Posts Tagged 'sunfish rigging'

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.

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sunfish sailing terror [video]

this video was posted a few days ago on the Sunfish Forum (link).  it is a little long at 21+ minutes, but it is interesting for a few reasons:

  • for those wind and wave conditions, it sure seems like he started with the sail set too high – lowering the sail rig would’ve helped with the overturning moment he would see and have to counteract with his body weight, position, and healthy dose of hiking out.
  • he has multiple capsizes, with the Sunfish going full “turtle” and flipping upside down.
  • he has a rigging failure out on the water, with the halyard attachment to the upper boom coming loose, I think during the first capsize.  it seems as if the upper end of the halyard has maybe a snap shackle attached to it (about 6:30 in the video) and he uses a strange knot setup to re-attach the halyard.  typically, the halyard is attached to the upper mast with a clove hitch.
  • he has a lot of trouble raising the sail back up – this is certainly not an easy task out on wavy water, but it appears his halyard was twisted around the mast, and that certainly wouldn’t help at all. instead of pulling towards himself, he would have had better luck holding the sail with his left hand and pulling down on the halyard alongside the mast.
  • he has an older swivel cam cleat at the cockpit lip (I think he hooks the tail end of the halyard into it?) but also a mainsheet block there as well. it might be simplest to remove whichever isn’t getting use to help with confusion while sailing.
  • he could probably use a good Sunfish rigging guide to familiarize himself with the key knots to use and the optimal setup for his mainsheet and halyard.
  • he has a green “lifeline” that he attaches to himself and the boat – while this is probably not a bad idea, I felt like there was just a tangled mess of lines each time he capsized.
  • overall, he did keep pretty good spirits despite each setback, and found a way to limp back to shore and safety – probably with a newfound realization of his level of sailing skill and what he needs to learn from and improve upon.
  • it’s never easy to admit failure, so kudos to him for sharing it – hopefully he and now the video viewers can learn from it.

full warning: this was filmed live during the event and he certainly uses some rough language, quite understandable in the situation, but watch your volume if you’re around young children when watching.

any other thoughts and comments?

sunfish mainsheet controls upgrade

I’ve written several posts in the past about upgrading to a Sunfish mainsheet ratchet block and the associated rigging to control your mainsheet.

six years ago, I said the following, and I still believe it to be true:

I really enjoy playing the mainsheet through the ratchet block, and enjoy how the sheave on the ratchet block grips the mainsheet, so that the amount of pull I see is reduced, helping to keep my hands and arms from tiring as quickly.  I also like that this setup will force me to focus more on the sail trim, instead of just using my old setup to set it and then forget it.  I’d highly recommend this upgrade to other Sunfish sailors.

the Harken 2135 ratchet block, in particular, has grooved edges on the inside of the sheave.  these grooves help to “grip” the line and reduce the amount of line pull by a factor of up to 10:1.  so if the sail is pulling with 100 lbs, your hands gripping the mainsheet could see a reduced load, maybe as little as 10 lbs.  over a long day of sailing, this will be significant!

part numbers and such are strewn along between the various blog posts, so I wanted to pull everything together in one place with a nice summary parts list and I made a labeled diagram to show what parts go where.  the picture is from our Minifish, but a similar setup is what I use on my Sunfish as well.

mainsheet cleat parts list

here is the parts list (while most of these parts are available at most Sunfish suppliers, I have the links all directed to Dieball Sailing.  you can find the same part numbers at your preferred or local supplier as well):

  • Harken 2135 ratchet block (link)
  • a cheaper ratchet block option is the Holt Nautos block, via Intensity Sails (link)
  • Harken 150 cam cleat (link)
  • Spring Cup HSB2 (link)
  • Stand up spring H071 (link)
  • Eyestrap, LP91100 or H137 (link)
  • Stainless steel fasteners (I use machine screws, with a large flat washer and a nylon locking nut on the interior of the boat)

all told, you’re looking at an upgrade in the $70 to $100 range (depending on which ratchet block you pick).

if your Sunfish was a barn find or a cheap pick off of craigslist, this might be a lot compared to the price of your boat, but trust me: you’ll be happy with the upgrade if your current Sunfish setup only has the old “knee-knocker” hook at the lip of the cockpit.

North Shore Yacht Club video

this is an excellent promo video for North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois (a northern suburb of Chicago).

NSYC

the club has a large fleet of Sunfish sailboats, also races Buccaneers, and has kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for it’s members to use as well.

this video was produced by Steve King, a member of NSYC – he also made this excellent video on “rigging a Sunfish sailboat“.

storing Sunfish sails with a chain sinnet knot

a handy method for organizing your Sunfish sail with the booms and mast after you are finished sailing for the day is to tie the whole lot together using a chain sinnet (or monkey braid).

make sense? probably not by just watching that simple video, so of course, a little bit more explanation will probably help.

1st – make sure your sail is dry.  if you have to put away your sail wet, make sure you unroll it ASAP and let it dry to prevent mildew from forming on the sail.

2nd – position the 2 booms (or spars) together. I also usually just leave the mast in the gooseneck, and rotate it down so that the mast is parallel with the booms.  pull the sail away from the booms and mast, and start to slowly – and loosely – roll the sail up towards the booms.  IMPORTANT: do NOT roll the sail around the booms, as you are more likely to damage the sail that way.

3rd – use both your halyard and mainsheet to tie a chain sinnet knot that wraps around and loosely secures the rolled up sail and the booms and mast.  I usually start with the mainsheet, with it pulled all the way so that the pulley that connects with the traveler is tight against the end boom block.  so my mainsheet chain sinnet starts at about the mid-point (at the forward boom block), and I tie the chain sinnet knot towards the tack of the sail (and base of the mast).  then, with the halyard, I’ll tie again the chain sinnet knot, working the opposite direction.

if some pictures would help, the Lansing Sailing Club has put together a pretty nice step-by-step pictorial – check it out here. an example picture is below.

SailTie5-s

 

working my way from the  using the halyard

sailing supplies

I was trying to organize my basement shop, and had my sailing supplies in 3 or 4 different boxes.  I decided to organize them a little better, but before I did that – I laid most of it all out on one of my workbenches.

sailing supplies

there is a little bit of everything there: an old rudder head that needs to be cleaned up.  a pair of old tiller straps that have been polished up to look almost like new. a new tiller extension (a Ronstan Battlestick). bailers, old and new.  sail rings, old and new.  inspection ports. new lines – a mainsheet, halyard, outhaul and cunningham.  cleats – cam and clam. two options for Sunfish mainsheet control – a new ratchet block and an old swiveling fairlead and cleat. eyestraps, standup springs, hiking straps.  Interlux varnish, West System epoxy stuff, and the remains of my 2-part expanding foam (use to reset my foam blocks).

anything else I should add to my collection?

 


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