Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Brian Duchon, May 4, 2015.
The Kayak might be doable. Still working on that one. The trailer could be turned into a double decker with a little fabrication. I also have a Stand Up Paddle Board that I can fit on a ladder rack I constructed out of pressure treated lumber. Also enough room up there for a kayak. The paddle board is actually a converted Mistral Windsurfer that I found abounded in a creek in Arlington, VA. I brought it home preformed some repairs, removed the mast track and installed a traction pad.
West Branch Lake is a good one. I also hit Lake Milton and Berlin Lake. Further south is Atwood Lake which is popular with sailors but I have not been there yet.
One thing I am looking for is some sort of tiller tamer for a sunfish. Just not sure how I would run the lines and where to mount the actual unit on the tiller
I tried SUPing my Sunfish with terrible results. It would just pivot and I would just spin in circles. I tried it with the daggerboard with no improvement. The only way it would go in a straight line is with the rudder on but then I would have to tie a string to keep the tiller straight.
Have you done a capsize practice with all the equipment to be sure you can recover and no equipment is damaged?
Why a tiller tamer?
The Sunfish is just a fun little, easy to rig, dinghy.
I have not. Still a bit too cold to purposely get in the water. That said I am not too concerned with a potential capsize. Everything is lashed into eyelets in the cockpit, floats and is waterproof. The GPS, Marine Radio and Speaker are also ruggedly built so no real concerns there. Everything is also relatively light so righting the boat should be no issue. I will keep you posted once it gets warm enough to dump it over.
I noticed again last weekend that whenever I let go of the tiller it turns to one extreme or the other. Not a huge issue since I rarely let go of the tiller completely but in the event I need to adjust the halyard or deal with another issue it would be nice to know that it will stay straight or in the direction of my choice. I have done some more thinking and I am going to try to use some shock cord to create a tiller control. Basically a shock cord that will run from either side of the stern between the bridle eyelets. In between it will run through another eyelet attached to the underside of the tiller. This should give it enough tension to keep the tiller strait but still allow me to turn as normal when needed. I will post some pictures once I get it all done and do some testing.
Got a chance to do some sailing over the holiday weekend.
I visited nearby Walborn Reservoir. For a Sunday, holiday weekend it was not very busy and the sun, temperature and wind were perfect.
I ended up sailing around for about 2 hours. I covered 3.5 nautical miles with a max speed of 7 knots.
Being only my second time out this year it went well. Still making some small adjustments to the rigging. I am going to shorten the daggerboard shockcord so that it attaches to the mast as opposed to the bow handle. I had to adjust it once while on the water and trying to get up to the bow handle is a pain. Moving it to the mast should make it a little easier to adjust if needed. I am also going to work on the above mentioned tiller control line. Just something to put some pressure on the tiller so it stays straight in the event I need to let go of it. I will keep everyone posted.
Can you rig it with a lanyard?
Although it would make for some interesting video, a "tiller control line" will mean that your boat can sail off without anyone aboard!
I am still not sure about (safety of) the tiller tamer idea.
Suppose a gust hits and the skipper lets go of the tiller. Then one wants to boat to turn to windward so that it ends up in irons. With the tiller tied down, that won't happen so readily.
PS#1: I see that Light and Variable Winds also has concerns concerning this issue.
PS#2: One doesn't adjust the daggerboard shock cord once it is properly tied. More experienced Sunfishers often use the intersection of the spars to lead the shock cord to the daggerboard.
PS#3: Hopefully I am mistaken, but I don't see any PFDs being worn.
The boat already has a cam cleat for the mainsheet. If that is locked in there is already the risk of gost sailing the boat. Just a question of if it goes in a straight line or in circles.
I guess the term "tied down" is inaccurate. What I really mean is putting some pressure on the tiller so that it doesn't move on it's own. I envision it still allowing me to adjust the tiller as needed the same as without the shock cord. Correct, the daggerboard shockcord does not need adjusted once properly secured. That said I don't always get it right the first time (still learning) and I would prefer to have it closer to the cockpit in the event I need to adjust or remove. I know, I know, I know; life vests, life vests life vests. In Ohio I am not required to wear one due to my age and size of boat. That said depending on the conditions; high winds/waves, boating alone, boating at night or during cold water months I do elect to wear a vest. The boat is equipped with a PDF for each passenger and a throwable PFD. Still I know that I will get some static for my decision. I know my grandma has already gotten on me about wearing the vests.
Update on the tiller tensioner. I figured a rather simple solution that should address my issue. I used some shock cord between the bridle eyelets. I then attached a small j-hook to the underside of the tiller. You can pull the cord up to slip it over the j-hook giving it enough tension to hold its position. Still turns with ease and "pops off" if you turn hard enough. It is also easy to "pop" it back into place from the cockpit. Check out the pics. A video is coming soon.
Seems like an unnecessary and and potentially dangerous addition. There are hundreds of thousands of sailboats out there without this type of autopilot, and I suspect there is a reason!! BB
I'll give it a try and keep you posted.
Just curious, but does your Sunfish have a tiller extension? If so, is it long enough?
The Porpoise II clonefish had a clever answer to the Sunfish's "untamed tiller". They'd placed a medium-sized clip just a few inches inboard of the transom. Attaching the mainsheet to the clip meant you could always bring the tiller back within reach by pulling on the mainsheet. (Although in the photo below, a make-shift traveler is being used, and the clip [arrow] is not).
Not sure the exact length of my tiller but I do know that it was the stock tiller until I cut it down by about 6 inches. I wanted to be able to sit at the back of the cockpit and not interfere with the tiller so I shortened it. Over the winter I added the tiller extension which doubles the length of the tiller. I like the solution you mention on the Porpoise. Shows that it is an issue others have thought of. I still haven't had a chance to try out my new rigging. We have had one wet June so far. I am heading to Pymatuning Lake tomorrow to check out the Pymatuning Sail Club. Hoping for good wind and weather!
Well Brian, you're certainly pushing lots of envelopes with your Sunfish and it's obviously a labor of love and fascination. Everybody likes different things even though we might not be as inventive as you. For me, the beauty of the Sunfish is in its simplicity and functionality with everything you need and nothing that you don't. I fear that were I to have your wonderful things, I'd be worrying more about getting them wet than enjoying the sailing itself. Have fun!
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