Any suggestions for upgrades to my 72 sunfish?

Thread starter #1
Finally got the boat out this weekend. 20 miles of unpaved roads with a trailer wasn't a good idea. If the boat didn't have dings before it sure does now. Day 1 didn't go so well wind was 15+ and I went over as soon as I launched so I decided to try the next day. Day 2 didn't start off so well. My sails fell off the boat while pulling into the launch area and then I forgot my sail bag when I went out. The wind however was perfect 7 mph with an occasional gust. The hobies that were out were flying passed me. So one major issue I encountered was never having enough hands. I have a mainsheet hook which is difficult to pull the line in and hold the tiller. Also difficult when tacking. I suppose I will need to upgrade this. Also will need to change the plastic piece on top of the mast that the halyard goes into. I think its missing one of the pins. Any suggestions for upgrades?
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
#2
Yeah, bypass the hook with a block (pulley). I guess I've sailed a half-dozen Sunfish, and really frustrated that only the hook was an option on one of them.

When it comes to sail handling, you may want to read about the technique(s) in getting out of "irons". Irons being a frustrating "stall" condition—especially going backwards into shallows. :eek: (I just grab the boom with a spare hand, and turn the rudder).

I've owned two Hobies, a 16 and an 18 Formula-SX. Powerboat wakes slam two hulls instead of one, and stop one's boat. Especially in light winds—and even with a jib and the 18SX's 30' mast—a catamaran can be super-dead in the water. :mad:

The first time I raised the mast on the 16, I hit an overhead power cable. :oops: Fortunately, the boat was on the trailer, and there was no grounding at the car. The warning decals came out about a year later. :rolleyes:

Aside from missing pins, I didn't know anything could go wrong with a mast cap. :oops: A new one will come with pins, but you can fabricate one from a wire brad. (Or use a leftover mandrel of pop-rivets—which normal people discard). ;)

.
 
#4
I'd highly recommend upgrading from the hook. Get a ratchet block and a cleat if you want that option (the cam cleat is not necessary, but can help it lighter winds to hold the mainsheet).

this is my preferred setup (shown on a Minifish...)



on a Sunfish, I mount the Harken 150 cleat right on the cockpit lip where the hook used to be (pic before I installed the stand-up spring):



a few other upgrades to consider:
  • mast cap
  • horn cleat on the mast
  • adjustable quick-release for the gooseneck
  • tiller extension with a rubber universal (Ronstan Battlestick or similar)
  • new mainsheet and halyard
  • a race-cut sail from Intensity Sails
some items can be found in the "For Sale" section of the Sunfish Forum, most everything can be found at normal Sunfish suppliers - Intensity Sails (usually cheaper prices) and APS both advertise on the Forum, and I've had good luck with both of them.
 
#6
only reason I said to upgrade the mast cap is that you had said "Also will need to change the plastic piece on top of the mast that the halyard goes into".

the mainsheat cam cleat you linked to is often used on Sunfish. I personally prefer the ratchet block setup - and if you block with the grooved sheave, it gives you a bit more holding power, as it reduces the line pull to your hands.

no special mounting brackets required - you'll just drill 2 holes in the tiller (or 1 extra hole if you re-use the existing hole). then bolt the base of the rubber universal to the top of the tiller.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#7
You won't be sorry going with a ratchet block. :)

Now I'm wondering if I have a "Battle Stick", with the label missing? The base is rubber, and marked, "MH"—or inverted—"HW". :oops:
 
Thread starter #8
Got the ratchet block in today. Idk why I assumed it came with all the hardware. I was able to order the mounting hardware from intensitysails. Those parts sure are hard to find. I think intensitysails and APS are the only US sites that had all 3 parts. Hopefully they get in by the weekend. So basically screwing the eyestrap into the deck is strong enough to hold the ratchet block? Regular metal screws and maybe some epoxy?


