New to sailing - Sunfish as first boat to learn on? (and other questions...)

Thread starter #21
Oh wow
I took a look at your picture of the transom and I can just make out the hull ID number (AMF46238M73A) which would make it a 1973 hull if I read it correctly.
Oh wow! I can't believe I missed this post. I'll confirm tomorrow, but thanks! Tomorrow I'm headed over again to take a very close look at everything, all hardware, etc. and very likely purchase the thing. Could someone please bullet point out the important things I need to check or be aware of when examining everything?

As for the roof rack, I've acquired everything but the crossbars - these arrive on Friday. I think I only paid $125 between four Q Towers, lock cores, pads, clips and brand new 58" crossbars. My car doesn't really have attachment points at the front or rear, so what I think I'll be doing is attaching those nylon canoe strap things, two to the inside of the trunk and two to the interior sides of the engine well. These will give me something to tie the front and back of the boat with. Other than that I think it's just a matter of having two people each time to load and unload the thing. We have at least five lakes within five miles of here, so its not like I'm driving long distances or anything.
Thread starter #22
Yesterday I spent about an hour examining and checking, double checking literally everything mentioned in the article on how to buy a used Sunfish. The only comments I have are that nearly everything is in fantastic condition, and the only potentially minor issue is a bit of hull deck weakness over a one foot square area at the front left of the boat. A good friend of mine helped inspect everything since I know next to nothing about hardware or sails.

This afternoon I received my crossbars and got the roof rack set up. Hopefully sometime within the next week I'll be meeting with another friend to discuss the best way(s) to load and mount the boat. It should sit up there just fine, as many people have done it before, but I'm trying to accomplish a bit more here.

Finally, I have paid $50 of the $250 the boat was listed at. The rest will be tomorrow. What I need to know is how to go about the whole "bill of sale" thing since there is no title. What is the purpose of doing this? The state of Michigan doesn't require registration on a sailboat of this size, so I don't have to worry about lost titles or anything like that, right?
I'm in Indiana and we don't require registration on sunfishes either. Don't know why one would have to worry about bill of sale or title in that case but it is good question. I'd hate to have to plaster numbers as high as the hull itself onto a sunfish! My trailer was a PIA ... had to jump through many hoops in getting a new VIN on that. Thanks for making me realize that I need to concentrate my search for replacement boom in south-central MI! I'll of course have to plan a trip around some sailing in either the big lake or a smaller one.
I'm pretty sure that Michigan DOES require you to register your Sunfish (no title, though). It's $9 for 3 years. Just have the previous owner write down his info, your info, along with the hull ID number and the selling price.
Thread starter #25
I'm pretty sure that Michigan DOES require you to register your Sunfish (no title, though). It's $9 for 3 years. Just have the previous owner write down his info, your info, along with the hull ID number and the selling price.
Tag, could you point me to a website that shows this? I spent quite a bit of time poking around the Michigan websites and found nothing like this, so some help would be appreciated.
this is from a while ago:,1687,7-127-1585_14651-75432--,00.html
"non-motorized sailboats" - $9 for 3 years

from here:,1607,7-127-48268-88602--F,00.html
All watercraft on Michigan waters, including privately owned lakes and waterways, must be registered except:
Watercraft 16 feet or less, propelled by oars or paddles, and not used for rental or commercial purposes;
Non-motorized canoes and kayaks not used for rental or commercial purposes, rafts, surfboards, sailboards, and swim floats, regardless of length;
Watercraft registered in another state and used only temporarily in Michigan.
title is only required if over 20-ft in length, or motorized.

I'm pretty certain the answer is yes, you should be registered, and $3/year is cheap enough for me.

Thread starter #28
Thanks Thad! I did the bill of sale thing and will register the boat after I pick it up tomorrow or Monday.

So I've got my Yakima rack assembled and installed and I've purchased the boat. Now I just need to figure out how to mount it. Instead of purchasing nylon straps to go in the engine well and trunk, I've simply sewn my own.

What I need to know at the moment is whether or not I need any additional hardware or foam. I put pipe insulation on the crossbars already. Is the boat best transported upside down or otherwise? If so, will the splash guard interfere with the crossbars, which are exactly 27" apart on the roof of the car, or will flat deck areas rest on the bars by default? Is pipe insulation enough?
I haven't put one on a rooftop in a really long time, but it was on a Tahoe, and the spacing between racks was much greater than 27". I would probably put it on upside down - that will be the flattest part of the boat to rest on the pipe insulation and racks.

I would also make sure you tie it down at the front and back really well - that 27" spacing concerns me, and I would worry about it rocking up and down, as well as side to side. I would be afraid to pick up some of the strap tie-downs (you can usually get a cheap 4-pack at Lowes/Home Depot/Harbor Freight), and the nice thing is that they are actually rated to a certain working load.

maybe someone else who cartops can chime in with their experiences.

Thread starter #30
Thad, I ended up trying a 17' canoe this afternoon to learn how to tie such a thing down. All I have to say is that it worked and was extremely solid. Hopefully the Sunfish isn't too difficult to mount so I can at least get it home.

Thread starter #33
Thad, I'm actually going to pick the hull up in two or three hours here. I just went to pick up four additional nylon straps and 25' of nylon cord (10' 1/4" & 15' 3/8"). I figure this will do it. Other than that I picked up the rudder and daggerboard on Saturday and the mast and sail yesterday.
Thread starter #34
I'm hooked. Two hour sail this evening on a small local lake. Only two or three knots of wind, and sporadic at that, but the boat was bookin' it when the wind picked up. Unfortunately after going around the mile long lake a couple times, the wind decided to quit. This was about ten minutes after sundown. So we spent the next 40 minutes paddling back to where we launched. Good times but extremely exhausting. Hoping to go again on Friday and in more wind.

Right now I have doubts about hauling the boat around alone, but that doesn't matter now because this friend of mine who occasionally sails his 32' boat on Lake MI now wants to take the Sunfish out as often as possible, that being one or two times a week.
Thread starter #36
Weighed the hull - 155 lbs. Next up is a six inch inspection port to be installed right behind the splash guard. Until that arrives I have the tiny drain plug sitting open and the boat sitting in the hot sun. Should the hull be upside down or otherwise for this?

Oh and there are ten straps on this is rock solid when driving. Taking down and re-mounting everything after last night's sail only took about fifteen minutes between two people.

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