Posts Tagged 'DIY'

building & sailing a Super Sunfish

Nico posted this video on the Sunfish Forum – his father built the wooden Super Sailfish in their garage, and they sailed it on the Knysna lagoon in South Africa (beautiful waters!).

sunfish pvc dolly – handle upgrades

I love when I get feedback from fellow Sunfish sailors after they build their own Sunfish PVC dolly, more or less following the Sunfish PVC dolly plans that I posted several years ago. often they mention little tweaks here and there, but now Mark has made some major improvements and we both thought it would be great to share them with the rest of the Sunfish sailing community. here are a few of his modifications:

  • modified the handle attachment to use hitch pins to allow the handle to be removable (major upgrade!)
  • adjusted the axle design so that instead of a long threaded rod, you can use short bolts instead
  • the axle design changes allow you to widen the dolly width (so as to not be limited by the length of threaded rod you can easily source)
  • changed to all stainless steel hardware to allow use in saltwater environments
  • added bunk supports to keep the dolly bunks from dragging

Mark put together a very thorough blog post that outlines his ideas and directions on how to tweak my dolly plans to incorporate his changes. if you’re interested in his improvements, check out his blog post and his very detailed instructions.

Mark’s handle connection and bunk supports
Mark’s hitch pin handle connection

on the wings of a Sunfish

I found a woodworking and sailing creator named Mark on Instagram that has been experimenting with building a wing foil for his Sunfish.

photo by Mark Palmquist

The wing is designed to skim over the water like a horizontal water ski. If it dives, the wing will still have a lifting force due to its curved upper trailing edge. The speed record for a sunfish is around 11 knots in 20 knots of wind. Beyond that bow gets too bouncy and your live ballast can no long keep the hull flat. The wing creates lift on the leeward side forward of the center of effort lifting the hull. Hopefully the wing won’t come loose. It’s basically clamped on.

photo by Mark Palmquist

Mark has two videos posted with the wing foil attached to his Sunfish – the first was very light winds, so not really a good test, but the video below was higher wind. (click thru to watch the video on Instagram…)

Results: a hydroplaning wing works much better on a skinnier, faster hull. The current wing shape is not ideal. Fluid separated on the upper surface. It needs to be optimized for underwater lift, which means having the foil lower and changing the profile shape. Hydroplaning only works well at speeds above 11 knots and that’s the speed limit of the sunfish. Therefore a sunfish would benefit more from a hydrofoil since they work at 8 knots.

sounds like mixed results, so I’ll be curious to see if Mark goes back to the drawing board to tweak the foil shape… or if he maybe has moved on to tweaking his ideas on a sailboat that is a little sleeker than an ol’ Sunfish.

old style Sunfish rudder repair [video]

Shoreline Sailboats just posted a great video showing some of the steps and process of converting an older style Sunfish rudder to the current rudder system.

Small Boat Restoration also has a good blog post “sunfish rudder conversion” about this same upgrade, with a lot of photos of the process as well.

old style rudder (photo by Small Boat Restoration)

new style rudder (photo by Small Boat Restoration)

all 1972 and newer Sunfish are equipped with the current “new” style of rudder, so this only applies to those of you who have currently, or are looking to buy, an older Sunfish.  back then, the manufacturer of the Sunfish was AMF, and they released a write-up with the procedure to upgrade the rudder.


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