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My "new" Sunfish & first two times out on it.

George_NJ

New Member
So I found this low mileage lovely for sale locally with a trailer, asking $125. It was pretty beat up & filthy from sitting for many years untouched, looked as if it was left tied up by a rocky shore as there were gashes and chunks out of the hull & four holes (stick your finger through holes) an inch to two inches in diameter. It came with a decent matching sail with a couple of tape repairs but still looks good in my opinion, the seller had also made from scratch a new rudder, tiller & daggerboard that were in nice shape. I offered $100 just from the pics online and that was accepted, as it had been for sale a while, the pics looked that bad. There were no papers for the trailer or the boat as he only used it on his communities private lake by his house. This was not a problem for me, as the trailer got registered as a home made & I marked the boat with it our family name and number of the vessel to us "XXXXXXX #10 & XXXXXXXX Lake, NY" as our family owns a country house up by a lake there, so if any John Q Lawman were to ask in NJ why it is not registered, I can say it is a NY boat here for a short time for short time use, which is legal.

So I got her home, even with no lights on the trailer at all, one poor tire that held air but was soft. The next day I cleaned her up with an acid boat cleaner that got her looking respectable and got all the old private lake stickers off her. I put lights on the trailer and pained the fenders that were starting to lightly rust. Then for the hull damage, I used **Eternabond Tape** to cover any problem areas, and double layered over the four holes, and with those fast repairs, the Sunfish was back in the drink for the first time in over tens years looking pretty damn good for a $100 hoopty.

I took my oldest (17), neither of us was ever in any kind of sailboat before, but I watched a lot of youtube videos on sailing & Sunfishes so I was ready to give it a try on my local lake. It was the absolute perfect day for a newbie sailor, bright sun with very light wind and some light enough gusts to get us moving at a good clip from time to time. We were both surprised at how easy it was, there were no close calls with going over the side, even though we did have to lean quite a few times. We were able to sail back to the dock with a nice steady wind under good control. I was really impressed with myself ;)

The next time out (Memorial Day) I took my other son (15), him a sailing newbie too. The day was another beauty, but the wind was definitely up, there were a bunch of other sailboats out on the water taking advantage of that wind. This day was more of a true taste of what sailing is. We found our selves moving pretty quick out there and having to watch out for the others around us, as compared to the other day when were the only sailboat out there being a weekday. We had to lean and dodge the sail a lot and one of those times she got away from me and she tossed us out as she turtled. I knew it was bound to happen at some point but was surprised how fast it happened. I hadn't even tied anything down thinking it would be easy as the last time, so I had to swim for my son's one sneaker and my kayak oar. I kind of panicked thinking I left my phone in a ziplock bag in the cockpit and that it sunk, but luckily it was in my pocked safe and sound. My son righted the boat as I swam for the stuff, it was surprisingly easy to right it. There is no bailer as that had been done away with long ago, but there wasn't much water in the cockpit, maybe about two inches, so I used my son's sneaker to bail some of it out with as we laughed about it. What a blast we had even with turtling it, it's just another learning experience under our belt.

I'm thinking the boat hull is all original, not repainted. It only has the two stripes on the bow, and no stamped number on the stern. The cockpit has no storage area, and seems to me to be made of a metal of some kind rather than fiberglass? The top plate with the serial number is long gone too. What year do you guys think she is?

** Eternabond Tape is something every Man should have in his bag of repair tricks, this stuff is incredible, it will stick to just about anything and waterproof it and keep it that way. I've used this before on a fiberglass dingy that was in as of bad condition as the Suny and got many uses so far out of her. So while I'm sure some of you purists are shocked that I simply taped up a boat for repairs instead of doing it the right way, trust me it works and is safe enough to count on. I may do the right glass repairs at some point but would rather have gotten the use of her now and not much later with all the time involved to do all the proper repairs. I got her in business in just half a day doing it this way, and I'm sure that she herself was very anxious to get back into the drink sooner than later and that she was very appreciative :)
 

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George_NJ

New Member
that sounds like a heck of a find, and a GREAT first couple sails on it, I especially love that you're taking your boys out as well.

a good read: Learn to Sail in 3 Days

one of my favorite aspects of sailing my Sunfish is taking my boys out with me, either on the Sunfish, or sailing alongside me on our Minifish.

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Thanks. Wow, that picture looks like a postcard for relaxing.

I bought a $50 Sailfish too, two weeks before but haven't brought her out yet. I figured it would be easier to learn a few times on the Suny first, then let my kids try the Sailfish. I need the better, easier for the spine sitting position the Suny offers.
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Based on the twin bow stripes that is a 1969 or '70. The storage in the cockpit came along in '71. Your shot while underway has the sail on the correct side of the mast, while the other pic when it is tied up has it on the wrong side. You will find the halyard works easiest when the sail is on the port side of the mast.

