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New Sunfish owner questions

pehare

New Member
Hello...I just purchased a nice '77 Sunfish. Please pardon the clueless questions. The previous owner raced it and has the sail rigged low so the gooseneck is about 8" off the front deck and the boom is fairly horizontal with the deck which isn't going to leave me much room in the cockpit. I'm taking her out tomorrow for the first time and wondering how to properly adjust so I have more room. Or, should I take her out and see how it goes? I did sail a Laser a few times 40 yrs ago so I'm not completely green.

Also, adjacent to the Halyard Bullseye Fairlead on the starboard side of the Fairlead there is a stress crack in the fiberglass. There is an inspection port aft of there on the deck but my arm can't reach far enough forward to reach inside to feel what's going on. Does the Fairlead have a wood block under the deck? This is worry some so any ideas there?

Otherwise the boat is in nice shape...dry and light - a real beauty for it's age. Thank you for any input...
 

tag

my2fish
Two options for the sail - lower the halyard attachment to the upper boom (slide it closer to the tack of the sail), this will raise the sail. You can also adjust the gooseneck forwards/backwards to rotate the sail some... if you don't already have it, a quick-adjust lever at the gooseneck makes this easier to do.

I'd add a horn cleat to your mast. This will take the majority of the line pull from holding up the sail with the halyard. You then still run the halyard through the deck fairlead and cleat it off but now the line is primarily just to keep the rig on your Sunfish in case you tip over and turtle.

That should get you sailing, and you can later figure out what to do about the stress cracks.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hello...I just purchased a nice '77 Sunfish. Please pardon the clueless questions. The previous owner raced it and has the sail rigged low so the gooseneck is about 8" off the front deck and the boom is fairly horizontal with the deck which isn't going to leave me much room in the cockpit. I'm taking her out tomorrow for the first time and wondering how to properly adjust so I have more room. Or, should I take her out and see how it goes? I did sail a Laser a few times 40 yrs ago so I'm not completely green.

Also, adjacent to the Halyard Bullseye Fairlead on the starboard side of the Failead there is a stress crack in the fiberglass. There is an inspection port aft of there on the deck but my arm can't reach far enough forward to reach inside to feel what's going on. Does the Fairlead have a wood block under the deck? This is worry some so any ideas there?

Otherwise the boat is in nice shape...dry and light - a real beauty for it's age. Thank you for any input...

Hi pehare,

I would leave the boom height the way it is, and try it out. I just measured mine, and it is 6.5" off the deck with no main-sheet tension, which would increase that number as it pivots on the gooseneck.

I am in my early sixties and have no problem tacking or gybing with the boom that low. I do release the sheet slightly on tacks when the boat comes head to wind, however. This lets the boom come up a bit, but also prepares me for the next tack. When the sail fills again, the boat will not be moving as fast, and the apparent wind will have gone down the some. With sheet released slightly when coming through the wind, filling the sail will have the boat at a slightly lower angle and will let you get back up to speed again more quickly. As you come back to speed, you can head up and sheet in more tightly. There are all sorts of factors (e.g., wind velocity, waves) as to how fast and to what degree all of that should happen, but my point it that it is OK to let the main sheet out a bit when tacking which will give you the headroom you need. You will figure out all the rest as you sail the boat more.

Another advantage of keeping the boom low, IMHO, is that it reduces heel since the lever arm of the mast is shorter. There are other discussions about "end-plate" effects of a low boom, but I will let someone else tackle that one.

I agree with tag on the mast cleat.

Hope that is helpful.
 

pehare

New Member
Thank you both for your valuable responses. Everything you both said makes perfect sense. Is there a source for the proper size Horn Cleat and fasteners or sold as a kit? If not what is the best Cleat and fasteners to use? Also what is the optimal location of the Cleat on the mast? I'm going to hold off on sailing it until I install the cleat to save myself an ugly mishap. I will also try out the sail the way it's set and see how she goes.....thanks again!
 

tag

my2fish
I go into some detail on my blog here: sunfish mast upgrades
The cleat should be set <48" from the base of the mast, but not too low that it interferes with the gooseneck area.

Intensity Sails sells a 3" nylon cleat for cheap, but I honestly don't like that one... it seems too small to me?

I'd prefer the aluminum one I got from Sailboat Garage (not around anymore?). This one might be similar?

For fasteners, I used stainless steel screws, drilled a small pilot hole, and a tiny bit of caulk or sealant is a good idea.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Also, adjacent to the Halyard Bullseye Fairlead on the starboard side of the Failead there is a stress crack in the fiberglass. There is an inspection port aft of there on the deck but my arm can't reach far enough forward to reach inside to feel what's going on. Does the Fairlead have a wood block under the deck? This is worry some so any ideas there?

Otherwise the boat is in nice shape...dry and light - a real beauty for it's age. Thank you for any input...
Don't worry about the stress cracks.
 

4cpus4me

New Member
I go into some detail on my blog here: sunfish mast upgrades
The cleat should be set <48" from the base of the mast, but not too low that it interferes with the gooseneck area.

