Forum organization

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by NightSailor, May 5, 2009.


Would you like to see Sunfish Talk broken into two sections: 'Sailing' and 'Repairs'?

  1. Yes

    16 vote(s)
  2. No

    14 vote(s)
  1. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    I think we need to break out the forum into different discussion areas.

    Sugested areas would be:

    Sunfish Repair

    Older Sunfishes--Pre-1970

    Racing Sunfishes

    Group gatherings

    "Sunfish Talk" is too broad a category.
  2. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    I think we need to break out the forum into different discussion areas.

    “We” – didn’t you just get off the bus day before yesterday, Spanky? Kick back, pop open a beer and take in the sights for awhile. If you look around a little you’ll see Bradley - Forum webmaster - is already in the middle of reorganizing the whole board. What’s not evident is the job encompasses Sunfish and Laser - no small task for one person who can't find good help ;), works mainly alone, and does it all for free.

    - so while your relaxing with your beer, flip through a copy of The Sunfish Bible. Your general knowledge looks good, but your Sunfish specific knowledge is a tad lacking. The past couple of days have just been a small smattering of early season newbies. Don’t burn yourself out early, in another month or so things are likely to really start hopping.

    Sugested areas would be:

    Sunfish Repair

    Older Sunfishes--Pre-1970

    Your plumber’s crack is showing -:eek:- the divisions are, 1952 to 1960, 1960 to 1972, 1972 to 1986, and 1986 to present, with the most significant change since the transition from wood to fiberglass coming between 1971 and 1972.

    Racing Sunfishes

    Group gatherings

    "Sunfish Talk" is too broad a category.
  3. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    My name isn't Spanky, and I don't drink beer. What I do, is sail, professionally, 100-150 days a year, world-wide.

    This form is poorly organized. I'm offering a polite suggestion to improve it.

    Look at forums like MacRumors which have intelligently defined branches. And guess what, they don't shoot the messenger when someone suggests splitting discussions into sub-topics. What do they do? They put up a poll and give the matter some thought.

    I have no plumbers crack. I chose 1971 because that is as good as a place as any to split the discussion related to years. Pick another division if you like. However, too many divisions don't make sense. Just as two divisions for all Sunfish Talk makes no sense.

    I don't expect there to be much discussion of wooden Sunfishes--do you? An empty Forum area serves no purpose. If you want to discuss the various divisions of Sunfish production start your own thread.

    Think about this logically--2000 threads in Sunfish Discussion only serves to bury and kill topics.

    You on the other hand, choose to attack the messenger. It shows immaturity, and an inability to put together a cogent argument.

    The Laser Forum is even worse--and yes I noticed that also. It has over 4000 topics under discussions. This is not a tree structure. The tree has fallen over from all the weight on one side.

    My overall impression is this could be a great Forum. The software is good. The participation is low, and I think it could be improved, and increase traffic by breaking the discussion areas down into more areas.

    It should not be all that difficult to create new topic areas, and port over discussions.
  4. isleofwightlen

    isleofwightlen Member

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    I've personally found the forum very informative & helpful. Good job Bradley.
  5. lava

    lava Member

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    My .o2$, This form has been a great source of info. Nightsailor, you may be an experanced sailor, but your tact is lacking. If you have a true wish too improve the sight, make a privet suggestion to the webmaster. I've been a member for 18 mo. people are always friendly and helpful, we should sail in waves not.....
    Just my .02$, Mike
  6. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    Read it over again Mike. I was not name calling, someone else was calling me names. I made a suggestion. It makes sense. If I wanted to be rude, I'd make comments like spelling "Site" and "Private", but I don't care about that. This is the sort of response I'm getting for pointing out the obvious. I have not read one constructive comment to my suggestion yet.

    I don't think it should be private, I think this is a topic that bears discussion and examination--or perhaps a poll.

    Why do I have to hunt up the webmaster? Why has he not stepped in to comment? Perhaps he wants to stir up debate on this topic. Perhaps he has already responded through a sock puppet.

    If I were running this board, my objective would be to increase participation. I would make changes that would achieve that objective. I would want everyone to participate in discussions about changes. I can do that without name calling. I can do better than that, I can stay on topic.

    Don't you think it make sense to separate areas for repairs and racing for example? That would cut the number of threads down in half. I think it needs even more separation. Separation would create more new topics. It would grow interest, if anything. I'd like to see a racing area, and be able to ask these folks some specific questions.

    Do you think 2000 topics in one area is too much? I do. 4000? I do.

    What ideas do you have for new topic areas?

    I'd like to see a Connecticut Sunfish area, but there may not be enough people for that, perhaps a New England topic area.

