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2nd Sail day woes...

Fletch101e

New Member
Took my fish out for the second time yesterday , testing it's new trailer. The first time, about 2 weeks ago, was fine. But yesterday it was rough and the current was strong. Boat kept trying to crash into the ramp as we were unloading. GF and I dumped it as we were leaving the ramp so she decided to stay behind, which was probably a good thing. At first I can't get it to move till I paddled a bit off shore then it took off. Before long I realized I was about a mile offshore and figured it was time to head closer in. When I turned the sail caught and over I went. I could not get the boat uprighted and was considering ditching the sail when 2 other boats full of guys showed up. One jumped overboard to help but still with 2 of us we could not get it righted. Then another guy from the other boat jumped in and pushed on the sail side and that got it uprighted. So how do you guys get the boat uprighted when the sail is full of water?

After that I was heading back in as a storm was approaching. The current was strong and I never could get the boat to go upwind, even at a sharp angle. I was drifting downwind so when I got boat between 1/2 and 1/4 mile from shore I jumped overboard and I was able to slowly pull it to shore as water was only chest high.

Next time will try calmer wx so boat doesn't get stuck downwind.

So what do you do to upright boat when you are offshore?

Also I think my GF is scared of boat now after seeing all this. Any of you ever had a Puffer? I am wondering if they are more stable and safer for 2. No not going to sell the fish just maybe another boat that might be more stable for 2.
 
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sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
Better choice might be something like a Hobie Holder 14 (monohull). Was also built under the name of Vagabond 14.
 

cnovark

Member
I consider myself something of an expert at righting a Sunfish, since I have so much practice at it ;). You described the sail as full of water. You need to make sure the sheet is uncleated and long enough so that the sail will go all lovely and perpendicular to the boat and shed the water. The only time I've ever had problems righting is when my upper spar was stuck in about 8 inches of mud. Thankfully a Good Samaritan jumped off a boat and manhandled it loose for me. Usually I do a beached whale impression on the daggerboard and it's up in less than 30 seconds.

I would suggest trying to reach out to other Sunfish sailors in your area. Good luck! :)
 

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Fletch101e

New Member
I consider myself something of an expert at righting a Sunfish, since I have so much practice at it ;). You described the sail as full of water. You need to make sure the sheet is uncleated and long enough so that the sail will go all lovely and perpendicular to the boat and shed the water. The only time I've ever had problems righting is when my upper spar was stuck in about 8 inches of mud. Thankfully a Good Samaritan jumped off a boat and manhandled it loose for me. Usually I do a beached whale impression on the daggerboard and it's up in less than 30 seconds.

I would suggest trying to reach out to other Sunfish sailors in your area. Good luck! :)
Yes the sail was full of water...it was floating ..the spar was not sinking. The main line had a knot on the end but otherwise should have had plenty of line to do whatever it wanted. The dagger board kept falling out and tried to float away 2x so I put it in the cockpit so I would not lose it. I am still not sure what was wrong but 2 guys could not right it so I am concerned if this happens again and nobody is around to help next time. I am going to keep it but still going to look for a safer boat.
 

cnovark

Member
My understanding is that the daggerboard is essential for righting the boat. A lot of people (myself included) rig a bungee or something to keep that sucker in. I have about 6 (?) feet of bungee type cord tied to the board and then I clip it around the mast. Then the daggerboard sticks out (ideally horizontally, sometimes vertically which is a bit harder) and you grab the end and pull it down/push yourself up on it/beach yourself and make a noise like a seal at sea world.

The only thing about a "safer"/ less tippy boat is that there will probably be more parts to fall off and out :)
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The sheet should be 25 feet long, and run free and clear out to a stop knot on the end. Several steps, one is to pull the boat nose into the wind, that way the wind won't catch it and flip it again or if a sheet fouls it sails away. Another to make sure sheet is not fouled, the sail may actually sink or "feather" down into the water as the boat comes up, that's ok because it is not holding water that way. But you don't want boat to turtle, if your mast is old you may consider adding cut up pool noodle strips to the inside.
Next step is to put daggerboard fully into the slot, go around to the hull side, grab the side of the boat, put put your feet on the board and pull the boat towards you. If it won't come up like that, hmmm....

