Only for the young

Thread starter #1
Realizing the Sunfish is a "wet sailer" and a "sit on the deck" boat are there many older folks sailing these boats. They look like a great amount of fun but am a little concerning about the physical demand. Any opinions on this ? I thought about a sit in boat but when I say the Sunfish I was really impressed with it.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#3
I'm older than baseman, and not as athletic. :( I dread capsizing or "turtling", especially in New Hampshire's cold, turbulent waters and heavy winds. Righting the boat under those conditions require that I wear a PFD. I have modified my PFD to include a crotch-strap, to increase my reach and to keep the PFD from riding up. I occasionally race with friends and do well, but my solo-sailing mostly consists of sitting in the cockpit, with feet resting on the splashguard. Sailing this way, and adjusting for every little puff is enjoyable for me, plus, it reduces windage when "sailing to weather".

"You look relaxed" is a frequent greeting by other boaters and sunbathers. :)

DSCN1341.jpg

:oops: Whitecaps signal me that I'd better get my PFD on, anticipate worsening conditions, and to head to safety should the skies get dark or "ultra-hazy". "Safety" meaning beaching my Sunfish or getting into the lee of an island or dock. (An ultra-hazy atmosphere can severe weather "cells" and conditions I'd rather watch from shore). Just like in flying, mountain climbing, or skiing, severe weather can cause you grief. :eek:

All that said, when the wind picks up, there's no bigger thrill than to plane in a sailboat they call a "dinghy" sailboat. :D
 

baseman

On the Water
#4
Bow lake races 08 03 2014 1131.jpg
I wouldn't consider myself athletic, but I am a bit small (5' 3" and 130 lbs). I'm also a brain aneurysm survivor. I didn't get out much last year, but I'm in a lot better condition this year.
LVW - looks like a new sail since the last time I saw you.
Almost forgot to mention that I haven't been knocked down in a Sunfish type boat since I was 14.
 
#5
If the boat is under 40 ft... the PFD is on.

If its over 40 ft... then I'll consider conditions and what I'm doing as to if the PFD is on or just handy.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#6
Realizing the Sunfish is a "wet sailer" and a "sit on the deck" boat are there many older folks sailing these boats. They look like a great amount of fun but am a little concerning about the physical demand. Any opinions on this ? I thought about a sit in boat but when I say the Sunfish I was really impressed with it.
Go for it! There are some that race a Sunfish well into their eighties (and still beat me :eek:).
But you will be a novice and need to take sensible precautions with respect to the weather/wind and environment.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#8
LVW - looks like a new sail since the last time I saw you.
Almost forgot to mention that I haven't been knocked down in a Sunfish type boat since I was 14.
I got a lot wetter with my former Porpoise II—capsizing an average of three times a season. The Porpoise II is (was) a lot narrower, plus my misadjusted gooseneck had the clew too close to the water. Once the clew touched the water, over I went. :confused: Yes, that's a new sail. I used it in trying to make an audible tell-tale, with limited success. It's easier to be attentive to the sail's luff. A new sail also takes a bit longer to secure at the end of a day.
 
#9
If you are a decent sailor, you can sail a Sunfish into your 80s. I am 71 and still love sailing/racing my Sunfish in a fresh breeze. Wear a good PFD and at least once a season,
intentionally capsize the boat and recover; if you find that you can't get back into the boat when righted, consider trading in your 'fish for a keel boat.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
#10
69 just started sailing this year. As Mr. Glos mentioned if you have problems getting back in the boat is a consideration. But with a Life Jacket and a boat that seems not to sink. I feel having fun as long as I can is where its at!
 
#14
Nah... when you get too old for the Sunfish... you get an appx 16 to 18 ft similar to a "Gulf Coast"

GULFCOAST SAILBOAT - BEST OFFER

Don't have to be quite as agile to handle it and less likely to turn over.
Still quick to step the mast and easy to tow from home to the ramp.
Put the cooler in with your favorite sodas (yeah, sodas... sure...) and critique the youngsters on their Sunfish. ;) :p
 

Xmas

senior new member
#16
I am 81 Yrs old and renewed my sunfish aqantance last year on a rather gusty lake with lots of wind direction shifts. I was in the water a few times till I adjusted the rigging etc to better suit my stiffer body and slower reaction. The biggest problem was getting back into the boat from the water. I somewhat solved this py dtopping a line from thetp of the center board and placing my foot in a loop at about knee level. Not perfect but works.
Where there's a will theres a way.
 

JohnCT

Active Member
#18
I am a 2x cancer survivor and my spinal disease has reached severe/critical.

I have had 3 major surgeries in the last 4 years. Spinal fusion, kidney and tumors removed.
I still need 3 more surgeries to put my spine back together.

Your only limited by your mind.

I'm doing a full race series with a sunfish and snipe this year, because I'm too stupid to know I can't.
 
#19
Lmbo,, We just got a "new" sunfish, I am so excited, last one I had I was 12, just completed my power squadron course, I will only be 59 in December.
Go for it, have fun be safe. Have dry clothes on shore when you land, and maybe a flask for safety sake.
 
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