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1971 Sunfish


Active Member
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum.

I picked up what I believe to be a 1971 Sunfish for free last fall. I say, "believe," as it has both a storage compartment behind the cockpit and the old style bronze rudder fittings.

I read in the sailingtexas.com site under Sunfish model year table the following:

The cockpit was redesigned for the 1971 models, which started shipping after the end of August shutdown 1970. However the older cockpits (short) had a flanged top (where they intersected the deck, and the new ones added in September 1970 did not have this. This caused any boat with any nontrivial amount of traditional (deck up) trailering to be an immediate leaker, because the bottom of the cockpit would crack out the hull.

Looking at my boat, I see no sign either in the cockpit or the hull of any "cracking out". It isn't actually clear to me the way that article was written whether the cracks would be in or outside the boat. Does anyone know the answer?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
I am fairly sure that the only year they made the Sunfish with the aft storage compartment but the old style rudder with
the bronze and brass hardware was 1971. However, I have never heard of these hull cracking (deck or bottom) any worse than any other Sunfish newer or older.

I owned one of these boats bought new, old stock, in 1972 (for $500), sailed it hard for several months, but don't recall any structural problems with it. For the record, I car topped it on a 1968 Pontiac LeMans station wagon deck side down on carpeted car top bunks.

Others with more experience feel free to chime in.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
We restored a 1971 hull and it was one of the most solid boats I have come across. If I remember right that hull issue was with late 80s Pearson (sp?) boats.


Lafayette Mike

Active Member
I have a 1971 as you describe. It had the old rudder assembly till I upgraded this fall.

I don't know much about the history of this particular boat, but I have towed it both deck down and deck up on two different trailers about 1000 miles in the last year and haven't noticed any damage or cracking. It has spent most of it's life outside (in hot/cold central Indiana) as well with no apparent ill effects.


signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
One thing that will crack decks on either side of any cockpit is tightening down a trailer strap too tight, that would probably push a tub up into the deck also and cause the stress fractures you mentioned.