Class Approved Sunfish Upgrades (from Vanguard)

#41
Mike Fortner said:
I think that in the interest of preserving the one-design nature of the boat, the idea for a new rudder design should be dropped completely.
I agree completely. We should raise this at the class members meeting at the NAs. I'm sure a majority of the oridnary members are tired of these unnecessary changes to the boat that are driving people away from the class. We should pass a resolution letting the class officers know exactly how we feel about the "whitehurst" rudder. Let's use the power of the people to put a stop to it NOW.
 

phish133

Sunfish sailor
#43
I respectfully disagree that the relatively minor changes made to the Sunfish have "driven/driving people away" from the Sunfish (recreational or racing). There are many other reasons, but that isn't high on the list. If you look at the more "popular" one-design classes, I think it's fair to say their technical changes (improvements?) are at least as numerous/frequent as the Sunfish.

Phish133
(a 50 yr old [me, not the boat] Sunfish racing newbie,and loving every minute...)
 
#44
I think that a minor upgrade like a hiking strap (kit from Layline-$49.95) or new boom blocks (my current ones are terrible, I would love to be able to put new Harken blocks on) are fine.

A new racing sail ($386.97 on Layline) and a new daggerboard ($197.71 from Layline) are pretty MAJOR upgrades for a decent boat that could be purchased used for about $750.00.

I remember practically begging my parents for a Barrington Board when I was in high school 20 years ago because my first boat (1974 Alcort Sunfish, that I purchased used) came with a "new style" daggerboard.

I do not think that an additional rudder (currently 137.00, I BET the new one will be more) would be considered a "minor" upgrade.

Mike Fortner
Rochester Canoe Club
 
#45
phish133 said:
If you look at the more "popular" one-design classes, I think it's fair to say their technical changes (improvements?) are at least as numerous/frequent as the Sunfish.
I'm sorry phish133 but you are wrong. At least in respect to the only other class that I know well which is the Laser.

If you buy a Laser made 20 years ago it is still competitive with one built in 2005. The daggerboard is identical. The rudder is identical. The sail is the same size and shape - though I think there was a minor change in weight of sailcloth because of supply difficulties with the original sailcloth. Sure there have been some improvements allowed to the vang, outhaul and downhaul system but they don't affect boat speed or pointing ability. And by the way the Sunfish has changed the allowable control systems in the last 20 years too.

On the other hand if you buy a Sunfish that was built 20 years ago you have no chance of being competitive unles you replace the daggerboard and the sail. These changes do affect boatspeed and/or pointing ability. So will the proposed change to the rudder.

You see this all the time. Guy shows up at the club with an old Laser (in good condition) and races to his ability straight away. Guy shows up with an old Sunfish and is a tailender in the fleet until he gets the message and forks out big bucks to buy the new board and sail.

The beauty of one design sailing is that all the boats are the same, whether built in 1985, 2005 or 2025. Let's freeze the Sunfish and enjoy this superb little boat for the next 50 years just as it is today.
 
#46
I agree. Keep the Sunfish where it is and stop the bleeding of the class. With Vangard producing both boats, there seems to be no economical reason to have the Sunfish compete with the Laser for buyers. If you want a high performance boat to race, get a Laser, if you want a more forgiving boat, get a Sunfish. Both designs have their advantages, so why compete with each other? To change the design of a "one design" class is not in the best interest of the majority of the boat owners, as it reduces the value of the older boats. Sunfish has had to cross some obstacles that the Laser has not faced, as the Sunfish has had to transition through the "wood to plastic" era. Unfortunately, in the change they have altered the performance of the boat, giving up the "one design" concept.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#47
Old Geezer said:
If you buy a Laser made 20 years ago it is still competitive with one built in 2005.

… and there in lies the difference. With regards to competition, Laser has always had only one intended configuration, performance. Sunfish, up until just this year, was always marketed as a recreational design and evolved to have performance options available. By the very nature of accepting this practice within the Class, spending extra for the competition upgrades has been a given. If Sunfish was truly kept as a One Design boat the dichotomy of two configurations would not exist.

Vanguard appears to have dropped the facade and accepted the reality. They now market two completely different setups, Sunfish Recreational and Sunfish Performance. It seems to me that only the Class is still in denial. I think a decision will eventually need to be made as to which version to hang the One Design tag on.

In the mean time someone buying a $750, 20 year old recreational Sunfish and expecting to compete at the International Class level hasn’t done their homework. It’s about as realistic as going out and buying a $750, 20 year old Buick and expecting to be NHRA Top Fuel competitive.

.... maybe there needs to be two Sunfish classes, Stock and Modified?
 