I'd highly recommend upgrading from the hook. Get a ratchet block and a cleat if you want that option (the cam cleat is not necessary, but can help it lighter winds to hold the mainsheet).

this is my preferred setup (shown on a Minifish...)



on a Sunfish, I mount the Harken 150 cleat right on the cockpit lip where the hook used to be (pic before I installed the stand-up spring):



a few other upgrades to consider:
  • mast cap
  • horn cleat on the mast
  • adjustable quick-release for the gooseneck
  • tiller extension with a rubber universal (Ronstan Battlestick or similar)
  • new mainsheet and halyard
  • a race-cut sail from Intensity Sails
some items can be found in the "For Sale" section of the Sunfish Forum, most everything can be found at normal Sunfish suppliers - Intensity Sails (usually cheaper prices) and APS both advertise on the Forum, and I've had good luck with both of them.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#9
The deck is pretty strong there, although I'd add some fiber washers (or rubber washers) on both sides. The reason being, sudden "pulls" or "hits" are likely to produce spider-cracks. Even a gentle lowering of the Sunfish on its deck (and block) may damage that area. Strong winter winds have caused my stored Sunfish to get beat up—top and bottom.
 
#10
I've never tried the rubber washers, but it might not hurt to add them.

I just go to a local hardware store and pick up a couple stainless steel machine bolts to match the eyestrap holes. Under the deck, I use the bigger washers (might be called fender washers?) and a nylon locking nut.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#12
I've never tried the rubber washers, but it might not hurt to add them.

I just go to a local hardware store and pick up a couple stainless steel machine bolts to match the eyestrap holes. Under the deck, I use the bigger washers (might be called fender washers?) and a nylon locking nut.
Y'know, an extended (2") nylon "rod coupler" (used to connect two threaded rods together), would make sense. Lightweight, easier to reach, and would act like a fuse, should the block get pulled by something that would damage that mounting location? I've got a few that have a 3/8" drive on one end, and should've used them! :confused:

"At your better hardware stores". :cool:
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#13
"should the block get pulled by something that would damage that mounting location?"

In all my years of Sunfish sailing - which is a lot - I have never seen a mounting location damaged once, so this seems like an unneeded precaution. "At your better Yacht Clubs". :cool:
 
Thread starter #14
I’m installing ports on the boat this weekend so I will have access. I’m not sure who posted but another member installed a larger port access I purchased one of those so we will see how it goes
 
Thread starter #15
sunfishharness.jpeg

Quick easy install. The spring was a little tricky to get on. Thought I could install the cleat, but didn't it needed longer screws than I thought and didn't feel like making a trip. Proly gonna use one of the hook holes.


sunfish port.jpeg

Also decided to install this. Gonna forget about the "ultimate port". More trouble than its worth. Cut the hole with a Dremel instead of a saw. I guess it would have went easier if I had the right bit. Def a better cut than a jig saw

sunfishinterior.jpeg

Interior looks pretty good to me, but what do I know.


sunfish trailer.jpg

ANy ideas for trailer improvements? Lakes around here are atleast an hour drive. So the thing moves around quite a bit until I use a million strap downs. Sails and spars started rubbing on the back as well. Gonna try a pool noodle. I have looked into "sail tubes", but not sure if its worth it. My sails are in terrible shape so I don't care too much, but might be getting some new ones soon.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#16
You can make a sail/mast holder by taking a 2 inch PVC pipe, insert it in the mast
hole then put a T-Pipe on top the 2 inch pipe. Split the T-Pipe in half horizontaly
so you are left with the bottom U-shaped piece attached to the pipe in the mast
hole. I make it with the pipe sticking up a couple feet so the mast clears the trailer
winch. The only contact the mast and spars will have on the back of the boat will
be the rub-rail.

As for the trailer, find one of those rubber-v bow snubber blocks. The bow on a Sunfish
is fragile so must damage is when the boat slides forward into part of the trailer winch.
 
#17
Your photo shows your sail rig on the wrong side of the mast- put everything on port side when rigging. You've got the first year of the new style rudder, so that's a major upgrade you don't need to do! Did you need to cut the port to install the cleat? I thought the lip in front of the cockpit gave enough room?
 
Thread starter #20
Webfoot: Do you happen to have a picture of this PVC mount?
Breeze bender: Is there a reason for having it on the port side when rigging? Yes, there was more than enough room with the lip. Inspection port in just for emergency storage...and inspection.
 
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