    If you have something constructive to offer, then lets hear it. Unlike everyone else, I promise not to shoot back
  7. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    Worlds Qualifying

    I assume NightSailor was wondering about Worlds Qualification. Strange that it is hard (impossible??) to find on Perhaps the class office cannot find it either!?

    In any event, the winners of each regional championship qualify for the following year's worlds, I believe the top 3 at the midwinters, top 7 at the NAs, and then perhaps the woman's NA champion as well and maybe one or two others.

    I think the Sunfish regatta schedule is pretty well organized - I am sure there are local clubs that don't publicize their events too well - maybe even by choice. Hopefully you can find a few events to squeeze into your free days between all the professional sailing.

  8. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    Re: Worlds Qualifying

    I'm more curious than anything. I don't expect to have time for this.

    Interesting. So how many from area regional's can qualify for the the NA's? And are there any requirements to qualify for Regionals?

    If you can point me to any relevant links I'd appreciate it. I looked in quite a few PDF, which I have to download to open efficiently. It is a silly amount of work for simple information. It is the sort of thing everyone who races in the class would know. Strange it is not in print that I could find.
  9. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    New England Sunfish Regional Website

    Here for your amusement, the New England Sunfish Regional Website, with all sorts of good information for people in my area.

    I think the smart thing to do is get myself a Porty Waterdog. This website will be a big help.

    This is no joke, try the link yourself.

  10. fbjru

    fbjru Member

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    It may be hard to find because there is no qualifications for Regionals and NA's. One needs only be a member of the Sunfish Class. Among other places this information can be found under eligibility in these regattas NORs.
  11. fbjru

    fbjru Member

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    The link on the sunfish class website sent me here:

    No problems.

    You should probably tread lightly on this forum. It is difficult to respect a newcomer who has hardly been around a month and is already complaining and making suggestions like he is the expert.
    If you have a question, search the forum, the yahoo group, and the website. If you still havnt found your answer kindly ask your question and graciously accept the advice of those who have been around the block.

    Just curios how long have you been sailing sunfish and in what boats do you have experience?
  12. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    More on Sunfish Lack of Organization

    No information except Dog Food at the New England Sunfish website. So I tried the New York web site, which is pretty close to me here in Connecticut.

    I looked for a race that was within a few hours drive at a time when I might be able to attend. I though a nice local race might be fun. I found it right near the top of the list.

    I picked the Lake Placid race on June 7th under Upcoming Regatta.


    Then I tried the link for more information like where to stay, Notice of Race, and Sailing Instructions. Here is what I found. Nothing....


    Then I noticed that race was for 2008. Everything is exactly one year out of date at the New York Sunfish Website. It is all confusing as heck, but I give them credit for having a working website--even if it is confusing and useless.

    Yacht Clubs have their schedules put together by now. Since the Sunfish class has frostbiting and winter events, I'd think it would be kept up to date pretty much all the time. Instead it is hit or miss. I honestly rate the organization very low, and I'm not talking about this forum now, but the Sunfish Class itself. I rate the class itself at the Regional level to be dead last among all of the sailing classes in the world. I've never seen anything so poorly run. If you are honest you will agree with me--I've shown you the proof. So when I ask a few questions of the Class organization, and they blow me off, what should I think?

    It is all one big joke. I wish I could laugh. The ISCA needs to be embarrassed into fixing itself. Can you imagine how great the class would be if the made it easy for someone new coming along to get into racing? The boats are cheap. The costs are low, except new people who are not associated with a yacht club that sponsors races, never find out what they need to know.

    Why would I join a class, if I had to pay and then spend all my time doing the work organizing things to make it happen. What I'm paying for? Pay for what? Pay for nothing? It makes no sense to me. It is like selling ice to Eskimo's. I'd sign up and fix things if they would compensate me somehow, but I already know the answer to that.

    I did find a pdf file with all the big events. Why don't they publish the smaller events at the same time? My dog runs around in circles--I know the feeling.

    So I give up. I will have to organize my own local event if I want to go to one. I might as well make it independent of the class. It will be more fun to just go sailing with my friends, and anyone local who is interested.
  13. fbjru

    fbjru Member

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  14. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    I went to the Sunfish US website and then to the New England website. Did you try that link? Dog Food!

    If I am wrong, I'll be the first to admit it. If I point out the obvious, and people want to attack me, so be it. I'm not sure how you found that New England Sunfish website. Thanks for that.