#48
Wayne said:
In the mean time someone buying a $750, 20 year old recreational Sunfish and expecting to compete at the International Class level hasn’t done their homework. It’s about as realistic as going out and buying a $750, 20 year old Buick and expecting to be NHRA Top Fuel competitive.
Wayne is correct - nobody is going to be competitive at the top international level in any class in a 20 year-old boat. But you can buy a 1985 Laser and be competitive at the club level. By contrast, a 1985 Sunfish with a wooden daggerboard and the 1985 (now called recreational) sail will not even be competitive in any decent club fleet.
 
#49
scap114 said:
I agree. Keep the Sunfish where it is and stop the bleeding of the class. With Vangard producing both boats, there seems to be no economical reason to have the Sunfish compete with the Laser for buyers. If you want a high performance boat to race, get a Laser, if you want a more forgiving boat, get a Sunfish. Both designs have their advantages, so why compete with each other? To change the design of a "one design" class is not in the best interest of the majority of the boat owners, as it reduces the value of the older boats. Sunfish has had to cross some obstacles that the Laser has not faced, as the Sunfish has had to transition through the "wood to plastic" era. Unfortunately, in the change they have altered the performance of the boat, giving up the "one design" concept.
Scap114 is totally correct. Except for one thing. The Laser also went through the wood to plastic transition. The first Lasers did have wooden daggerboards. The difference is that when the Laser class changed to plastic daggerboards they kept the same design and so preserved the one-design purity of the boat.
 

dphoye

Regular Member
#50
Gentleman,

I have to disagree with you regarding the facts around a 20 year old Sunfish not being competitive with a new boat. Now perhaps I am speaking out of the realm in which you are referencing, but I took a 1965 Sunfish and restored it to like new condition and it has no problem keeping up with the newer boats. In fact I would go so far as to say the 1965 boat is better than the newer boats in that its stiffer and feels better downwind than the newer boats. It also has its drawbacks, in particular the smaller footwell and the turned up deck around the footwell are not very comfortable when hiking. My point here is it is totally possible to take an old boat and make it just as competitive as the newest boat out of the Vanguard factory. BTW...I also own a 2002 Sunfish.

I think your splitting hairs on this upgrade subject because it is the same in many other sailboat classes. It really all comes down to the intended purpose for the boat by the owner. If the owner of a J22 doesn't have any interest in racing the boat then he can go add genoa tracks, roller furling, and anything else he wants to make the boat comfortable for cruising. If he wants to race then those options are viable. Granted both boats would have the same rudder but hopefully you understand my point of view. Vanguards goal is to make money and if they have to market to two groups to do that, then that falls within their marketing scheme. To use another analogy this type of thing happens with the car market all the time and you aren't complaining about the performance options on your neighbors minivan or SUV.
 
#51
dphoye said:
Gentleman,

I have to disagree with you regarding the facts around a 20 year old Sunfish not being competitive with a new boat. Now perhaps I am speaking out of the realm in which you are referencing, but I took a 1965 Sunfish and restored it to like new condition and it has no problem keeping up with the newer boats.
OK - put your money where your mouth is. I challenge you to a 5 race match race series for a $1000 purse. You sail your 20 year-old Sunfish with its original wooden daggerboard and recreational sail. I'll race my newer Sunfish with a racing daggerboard and a racing sail.

Or did you mean that you've upgraded your old fish with a new daggerboard and a racing sail? If so, that's my point. Old boats are only competitive if you upgrade them with the expensive new parts. That's what this discussion is about.
 
#52
Of course it "possible" but many a dad has boughten a used Sunfish only to find out his kid needs about $500 to be competative. With an old shadow board and Ratsey blown out sail will he ever see anything but transoms.
This isn't a case of catching the best wind shifts. The early Sunfish had a Portsmouth rating of 113. Current boats have a rating of 99.
Fogh sails dropped the rating to 108, and later the racing sail dropped it to 103, the plastic dagger board has dropped the rating to the current 99.
 

dphoye

Regular Member
#53
Geez,

Perhaps I wasnt clear in my explanantion of "restored to new condition". The boat has all the upgrades. You seem offly confrontational on this subject. Perhaps you need to become more invoved in the class instead of complaining about the people that are voluntarily making an attempt to make the class better. You seem to have plenty of time to post all sort of comments on the message board so it seems you have some time to contribute in a positive manner to the Sunfish class.

Also, maybe you missed the rest of my post but this sort of problem exists in all classes. Go back and take another read.
 
