"legalize" short Sunfish masts

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by odegaard, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. odegaard

    odegaard cAPTN oDIE

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    Also posted on Yahoo Sunfish sailor group--Sunfish masts do break; new masts are expensive (~$175); good luck trying to buy a new one-I gave up this last summer, 6 mo. thru dealer and no mast; Jens rigs can be complex and intiminating to the uninitiated; current Rule Measurement Diagram shows only a 10' 1/4" mast is legal. We need to change this to "max length" so that we can use broken masts to race. A shorter mast is just great for a Jens rig, and soo simple to rig (just move halyard down fwd. spar). Anyone on this forum agree? What thinketh thee??
     
  2. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    Interesting idea. There are not many racers on this board, so I don't know how much feedback you will get. I think it worth consideration. Perhaps you should write a short article for Windward Leg about the idea, and encourage readers to come here to discuss the idea.
     
  3. Blue Heron

    Blue Heron Member

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    While I wouldn't use a short mast if I didn't have to, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to legalizing a shorter one since it would not give anyone an advantage.

    BUT that brings up two points worth discussing:

    1. the poor support that Sunfish Laser is giving to the Sunfish Fleet, and 2. Are ALL Sunfish Sailors just in to racing nowadays?

    Since I've gotten back in to Sunfishes, I too have found that Sunfish/Laser's support of the existing boats with parts has gone downhill dramatically over the years. I've spoken to many of the listed "Sunfish Dealers" along the Gulf Coast, and they all tell me the same thing: "Sure, I can order the parts for you..... but they may never arrive" OR "I've quit carrying Sunfish entirely because the company is so bad about not shipping." If you break something on your boat here, you are probably going to be out of the water for several weeks or even months waiting for parts. The funny thing is that there is a demand for parts here, and lots of boats.... but folks are switching over to other makes due to the local availability of parts. It's not good for Sunfsh.

    as far as racing goes: it's GREAT and a lot of fun, but it's not the only thing a Sunfish is good for. Unfortunately, nobody seems to use them for anything else nowadays. What a shame..... it's really a versatile little boat, capable of a lot more than just chasing bouys.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  4. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    I seriously doubt the last statement, although I can't prove it...
     
  5. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    'Not a Sunfish racer, but my Sunfish mast broke off at 16 inches above the deck. When you compensate by lowering the halyard attachment-point, both spars will bend—as they are designed to—but at a more stressful angle. :oops:

    (Relative to each spar, that is).

    P6100040.JPG
     
  6. sailcraftri

    sailcraftri Well-Known Member

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    I would disagree with Blue Heron on the last statement. I have owned many Sunfish and sold many of these once they were back in sailing condition. Most buyers have been recreational sailors, only 3 have mentioned that they plan to race. Now most of my boats have been 1970's-1980's and you rarely see these on the race course. I have many parts for the Sunfish that I sell and that tells me people are still trying to keep their older boats going. I have these parts because LP seems to have a lack of them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Blue Heron

    Blue Heron Member

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    Sailcrafti, you might be right for your part of the country. Here on Mobile Bay, and on Mississippi Sound though, I don't see it. I'm out on the water two or three days a week, and the only other Sunfish I see out on the water are racers. Maybe it's a regional thing.

    It looks like we agree though on the factory support problem.
     
  8. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I agree 100% that short masts should be legal for racing. While I believe that the class measurer probably would hold that they are not, what's interesting is that if we re-read that terrific article in the Sunfish Bible regarding the '78 NAs in Barrington (page 333 in the latest edition, just few pages before Odie's own Bible article on boat set up) we see that a top competitor who's mast broke just sawed it off to Jens equivalent length and went on to win the next race with that short mast. And it counted. I wouldn't see the problem myself in officially allowing it.

    A top female Sunfisher (and past int'l class prez) once remarked that she almost always sailed with a Jens anyway, since she as often as not found her boat overpowered vs her weight at most major events. It would certainly make sense to legalize broken-length masts, which when they do break almost always break to exactly Jens length, for the benefit of all lighter weight sailors. As a class we should just do it. It is just a one word change in the rules, which we have already bent anyway.
     

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