Cunfused about the rigging of my new (used) Fish

Thread starter #1
I scored. A nice lady had an old sunfish sitting in her back yard. It had a lot of lichen growing on it but I cleaned all that off and it looks like it's ready to go. (except for some sail rot). I'm confused about how to rig this boat. There were no lines included. There are two spars and a mast. I'm not sure how I keep my sail raised. Also there is a big metal ring on the boom that slips over the mast but how do I keep the other spar attached to the mast near the top? Further I'm not sure how I attach a line to the end of the boom so I can adjust it while underway. There is a length of wire rope attached across the deck near the transom. It has a small loop in the middle. Is that for a tiller safety or is it for the line to my boom? I don't really want to lay out the cash for a Sunfish bible for two reasons. One is I'm going to have to lay out a bunch of cash for a new sail and two, It has a lot more info than I need anyway. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

All the rigging specifications and a manual are free for the downloading from Team Vanguard.

I don't really want to lay out the cash for a Sunfish bible for two reasons. One is I'm going to have to lay out a bunch of cash for a new sail and two, It has a lot more info than I need anyway.
[unnecessary comments deleted]
Thread starter #3
Soggy Bottom Boys said:
All the rigging specifications and a manual are free for the downloading from Team Vanguard.

[unnecessary comments deleted]
Thanks for the first part. The second part isn't very friendly though.


Staff member
The Sunfish Forum strives to provide a friendly environment for all sailors of all skill levels. Please refrain from posting mean spirited comments, especially to new sailors.

Thank you,
Check the Vanguard site again. I know there are listings on how long the main halyard and main sheet should be...diameter, etc. They recommend non-stretch line, available at West Marine and other chandleries. Get a snap-shackle or other fitting to clip the mainsheet to the traveler. Tie the mainsheet to the snap-shackle, and cover the knot with whipping tape. I personally always (no matter what class of boat it is) rig a longer mainsheet....once you lose a mainsheet in an unintentional screwup, that extra ten feet is pretty cheap. Never forget to tie the stop knot, and be ready to pop the sheet out of the cam cleat in the event of a puff, lest you swim. As my old-salt daddy used to scream: Never never never cleat the (friendly) mainsheet. At least not on a horn cleat. Once cam cleats were invented, he changed his opinion. Do a bit of online diggng and you will find all that you need. If $$ is a factor, and you are not racing, don't worry so much about shelling out for non-stretch line. But don't buy the hardware-store crap either. For daysailing, as long as it flows smoothly through the fairleads and blocks, you will be fine. The whole rigging diagram is online for your enjoyment. Make the best of it and have fun.
Look on the Vangaurd site, Sunfish, Rigging for a downloadable manual for setting up your SF. Under specifications, there is the listing for all the lines, size, length. Personal preference is 33'+ of 5/16" (8mm) for the main sheet (stock is 28'), halyard is 24-25' of 3/16" or 1/4" (5-6mm). I do recomend low or pre-stretch line for the halyard, otherwise you will be having to adjust the halyard often to keep the spar tight to the top of the mast until the line stretches out. I use a bowline around the bridle and a stopper knot (figure 8 knot). TMartoonis is right, stay away from the stuff at the hardware store or places like Wal-mart for this purpose.
Thread starter #10
Hi Guys,

I'm still a bit confused. I think I have some of the terminology sorted out and that helped but... So I have two lines. One is used to hoist my sail and make it fast. That one is called the halyard. In my case I tie that to the upper spar between the 9th and 10th plastic ring with a clove hitch. Then I run it through a hole at the top of the mast called a fairlead. Then that line runs down the mast, through a pulley (block) and is then tied off to a cleat near the base of the mast. That's all cool. I get that much. Then there is another line called the mainsheet. The way I think it used is that one end is in my hand. The way it makes it's way through the rigging is that it then is put through a loop on the wire across the deck near the transom. That's called a traveler. Then it feeds through two blocks attached to the boom and is tied to the same cleat as the fairlead near the base of the mast. That seems to work but I'm not sure it matches what you are trying to tell me. I've read and reread the rigging diagram from the vanguard site but it's not that clear. A few diagrams would go a really long way in that document. A picture is worth a thousand words and all... Oh and what is the bridle?
Thread starter #11
I think I see my mistakes. I need to make the mainsheet fast to the traveler and hold the other end in my hand after it passes through the two blocks on the boom. I think I may have to pass it through the main block on the deck near the mast hole too. Not sure about that Also I don't need to pass the halyard though that block near the mast hole. I just need to tie it off to the cleat there. I'm still not sure what the bridle is though. I suspect it's what I'm calling the traveler.
You're almost there. The bridle is the "traveler", same thing. The halyard needs to be run through the small block near the mast and then cleated off at the cleat beside the mast. As for the mainsheet, not sure if yours has a clip on the end (it should), but it needs to be fastened to the bridle in such a manner that will allow for movement across the bridle as you tack and change sail direction. A bowline works great. Then, run the bitter end forward through the blocks on the boom starting with the aft block. Then, run the sheet through a block that should be fastened to the deck just forward of the cockpit. Tie a knot at the end so that the sheet can't run back through the block in the event that you lose control of the sheet.

