Posts Tagged 'great lakes'

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.

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sunfish sailing in the rain

it was an interesting afternoon: winds seemed light and shifty at times and the sky out on the horizon looked dark and cloudy. radar showed a big storm coming across Lake Michigan, but it seemed like it might pass up to the north of Camp. my son T2 and I decided to try sailing on our Sunfish and Minifish despite the chance of rain.

as we started rigging our boats the first rain drops started to fall. but I didn’t see anything to dark on the horizon and had not heard any thunder. we figured let’s try it out and see if we could at least get a quick sail.

I sent him off in the Minifish and then raised the sail on my Sunfish. winds were mostly from the south and had picked up some. rain continued to drip down on me, just a nice gentle rain.

as we sailed, the wind and waves both kept increasing as the rainstorm kept coming from the west and across Lake Michigan. I was able to snap a few pics before it got too intense.

T2 sailing behind me, Camp Arcadia on the shoreline of Lake Michigan behind him.

the cool rain was awesome and as the wind and waves kept picking up it just got better. we were both flying across the water, mostly just reaches east and west, as I didn’t want to wander to far north or south up the shoreline with the storm close.

it was an awesome afternoon of sailing!

greater Detroit 2018 Sunfish race schedule

the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (GDSC) has released their 2018 Sunfish race schedule (you can find it with additional information posted at their Yahoo Group).  you can also check them out on their Facebook page.

  • May 20th – Watkins Lake
  • June 3rd – Watkins Lake
  • June 9th & 10th – Gull Lake Sunfish Open Regatta (details & NOR TBD)
  • June 23rd & 24th – camping weekend at Muskegon Lake (Muskegon State Park)
  • July 29th – U.P. Island Race (Les Cheneaux YC… details t.b.d.)
  • early August – Sunfish Youth North American Championships & Sunfish North American Championships (Lake Bluff, IL)
  • September 1st & 2nd – camping weekend at Higgins Lake (South State Park)
  • September 15th & 16th – Devils Lake Regatta (Bruce Goldsmith Memorial – details & NOR TBD)
  • September 30th – Watkins Lake

all Sunday races start at 12:30pm [uno], with the camping/racing weekends starting earlier in the day to get extra races in over the weekend.

I said this last year (and the year before… and the year before… and the year before), and didn’t get a chance to sail with this group, but I’m again going to do my best to meet up with them for some sailing races this year.

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.

my 1st sunfish (a newer picture)

Camp Arcadia is a family tradition with us, but my wife and I have made it an “every other year” tradition.  some of my other family members still go up every year.  it’s a charming and beautiful place, nestled in a quiet town in norther Michigan, and just an amazing beautiful setting right on the shores of Lake Michigan.

this year was an off year for us, as we took the trip to Cancun with some college friends (and sailed the Hobie) –  but my sister took her family and my parents went this year as well.

this afternoon, within minutes of each other, my dad and sister both texted me the same photo, with a text like “is this you?” or “wish you were here!”

it’s funny how things work.  I recognize the Sunfish by that particular sail color/pattern – that happens to be the 1st Sunfish that I ever sailed on, now almost 20 years ago.

I’ve posted about this 1st Sunfish before: my 1st ever sail on a Sunfish, another picture here, and my 1st post ever here!

it was the start of it all.

greater detroit 2017 Sunfish race schedule

the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (GDSC) has released their 2017 Sunfish race schedule (you can find it with additional information posted at their Yahoo Group).  you can also check them out on their Facebook page or website.

  • May 7th – Maceday Lake (public launch)
  • May 21st – DOUBLE DELIGHT! at Watkins Lake
  • June 3rd & 4th – Gull Lake Sunfish Open Regatta (details & NOR TBD)
  • June 11th – Watkins Lake
  • June 24th & 25th – Tawas Bay State Park & Tawas Bay Yacht Club – a camping & sailing weekend at Tawas Bay on Lake Huron
  • July 30th – U.P. Island Race (Les Cheneaux YC… details t.b.d.)
  • September 2nd & 3rd – Tawas Bay – another camping & sailing weekend at Tawas Bay on Lake Huron
  • September 24th – DOUBLE DELIGHT! at Watkins Lake
  • October 8th – TO BE DETERMINED

all Sunday races start at 12:30pm [uno], with the camping/racing weekends starting earlier in the day to get extra races in over the weekend.

new this year is the Double Delight, where they will be having 6 races. the schedule starts with a 9:30 Skippers meeting then race #1 would begin at 10:00am with two more races to follow.  then a break for lunch. after lunch they would conduct 3 more races… thus creating a 6 race Sunday.

I said this last year (and the year before… and the year before), and didn’t get a chance to sail with this group, but I’m again going to do my best to meet up with them for some sailing races this year.

how many is too many?

I got my notice(s) from the State of Michigan to renew my watercraft registration for my sailboats.

  • 1960(ish) Super Porpoise
  • 1966(ish) Sunfish
  • 1970’s Minifish
  • 2000 Sunfish

is that too many?

the 2000 Sunfish and Minifish both are my go-to boats (me in the Sunfish, boys in the Minifish).  my oldest son is getting big enough to probably sail a Sunfish alone, so maybe the ’66 Sunfish will get worked back into the rotation (after my BIL puts the splashguard back on it…).

but then I’ll need to modify my trailer to carry 3 sailboats…

the Super Porpoise hasn’t seen the water in years, so I should probably just fix up a couple minor spots and try to sell it.  any takers?

Michigan sailboat registration is cheap, though – only $9 for a 3-yr sticker.

that’s another reason that Michigan is a great place to sail!


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