Intensity Sails sells a 3" nylon cleat for cheap, but I honestly don't like that one... it seems too small to me?

I'd prefer the aluminum one I got from Sailboat Garage (not around anymore?). This one might be similar?

For fasteners, I used stainless steel screws, drilled a small pilot hole, and a tiny bit of caulk or sealant is a good idea.
I used the Intensity Sails 3" cleat on the mast and it seems to work fine. I rig the halyard with a trucker's hitch loop and the cleat takes the pressure no problem but an aluminum cleat would be nice, too.
 

klemsaba

Member
Intensity Sails sells a 3" nylon cleat for cheap, but I honestly don't like that one... it seems too small to me?

I'd prefer the aluminum one I got from Sailboat Garage (not around anymore?). This one might be similar?

For fasteners, I used stainless steel screws, drilled a small pilot hole, and a tiny bit of caulk or sealant is a good idea.
I have the Intensity cleats on 3 boats and they do work but I wish it was a little bigger.
 

pehare

New Member
Thanks everyone! I ordered the stout aluminum Cleat tag recommended from West Coast Sailing and got a couple #10 stainless steel sheet metal screws from my local hardware store. Here are a couple pics....when pressure is applied to the Fairlead I can see the crack lift open a very slight amount. I'm thinking once I utilize the mast cleat setup I'll just Marine Tex it neatly and hit the water with it - unless somebody has a better idea.
 

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pehare

New Member
Here she is if anybody is interested. It's a 1977 not '78 like my pic description. It has homemade wood blocks w/carpet on them to hold up and attach the sail rig to when transporting. Hull looks all original no repairs, custom aluminum trailer, boat cover, sail cover, North racing sail, tiller and rudder bag. Needs new trailer lights but otherwise good to go, hopefully. I feel lucky and grateful to have found this within 100 miles of home. I looked online for Dry Launch 701 trailer lights (my favorite - used my jon boat trailer) and it seems they are out of biz:(
 

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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Yes, I also wanted to buy Dry Launch lights recently for my Trailex trailer and came to the same conclusion (out of business). But I found etrailer.com and bought lights from them. The price was reasonable (about $20 each). Their site has great videos on installing them and they were helpful when I had a question.
 

Weston

Member
I used the Intensity Sails 3" cleat on the mast and it seems to work fine. I rig the halyard with a trucker's hitch loop and the cleat takes the pressure no problem but an aluminum cleat would be nice, too.
I’m curious as to how you use the truckers hitch loop. I’m imagining that there isn’t enough room to tie off the halyard on the 3” mast cleat using a traditional cleat hitch after first cinching against the truckers hitch loop. Maybe I’m imagining it wrong.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Here are a couple pics....when pressure is applied to the Fairlead I can see the crack lift open a very slight amount. I'm thinking once I utilize the mast cleat setup I'll just Marine Tex it neatly and hit the water with it - unless somebody has a better idea.
l
Looking at it closer, it appears the gel coat layer (plus?) has lifted up.

If it were my situation, I'd remove the screw, and apply a small amount of epoxy resin. Apply a heavy weight, and the resin will "wick" through the damaged area.

Although the new mast cleat will take much stress off it, this suggested repair would return some strength back to the fairlead.
 

wjejr

Active Member
I like trucker’s hitches, but it wouldn’t work for me in that application. I like to lower the sail and then paddle to the ramp. Trying to undo the hitch so that the line can run through the mast cap would be difficult. It’s enough trouble undoing the vang arrangement and then un-cleating the halyard from the mast.

Instead, I wrap the halyard around the cleat once when the sail is first raised and pull the halyard between the cleat and the mast cap away from the mast. This raises the boom as high as it can go. I then slowly release the line while taking up the slack at the cleat, and then cleat the halyard properly.
 

pehare

New Member
Hey there "tag" what size bit did you use to drill pilot holes for #10 sheet metal screws in mast for horn cleat? 1/8" or 9/64" or ? The olde adage measure twice cut once comes to mind. Thanks in advance!
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I like trucker’s hitches, but it wouldn’t work for me in that application. I like to lower the sail and then paddle to the ramp.
The whole point of using the trucker's hitch is it is virtually effortless to undo. It's sort of like a slipknot. You tug on it, it undoes itself, and you drop the sail.
 

wjejr

Active Member
The whole point of using the trucker's hitch is it is virtually effortless to undo. It's sort of like a slipknot. You tug on it, it undoes itself, and you drop the sail.
Thanks for your advice. I find if a trucker’s hitch gets wet, a consideration on a Sunfish, it can be difficult to release/skip. It’s just a bit of complexity that IMHO is unnecessary. For a simple person like myself, twisting the mast so the boom aligns with the halyard, and then using the “bow and arrow“ method, works for me.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I find if a trucker’s hitch gets wet, a consideration on a Sunfish, it can be difficult to release/skip.
Good point. Different halyards will yield different results! My halyard is a polyester double braid, and the cover is slippery enough that the truckers hitch easily pulls out.
 
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