How were you trying to right it?

You might go out on a calmer day and do some capsize practice.

Good news, you had people ashore who knew where you were and other folks around. Always good to file a Float Plan.

When we go out for a day sail we usually sail upwind first if we can, so we can be on a run back to the dock.

The Puffer looks like a more stable boat for 2 people, harder to capsize but harder to right.

But there was some fun ailing in there too?!

Kent
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I consider myself something of an expert at righting a Sunfish, since I have so much practice at it ;).
Coming from a background of sailing catamarans, I have even more practice. :p With three aboard, I capsized a Hobie twice in three minutes! What I don't know, is whether having two aboard a Sunfish make capsizes more likely. It's also possible to capsize a small boat if passed upwind by a powerboat.

I'd suggest practicing "righting" the Sunfish in shallow water to rebuild confidence in the two of you. Avoid "building seas", dark clouds, and strong winds. What remains might be called "light and variable" winds, but it's astonishing how well the Sunfish sails in "no wind" conditions. (5 knots or less). You can produce a wake!

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Also, the choice of seat fabric in your "sail-wear" can affect one's need to stay aboard. :oops:

When righting in a strong wind, align the boat so the bow is facing into the wind. Once in the water, you can use your body as a sea anchor (hold onto the bow handle, allow yourself to be dragged until the bow faces into the wind). Cinch up your PFD tighter to improve your reach. From the water, extend the daggerboard out towards you, and use your [combined] weight on it to slowly lift the boat upright. Do what you can to prevent the boat from continuing to right itself, because inertia can still end up flopping the rig onto the other side. :(

To minimize capsizing, raise the upper spar as far as it'll go. Make sure your sail / gooseneck is adjusted so that the clew (rear-most corner) is higher than the tack (forward-most corner). :)

.
 

minas man

Member
Lots of good advice now you need to practice in lighter wind conditions. Part of being a good sailor is knowing your limitations and not sailing in conditions that exceed your ability.
Taking on crew. Passengers on boats come in two categories they are an asset or a liability on the water so know your passengers ability and match that to the sea state and wind conditions and the skippers knowledge of his boat.
I have refused many an invitation to go on a boat with an over enthusiastic newbie. They don't know that they don't know.

Your comments about the Sunfish's sea worthiness reflect your skill level and not the Sunfish's ability to handle heavy wind condition and sea state.
When I leave the shore I always ask myself will I be able to make it back again.
A new boat will not give you more experience so stick with the Sunfish and it will reward you with a fun sailing and as your skill level goes up so will your appreciation of the Sunfish.

I have made many mistakes sailing and I chock them up to experience so do not get discouraged but get back on that Fish and sail again.

Minas man
 

baseman

On the Water
I agree. Lots of good advice. I have never owned a Sunfish (although I've sailed them), but I have owned 3 clonefish (Scorpion, Phantom, Viking). I have been sailing clonefish since I was 12 (I'm getting really close to 60 now) and I have never capsized. I have come close, but never went over. I was out yesterday in some gusty and shifty wind conditions (10 to 15 with higher gusts.) You need to watch the water and see what's coming so you can be prepared for it. One of my Lighting friends goes by the rule hike, release, trim.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The dagger board kept falling out and tried to float away 2x so I put it in the cockpit so I would not lose it.........I am going to keep it but still going to look for a safer boat
That is your problem. The daggerboard is essential to righting the boat. If you look at the "learn to sail in 3 days" brochure you will see how to right the boat.

