A few sunfish questions...

Thread starter #1
1. How far from the deck should the mast cleat be screwed in?

2. Where is the best place to place a pair of telltales? I have been hearing that telltales on a Sunfish are not very accurate. Is this true?

3. I noticed when I do a run with my centerboard up, the boat wants to turn in one direction so I have to have the rudder fight against it to stay on a straight course, but I am bleeding energy. Is there anyway to balance this?

-Tristan
 

minifish2

Active Member
#2
This guide is still most helpful, despite being more than twenty years old. It includes everything you need to know, almost, including ideal telltail placement.
www.sunfishclass.org/documents/tuning_guide.pdf

Mast cleats are nice but by no means necessary. The rule is to mount them no more than 48" from the base of the mast. If you do elect to mount one just remember to line up its position with the hole in the mast cap so the halyard runs straight down the mast. Also remember to cleat the halayard to the deck cleat so you don't lose the whole rig in a capsize.

Try healing more to "windward" downwind. A sample picture of downwind sailing below, not mine, from "towndock"
The idea is to get the "center of effort" of power from the sail angled up above you so you are balanced.

 
Thread starter #3
Great thanks that was helpful. I want to get some more advice on what to do when the boat is overpowered. Aside from sail shape, if i want to stay on the same course and I get overpowered(tons of heel) it is really just a combination of hiking out and easing the mainsheet?

-Tristan
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#4
GI get overpowered(tons of heel) it is really just a combination of hiking out and easing the mainsheet?
-Tristan
The order is ease, hike, then trim back in.

Be sure your gooseneck is properly located. It has got to be 14-15" from the tack in lighter air, and perhaps 18" back when its really blowing. That will make life easier downwind too. If it is too far forward, you will have a lot of helm downwind. BB
 

minifish2

Active Member
#5
Great thanks that was helpful. I want to get some more advice on what to do when the boat is overpowered. Aside from sail shape, if i want to stay on the same course and I get overpowered(tons of heel) it is really just a combination of hiking out and easing the mainsheet?

-Tristan
A couple of add'l notes:

Hiking and easing is thebway to go as a reaction to being overpowered. In a more extreme case you may find you can also help regain control by raising the daggerboard just a bit. You may slip a bit but if you are having trouble even after hiking, that can help in some conditions.

The A number 1 mod to a Sunfish, after a mainsheet block, is a hiking strap. Absolutely have one and use it. Practice sitting outside the boat in a breeze; it takes practice and balance and some muscle tone. Assuming of course you have a mainsheet block. The next upgrade is a decently long tiller extension, so you can steer hiked outside the boat.

If you know that you are going out in challenging conditions when you are getting ready to head out, you can set up accordingly. See that tuning guide pdf file for specifics, but you will find the gooseneck setting to be very important. Move the gooseneck back on the spar, per Scott Kyle's recommended settings. Also tighten everything up, including the outhaul and downhaul, and use very aggressive vang; taut so your lower spar starts to bow. The rig should be tied fairly low off the deck, but if you have the gooseneck set way back the spars will be angled lower and you want to make sure you can still duck under when tacking.

Generally, you will want to look like this group. If after everything else is tightened down you still are overpowered, you can go with a 'jens' (see 3948 for a clear example) but notice how far out of the boat the leaders get themselves (3963 won this particular world championship).
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#6
Good info.
With respect to downwind sailing in flat water, try the following:
Hold the tiller extension with just your finger and start heeling the boat to windward (the sail is out at ~90 degrees).
As you heel the boat further and further, at some point the helm will become very light (no pressure on the rudder). That's where you want to be.


PS: Don't worry too much about tell tales. They aren't as useful as on Marconi type rigs.
 
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Thread starter #7
I still don't understand how to vang the boom. Do I need to tie another rope from the bridle to the end of the boom by the clew to vang it down? How do you do it exactly?
 
#9
I still don't understand how to vang the boom. Do I need to tie another rope from the bridle to the end of the boom by the clew to vang it down? How do you do it exactly?
I'm new to the sunfish, so I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong. It's my understanding that you use the tail end of the halyard to make the vang. Take the tail end from the fairlead, around the gooseneck, back through the fairlead, and then back to the deck cleat.

Here's a video: Start around the 2:30 mark.
 
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