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Halyard and Gooseneck position

Sailor George

New Member
I would like to thank everyone for their help on getting me up to speed on new sailing adventure with this 1980 Sunfish! I’m just about ready to take it out this weekend for the first time. Since I’m a new sailor for this boat can you please let me know what is a good starting position for the halyard and gooseneck. I don’t plan to take it out if the winds are over 15 mph and not interested in racing it. So a basic setting for a safe and easy sail. Thanks again for your very helpful advice.
 
The goosneck can be moved forward and back depending on windspeed. For light air, it is moved forward, sometimes as close as 12 inches from the tack, so that the sail is canted up. In heavy air it is moved back, to the point where the bottom spar becomes parallel to the deck, up to 24 inches.

Intensity sails has a little handle that makes it easy to adjust. But I generally just keep it in the middle and don't change it.

For daysailing, I put the halyard up to where I can see under the sail. Part of safety is seeing traffic!
If you have a synthetic halyard it may slide on the spar when out on the water, thus putting the rig lower than you want. I put a couple of zipties to bracket where I want the halyard to be, so that it can't slide too far.

Make sure that the halyard is cleated off to the deck, so that the mast can't pop out if you capsize.

After a couple of sails, you want to go out and do a capsize drill to make sure you can right the boat if needed. Generally Sunfish don't capsize that easily though -- I've never had an accidental capsize yet.
 

tag

my2fish
I've marked my lower boom in 1" increments and have the quick-release that Gregory mentioned to let me adjust the gooseneck location quickly.


you could probably just pick one setting based on your usual, or expected, wind speeds you'll sail in.
this table below is from the Sunfish Tuning Guide for Racers (.pdf file here)

1533237317414.png
for the halyard location, that referenced guide sets is near the 10th sail clip (up from the tack), but for recreational sailing, you could shift it closer to the tack (to raise the sail up a bit off the deck) - easier to duck under the sail that way. if you tie it on with a clove hitch, it can be slid a bit to adjust after you test how the sail looks after you've raised it up.
 

Sailor George

New Member
Hi Thanks for you help! My Grandchildren show up today, looking forward to have them go out with me. I rig it for the most conservative setup you suggested. Thanks again.
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Looks good to us, we set the gooseneck at 22 inches and the halyard down from the top about 60, so if you slid your halyard up snug against the ring just above it that would be our recreational rig.

Oops, there's a sneak peek at SUGAR, she might be finished...

IMG_6695.JPG

Cheers
Kent and Skipper
 

Sailor George

New Member
Thanks, I will change the halyard position to 60” from the top. It’s now at 70” The gooseneck is at 20”, I will move it back to 22”. Thanks for the recommendation, should be ok for a beginner!
 

Eddie_E

Active Member
Thanks, I will change the halyard position to 60” from the top. It’s now at 70” The gooseneck is at 20”, I will move it back to 22”. Thanks for the recommendation, should be ok for a beginner!
the gooseneck chart that Tag posted is pretty accurate. I only go back to 22" in winds above 20 mph. I feel like it doesn't point upwind as well in medium winds that far back and I have to sit too far back to relieve the pressure on the tiller. The only way to know the perfect setting for you is to mark the boom every 2 inches and buy a seat quick release from a bicycle shop for the gooseneck.
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
And that chart was developed in the days of the racing sail but wooden daggerboards. The new plastic boards let you set the gooseneck further forward in light to medium breezes. Racers go for 14 or 15 inches in up to 10 knots or so. For cruising a bit back from there works just fine.
 

Weston

Active Member
And that chart was developed in the days of the racing sail but wooden daggerboards. The new plastic boards let you set the gooseneck further forward in light to medium breezes. Racers go for 14 or 15 inches in up to 10 knots or so. For cruising a bit back from there works just fine.
I'd like to better understand what is different about the plastic boards over the older wooden ones. Also, the impact that the plastic daggerboard has on the behavior of the boat. My understanding is that adjusting the gooseneck position moves the Center of Effort (CE) of the sail. Where the CE is, relative to the Center of Lateral Resistance (CLR) of the daggerboard causes either lee helm or weather helm. (i.e. If the CE is forward of the CLR then the boat will want to turn away from the wind. If the CE is aft of the CLR, then the boat will want to turn into the wind). When you say that the plastic boards lets you set the gooseneck further forward, that says to me that the CLR for the plastic boards must be further forward than the wood boards. Is that correct? For reference, I'm looking at this visual in Steve King's excellent video on rigging a sunfish.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Well-explained video! :cool:

