Moving "up"??

Thread starter #1
If you were going to "move up" from a Sunfish to a sailboat you sit in rather than on (one more suitable for two full size adults) which would you choose and why??
AMF Puffer or O'day Widgeon??
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Probably a Tasar. That's what I sailed before the fish and I always liked it. A good compromise between comfort and sportyness. Whatever it was it would have to be something that planes nicely.
Thread starter #3
Thanks for the reply. Choice is between a 1975 Widgeon and a 1982 Puffer. Both very near me. Both with trailers. Puffer has transom mount for a light motor (I have a MinnKota) and it also has holes for row locks. Puffer does not have anywhere for dry storage while moored. I'm leaning towards the Widgeon, mostly for sentimental reasons.
Ah. Sorry. I didn't realise it had to be one of those. Never herd of either of these boats! I googled em. The Widgeon looks like a nice boat.
Thread starter #5
Looks like Puffer uses a Sunfish dagger board and tiller/rudder assembly. Widgeon has a swing centerboard that pulls up into the trunk. One less thing to deal with (stow) at mooring.
To be candid, I am not wild about either boat. The Puffer was designed by the late Fred Scott, a designer for Alcort the builder of the Sunfish, so it is not a shock that it used a lot of stock Sunfish parts and gear, but the Puffer simply does not sail all that well, especially up wind. So if you had to choose. the Widgeon may be the better choice. I also vaguely recall (?) that the Widgeon has a dual mast step and can be sailed with the main and jib or just the main. Check out that feature if is of interest to you.

Alan Glos


Active Member
I just got a puffer cheap. It uses the same rudder setup as the Sunfish but the daggerboard is wider, front to aft. I guess a sunfish board might work in an emergency. I have not sailed it yet. I can get back aboard from deep water, but I suspect many might not find it as easy. I did a quickie water test sans mast. Without the center seat to grab, it would be tough. I imagine a 250lb adult might pull the coaming under water, trying to get back aboard. ...maybe not. I'm in decent shape and 190 saw that as a possibility...with a sail and boarding from the downwind side.
I anxious to try it as it has a more conventional rig, but admittedly looks like a kiddie boat or a large hard shell dingy, a cruising sailboat might have. I got it for my 100lb dogs (probably one at a time) and the basically free price and the oars. Plan for a bow spirit and spinnaker and have already started rehab and hull painting as a fun project.
Thread starter #8
A small part of the consideration is that a boat you sit in rather than on, with a much higher freeboard, should help keep me from capsizing. I have gone over in mid to heavy wind 4x in five seasons. 2x with the mainsheet in the jam cleat (THAT won't happen again). Doubt this fat boy could get back in the boat from deep water even in my Sunfish. I can right it and swim it to shore though. Really leaning towards the Widgeon for the bow storage and the higher freeboard. Puffer looks like a lot of fun and prolly a wet ride (spray). Reviews I have found do not rate it faster than the widgeon though. Also watching YouTube videos of each underway.


Active Member
The puffer has foredeck seating and a triangular cover could easily be made too. Water resistant vs waterproof in a cuddy

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Congratulations on your new ride! Hope we get to see some pictures. And why sell the Sunfish, you need it for the solo sailing days, that's why we have a Daysailer and plenty O Sunfish...or in this case a foster boat Windflite :) Cyane and Freebird.jpg

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
There are a few points brought out in this thread, things we have pondered the last few years.

1. Mid size boat that takes 2-3 for a day sail, is easy launch, small storage footprint? Our friend Murray is "boat struck" like we are, has had multiple boats ranging from homebuilt rafts , kayaks, Sunfish, lots of Brit boats up to MacGregor 26. As he gains more wisdom (ages) he is trimming his fleet to small Sunfish size boats, his Widgeon, a canoe with sprit sail, and his Venture 21. He can rig, launch and sail all of the single handed. We see him in his Widgeon the most when he participates in the 3-4 day raids around our Bays and Sounds. For us the Go To Rig in 5 minutes boat is the Sunfish, then we built a Penobscot 14 that will sail 2 and row 4. Up from that is an O'Day Daysailer that will fly like a Sunfish if Skipper desires, then our smooth ride is the 19 foot Drascombe Lugger. If we hadn't built the Penobscot we would have been hot on the trail for a Widgeon. High on our list for retirement boats are boats that are easy for us to move, masts that are easy to step and keeping our mind and body sharp to be able to remember where we stored all of the boats :)

2. Capsize? For the Sunfish, if the winds are high (12+ for us), you can run the sheet backwards through the fairlead on the swivel cam cleat to prevent it from inadvertently snaring the cleat, or leave it out of the swivel cam cleat. We just go out for short periods in those type of winds and don't cleat. The primary time we would cleat is on a drifter day. If there is a capsize and one can't get back aboard for some reason, I read where a gent "sailed" his boat back to shore by grabbing the sheet and working the tiller while holding onto the stern. Might be a consideration vs getting completely tired when a long way from shore.

More later, got to go chase dolphin with the runabout.

Kent and Audrey 15732146_10103744916040286_4909062691068450676_o.jpg


Active Member
Somewhere on the list is a Hunter 410....used at half the new price, davits for the little dingy but with a 5 horse power stinkpot, dual A.C. units, providing interior comforts for the enjoyment of endless chilled beverages, sails 10, sleeps 8, but is still best for a couple.....phew....the details of marina life. :)


Active Member
I wonder how difficult the foiling Lasers are. You can get the retrofit kits from "down under" for a about 3 grand, I think. I'm still keeping my eyes open for an inexpensive Laser anyway, while I think my body can still take it.


Active Member
I would think a MC Scow would be the logical choice from a Sunfish. You get
the hyper adrenaline speed rush and the necessity of team work in higher winds. All
depends what's racing in you area I guess.

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
Those foiling kites are ridiculously fast, a couple guys used to scream across North Bay on those things, traveling somewhere around warp speed, LOL. Problem was, no room for beer unless it was already in your gut, so that counted me out of that particular program, I gotta have my ice-cold brew while under way. I like the scows, those are heller cool, and I also like the old school Skimmer... there was an ad on Dago C/L awhile back for a Skimmer built from scratch by a famous sailor. Carl... uh... damn, now I can't remember his name, CRS again, it wasn't Carl Ekstrom, that's the surfboard guy, perhaps it was Carl Eichenlaub? Is that the right spelling? Maybe it was a different Carl, but the homebuilt Skimmer was awesome, If I had the dinero I'd like to replicate that Skimmer in carbon fiber, THAT would be TOTALLY COOL!!! :eek:

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