You are unlikely to find a safer boat. The reason there a few hundred thousand Sunfish around is they are safe and easy to sail. They are very popular for beginners as well as experts. BB
 

Fletch101e

New Member
The sheet should be 25 feet long, and run free and clear out to a stop knot on the end. Several steps, one is to pull the boat nose into the wind, that way the wind won't catch it and flip it again or if a sheet fouls it sails away. Another to make sure sheet is not fouled, the sail may actually sink or "feather" down into the water as the boat comes up, that's ok because it is not holding water that way. But you don't want boat to turtle, if your mast is old you may consider adding cut up pool noodle strips to the inside.
Next step is to put daggerboard fully into the slot, go around to the hull side, grab the side of the boat, put put your feet on the board and pull the boat towards you. If it won't come up like that, hmmm....

How were you trying to right it?
First by myself until the other 2 boats showed up. Then it was myself and the other guy were holding on the sides trying to pull it over I was towards the stern end and he was more in the middle as he was able to jump up on top of it. We couldn't do it so third guy came and pushed up on the mask. Then we were able to do it

You might go out on a calmer day and do some capsize practice.
It rolled near the ramp and me and GF were able to do it, BUT the sail was not up at that point. I think the sail is the problem as it adds too much water weight. But I am thinking of going to Perido next time as it is more protected waters and see what happens.

Good news, you had people ashore who knew where you were and other folks around. Always good to file a Float Plan.
Yea I was lucky in that respect.

When we go out for a day sail we usually sail upwind first if we can, so we can be on a run back to the dock.
Believe it or not that was my original plan as I saw early on the current was making hard to go upwind. I may have made it had I not rolled offshore.

The Puffer looks like a more stable boat for 2 people, harder to capsize but harder to right.
yea that is what i'm thinking..something to make the GF happy.

But there was some fun ailing in there too?!
Yea parts of it was fun. Problem it was just too rough for the second time on the water. Waves were just trying crash the boat back onto the ramp and into the pilings . Will say I am glad I have that aluminum edge and not the newer style.
 
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emilikins

Maniac
Everyone's already said great things, but I'll throw my pennies in. We've turtled twice this summer, once during light wind and once during a very blustery day with a newbie on board. The first time, in light wind and deep water, was a blast. I'm about 105 lbs, my hubby 130, so we are definitely at a weight disadvantage.

Mike gets on the daggerboard and I swim around until I get a grip on the mast and start pushing up while Mike pulls the board down. I've "punched" water off the sail, too. This worked fine the first time. Second time out it was me and my tall little brother who had zero experience and we had the wind pushing the hull (we weren't full turtle yet) and driving the mast into a good foot of mud. It took a little more time, but we were able to get it up after several minutes.

We are now stealing a trick from our sailing classes and attaching milk jugs to the mast.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Along the milk jug lines, some folks zip tie a pool noodle to the upper spar. At or above the mast.

Cheers
K
 

Kevin Mc

Active Member
Another thing to watch out for when the boat flips is the lower spar traveling up the mast. It's pretty much impossible to get sufficient leverage to right the boat until the spar is back where it belongs. The popular preventative measure for this is to use the extra length of halyard as a "vang", i.e., loop it over the gooseneck and back through the fairlead and tie it off. I suggest you make the mast and spars water tight using silicone caulk as needed. And +1 to the suggestion of practicing righting the boat in shallow water.

Good time for a "fish tale": Last week I was sailing with my younger brother in my Sunfish in Galveston Bay, and a boat-length upwind of us a fin broke surface, followed by either a tail tip or a second dorsal fin about 5' after (the water's pretty murky in the bay I generally can't see anything below an few inches from the surface). The fin was at least 13" tall from tip to back. I've seen porpoises while sailing (and I think I accidently ran into one once), but this is my first shark sighting. Now that's inspiration to not capsize the boat!
 
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Fletch101e

New Member
I am getting better at this but still have lots to go. Friday evening myself and my GF went to a nearby river. Winds were light and we practiced going upwind. No problems , had fun, but didn't get a chance to try righting it either.