Earlier, I'd mentioned closing my eyes during frequent, but short, naps while at the helm. My Sunfish seemed to stay on course, so she must be optimally-trimmed for those moments. :)
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The new boards, being foil shaped, generate a lot more lift than the wood boards. The wood ones were flat and tended to side slip a lot and it was easy to lose flow over the board altogether, and then the whole boat would go sideways. With a wood board the side slipping was made worse with the gooseneck further forward. If you sail with a plastic board, racers have found the improved lift results in the boat being balanced and pointing better with the gooseneck set further forward than in the old days. And losing flow is a lot harder with the new board. Perhaps someone else can give a more scientific answer.

But as long as you are in the ballpark, for recreational sailing none of this really matters. Get the boat set up about right and have fun.
 

danpal

Active Member
So... I went out a couple of weeks ago when there were small craft advisories on Waquoit bay on Cape Cod:oops:. From the boat launch it seemed like the wind had died down quite a bit and it was safe to go out for a sail. Part of the bay is pretty protected and sailing there was fine but I ventured out a little farther and the wind picked up dramatically.

I think everything you've described in this thread explains what happened to me. I was on a starboard tack and I was really heeling. I tried changing tacks to get back to the protected part of the bay but every time I tried to come about, I got into irons. The only way I could stay upright was to continually let out the sheet and spill wind. On the other end of the bay there's a long beach. I sailed the whole way across and was able to beach the boat and drop sail.

Needless to say, I was exhausted. My arms were like rubber and I was shaking. The other motor boaters around me thought I was nuts but I figured that I could turn the boat on the beach and head back in the opposite direction on a port tack which is what I did after resting for a bit.

What I figured out was that my gooseneck had slipped and moved forward which basically turned the boat into a weather vane with a ton of weather helm. Even though I'd recently installed a ratchet block, I had a really hard time keeping the sail sheeted in.

So lessons learned. I've decided to add an adjustable gooseneck, hiking strap and I'm seriously thinking of replacing my old style daggerboard for the plastic FRP probably from Intensity so the next time I'm in that situation it will be fun rather than a really stressful experience:cool:.
 

stollie

Member
Sailor George, might I recommend you get the hang of things out there before taking the kids out. Watch out with gybing! I hope the kids can swim, are fully instructed (stay with the boat!), and everyone's wearing well-fitting PFDs. Memorable experiences of the good kind is what we're after, right? :)
 
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Weston

Active Member
... I was on a starboard tack and I was really heeling. I tried changing tacks to get back to the protected part of the bay but every time I tried to come about, I got into irons. The only way I could stay upright was to continually let out the sheet and spill wind. On the other end of the bay there's a long beach. I sailed the whole way across and was able to beach the boat and drop sail.

Needless to say, I was exhausted. My arms were like rubber and I was shaking. The other motor boaters around me thought I was nuts but I figured that I could turn the boat on the beach and head back in the opposite direction on a port tack which is what I did after resting for a bit....
You describe this so vividly that it brought back memories of a similar day of tough sailing for me a year ago. The high waves Contributed to my difficulty in coming about. Since then, I’ve added a Cunningham and Outhaul to let me flatten the sail to depower it a bit during heavier winds. That, and the gooseneck adjustment reduced my weather helm. But in heavy winds I dont think you can ever Completely eliminate weather helm in a sunfish. Let us know how your adjustments work out.
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Coming about in high winds IS harder and requires good speed at the outset.
In place of "coming about", try a "wear-about", used by square-rigged ships.

You'll naturally pick up speed until a point where a gybe is mandated.

Gybing in high winds isn't so terrible if the Sunfish hull's speed downwind is also high. Timing the gybe--depending on wave-forms at that moment--also a consideration.

You might surprise yourself by "sailing" on a broad reach with the sail completely lowered.

(Or how well a Sunfish goes to windward when you're going back to retrieve your forgotten daggerboard!) :confused:
 

stollie

Member
Chart that Tag posted has settings that differ significantly from another I had found on a "how to rig a sunfish" vid by a gent named Steve King, which is what I've been using. The vid also mentions how to test for weather or lee helm, and how to adjust accordingly.

I've had gooseneck at 18"and halyard at 54.5" - maybe I'll set the gooseneck to 20." I'm more of set it and leave it guy so hopefully that'll be a good general purpose setting.

Or it could be as Beldar said, that gooseneck settings depend on which daggerboard a person has, in which case mine might be correct as-is.
 

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