New sail for my Sunfish

Thread starter #1
I am brand new to sailing. Have a 70's something Sunfish. Took it out twice, caught a bit of wind, dumped it twice and had to be pulled back in twice...but still determined. My old sail is as old as the boat and quite worn/taped up, it is nylon. I ordered a new sail online thinking I would get a nylon sail, much like the original, but it is Dacron. Also a much brighter lime green than the original, but that's okay. I just need to know if I made a mistake and should return for nylon sail? PS, learned a huge lesson about the importance of having the dagger board snapped in fully before going over! Would appreciate some advice!
 
Thread starter #3
Thanks so much! I think there were only 10-15 mph winds...can't imagine trying to figure it all out in high winds. Trying to run the rudder and sail all at once was tough, but those few times I did catch some wind and had the boat going fast and balancing with my weight was fantastic and encouraging! Going to take time.
 
Thread starter #5
Thanks for the heads up! That makes sense as I was doing much better along the shore in the lighter winds than when I got out into the middle of the lake where the wind was stronger. I do have a friend with a pontoon close by jeering, I mean cheering me on and ready to assist. What do you mean, a good boat setup up?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#6
Maybe the setup for the rig?

Here's picture of decent setup/rig—except that I'd rig the sail to have the clew higher by adjusting the gooseneck further forward on the boom. Raise the halyard all the way up.

DSC_00031.jpg
Colorful sail on Squam Lake, New Hampshire. Many restrictions on property here, which makes for a lake populated with many paddling-boats and Sunfish sailboats.

.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#7
Maybe the setup for the rig?

Here's picture of decent setup/rig—except that I'd rig the sail to have the clew higher by adjusting the gooseneck further forward on the boom. Raise the halyard all the way up.

View attachment 32251
Colorful sail on Squam Lake, New Hampshire. Many restrictions on property here, which makes for a lake populated with many paddling-boats and Sunfish sailboats.

.
That looks like a Sailfish with a Sunfish sail. And even for a Sailfish it looks to be sitting loowwww in the water!!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#8
That's a very heavy dog! :eek:

Thanks for the heads up! That makes sense as I was doing much better along the shore in the lighter winds than when I got out into the middle of the lake where the wind was stronger. I do have a friend with a pontoon close by jeering, I mean cheering me on and ready to assist. What do you mean, a good boat setup up?
When whitecaps appear, the wind is going to be about 12-MPH. Most would find this velocity an ideal wind, but I sail on a very cold lake :( and appreciate not getting wet. To maximize your time sailing, you can take your seat on the bottom of the cockpit. This moves the center of gravity to a point where capsizes are lessened—
but not :confused: impossible.

On those occasions, I feel like I'm on a chaise-lounge chair, and the watery world-view is passing by. :cool:

.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#9
Be sure to tell someone that you're out sailing. Without proper skills, it can be hard to get back home etc. People must be able to locate you.

Wear a PFD (personal floating device). In fact, don't go out without wearing it and don't be tempted to take it off when you're sailing! Get a PFD that fits your size and weight-wise. Ask here on the forum for proper brands etc. (Zhik or Magic Marine are good, but not necessarily what suits you the best). Getting low enough when the boom swings over your head, is hard enough without a PFD. Practice it with the PFD on!

Try to learn and see the wind in Nautical Knots. 3 -5 knots is nice for the first few days out. You'll learn to see how nature (trees, water) react to the wind and you'll mentally 'tie' the signs you see with the strength of the wind. Look for dark patches on the water: that's where the wind is. 'Pressure' according to sailors as in: "There's pressure in my sail!" when you are on those darker patches.

Going out in an evening breeze is a good idea. However, here in NW Europe, it's common for the wind to die down completely 1 - 2 hours before the sun goes down. You don't want to be on the far part of the lake then!

I teach people how to sail. From complete novices to people who want encouragement to cross the ocean on their own. Always keel-boats. I don't like that wobbly stuff. :) The most important lesson (and the hardest to learn) is to learn and understand 'wind orientation' and how to act accordingly with the rudder and sail. In short: when you hear a 'flapping' noise over your head when sailing, thing are not good: you're losing speed!