    Frankly, I don't like everyone telling me to shut up. No one has addressed my original question. It makes sense to split the forum up into relevant topics. No one wants to talk about that. Every one wants to pile on me. I've seen how other forums work. What is wrong with my original question? I don't need to be an expert on Sunfishes or sailing to make a comment on how the forum can be improved.

    Every place I've ever gone, with the exception of England, there has been some sort of entrenched group of sailors I meet that think they know everything. Sailors like a pecking order. I chose not to participate in that. When I was 8 years old, and learned how to trim a jib, my skippers would think I did it wrong, even after I learned to do it perfectly. I was bashed only because I was younger than all the other kids in the sailing program. I learned that people often are critical of others even when those others are right. It doesn't mean you should do it wrong.

    I don't have a need for anyone's respect. I'd have it, as a matter of course, after you talked to me for 10 minutes on sailing, or in the first ten minutes onboard. People always want me onboard, they beg me to sail with them, and they pay my airfare to really nice places, and give me free rides, just to be sure nothing goes wrong. This year, I've been invited, along with my family, to sail the Greek Islands for a month, by one of the best sailors in the world. Ask yourself why.

    When you have a closed mind you are limiting yourself, and what you can learn. For some reason many sailors are that way. Being open-minded is the key to being a good sailor. You need to have an attitude that you can learn from everyone you meet. That has been my goal for many years. Sometimes all you learn is only how to get along better, or how to communicate better onboard. Command skills are good to have. If you want my respect, teach me something I don't already know.

    Most people I meet have knowledge like Swiss cheese--full of holes, pretending to know more than they do. I can spot them a mile away. Some know a lot about a narrow little area. I don't have many holes in my knowledge. I could improve in a few areas--I know what they are and I'm still studying--I always will. If you want to test me ask me any question.

    To answer your questions:

    I've sailed on Sunfishes since the 2002 season. I've taught on them a few weeks a year for the last two years. It was the most fun work I've ever had. I like them for exploring the little islands near me that I'd normally need an inflatable to get to. I also like to plane in high winds. Fast is fun.

    Sailboats Sailed: [92 types]
    28' Sailing Canoe
    5o5 (Parker)
    42' Ketch
    48' Custom Catamarran
    84' LOA Schooner
    135’ LOA Schooner
    Alden schooner 72'
    Alerion 28
    Baltic 38
    Bavaria 36
    Beneteau 310
    Beneteau 33.7
    Beneteau 35
    Beneteau 40.7
    Beneteau 432
    Beneteau First 435
    Beneteau 47.7
    Blue Jay
    Bristol 34
    Bristol 35.5
    Brewer 44
    Capri 22
    Catalina 22
    Catalina 25
    Catalina 27
    Catalina 30
    Catalina 34
    Clipper 60
    Colgate 26
    Columbia 21
    C&C 32
    Dubois 68
    Dufour Classic 36
    Dufour 40
    Ericson 35
    Ericson 46
    Express 37
    Freedom 36 Cat-Ketch
    Hanse 311
    Hanse 320
    Hanse 400
    Harpoon 6.2
    Hobie 16
    Hobie 17
    Hobie Miracle 21
    Hunter 34
    Hunter 376
    Ideal 18
    Islander 40
    Jeanneau 362
    Jeanneau 452
    Landfall 34
    Merit 25
    Newport 28
    Newport 30
    O'Day 25
    O'Day 270
    O'Day 35
    O'Day 41
    O’Day Weekender
    Olson 24
    Pearson 37
    Piver 36' Trimaran
    Piver 40' Trimaran
    Pacific Seacraft 32
    Rhodes 19
    Rhodes 41 ketch
    Sabre 34
    Sabre 362
    Swan 57
    Swede 37
    Tartan 10
    Valiant 37
    Valiant 40

    OK, your turn. How long have you sailed Sunfishes, and what other boats have you sailed?

    Here are a few questions for you.

    Why do schooners rake their masts back?

    How do you transfer crew under sail between two sailboats underway?

    What does a quick flashing white light signify?

    Give me six reasons why an inboard diesel handles differently than an outboard.

    Where and when is the best place to buy a used Sunfish?
  15. 58984 EW

    58984 EW Member

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    Eric Woodman here, New England Rep.

    I've also e-mailed Conrad, but I thought I'd post here as well. As Conrad has discovered, the old New England Sunfish site has been retired and I no longer have any control over what appears on the old URL. It's unfortunate that this was his first encounter with the New England region, but -- as he'll discover if he comes and joins us this summer -- we have a great mix of sailors in the "home" region of the class.

    As has been pointed out the new URL for New England is

    FYI, the reason for the shift to the new site was to get the regional site back on the domain.