Great price on that boat, and glad you are enjoying it.
 

George_NJ

New Member
Based on the twin bow stripes that is a 1969 or '70. The storage in the cockpit came along in '71. Your shot while underway has the sail on the correct side of the mast, while the other pic when it is tied up has it on the wrong side. You will find the halyard works easiest when the sail is on the port side of the mast.

Great price on that boat, and glad you are enjoying it.
Thanks, Beldar for pinpointing the vintage. Yes I figured that out after that first time (reading here) to set the sail on the port side, I knew someone here would catch that newbie mistake ;)
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Metal cockpit? :oops:

Sometimes, "a Sunfish" isn't a Sunfish. :confused:

To prevent (or delay) a "turtle", tie a 1/2-gallon milk jug to the head of the sail. After a while, that "bandaid" will be forgotten. But in the meantime, it'll give you a little more time to right the Sunfish before water starts to fill the mast and spars.

Raise the sail fully, so there's no halyard showing at the top of the mast. (Less dodging of the boom).
 

George_NJ

New Member
That second day on her, we had to drop the sail on our way back to the dock when we got close as the wind was way too strong to make a smooth controlled docking and used the paddle to dock her.

I also attached a Go-pro camera on the sail to hopefully catch some fun video, but I screwed up starting it as I couldn't see the screen in the bright sun without my glasses, doh! But I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities next time to video a turtling :)
Surprisingly enough I somehow didn't lose my sunglasses when we were tossed off her when we turtled her.
 

Mashmaster

Active Member
I sliced one of the extra thick pool noodles and pushed it around the upper spar. I zip tied it an it helps keep it from going turtle. Still possible though, my son has gotten very good and capsizing and righting the boat. you'll find they catch on quickly.
 

George_NJ

New Member
Metal cockpit? :oops:

Sometimes, "a Sunfish" isn't a Sunfish. :confused:

To prevent (or delay) a "turtle", tie a 1/2-gallon milk jug to the head of the sail. After a while, that "bandaid" will be forgotten. But in the meantime, it'll give you a little more time to right the Sunfish before water starts to fill the mast and spars.

Raise the sail fully, so there's no halyard showing at the top of the mast. (Less dodging of the boom).
It did have what looked like to be original Alcort Sunfish stickers on it. The sticker was in bad shape and I took it off with all the others. I could be wrong about the metal, i'll have to check that out further.

I think I'll try that jug float idea while we're still learning, & hike up the sail some more too.
 

George_NJ

New Member
It ended up being a great season with my "new" Sunfish, I got to take her out eight times in total. I flipped her only three times in the beginning. I ended up getting a good feel for her and how to avoid getting thrown off. I got to take a bunch of other never sailed before passengers out with me too. I got bitten by the sailing bug bad thanks to my Sunfish. I went out and bought a 26' sailboat that the whole family can camp on, I also came upon a free 22' that I had planned to sell come spring to make some money, but my soon to be 16 y/o son is making noises that he want's it for his very own... So I'm selling my powered cabin cruiser come spring now that I got this 26' sailboat, it will fit my family better anyway. My Wife's head is buzzing with all the boats on our property, which one is coming and which is going... :rolleyes:Presenting, the Three Sisters.
IMG_20191104_092959793.jpg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I was familiar with the 26 but not with the 22. They look like versatile motorsailers.

Thanks for the photos and congrats on Sailing Season 1, the sneaker bailing will be talked of for a long time.
 

George_NJ

New Member
I was familiar with the 26 but not with the 22. They look like versatile motorsailers.

Thanks for the photos and congrats on Sailing Season 1, the sneaker bailing will be talked of for a long time.
The free 22' is a 1971 Venture 222 with the pop-top & trailer, sleeps 4, has a semi private head. The 26 is a 1990 that I paid $750 for with the trailer, sleeps 6 with a private head and kitchenette. Both came with 9.9 motors. I got both the very end of the season while I was too busy to try them out due to work. With the swing keel that makes them shallow draft boats (14") I should easily be able to put it in my local lake's boat ramp (free!). Both will look like the Queen Mary on that lake, but it should be fun for overnight camping on it. My local lake is electric only so I will use an electric trolling motor & two long sup paddles to get her away from & back to the dock/ramp. I can't wait for spring!

Yeah, that first turtle and sneaker bailing is a fond memory we've reminisced about a few times already. I wish we had that on video.
 

George_NJ

New Member
Here is a short video clip of my daughter & I out on the Suny, it was one of those perfect days out on the water;

This was Father's Day, so I wanted to spend it at the lake (where else, right?) with the family. I brought our Suny, peddle-boat & Jon-boat and we had a day use picnic area right right on the waters edge that we were able to bring our boats to. We had such a nice time and I had the most use of the Suny that day.
 
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