#54
Actually it doesn't "Exist" in all classes. Since I did race results for years for a club sailing all varieties of sailboats I had to keep up with the Portsmouth ratings on a yearly basis. NO other center board boat or catamaran has had the rating changes over the years that a Sunfish has. NONE.
Yes there have been other classes with some change, but it's a point or two, not 14 points which amounts to an apx 11% reduction in rating.
The Flying Scot class argued for about 10 years over allowing gybe cleats to be moved, not upgraded, but simply moved for easier release. Which had zero effect on their rating.
 
#55
For everyone's info: The subject of the new fiberglass stock rudder and the prototype rudder came up at the class members' meeting at Lewes. Basically, it was explained the the mahogany they have been using for years is in shorter supply and quality boards are much harder to come by. The cost to get decent mahogany wood vs. quality of the boards is therefore driving the manufacturer to go to glass. I saw quite a few glass rudders on the beach. a lot of them had chips in them already, but who knows how well they were taken care of. Most of the wood rudders were not modified and a lot were dinged up and less than perfect.

The prototype rudder was also discussed and a "poplarity vote" was taken to get a feel of how many people wanted to continue pursuing development of the prototype. The unofficial "vote" was split right down the middle. Made for some interesting discussion. Unfortunately, Tom W was unable to attend because the hurricane. Are the hurricanes following the major regatta schedule?
 
#56
dphoye said:
Geez,

Perhaps I wasnt clear in my explanantion of "restored to new condition". The boat has all the upgrades. You seem offly confrontational on this subject. Perhaps you need to become more invoved in the class instead of complaining about the people that are voluntarily making an attempt to make the class better. You seem to have plenty of time to post all sort of comments on the message board so it seems you have some time to contribute in a positive manner to the Sunfish class.

Also, maybe you missed the rest of my post but this sort of problem exists in all classes. Go back and take another read.
In the interests of fair play, I decline to continue a battle of wits with an unarmed man.
 
#57
Chip Johns said:
I was at both the Advisory Council mtg and the World Council mtg in Martinique. I am sure that the minutes for these meetings will be written and posted in due time.

The Advisory Council discussed the new rudder options and narrowly approved bringing the new "Whitehurst concept" to the WC mtg.

The WC was overwhelmingly negative about changing the rudder design (the minutes will reflect the votes) and overwhelmingly supported the new fiberglass version of the existing shape.

Pleaase note that these are not the official minutes, just my notes from the mtg.

Chip Johns
Builders rep to the AD and WC

Hmmm. Some months ago Chip Johns told us that the new Whitehurst design for the Sunfish rudder was discussed at the 2005 Advisory Council and World Council meetings. Chip's notes clearly indicate that there was discussion followed by a vote on this topic at both the AC meeting ("narrowly approved") and the WC meeting ("WC was overwhelmingly negative....the minutes will reflect the votes").

We now have the official minutes of these meetings in the latest Windward Leg. There is lengthy coverage of the plastic rudder, the mast sleeve, the boom blocks....

But there is no mention of any discussion or vote on the Whitehurst rudder design. What's going on? Are we getting sanitized minutes?
 
#58
Old Geezer said:
Can someone who has actually seen a new rudder, or someone from Vangaurd, clarify Gail's statement please?

Is the new plastic rudder from Vanguard actually built up to maximum dimensions, just like someone who glassed and reshaped a wooden rudder could achieve, with optimal shapes for leading and trailing edges?

Or is it more like a plastic version of the existing wooden rudder?

Or something in between?
The rudder has shrank over the years hold a rudder from 2004 to one from 1975 they are not exactly the same. Some sailors are cutting the board down the center and adding a thin peace to it. The wood rudder is smaller than the legal dimentions that is why most shape their rudder. "It is not the right shape or size." measure the angle from the boat to the rudder on your wood one its not 120 or anything close most I have seen are like 136. The plastic one looks great! It is correct I dont see why anyone would even want to reshape the new rudder. But if the rules let you and you want to, go for it. I would not touch mine if I could pull together $200 for it.
 
#59
SfSailor13 said:
The rudder has shrank over the years hold a rudder from 2004 to one from 1975 they are not exactly the same.
It shrank !!! ??? :eek:

Can anybody sell me a 1975 rudder? I want a big one.

Or do you think we could persuade Vanguard to make a plastic version of the old big rudder with the correct angle instead of the plastic version of the new small rudder with the wrong angle or the new new version with the improved shape that wasn't discussed at the AC and wasn't voted narrowly to be discussed at the WC and wasn't discussed at the WC and wasn't heavily defeated at the WC according to the non-minutes of the non- discussion of this non-subject?
 
#60
I would have thought the 1975 rudder would have been the one that would have shrank more, as it would have been in the water longer. Live and learn.
 
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