Odd stuff on a 2018 Sunfish

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
I am just finishing fitting out a 2018 (China built) Sunfish for racing. I sold my 2010 Vanguard to another racer in our fleet and bought this boat last fall from a guy who only sailed it a handful of times. See photos. It came in like-new condition but had a few odd things.

First, there was no vinyl trim strip on the underside of the cockpit lip making it hard on the top of your feet if you put your feet under the lip to hike out. This would not do, so I installed a new vinyl strip with 3M 5200 goop. Easy fix; much better.

Second, the forward end of the factory installed hiking strap is mounted high, just under the cockpit lip, not low in the cockpit like the earlier Vanguard, SLI and Pearson rigs. I am not wild about this rig, but to lower the forward attachment point involves installing an inspection port and rigging a new aluminum back-up plate to handle the load on the forward end of the strap. I have decided to hold off on this retrofit as: it is overly involved job, the existing rig may work fine and at 198 lbs., I don't have to hike out all that often. I plan to reassess after a few heavy air races.

Third, the hull came without the usual vent hole in forward end of the cockpit tub wall. This turns out to be rather important as a sister ship in another area fleet had the deck separate from the hull on the first hot hot day when the air on the inside of the hull expanded with no way to vent and equalize the interior pressure. Easy fix: I drilled a 3/16" hole through the forward wall of the cockpit wall just above the attachment point for the aforementioned hiking strap.

Besides these issues, the hull looks good, light, stiff and no soft spots. Now to see if is as fast as my former Vanguard.

Has anybody else seen these issues in this design? Any other issues I should be concerned about?

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

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I am just finishing fitting out a 2018 (China built) Sunfish for racing. I sold my 2010 Vanguard to another racer in our fleet and bought this boat last fall from a guy who only sailed it a handful of times. See photos. It came in like-new condition but had a few odd things.

First, there was no vinyl trim strip on the underside of the cockpit lip making it hard on the top of your feet if you put your feet under the lip to hike out. This would not do, so I installed a new vinyl strip with 3M 5200 goop. Easy fix; much better.

Second, the forward end of the factory installed hiking strap is mounted high, just under the cockpit lip, not low in the cockpit like the earlier Vanguard, SLI and Pearson rigs. I am not wild about this rig, but to lower the forward attachment point involves installing an inspection port and rigging a new aluminum back-up plate to handle the load on the forward end of the strap. I have decided to hold off on this retrofit as: it is overly involved job, the existing rig may work fine and at 198 lbs., I don't have to hike out all that often. I plan to reassess after a few heavy air races.

Third, the hull came without the usual vent hole in forward end of the cockpit tub wall. This turns out to be rather important as a sister ship in another area fleet had the deck separate from the hull on the first hot hot day when the air on the inside of the hull expanded with no way to vent and equalize the interior pressure. Easy fix: I drilled a 3/16" hole through the forward wall of the cockpit wall just above the attachment point for the aforementioned hiking strap.

Besides these issues, the hull looks good, light, stiff and no soft spots. Now to see if is as fast as my former Vanguard.

Has anybody else seen these issues in this design? Any other issues I should be concerned about?

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Hi Alan, I purchased my 2018 Sunfish new from West Coast Sailing. It was delivered in August of 2018. It's a beauty and I have posted photos many times here on the Forum. All three issues you described were the same as my Sunfish. I bought cockpit trim from Intensity or Sunfish Direct, drilled a breather hole, and just used the hiking strap as it was. The bow handle seems a little out of alignment on mine too, but none of these issues affect performance. It's my third Sunfish and sails great! Yours should be fine and I hope you will post about your findings.
 

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Hi Alan, the lack of a trim strip in the cockpit seems to be a cost-cutting measure on LP’s part. As of 2023 or so, they were supposed to be moving the hiking strap back to the lower point. And lack of a vent hole seems to be a sporadic problem. I heard about a recent boat that had a “vent hole, do not block” sticker, and it came from the factory with the vent hole taped over!!
 
