooseneck position – settings adjustments based on wind speed
  • outhaul and cunningham controls – additional controls that you can add to the lower boom to adjust the sail shape

I really like how they add some white colored tape on the upper spar to show the 2 different halyard positions that they like to use.  measuring from the top of the upper spar, they use 54″ for racing and 74″ for recreational sailing (but note that the 74″ setting should probably not be used in high winds, as this setting raises the sail up quite a bit, and the overturning forces from the wind could damage the mast step at the Sunfish deck).  the tape takes the guesswork out of it: so you don’t have to count sail rings, or grab a tape measure to try to make sure the halyard knot is set in the right position, because after the sail is raised up, you can’t adjust that position.

the adjustable (quick-release) gooseneck is key for giving you the ability to adjust the sail setting for various wind speeds you will encounter.  in the video, they recommend the following settings:

here is how I’ve marked my lower boom with 1-inch increments so I can quickly see my setting.

he also explains how the gooseneck setting can and should be adjusted to correct any weather or lee helm while you are sailing.

the other two adjustments for wind speed are the cunningham (at the tack of the sail) and the outhaul (at the aft end of the lower spar).  the cunningham line controls the front edge, or luff, of the sail. the outhaul is used to flatten the foot or lower 1/3 of the sail.  he explains the settings for each of these in the video.

America’s Cup World Series Chicago

the America’s Cup World Series is coming to the Great Lakes: June 10-12, 2016 at Navy Pier in Chicago.

might just have to schedule a trip to see my brother in Chicago for a couple days…

107th race to Mackinac 

check out this promo video for the upcoming 107th race from Chicago to Mackinac Island.

Sunfish Class at 2014 Strictly Sail Chicago

a bit of information on the Sunfish Class at this year’s Strictly Sail Chicago:



The Sunfish Class will have a race rigged boat, featuring the new Depowering Rig, on the floor at the 2014 Strictly Sail Chicago Boat show. While this rig has reached Class approval, the implementation date is not yet officially announced. This new depowering rig is simpler and safer than recent ones hence there is high interest in learning how to set it up.

US Sunfish Class President and past US Masters Champion Rich Chapman, 2013 World Championship competitor Gail Turluck, Lake Bluff Fleet Captain Doug Warren, Douglas Lake Fleet Captain Linda Orlow, Lake Lansing Fleet Captain Jim Fletcher, college sailor Neal Turluck and more representatives will be there to help sailors learn about the challenge and great fun it is to sail and race Sunfish sailboats!

Enter to win a 2014 free US Class membership (eligibility for drawing: have never been a Class member).

Young sailors, come learn about these really fun and challenging to sail racing machines! The U.S. needs more Youth Sunfish sailors to represent it at the Sunfish Youth World Championship in North Carolina in October.

Learn from our experts about how to rig for racing, day sailing, depower for heavy air, transform a recreational boat to a race rigged boat, and more. Do you have an old and/or leaky Sunfish? We can help you learn how to fix her up and get her back to fast! We’ll have a list of Midwest fleets and can help you start a new one, too.

There are half a million Sunfish – come join the fun.

The show is January 23-26, 2014, at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois.

More info:

Make your plans to attend today!

Strictly Sail Chicago is held at Navy Pier, Festival Hall A & B, 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

  • Thursday, January 23 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday, January 24 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 25 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 26 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Official press release (.pdf file)


About the Sunfish Class: Sunfish Class is the governing body of Sunfish racers everywhere. The Sunfish Class offers diversity unmatched by any one-design boat. Young, old, short, tall, big, small, man, woman, world-class or just learning, we are a welcome and open group of people who love our little boats. We are Olympians, World Champions and the single-handed class in the Pan American Games. We are dedicated to racing our best while recognizing the Corinthian essence of the sport. We challenge you to find a more welcoming, open and friendly group of sailors anywhere. We are classic, competitive and fun!”

rigging a Sunfish sailboat [video]

this is an excellent video that shows how to rig your Sunfish sailboat. it was created by Steve King of North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois. North Shore Yacht Club sails on Lake Michigan and has a fleet of 17 Sunfish. Steve mentioned to me in an email that the really nice thing about having a standard rigging for the club is that it keeps all the boats setup the same, and it keeps the storage area neat if all the sails are put away the same way.

there are some really good tips & tricks in the video – I don’t use all the same rigging settings, but most are very similar. the slipknot that he ties into the halyard to give a 2:1 purchase for raising up the sail is a great idea.

for more tips on how to rig your Sunfish, see my post with various Sunfish rigging guides.

50th Sunfish North Americans results

this past week and weekend, the 50th Sunfish North Americans were held on Lake Michigan.  the event was hosted by the Lake Bluff Yacht Club.  additional information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

eight youth/junior racers participated in the Youth North Americans, with Stewart Draheim taking 1st place with 6 bullets and a 2nd place (that was thrown out as his lowest score) to finish with 6 points.  the final results can be found here.  here is a great photo album with tons of pictures from the Youth racing.



the Open North Americans followed the Youth sailing, and after light air on the 1st day with only 2 races, the wind picked up, and the sailors completed nine total races in the 3 days of sailing.  David Mendelblatt finished in first place with 21 points, followed by Greg Gust with 31 points, and Tom Whitehurst in 3rd place with 51 points.  the full regatta results can be found here.

Chris Williams has a good report on the event over at the Sunfish Forum.  he notes that by the 2nd and 3rd days, the wind had picked up and was gusty, with lots of wave/chop action to fight with out on the water.  here is a wind report from Wind Alert and showing the gusts (I assume they were off the water before the big storms swept across Chicago and northern Indiana that evening).

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