    PS I'm going to guess that there are a ton of reasons for raking a schooner's mast aft, but one comes to mind: So that the blocks on the mast could be used to raise/lower cargo without interfering with the mast.
  16. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    OK gentlemen (I don't think any gentlewomen have posted so far in this thread): just a gentle reminder.
    The Sunfish Forum is supposed to be a friendly medium for the exchange of info regarding this (fun) boat and its clones. It's not about 'my setup is better than yours', we don't brag or challenge one another, and we don't call each other names. Please, please, please.

    For those that are relatively new to the site, let me emphasize that The Sunfish Forum is independent of the Sunfish Class Association. Bradley Green, the owner/administrator of this Forum, sets the rules. They have worked well here and for the similarly organized Laser Forum. I am certain that Bradley will consider improvements. In fact, the organization of the two forums has changed over time. But I would be a bit leery of sub-specialization of The Sunfish Forum. Topics are not always well defined and run off-track every so often, while still being relevant to Sunfish sailing. Moreover the audience of The Sunfish Forum isn't that big and we have periods with relatively little activity.

    Now, regarding the International Sunfish Class Association (ISCA), the current website ( is really quite nice, IMHO. This is due to the efforts of Brian McGinnis, the webmaster. It used to be a different story, but that's history. The current site has the racing calendar (and not just for the USA) and links to national class associations and regional sites. Major upcoming regattas are highlighted. Other links are provided to other class relevant topics (rules, history, etc.). If you think of an improvement for that site, please contact Brian.

    If I have a question, I may go to the ISCA site first. For other issues I will first consult this Forum. And then there is the Yahoo ! Groups site Sunfish Sailor ( Also very useful at times and lovingly maintained by Wayne. By now, I pretty much know which site to consult whenever I have a question, but (relative) newbies should explore all three sites. It's fun, although I do miss the breeze, computer sailing.

    Need to get wet now.
  17. derekcjackson

    derekcjackson Member

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    To the question of categories, while I can see the original poster's point and am open to change, I believe the forum is effective as it is.

    As others have pointed out, threads often go off on tangents (this has been a fine example of that) which can make them difficult to properly categorize or even require them to be moved. The search function works well. My experience is that I can always find what I need. In cases when I have seen people not find what they are looking for, or ask a question that has been discussed in length, people usually respond in a timely manner and referencing older threads and supplementing them with newer information.
  18. small lake

    small lake New Member

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    Hey NightSailer,
    since you have sailed so many boats before, you think you could possibly let me have one
  19. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    Eric, I really appreciate your help. Perhaps you can get the link changed on the web site.

    Sorry. That is not the answer about the schooner.
  20. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    I don't own them all. I just sail them. if you want advice on how to get rides on cool boats I know all the tricks. Being good helps, but plenty of people are looking for crew, all the time. A flexible schedule helps. Save your time off and keep your bags packed, and travel light.

    As for my boats. You are welcome to come for a ride sometime. I give preference to those who help me work on them. Those that help lots get invited cool places.

    I use my boats or plan to use (the 46) for sailing instruction. If I have an empty slot and you are on my good side, I can slide you in. It seems that when I have an opening or a delivery, no one can make it. Which is ok. I rather like the challenge of solo sailing on deliveries.

    One helper, now close friend, has gotten two trips in the Caribbean for himself and his wife for only the cost of airfare and food. Another helper, turned into close friend, a mechanical engineer has gotten one trip and is on his way to earning a second, or as many as he wants for himself and his girlfriend. I have a new fellow helping me, a lawyer, who is high on the list for Feb of next year. He helped me dive on my 46' and clean the bottom--he is worth having along. In any event I expect to have a full boat then. My helpers all want seconds or thirds.

    I may be organizing a couple of group charters to the USVI and SVi that same month. If you don't mind sharing expenses, I can show you around, teach you whatever you want, and give you a trip you will never forget. Typical charter costs are about $900 per person per week, plus airfare, and about $150 for food and soft drinks. Buy your own booze. If you don't eat out, it is fairly inexpensive for a vacation. We typically bring down all our food and three ice chests. We buy all our drinks when we get there and there is little time wasted provisioning--two people run out for beverages, while everyone else packs the food, and preps the boat. We are off the dock and anchored out every night. I have two favorite anchorages close by.

    My next personal trip down in the Caribbean will be on a fast 40' sloop. I plan to sail downwind from St Thomas to Vieques, perhaps overnight in one of the little used harbors, then sail down to Esperanza vicinity and overnight. The harbors on the SE side of the island are very rocky and tricky to get into. I want to see if I can pick my way in one of them. If it doesn't look good, I'll go down to Ensenada Sun Bay--a great anchorage that is empty, or a bit farther to Esperanza. Esperanza has terrible holding, but offers free moorings--if any are available.

