Hiking for an Old Man

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by sjs, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. sjs

    sjs New Member

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    Hello, I am new to the forum.

    I first learned to sail on a sunfish my uncle, cousin and I built sometime in the early 60's. Have not sailed one since the early 70's. For many years now I have been sailing cruising sailboats in various areas in the US and elsewhere and I am now between boats and looking for a daysailer. My first thought is of a sunfish because I used to love sailing it.

    I am 61 and not as limber as I used to be. I don't think I want to be forced to hike out all the time. Sometimes my back is in good shape and sometimes it is not. Any daysailer will require hiking at times but some have enough stability to allow reducing sail, or feathering the sails, and avoid hiking in many conditions.

    Since the sunfish has no means of reefing I am curious about its stability. I simply cannot remember from my days of sailing one. I will be sailing alone. Is this a boat an old man should avoid?

    Thank you for any assistance.
     
  2. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    I applaud your grasp of the reality of unballasted beach boats...

    A hard chine boat will be more stable than one with a rounded chine.

    A boat with a wider beam will be more stable than a narrower beam boat.

    For it's size and simplicity, a Sunfish isn't too bad. It has a hard chine and the beam is moderate.

    A lateen sail can have traditional reefing added, just not when used within the constraints of the racing rules.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    A similarly easy to setup and light weight boat with a wider beam, but a soft chine is the Zuma. Though recently retired from production, used boats can be found for about the same price as a Sunfish.

    [​IMG]

    LOA 12' 9"
    Beam 5'
    Sail Area 65 sq. ft.
    Hull Weight 130 lbs.



    .
     
  3. sjs

    sjs New Member

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    Thank you Wayne. That is a very informative and helpful reply. I am encouraged by your comment that the sunfish is not too bad regarding stability and that it can be reefed.
     
  4. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Re: Old Man Sailing

    Reefing can be accomplished by tying the first grommet on the luff to (the S-hook attached to) the intersection of the two spars.

    In addition, light weight sailors often use a 'Jens' in higher winds. This is a slight modification of the conventional set-up of the rig and requires one additional piece of line. Please search The Sunfish Forum for additional information.
     
  5. sjs

    sjs New Member

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    Re: Old Man Sailing

    Thank you, I'll do a search for Jens lines. Almost bought a used sunfish locally but another buyer got there first.
     
  6. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    The Jens Hookanson style of rigging (Jens Rig) is a way to lower the whole sail rig to near deck level in order to reduce the effect of wind leverage without re-tying the halyard..., it does not reduce sail.

    The Jens Rig evolved to benefit racers and lighter weight sailors so they could more quickly adjust for stronger wind conditions without dismantling their normal setup.

    Another variation of this approach is called the "Gust Adjust" and can be seen demonstrated on YouTube.


    Upper Jens configuration

    [​IMG]


    Lower Jens along with a view of the "boom vang" halyard routing.

    [​IMG]
    From the Sunfish Class Tips & Tricks page.

    Further discussion can be found in the FAQ article, What should I do with sail when the wind increases? and in the Sunfish Bible by Will White (available at Sunfish Dealers ~$30)

    .
     
  7. sjs

    sjs New Member

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    Thank you. I was confused a bit with what I had read thus far. These drawings explain it. I very much appreciate all of this assistance.
     
  8. Sunshinegal

    Sunshinegal New Member

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    I had to chuckle at you referring to yourself as an old man! By no means are you old!!

    I am going on 51 now and just started sailing a Sunfish once again. I used to sail back when I was in my early 20's.l It took me a little while to get back in the swing of things again but I have found that age doesn't make that big of a difference when sailing in the Sunfish. I sometimes recline down in the cockpit and have used my lifejacket as a backrest which works very well thank you!lol I have been out in some brisk wind without my sail reefed and have found that just leaning backward helps a lot and I haven't really had to do any serious hiking.

    Sure I'm a bit more stiff when I come in but that could be because I don't come ashore for hours I'm having so much fun. I've even developed tendonitis in my elbow from hanging onto my sheet line! But those things come with age and that's what they make Ibuprofen for!!

    Go out and enjoy, I wish you lots of fun and sun!
     
  9. Bill Siler

    Bill Siler Member

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    I am 57. My neck and joints rarely feel better than after a day on the 'fish. At 210# I rarely have to hike out very far. If I do the winds are at force whahoo and it is worth it. See if you can borrow or rent a 'fish and see how it suits you.

    PS: A lady at our club in her seventies used to crush me in casual racing.
     
  10. sjs

    sjs New Member

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    Thanks very much for the encouragement. I hadn't thought about the fact that I weigh 200# now and weighed about 140 when I last sailed one. That's a lot of extra ballast.

    I am ready to go but haven't found a used one yet in good condition within a reasonable distance. I may have to convince my wife we should go ahead and buy a new one.
     
  11. Clyde

    Clyde Member

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    Early 60's is old? Then I'm a fossil at 74 but still try to sail 2 or three times a week but I avoid heavy winds. With age has come a little extra weight so keeping thew boat upright is not too much of a problem.

    Get out and unjoy yourself, kid!
     
  12. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    I'm 55 (at least for the next 2 weeks) and I race my Phantom on weekends. It's not a large class race just a few small boats. At 140# I do have to hike out in heavier winds, but since I'm not much ballast, I'll ease the sail to keep the boat flat.

    The Phantom is rigged similar to the Sunfish except the gooseneck is riveted in place and there is an eyestrap to attach the halyard and the sail is fairly high off the deck.

    If you are just recreational sailing, don't be too concerned with the hiking issue. let the sail out and cruise with the wind.
     
  13. chiefypoo

    chiefypoo New Member

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    hey, I'm 76 and age don't matter I am working on a phantom that I have converted to a rowing /sail boat that I am ready to try shortly. I sail my old sunfish its old no serial no's but still sails great. A cinch cleat will take the strain off your arm and hand . I have trouble with my tiller arm but a little ointment takes care of that. Your only old as you think you are Keep loose and busy.
     
  14. chiefypoo

    chiefypoo New Member

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    hers a picture of the converted phantom[​IMG]
     
  15. winever

    winever Member

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    SJS, I just turned 60 and bought my first Fish 2 years ago. I'm having lots of fun with it. At 195 pounds I too do little real hiking, just lean back. I'll come off the water if it's blowing over 15 kts. My main concern I need to test is dumping it and getting back aboard. For safety I need to do this with company close by just in case. Regards, Winever.
     
  16. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    No Capsize for Old Men





    Up and onboard in 30 seconds . . . in a ~15 mph breeze.




    A little practice in chest deep water helps hone the skills.


    .
     
  17. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    At 73 I find no problem when hiking is needed. Keep the sail low (3" above the deck) and the dagger up a bit to reduce heeling.
    I do find that high winds tire me out faster than before but it's sailing and having a good time that counts.

    Fair Winds,
    Fred the Geezer
     
  18. winever

    winever Member

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    OK, different issue, kinda. I tried to dump it in the harbor and couldn't get it to capsize. I really didn't want to grab the mast and fall into the sail, or attempt to drop between the boom and the hull. Or is that the only way? Anyone teach this drill when the wind is too light to help? Thanks, Winever.
     
  19. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Sorry Fred, but having the board up a bit increases heeling...

     
  20. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    In light winds you do have to pull on the mast. You will fall backwards while holding onto the mast, and the sail may be on top of you once you hit the water. If so, you will need to swim a few strokes to free yourself and get to the other side of the hull. At least that was my experience when I demonstrated capsize recovery this past summer.

     

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