BTW Alan, the Chinese boats supposedly still had foam block flotation. Can you tell from looking at the bottom of the hull? Sometimes you can see the shape of the block through the fiberglass. Thx. Chris
 
If I get a good condensation day, the blocks (if present) might show. If not, I will have to wait until I install an inspection port (which I will probably do at some point.) Stay tuned.

I know the forward hiking strap back-up plate is aluminum (not wood like some of the newest boats) as aluminum debris turned up when I drilled the vent hole just above the hiking strap attachment point. The question is whether or not the aluminum plate extends all the way to "floor" of the cockpit tub. Jon Williams sent me this Lee Montes video related to this issue:

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
I am just finishing fitting out a 2018 (China built) Sunfish for racing. I sold my 2010 Vanguard to another racer in our fleet and bought this boat last fall from a guy who only sailed it a handful of times. See photos. It came in like-new condition but had a few odd things.
Hi Alan! Nice find... and interesting placement for the forward end of that hiking strap.

Where did that block and cam cleat with arm come from? Do you know who the manufacturer is and the model number?

Cheers,

- Andy
 
Andy,

The swivel base is a Harken number 205. See this Sunfish Forum exchange about it: Smaller arm Harken swivel mainsheet cleat I recall I bought mine on-line from Defender, a little expensive than the official Harken website. Installing the base on the deck is a little tricky as there is just enough room under the deck to correctly position the screw holes. Measure carefully to get the base to sit on the flat surface of the deck between the cockpit lip and the aft end of the daggerboard trunk opening with enough room under the deck to take the screw ends, washers and lock nuts. There are 4 holes in the base and you need to position the base so the two plastic swivel "stops" are facing the bow. These "stops" prevent the base from swiveling 360 degrees.

The Harken ratchet block came stock on the boat and says "Harken 57 C" on the side of the block.

Hope this is helpful.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
If I get a good condensation day, the blocks (if present) might show. If not, I will have to wait until I install an inspection port (which I will probably do at some point.) Stay tuned.

I know the forward hiking strap back-up plate is aluminum (not wood like some of the newest boats) as aluminum debris turned up when I drilled the vent hole just above the hiking strap attachment point. The question is whether or not the aluminum plate extends all the way to "floor" of the cockpit tub. Jon Williams sent me this Lee Montes video related to this issue:

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
That condensation trick usually works to see if there are blocks.

Interesting, Lee Parkhill from Canada won the Men's Pan Ams in a 2017 Chinese built Sunfish, so hopefully you have a fast one too!
 
Hi Alan, I purchased my 2018 Sunfish new from West Coast Sailing. It was delivered in August of 2018. It's a beauty and I have posted photos many times here on the Forum. All three issues you described were the same as my Sunfish. I bought cockpit trim from Intensity or Sunfish Direct, drilled a breather hole, and just used the hiking strap as it was. The bow handle seems a little out of alignment on mine too, but none of these issues affect performance. It's my third Sunfish and sails great! Yours should be fine and I hope you will post about your findings.

Do the China-built boats have foam internals or flotation bags?
Mine has foam internals...you can see them through the drain plug on the starboard side and you can feel where the are if you press down on the decking.
 
Andy,

The swivel base is a Harken number 205. See this Sunfish Forum exchange about it: Smaller arm Harken swivel mainsheet cleat I recall I bought mine on-line from Defender, a little expensive than the official Harken website. Installing the base on the deck is a little tricky as there is just enough room under the deck to correctly position the screw holes. Measure carefully to get the base to sit on the flat surface of the deck between the cockpit lip and the aft end of the daggerboard trunk opening with enough room under the deck to take the screw ends, washers and lock nuts. There are 4 holes in the base and you need to position the base so the two plastic swivel "stops" are facing the bow. These "stops" prevent the base from swiveling 360 degrees.

The Harken ratchet block came stock on the boat and says "Harken 57 C" on the side of the block.

Hope this is helpful.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Perfect. Thanks Alan!

- Andy
 

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