1980 Sunfish metal rub rail

Thread starter #1

I’m thinking about purchasing this Sunfish for my grandchildren. I have not seen the boat but in the pictures it has a metal rub rail on the hulls edge. Is this a leak area and should I look for one that has the rolled fiberglass edge. I don’t know if the boats with the metal rub rail.are the newer molds.

Also this boat has a loop in the center of the rear traveler line. On newer boats it looks like the line is continuous one piece so the main sheet line can slide from side to side. This is my first Sunfish and would appreciate your advice and is there a link that will show me how to rig the boat. Thanks

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
That’s a boat made prior to 1990 or so and that’s how they were equipped. Weight the boat by tipping it on its edge and balancing on a bathroom scales. If it’s 135 lbs or less it’s good, more than that means it has leaked, absorbed water and will require a repair project.

Typically there is no reason to think it’ll leak under the metal trim unless the boat has been in a solid collision.


Upside down?
Staff member
Concur and with respect to the 'traveler', the issue is irrelevant except to hard-core racers
An excellent rigging video can be found here:
Thread starter #4
Thanks for the weight tip, I’m going to see it today and I will weigh it. According to the owner the boat was stored inside so it should be dry. I will check the edge. Any comments on the traveler? Also, any recommendation for a pulley on the main sheet. I see in pictures some type of what looks like a pulley block on a spring but I’m not sure if that’s what I should install. Going to go to YouTube hopefully to find some rigging info. Thanks.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
That traveler is fine or you can change it out. Many of the manufacture boats came with a swivel cam cleat that is easy enough to add with 3 screws or the stand up block and usually a cam cleat. Racers like the stand up ratchet block, we like the swivel cam cleat.
Thread starter #7
Hi, just purchased this Sunfish. I have no idea it’s age but it is good condition. Can anyone tell what this hook on the cockpit lip is for. Also thinks no about adding either a ratchet block or a swivel can cleat. Not racing the boat is one better than the other for new a sailor. Thanks for you help.



Well-Known Member
The hook is for the mainsheet and is original equipment. I would replace with the ratchet block, eye strap and standup spring. I sell these if you are interested. I don't like cleats as that leads to trouble (instant capsize when you can't release the mainsheet fast enough).

Based on the color this may be an 80's boat. Upper right corner will have a hull ID number and the last digits will tell you the year it was built.

Don't worry about the aluminum trim and leaks as even the rolled deck edge boats can leak. At least the aluminum trim protects the edge when storing in its side.

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Nice boat. Sailcraft is right about the block. It’s a simple install - all holes will go into the deck overhanging the tub so they are easy to work with.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Golly, just a hook and she's not even using it :) Just having fun! So sail it with just the hook to start. If you find your arms getting tired then think about a ratchet block.

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the hook works and you can certainly sail with it - but I really like adding at least the ratchet block. you can live without the cam cleat.
this is my preferred setup (shown on a Minifish):

and similar ratchet block mounted on my Sunfish (no cam cleat):


Active Member
I kept my hook...knees still intact!
I put cam cleats on each side, coming from my ratchet block....so I have the best of all 3 worlds. The hook works great imo.
I like having the cam on the high sides so I don't have to lean back into the middle if hiking out. Put the cams on mounts so they are quick release if needed.

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
For racers, I am with Do the Dew. It's easy to get lazy and cleat it for a bit thinking it won't make a difference. For recreational sailing, it doesn't really matter.


Well-Known Member
Wrist, finger, metatarses, rheumatoid and arthritic conditions "like" the cleat. I have both in a combination ratchet-block/jam-cleat setup, and I'd want that combination on every (one of my five) Sunfish. :)