    I personally don't like to hang out with everyone else like a sheep. I like to pack my own food, eat on the boat and spend more time sailing and exploring. The drunken tourist crawl is for amateurs.

    From there I plan to port tack over to Buck Island off the North East corner of St Croix to see the sea turtles, then starboard tack to St John, around St John, New Found Bay and Waterlemon key among other places, and back to St Thomas to wrap it up. St Croix will be new for me. I don't plan to go on the main island--crime is a problem there. But that Buck Island is supposed to be very nice.

    My long range plan is to figure a way to carry at least two Sunfishes on the deck of my 46. for some reason, no one sails small boats down there. I take this as a sign that these people do not know how to sail. Gorda Sound or Coral Bay are probably the best small boat sailing locations in the world. But people spend a fortune chartering a big boat, and for most, it is a new experience, so they think they are so cool, when most of these boats are sh1tting sailing machines, that can't point, and take forever to get upwind--on comes the motor and the race to pick up a mooring. Most of these people have never anchored in their home waters and they are terrified to anchor in the islands. I'd like to carry a couple of kayaks also. To rent those down there is $800/week--no kidding. So no one does, tourists rent them for half a day or not at all. If I can carry a couple of those, my guests could have more fun.

    So anyway. I see myself sailing my boat to the islands and finding a cool spot to hang out like Leverick Bay, the BEYC, or Coral Harbor, and blasting around on my Sunfish. If I can carry all four of them, then I'll be organizing my own races in the morning and late afternoon, lounging on a hammock at mid-day, listening to live music at night. That is living. I will have the Mothership of Sunfishes. Hallelujah! I'll be charging much less for tours because I'll own the boat, and I'll want to keep it chartered every week.

    My 46 sleeps 12 at anchor, on ocean passages it sleeps 8 comfortably. For charters I like 6 passengers but I can take more if necessary--a couple extra kids for example.

    I will have a double V-berth, Two aft cabins with doubles on the bottom and a single over. I just gutted the interior. So that is my big job starting June 12th--putting it all back together again. The main cabin will have two settee berths that convert to four sea-berths. Formerly it has one settee and two built in chairs--a horrible arrangement. I have two heads--one with a shower, and a shower on deck.

    Better, my boat loves Caribbean sailing. One person can sail the boat, with two it is easy. I just bought an electric halyard winch for the main--that was the hardest job on the boat--raising the mainsail.

    It was made for Trade Wind conditions. It sails fast upwind and points unbelievably great. Unlike charter boats I have a full suite of sail controls--three reefs, brand new hydraulic backstay adjuster, two head sails, and a lot of sail area. I picked a good one.

    While it is not a lightweight planning machine, it does have a long waterline, and at 6'4", I can stay up down below. MY spinnaker gear needs some work, but downwind should be pretty exciting when I get that squared away. I've sailed in the Caribbean, because I bring my own spinnaker gear. Who else does? That is the best part of big boat sailing, and no one does it down there except during the few major regatta's.

    What else. The Ballast/Displacement Ratio is 50% So it is a pretty smooth ride, and doesn't heel over very much--It is a stiff boat.

    I'll plan to charge $100/day/person, about 60% the going rate, and include food and soft drinks. At prices significantly under the going rate I will market myself to various groups I've already built relationships with. I plan to keep my prices so low that I can book it for every week for the whole season. Most of my profits will go back into the boat. I'll maintain it so that everything is perfect.

    My goal is to have fun and make the deal attractive enough that people, who like to sail, and fly spinnakers, will want to come back and sail with me every year/ After the first year, word of mouth will be my advertising. I'd plan to offer free weeks for anyone who helps me return the boat in the spring. It is pretty easy to sail the boat, even in rough conditions. Three people are enough. With a full complement of 8, it will be effortless to sail the boat. With 8, ocean passages could not be easier--one person on watch, 1 hour on, 6 off, with me navigating, or in a storm, two people on two hours on and four off. I'd teach Celestial Navigation courses on the trips down and charge $1200 a leg for that.

    I've worked for 6 different sailing schools. I know what people want, I know how to market it, and without needing any luck, I can cover all my expenses, grow to still bigger boats, or into a base on one of the islands like Culebra, and offer more fun things for people at reasonable rates.

    So while you joke you want to sail on some of these many boats I've sail. The reality is, if you want to sail, I'm the best person to know for that. Last year I sailed over 120 days. This year I am going to put my time in working on boats and get them all done so I can spend all winter in the islands.


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