Most made mistake? Going out on a sunny but very windy day. People are over-confident when the sun is shining. Most accidents I've seen on the water occur on sunny + windy days. On the dark, cloudy days with the same wind force, people are more careful.

But most important: enjoy sailing.

Menno
 

torrid

Just sailing
#10
Wear a PFD (personal floating device). In fact, don't go out without wearing it and don't be tempted to take it off when you're sailing! Get a PFD that fits your size and weight-wise. Ask here on the forum for proper brands etc. (Zhik or Magic Marine are good, but not necessarily what suits you the best). Getting low enough when the boom swings over your head, is hard enough without a PFD. Practice it with the PFD on!
Can't stress this enough. Recently at a place near where I used to live (Galveston Bay), a police chief was out in his boat without a PFD. He fell overboard and drowned.
 
Thread starter #11
Thank you all. All sound advice. I do wear a life vest and have a friend close by in a pontoon to tow me in if needed and has been needed both times out. We have a lot of flags on docks on the lake and watch them for wind direction. I will look to the water for signs of wind as I practice. Thankfully, here in MN the water warms up pretty nice. I am sailing on a very small lake and stay in one bay close to home...haven't quite made it across, but am doing what is comfortable, staying fairly close to shore.
 
Thread starter #12
Be sure to tell someone that you're out sailing. Without proper skills, it can be hard to get back home etc. People must be able to locate you.

Wear a PFD (personal floating device). In fact, don't go out without wearing it and don't be tempted to take it off when you're sailing! Get a PFD that fits your size and weight-wise. Ask here on the forum for proper brands etc. (Zhik or Magic Marine are good, but not necessarily what suits you the best). Getting low enough when the boom swings over your head, is hard enough without a PFD. Practice it with the PFD on!

Try to learn and see the wind in Nautical Knots. 3 -5 knots is nice for the first few days out. You'll learn to see how nature (trees, water) react to the wind and you'll mentally 'tie' the signs you see with the strength of the wind. Look for dark patches on the water: that's where the wind is. 'Pressure' according to sailors as in: "There's pressure in my sail!" when you are on those darker patches.

Going out in an evening breeze is a good idea. However, here in NW Europe, it's common for the wind to die down completely 1 - 2 hours before the sun goes down. You don't want to be on the far part of the lake then!

I teach people how to sail. From complete novices to people who want encouragement to cross the ocean on their own. Always keel-boats. I don't like that wobbly stuff. :) The most important lesson (and the hardest to learn) is to learn and understand 'wind orientation' and how to act accordingly with the rudder and sail. In short: when you hear a 'flapping' noise over your head when sailing, thing are not good: you're losing speed!

Most made mistake? Going out on a sunny but very windy day. People are over-confident when the sun is shining. Most accidents I've seen on the water occur on sunny + windy days. On the dark, cloudy days with the same wind force, people are more careful.

But most important: enjoy sailing.

Menno
I heard that flapping noise quite a bit and struggled with getting the wind back in the sails...trying to figure out how the rudder and sail work together. I noticed once I did have wind I struggled to keep it and stay in one direction...over-steering I think.
 
#13
When you're 'dead in the water' (to translate a Dutch expression into English...), with a flapping sail, there are two options: tiller facing straight forward and you start pulling the sheet. Look up and you'll notice that the movement of the sail will gradually stop: the will be 'pressure' in the sail; at first at the rear quarter. And when you keep pulling, the pressure will gradually fill the whole sail. You'll start moving forward as soon as your sail finds pressure. The speed will increase when the pressure in the sail builds up. You can steer when the boat develops speed. That's more or less lesson #1 when sailing upwind.

When you're dead in the water and you want to go the other way, just pull the tiller towards you and keep the sheet in your hand. Gradually the boat will turn away from the wind; the sail gets caught by the wind and you're going downwind. Be careful: this is the course you sail when you jibe! The boom & sail can come across with a lot of speed and momentum. Be sure to anticipate.

