I saw this truck the other day and instantly thought of a good blogging friend: bonnie k frogma.
she plants/gardens, she kayaks, and she even sails a Sunfish! if you don’t already read her blog, take some time to check it out!
recently, Laser Performance announced a few new products that they are adding to their catalog of several sailboats (Laser, Sunfish, Pico, Bahia, etc); Laser Performance will now offer a few versions of stand-up paddle boards (or SUP). SUP’s are all the rage these days and are a fun and easy way to get you out of the water.
but the strange thing (to me, anyway) is that Laser Performance is branding the new SUP’s with the Sunfish logo – and name. so now, you have your standard Sunfish sailboat and also (3) options of Sunfish stand up paddle boards. what’s next, a slightly more aerodynamic & sporty version of an SUP called the Laser?
they are calling this branding the “world of Sunfish” and lumping these new SUP’s together with the standard Sunfish sailboat.
After more than 60 years, the thrill of Sunfish is still going strong. Its iconic design is part of the evolution of surfing and closely related to contemporary paddle boarding.
they call it a “return to it’s boarding roots”, which itself has some truth to it, as the original creators of the Sunfish (and it’s predecessor, the Sailfish) were tasked to create a paddle board for the Red Cross way back in the beginning of the Sailfish and Sunfish history.
interestingly enough, though, the term “Sunfish” is already such a strong brand name for a small sailboat, that many of it’s similar sized & shaped competitors are often mis-labeled as Sunfish when talked about or advertised, simply because in the small sailboat world, most everyone knows what a Sunfish sailboat looks like. with the recent spike in popularity for the stand up paddle boards (you can even buy them at Costco!), does slapping the “Sunfish” logo and name on these ones improve their appeal? or just cause more confusion?
I think they’ve obviously missed an opportunity to join the two ideas, and could have simply called the new stand-up paddle boards: the SUPfish.
I mean, I’ve been stand up sailing on my Sunfish for a while now. you don’t need to buy a fancy a new board and paddle to do that!
so the biggest thing missing from these new SUP’s offered by LP is a sail. every other boat option they manufacturer has a sail on it.
so now, after hours of deep research and deep Google dives, I’ve stumbled upon the solution.
just add a sail to your paddle!
now we’re talking! surfing, sailing and stand-up paddle boarding all mixed up into one neat little package!
(some photoshop liberties may have been taken with that last photo…)
this is an excellent promo video for North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park, Illinois (a northern suburb of Chicago).
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“.
the renowned Sunfish sailor Derrick Fries has been collecting data about his sailboat racing for almost 50 years, logging information for his upwind legs and his starts at all of his sailboat races.
the amount of data compiled is a bit mind-numbing, to be honest, even for a numbers guy like myself. sure, maybe the number itself isn’t that staggering, but holy smokes that’s a lot of races sailed in a lifetime.
The result is a huge statistical set: 10,000 windward legs and more than 3,700 starts.
So conventional wisdom suggests that, all else being equal, you should start at the pin end. My data quantifies that assumption. Of the 3,727 starts in my data bank, 2,646 of them were pin-end-favored — a whopping 71 percent of the time.
the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (GDSC) has released their 2016 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.
all Sunday races start at 12:30pm [uno]
I said this last year (and the year before… and the year before), and didn’t get a chance, but I’m again going to do my best to meet up with this group for some races this year. it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy summer already, though!
the recent addition of a Minifish to our fleet required some minor upgrades to make it a little bit easier for my boys to sail. typically with an older Sunfish style boat, it is almost always a good idea to get rid of the old style of mainsheet control, a snub-nosed hook on the wall of the cockpit.
a few recommended upgrades to consider (in no specific order):
our Minifish already had a decent hiking strap, but the other upgrades should be simple enough.
the mast cleat is a horn cleat, screwed onto the mast a couple feet above the deck. I typically use stainless steel screws, with small pilot holes drilled into the mast. a small dab of 3m 4200 or caulk helps seal everything up. the mast cleat allows the majority of the tension on the halyard (the line holding up the sail) to be resisted by the strong aluminum mast, and more importantly – it doesn’t put that very large tension force on the fiberglass deck of the boat. important note: you should still run the tail of the halyard down through the fairlead on the deck and cleat off the line. this will prevent the entire sail/mast/booms from falling away from the boat if you do end up tipping over and turtling the boat.
the mainsheet controls (a ratchet block and a cam cleat) are a little bit trickier to install on a Minifish, as the cockpit is a bit different style of construction than a Sunfish – there is not a cockpit lip that gives easy access to the underside of the fiberglass at that location. so you will have to install an inspection port somewhere in close proximity to where you’ll be placing your mainsheet controls. I chose to cut mine in on the deck, off to the side of the daggerboard slot. depending on where you cut the deck, you may run into some of the flotation foam blocks that stiffen the deck – removing a small portion to give you access should not be a concern.
for the mainsheet ratchet block, I bought a Holt Nautos 57mm block from Intensity Sails. add a stand-up spring and an eyestrap, and screw it down through the deck – some larger fender washers below the deck are a good idea to help spread out the load.
on the front edge of the cockpit, I install a cam cleat, a Harken H150, in the same location where the old snub-nosed hook used to be. I like this location for a cam cleat, as it is not really practical to cleat off the mainsheet while hiking out and sailing with decent winds. but in a lighter breeze, it does give you the option to cleat the mainsheet and grab a drink or just float along one those calmer days.
lastly, I replaced the old wooden tiller extension with a Ronstan Battlestick. theses newer tiller extensions have a rubber universal joint – which allows for more degrees of freedom while holding the tiller extension. the old wooden ones just fastened to the tiller with a single bolt, only really allowing left/right movement.
all told, there are mostly easy and simple upgrades that will make a Minifish (or similarly for a Sunfish) a much nicer sailing experience!
and the end result? happy boys sailing the Minifish!