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Overnighter In Sunfish


New Member
First off, yes, I'm serious. I want to try this.

I think it can be done with an anchor, a small one or two person tent, and some creativity. My idea is to find a good place to anchor, take the sail down and furl it, and then set up the tent where the cockpit is. The three things I would need to do are (1) cover the cockpit so that it's not a pothole to fall into while asleep , (2) find a way to get the sail, mast, and boom out of the way (maybe put them to the side or something?), and (3) secure the tent so that if someone roles in their sleep they don't knock the tent into the water.

With this said, I think that it's doable. It would also probably be smart to take the coaming off if possible to allow for more room. As for mast and boom... maybe this could be floated (after being securely tied up) next to the boat. I don't see why it would hurt anything if the sail and mast got wet.

Any comments? Ideas?
Tie the spars together then hoist them with the halyard so they are 3 feet or so above the deck. Secure the end of the spars the the stern with a bungee. Use the now suspended spars as the peak of your tent. Make an appointment with your chiropractor.


Do you plan on bringing that special someone with you?;)
Some kind of a beacon wouldn't be a bad idea either...If your out to sea...


New Member
You don't say where you'll be anchoring, but being anywhere vegetation can bring no-see-ums, not to mention the much-kinder mosquitoes!

You'll need a masthead light of some sort, possibly with LEDs. The anticipated waterway bottom will determine the proper anchor to use.

You could use plastic "piano hinges" to construct a good-sized surface built from plywood (or the thinner door skin). With slightly wider sections to make up the "covers", it could fold up inside the cockpit or lie secured across the bow. (Of a design to mimic the folding automobile windshield visors you see in sunny locales.)

You'd have to give up on lengthwise support, but two cot-sections could be secured together using nylon bolts, available at hardware stores.

"Foam-in-a-can" could be used to level the plywood off the deck when sprayed on just the facing surfaces that make the "cover". (Those pieces with just one hinge). The foam could be trimmed to alternate with the opposite surfaces of the plywood end-pieces for compactness.

There's nothing worse than a wet sleeping bag and—even on a pond—I'm not really liking this idea, BTW! :eek:

You're not likely to get a "publisher's advance", but this overnighter could be the start of a very funny cruising book! :eek:

Titles, anyone? :D


New Member
Dan, you can do this. In my day I bike camped and cheap camped using a homemade hammock and a tarp. One cord over my head for the tarp and a sleeping bag in the hammock. Getting myself zipped into the bag and the cool air under the compressed sleeping bag were my biggest complaints. Being an inch above the ground kept me drier than many of my tent carrying buds. I made the hammock out of rip-stop nylon, which would give you a light weight and easy to store tent. You would want to be just above the deck and I bet you could use the mast and build something which could mount over the rudder for your second "tree." The rock of the hammock would counter the rock of the boat. You are planning only good weather right!? Good luck and I like the blog suggestion.


Um – not me, I wouldn’t even consider raising the CG above the deck and then going to sleep. :eek: I hate rude and wet awakenings. :rolleyes: I’ll be on the beach snug in a modern tent, comfortable in my modern sleeping bag, on my deluxe thermarest mattress - - - or, better yet, just up the road in a nice motel. ;) But, you go right ahead and let us know how it works out.


New Member
i do not kno why on earth you would want to do that honestly i mean even on a small pond that is rediculus iwouldent personally do it and i would advise you not to do it


New Member
Amazing, I just spent a nice train ride day dreaming about ideas very similar to those discussed here. A hammock sounds like my preferred method. I was thinking about running the anchor through the daggerboard hole to help with the higher center of gravity. Perhaps some sort of bag pumped full of water for ballast.

Did anyone here actually try this and have some experiences to share?

Alan S. Glos

Active Member
Easier idea. Beach the Sunfish, remove the sail and lean the intersection of the two booms against a tree - instant waterproof tent. Sunfish sailors have done this for years in the Connecticut River Sunfish race - they overnight about half way down at some park.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY


New Member
Wish I could, Alan, but camping on the beach is illegal on my bay. It's either private property or a park that closes at sunset. To be fair, overnighting on a Sunfish is probably worse than most alternatives but for the sake of academic argument, I'm wondering what it would take. Stability seems to be the biggest challenge. I'm thinking of "pontoons" just below the waterline, filled with water.


Well-Known Member
After ten years, has the OP tried this? (Or anyone else?) :oops:

I stumbled on a possibility: It's a self-inflating mattress. (A plastic foam that naturally inflates when unrolled). :cool:

After unrolling for use, it can be manually inflated to make the five-inch-deep mattress even firmer. Not at all bad, according to reviews.

With a couple of cross-wise battens, it should be able to overcome the empty chasm of the cockpit. (And the standard daggerboard can be left down for stability: but eBay may have a lengthened board, which would be a "camper's delight").
Mattress at Amazon:


Easier idea. Beach the Sunfish, remove the sail and lean the intersection of the two booms against a tree - instant waterproof tent. Sunfish sailors have done this for years in the Connecticut River Sunfish race - they overnight about half way down at some park.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY


New Member
Overnighting in a small boat is a blast, and I have done so many times in my canoes. Having said that, I don't think that I would try it in (on?) a Sunfish. It could be done, I suppose, but why? There are a lot of other boats that would be both safer and more practical to sleep on. My canoes, for example, are almost comfortable overnight. I have a lanteen sail kit on one of my Grummans. I just lash the yards, raise them up a bit on the mast, and then toss a tarp over it. I sleep on an air mattress so I don't get wet from any water that has collected. And with my paddle, I can anchor out anywhere I want to, staying in shallow coves where no one else can. I got both the canoe and the sail rig from a guy for less than $200. Good idea, wrong boat, IMHO.