Of course, I cannot provide with a proper course 'how to learn to sail' by using an online forum. I wish I could. And of course, not everybody has the same learning strategy. ('Trial and error' vs. reading the whole 'how to' manual springs to mind). Look carefully on how other people in similar sized boats act when sailing: the position of the sail, their own position in the boat. What is a jibe? When to tack?

Again, enjoy your sailing.
 
Thread starter #18
Learn to correct this when it happens because it will. Not to scare you in anyway, it's super easy to right the boat. Make sure daggerboard is secured with a bungie so it won't slide out of the pocket when inverted. Ask me how I know. lol

View attachment 32311
This did happen to me twice, first time the dagger board stayed in place, easy to flip back up. Second time I didn't have the dagger board snapped in place and had to re-insert, what a pain, but I figured out after several different attempts. My dagger board has a flat spring that holds it in place...plan to look to see if there is a place to tie a bungie or line to it so I don't have to swim after it if this happens again!
 
Thread starter #19
When you're 'dead in the water' (to translate a Dutch expression into English...), with a flapping sail, there are two options: tiller facing straight forward and you start pulling the sheet. Look up and you'll notice that the movement of the sail will gradually stop: the will be 'pressure' in the sail; at first at the rear quarter. And when you keep pulling, the pressure will gradually fill the whole sail. You'll start moving forward as soon as your sail finds pressure. The speed will increase when the pressure in the sail builds up. You can steer when the boat develops speed. That's more or less lesson #1 when sailing upwind.

When you're dead in the water and you want to go the other way, just pull the tiller towards you and keep the sheet in your hand. Gradually the boat will turn away from the wind; the sail gets caught by the wind and you're going downwind. Be careful: this is the course you sail when you jibe! The boom & sail can come across with a lot of speed and momentum. Be sure to anticipate.

Of course, I cannot provide with a proper course 'how to learn to sail' by using an online forum. I wish I could. And of course, not everybody has the same learning strategy. ('Trial and error' vs. reading the whole 'how to' manual springs to mind). Look carefully on how other people in similar sized boats act when sailing: the position of the sail, their own position in the boat. What is a jibe? When to tack?

Again, enjoy your sailing.
I am definitely a trial and error type learner, but I plan to read up also. So far, just going with what feels right to get the feeling of the boat, I have never sailed by myself before! I love learning and when I get a bit of wind...describable!
 
Thread starter #20
Be sure to tell someone that you're out sailing. Without proper skills, it can be hard to get back home etc. People must be able to locate you.

Wear a PFD (personal floating device). In fact, don't go out without wearing it and don't be tempted to take it off when you're sailing! Get a PFD that fits your size and weight-wise. Ask here on the forum for proper brands etc. (Zhik or Magic Marine are good, but not necessarily what suits you the best). Getting low enough when the boom swings over your head, is hard enough without a PFD. Practice it with the PFD on!

Try to learn and see the wind in Nautical Knots. 3 -5 knots is nice for the first few days out. You'll learn to see how nature (trees, water) react to the wind and you'll mentally 'tie' the signs you see with the strength of the wind. Look for dark patches on the water: that's where the wind is. 'Pressure' according to sailors as in: "There's pressure in my sail!" when you are on those darker patches.

Going out in an evening breeze is a good idea. However, here in NW Europe, it's common for the wind to die down completely 1 - 2 hours before the sun goes down. You don't want to be on the far part of the lake then!

I teach people how to sail. From complete novices to people who want encouragement to cross the ocean on their own. Always keel-boats. I don't like that wobbly stuff. :) The most important lesson (and the hardest to learn) is to learn and understand 'wind orientation' and how to act accordingly with the rudder and sail. In short: when you hear a 'flapping' noise over your head when sailing, thing are not good: you're losing speed!

Most made mistake? Going out on a sunny but very windy day. People are over-confident when the sun is shining. Most accidents I've seen on the water occur on sunny + windy days. On the dark, cloudy days with the same wind force, people are more careful.

But most important: enjoy sailing.

Menno
I thought I replied to this yesterday, must not have hit post. Thanks for your advice, I do wear a life jacket and have a friend who id=s following me around in his pontoon...just in case! I am learning a lot from the generous advise of this group!
 
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