That should do it. Take a look at this picture for guidance:
You are correct. The bridle and traveler are the same. On older boats, there was a fixed "loop" in the middle of the wire bridle to which the mainsheet was connected. Current boats just have at length of covered wire to which the mainsheet is connected, however not it can "travel" with the sail from side to side (unlike before, where it was in a fixed position, more or less, mid boat. The other end of the mainsheet is the end you control when sailing. Some boats will run this through some kind of cam cleat at the foward end of the cockpit (several different styles are available). Otherwise, the line will come directly from the forward block off the boom to you.

I agree that you should get more line that is usually recommended. The is true for both the mainsheet and halyard.

Best of luck with your "new" boat.
In Addition. there is a small unside down hook mounted on the front of the cockpit. That's for the mainsheet. It runs from the traveler/bridle, through the two boom blocks then under the hook to your hand. The hook keeps tension downward on the mainsheet and the boom from riding up.
speaking of cam cleats mounted to the front of the cockpit, would anyone be willing to upload a picture of their setup, as I'm wanting to add this to my SF, but I'm not sure where to put the cleat, or what type to get. in reading various posts there seems to be quite a selection of both type and location of attachment.
Thread starter #16
I've got it now. Thanks to all for your help. Mine does have the little upsidedown hook in the front of the cockpit. There is no block for it. I was gonna go out this afternoon but it was way too windy. Bummer.
Re: Confused about the rigging of my new (used) Fish

Modern hull, but rigging's about the same. Even with a bridle with a middle loop, I would not bother with a clip. Too often the clips open up at the WORST time. Much easier to tie a larger loop bowline to have it slide over the mid-bridle loop.

Mainsheet ties with a bowline around the bridle (traveler). Goes up to the back block (pulley) on the boom, forward to a sheet hanger (mine are custom PVC pipe heated and bent by a friend, but pieces of duct tape, laid on a table, with 4" shorter piece of duct tape laid onto the middle of it, then the sticky ends of the duct tape taped onto the boom, making a hanging loop to run your mainsheet through so it won't sag down and catch on your life jacket), forward to the forward boom block, then down (either to catch under the hook which provides basic resistance to aid in holding the sail in one place but allows quick release, OR to a deck mounted block [I have a Harken ratchet block in the picture with my main sheet tied off around it while I was shooting pictures], and last but not least, either a Figure 8 knot or an overhand knot to serve as a stopper knot so the mainsheet stays rigged if you drop it or capsize.

Go to Sunfish_Sailor on Yahoo!Groups, join the group, and go to the Files, Safety page. Then look at Daggerboard Retainer 1. A daggerboard retainer is mandatory for safety purposes. Keep the daggerboard with the boat! And, of course, a lifejacket.



Other threads (see "New Boat and Lots of Questions") strongly recommend removing the small upside down hook mounted on the front of the cockpit (to avoid wrecking your knee or legs). The manufacturer changed the hook to a swivel block in later production. I just removed the hook on my "new" 1978 SF, and am waiting for a chance to install a Harken block (but I am still sailing anyway).
A related question -- where should the halyard be tied to the boom? The Vanguard Rigging Manual says between the 9th and 10th sail rings, and the Tuning Guide attached to a previous message is similar, except close to the 10th ring for light air. But all the diagrams I see show it between the 8th and 9th -- for example, Any guidance?

Put the block on, it only takes a few minutes. Drill the two holes in the cockpit lip for the eye strap, through bolt with #8 or #10 Stainles Steel Pan Head machine screws, SS Fender Washers and SS Ny-Lock nuts. Attatch the block with standup spring and you are ready to sail again. Time - about 15 minutes.

For recreational sailing, tie your halyard to your upper spar about 90 to 94" (or a little less) from the tack (the lower end of the spars, where the cap meets aluminum). This will give you enough height to see under the lower boom. Use a couple of wraps of white electrical tape around the spar just above your halyard tie on spot to prevent the halyard from slipping higher. Set your gooseneck about 16 to 18" back from the tack to start with.

For racing tie at 103 to 106" from tack. This puts the lower boom about 6 to 8" above the deck and you really need a sail with a window. This low position also runs the risk of scratching the deck with the eyebolts should the halyard slip. Racers generaly have an adjustable gooseneck.

Hope this helps.