Posts Tagged 'sunfish'

keep calm

et ego in Arcadia: Sunfish sailing

it was a traditional family vacation at Camp Arcadia, filled with good food, plenty of relaxing & some book reading, and wonderful time spent with family and friends (some old and some new). a lot of time spent down on the beach, playing in the sun and sand, doing some swimming, jumping waves on the wavey days and playing with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on the calmer days.

there ended up being 2 good sailing days (for me anyway, my oldest son sailed on a 3rd day, but it was pretty light winds and he mainly just drifted around in circles for a while).

day 1: Sunday afternoon

after walking to the local Lutheran church in the little town of Arcadia, we headed back to Camp and ate the buffet lunch.  the weather seemed promising and Sunday afternoon’s schedule at Camp was fairly light, so most of us headed down to the beach, and T2 and I both got the boats ready for sailing (with some help dragging them up and over the small sand dunes and beach grass).  after setting up T2 with the Minifish, he was off and sailing.

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I rigged the sail and misc parts on the Sunfish and my 3rd son, Luke, joined me for the 1st sail. he begged to take the mainsheet and tiller as soon as he could!  north bluffs are off in the distance behind him.

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after a while of sailing with Luke, I headed back into shore – dropping off Luke and picking up his cousin, Sam.

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later on, I gave a ride on the Sunfish to my sister-in-law, but didn’t get any pictures.

afterwards, I got to solo sail on the Sunfish for a while, so I’d chase T2 on the Minifish for a while, or just spend some time tacking and working on getting as much speed going as I could.  the winds were pretty excellent, with wind speeds in the low teens, maybe 12-15 miles per hour, with gusts into the high teens.  not strong enough to tip me over, but good enough to catch a good puff and get the Sunfish up on a plane, every once in a while perfectly timed to catch the crest of a wave and “surf” the Sunfish for a short while.

in my excitement to get down to the water and out sailing, I forgot to bring my GoPro camera, but did have my iPhone in a dry bag – so I was able to snap the pictures above and a few real quick videos, but that’s all.  I did turn on my Runkeeper app on the phone to track my route for one of the times out that afternoon.

sunday sail

the next couple days were dead flat calm water – perfect for playing with other water toys (kayaks, SUP’s, etc.) but not good for Sunfish sailing.  Wednesday is “day out of camp” day – we went on a canoe trip… and that is a whole different story for another day.

day 2: Thursday evening sail

so the wind finally picked up some on Thursday and the waves were perfect for playing in the water, so the usual afternoon crowds at the beach were even larger.  due to the lack of beach area (Lake Michigan is up approximately 4 feet!), I didn’t want to try to launch and return to the beach with that many kids swimming and jumping in the waves. fearing that the week of vacation was coming to an end with no more sailing, I decided to go for an evening sail, when far fewer people would be swimming and lounging at the beach.  as luck would have it, this time I remembered the GoPro, but left my iPhone up in our room.  here’s a screen cap: me on the Sunfish and T2 way off in the distance on the Minifish.

sunfish gopro snapit was a beautiful evening for sailing – the sun was slowly setting amidst the clouds out on the horizon and T2 and I had all of Lake Michigan to ourselves – not another boat in sight.  my sister-in-law snapped this amazing photo of us and the sunset from her vantage point up on the Camp patio.


Friday ended up being a decent day for wind, but straight out of the west pushing big waves up onto the beach.  on an empty beach, launching could be done setting off immediately on a 45-degree angle to the wind, but with again so many kids playing in the big waves that day, we didn’t try to sail.

still 2 great days on the water was better than none, and it was a blast!

super porpoise standing on it’s tail

can you teach an old fish new tricks?

super porpoise standing up

this is the most action my old Super Porpoise has seen in a long time.

while we were living in Indiana, I used to store it by hanging it from the garage ceiling (above the garage door space).

IN-super porpoise

but when we moved from Indiana back to Michigan, I had to hang it on it’s side against the garage wall as the ceiling height was too low, and I hadn’t moved it since. then I bought an old Sunfish with a trailer off of ebay, and a couple years later, added a 2000 Sunfish and an older Minifish (for the boys, of course) to my fleet.

since we have built a new house and moved out of the old one, we had to move the Super Porpoise as well, and I needed to get it temporarily out of the way, at least for the short term until I figure out a better long term storage solution until I can either fix up the blemishes or just sell the old girl.

I’ve seen pictures of all the pretty new and shiny Sunfish sailboats standing vertically at the Laser Performance factory in Rhode Island, so figured it was at least worth trying. here’s one of the 60th anniversary Sunfish all pretty and in nice vertical rows.

sunfish on edge

seems simple, right?

hardly.  despite setting up a cheap block and tackle up in the rafters, there wasn’t really a good way to get the Super Porpoise tipped up vertically.  I had my 15-yr old son helping to muscle it around as best we could, but if you can believe it, my barn isn’t quite big enough (yeah, try telling my wife that…).  at least not big enough to stand up the Super Porpoise or Sunfish sailboats easily. after using the full extent of the block and tackle, we had to muscle it around by hand, and the nose kept hitting the sloping underside of the roof plywood, the boat would tip back and forth smacking into the trusses.  through some miracle of sweat, possibly tears (my son’s, obviously), and shear dumb luck – we did get it to stand up vertically.  we slipped a couple 2×4’s underneath to support it, and walked away.

I don’t know how I’m gonna get that thing down…


Sunfish sailing at the Dunedin Marina

saw this gorgeous photo of some Sunfish at Dunedin Marina in Florida on Instagram the other day: makes me want to schedule a vacation to Dunedin sometime soon!

Sunfish sailing at the Dunedin Marina #sunfish #sunfishsailboat #sunfishsailing #sailing #sail #trailersailor #sailingdinghy

A photo posted by Dominic Romer (@dustybootsphotography) on

for additional (fantastic!) photography – including Sunfish/sailing/coastal pics and a variety of others, check out Dominic Romer’s website: Dusty Boots Photography.

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.

Harkers Island Sunfish Regatta

the Sunfish Class sent out an email blast for the upcoming Harkers Island Sunfish Regatta (July 15-17) in North Carolina.  I’ve seen pics and such for the event before – it looks like a neat and fun weekend!

If you’ve been thinking about making it down to North Carolina for a Harkers Island Regatta, this would be a good year to hit the road for our 15th annual running and extended party weekend July 15-17. Checkout a short aerial video clip. More details about the regatta and Harkers Island are on the MOBYC website. The three-day event kicks-off Friday noon with a practice sail around the island and dinner party with crab races, blender sports bar and a one-man Caribbean loop jam band. Saturday is the 10+ mile race around the island followed by a low-country boil dinner complete with steamed clam appetizers, video replay of race highlights, rum cake dessert contest, awards and complimentary Gosling’s Dark & Stormy bar. Sunday winds up with short course racing and Sunfish/boating gear prizes. All proceeds to benefit local NC youth sailing programs. Camping and some housing available in addition to inexpensive hotels. NOR is posted on the class website. Expecting to break the 60 boat barrier this year.

Checkout a short aerial video clip.


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