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Restoring Sunfish - what year is this??

I’ve been racing Sunfish since before they were invented. I’ve got a fairly current model now with the rolled edges and hiking strap, but I’ve longed to go “old school” and have an old metal-edge boat with bronze fittings and a Depersia bailer. I’m on a fixed income so can’t afford to buy a ready-to-sail old boat, so I’m going to restore one. I want it to be period-correct and have all the parts match their era - and I really want all the parts to be from the same year so I’d have a totally authentic old Sunfish. I’ve gotten started on the restoration by getting this old tiller at a very good price. I’m hoping someone here can help me determine what year this tiller is from so I can start tracking down the rest of the parts I’ll need from that year - hull, sail, spars and so forth. All I know is it is 1971 or earlier. If anyone can help me determine the specific year, I’d really appreciate it. TUM79BB54D3-808D-407B-BA00-CABF278C1138.jpeg

Alan Glos

Active Member
This tiller is from a pre-1972 Sunfish but just by looking at the tiller, you can't determine the exact year of the hull. Also, somewhere alone the way, somebody sawed off a few inches of the inboard end of the tiller, A factory issued tiller of this vintage should be 42" length overall and tapered on the inboard end.

Alan Glos

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I think your best bet will be to see if a local college or university can carbon-date the tiller for free as part of a class project. Hopefully the entire tiller will not need to be sacrificed to find out how old it is.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Alan is right, the tiller is definitely shortened. Most had the little wooden "paint stirrer" extension at the end.

We packed all of our spares, once we get to them again we'll have some donor parts for you, we have several extra rudders. Where are you going to get the hull?