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Best way to rig so I can raise/lower the sail on the water?


New Member
Because I have to launch and land from a dock it would be much easier to do this without the sail up so as to not crash into any other boats on the dock. I'd prefer to paddle out 100' or so and raise everything and then lower around the same location coming in and just paddle to the dock. Because I want to tie down the gooseneck and make the sail easy to tie off/on from the cockpit is there a good way to rig the boat which allows for this? Should I add some cleats somewhere?

I'll also add that we're in a small cover so turning isn't ideal because there are rocks and/or boats in either direction. Being in the cove also means the wind is much different near the dock vs when we get out 75'+ which is another reason to lower the sails so I don't get knocked in the head
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Upside down?
Staff member
Just rig the normal way. Point the boat into the wind and start raising the rig with the halyard. I usually have to have a knee (or two) on the deck to lift the boom a bit at the same time.
I don't understand what you mean with tying down the gooseneck; are you using the halyard as a vang?

Charles Howard

Active Member
Sail off a dock near a high shore all the time so shifty wind.

In the beginning rig your boats sail higher, halyard lower on the upper boom. Signal Charlie geezer rig. The first couple of times have someone on the dock with you and they can push you by the lower boom to get you some speed as you head out. If you can rig on the leeward side of the dock that helps. When you come in come in the leeward side of the dock so you will stall out as you turn to the dock. Yes, as wavedancer says paddle out with the rig down and raise it on the water. We have all done it. The main thing is just get out on the water. This is a nice guide. The sunfish is a easy boat to learn on. Put some type of wind indicator on, cassette tape tied to a sail clip, etc. When you can see the wind it makes it much easier to sail and learn. This is a nice guide.



Well-Known Member
For the "Geezer Rig", secure the halyard lower on the upper spar. This moves the sail higher to clear your head. Tape and a zip-tie will eliminate "halyard-creep".

I've adopted a buddy's "thrice-through" hitch, which makes adjustments quite easy. There is a picture of this hitch here on this forum.

As I regularly sail from a shore with large and low-hanging tree branches, I added a cam cleat adjacent to my normal sailing position. (You'll need an additional five feet of halyard).

A hole through the splash guard makes a neater installation (and adds a halyard guide), but it's not necessary. The cam cleat was strongly anchored underneath, but spider cracks in the gelcoat started from the drilled holes. :oops:

I paddle away from the branches, point into the wind, and raise the sail with ease. (While seated). :)

When quitting for the day, I approach into the wind and release the loose halyard coils overboard to assure that it's trailing straight. Then I release the cam cleat, and the halyard runs free as the sail falls on my head. :confused:

If you miss your landing, just paddle back out, raise the sail with ease, and try again.

Don't approach the dock at a speed where hitting the dock would be a bad event!