Yesterday went to a gulf inlet pass. Wind lite to moderate. Had fun going to an offshore island. No problems going upwind by angling back and forth and all was well till I got too close a bridge in the middle of the channel and the outgoing current sucked me in. Boat was stuck between 2 bridge pylons because mask was hitting overhanging part of the pylon structure. Needless to say I though my gelcoat would take a beating but it is ok. The only thing I could find wrong is boat somehow took on a small amount of water in it. I opened the drainport and turned it on it's side and got it out, but still wondering how it got in. Boat was stuck for about 10 min and the current was rushing by. I don't think it is the mask step as water has stayed in it for over a week.

As far as the mask/boom goes, after all that I tested to see how it would float and both booms, mask and sail seem to float just fine. I only tried for a couple of minutes so not sure how long they would have stayed afloat. I have a spare noodle to buy more time and may try that..thanks. Thanks for the other ideas as well. I was in a shark area too..thanks for the mental picture!
 

oldpaint

Active Member
Current is tricky. I check the tide tables before heading out of the harbor into Buzzards Bay so I know when the best time to return is. Even though I made it past the breakwater into the harbor on my return, I did some fine tidal sailing in place in the harbor.

Draining the hull was a good idea but now it might be time to pump some air into the hull to find the leak. See the knowledge base article.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Everyone's already said great things, but I'll throw my pennies in. We've turtled twice this summer, once during light wind and once during a very blustery day with a newbie on board. The first time, in light wind and deep water, was a blast. I'm about 105 lbs, my hubby 130, so we are definitely at a weight disadvantage.

Mike gets on the daggerboard and I swim around until I get a grip on the mast and start pushing up while Mike pulls the board down. I've "punched" water off the sail, too. This worked fine the first time. Second time out it was me and my tall little brother who had zero experience and we had the wind pushing the hull (we weren't full turtle yet) and driving the mast into a good foot of mud. It took a little more time, but we were able to get it up after several minutes.

We are now stealing a trick from our sailing classes and attaching milk jugs to the mast.
Mast or Upper Spar?
 

Fletch101e

New Member
Current is tricky. I check the tide tables before heading out of the harbor into Buzzards Bay so I know when the best time to return is. Even though I made it past the breakwater into the harbor on my return, I did some fine tidal sailing in place in the harbor.

Draining the hull was a good idea but now it might be time to pump some air into the hull to find the leak. See the knowledge base article.
Thanks I am going to do that. The aluminum side railing is scratched but that is the only damage I can find..hopefully I can find the leak with that test. I have never heard water inside till that incident so pretty sure that is when it happened.
 

AQBill

Active Member
Hang in there Fletch101e. All the advice above will certainly help a lot as will your experiences with the boat. Find the nearest sailing or yacht club and ask for some assistance. I can almost assure you that it will be forthcoming. The Sunfish is about as simple as it comes but sailing, itself, takes some time! A Sunfish is really a 1-person boat. Learn to sail by yourself and then take others. ;-)
 

Fletch101e

New Member
Well finally got around to doing the leak test and it wasn't anywhere where I expected. Boat had prior damage in storage compartment. Part of the rubber or plastic seal was ether missing or pushed back away from where the deck meets the compartment. I had seen it earlier, wasn't sure if it was important, but sealed it anyway with a small amount of marine tex. But I missed a spot in the very back corner and that is where the air was leaking out of. Will fix and then repeat to make sure that is all of it, but I did not see any leaks where my edge rail was hitting against the bridge last weekend so I think I am ok there.

Off topic but I found a really clean puffer (yet another boat I had to travel to FLA to get) and bought it a couple of days ago. The trailer had a problem so I got to go back and pick it up hopefully by the end of the week. I am planning on keeping both boats..Fish for me, Puffer when the gf comes along. I also may have found a sailing class and have someone checking on that for me to see if they are open to the public.

Also if anyone in my area is looking for a Capri, a coworker has one for a song. I passed on it as the Puffer is what I was really looking for.
 
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