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Most important upgrades for Sunfish from the 70s or 80s.

duganderson

New Member
A friend just gave me a sunfish from the 70s or 80s. The sail is new (although it is installed upside down) but otherwise I think it the boat is stock. This is the boat that I learned on with my buddy when I was 16. Ive been sailing ever since (52 now) mostly on beach catamarans but larger monohulls too.

What are the most important upgrades for comfort and sailing ability? Tips on where to buy these upgrades and specificities makes and models would be super appreciated. Thank you!

I'm 6'4" and usually sail with another adult.

Thank you!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Ratcheting mainsail block, pop-rivet gun, rudder and daggerboard of plastic/composite construction, 2-loop bridle, racing sail, tell-tales, Sunfish Bible (book). cleat on mast for halyard, lessons, 2nd boat. ;)

The sticky thread (VIDEOS!) has videos with helpful tips. Save for a rainy day.

eBay and Craigslist are good sources, but intermittent in availability: Check regularly.

Sunfish Direct, Amazon, West Coast Sunfish, among others.
 

tag

my2fish
L&VW put together a great list. Here are the parts I use to mount a ratchet block. The cam cleat is optional, and on a Sunfish it can mount on the cockpit lip.

A mast (horn) cleat is highly recommended.

A race-cut sail with a window is a huge improvement. Intensity Sails has good prices for non-legal sails if you don’t plan to race in Sunfish Class-sanctioned events.

Intensity Sails, Shoreline Sailboats, and the Dinghy Shop are also good sources for Sunfish parts. The “used” parts forum right here is a good source for parts as well.

2F273326-7C91-45A1-8D8B-D1698FF0F194.jpeg
 

giannig

New Member
I too am looking to restore / upgrade an old boat that has no provisions for a ratchet block, just a hook mounted on the deck flange down into the cockpit. I suppose the best solution is to mount an eye strap where newer boat have them and get a ratchet block. there isn't room for a cam cleat, like the picture from Nicholson58, but a ratchet block with a cleat would seem to be the answer. I've not concerns about being legal.
 

LVW

Active Member
I like the cleat, but oftentimes, you'll need cat-like reflexes to stay upright!

If you store or rest your Sunfish upside-down, the block can cause the gelcoat to form spider-cracks.

(My age advanced me to Sunfish from Tornado). ;)
 

Nicholson58

I’d Rather Be Sailing My Tornado
I have a related question, rigging. My Sunfish came with a main bridle spanning the transom made of PVC coated cable, loop in the center with a block in the loop. Various parts of this caught the tiller and made steering sometimes rough. It also made a mess of the tiller varnish. Is this still stock equipment? I replaced it with 1/4 inch Dynema of exactly the same dimensions. It was a perfect fix for all woes. No metal bits, no scratches, no hang ups.
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
1/4" Dynema will work fine. You just want to make sure the knots on the deck eyes hold as Dynema is slippery. Maybe a little dab of epoxy over the knots is in order. Line is not Class legal for racing but I doubt that is an issue for you.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Nicholson58

I’d Rather Be Sailing My Tornado
Use a fid and whipping. YouTube has good video about finishing dynema. There are knots that work as well.
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
L&VW put together a great list. Here are the parts I use to mount a ratchet block. The cam cleat is optional, and on a Sunfish it can mount on the cockpit lip.

A mast (horn) cleat is highly recommended.

A race-cut sail with a window is a huge improvement. Intensity Sails has good prices for non-legal sails if you don’t plan to race in Sunfish Class-sanctioned events.

Intensity Sails, Shoreline Sailboats, and the Dinghy Shop are also good sources for Sunfish parts. The “used” parts forum right here is a good source for parts as well.

View attachment 52883
An alternative to the stand up spring depicted on Tag's Minifish is the Harken stand up hockey puck thingy. I ended up switching to that as I have both a Sunfish and Super Sunfish rig and this makes it easy to swap out the ratchet block (used with the Sunfish) with the fiddle block used on the Super Sunfish rig. Trying to compress the stand up spring to swap blocks is very difficult. But the stand up 'hockey puck' thingy lets me swap blocks in less than a minute. I had to grind down the trailing edge of the hockey puck to account for the curve of the deck where it meets the cockpit.
Sunfish block.jpeg
Super sunfish block.jpeg
 
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