Rudder Poll

Do you agree that the rudder design of the Sunfish should remain as it is now?

  • YES

    Votes: 31 67.4%
  • NO

    Votes: 15 32.6%

  • Total voters
Everybody is saying it, the new rudder, will change the boats performance, and that is the problem. When one buys a "one design" boat, you do not expect to have to spend money, above that for normal maintence and wear and tear, to keep the boat competitive.

As far as being in irons, it is not that hard to get out of irons with a Sunfish. If being in irons is enough to make someone quit sailing, then I think that person is not willing to learn how to sail. ( I admit, today it seems like a lot of people want instant success, constant action with little work.) Perhaps they should get a PWC.
I think that in the interest of preserving the one-design nature of the boat, the idea for a new rudder design should be dropped completely.

I run the Jr. Sailing Program at the Rochester Canoe Club. Every year we get a number of kids interested in purchasing a used Sunfish and racing the boat. It is very difficult to find a used boat with a racing sail and dagger board. One of the best things about the Sunfish is the availability of decent used boats. The biggest drawback is the fact that they usually are not ready for racing.

Sure, the new boats come with all the new items, but in my 14 years of teaching sailing, I have yet to run into a parent that is willing to fork over the cash for a new boat just because their son/daughter has discovered sailing.

It is hard enough for the parents to buy the boat only to discover that two other "upgrades" are needed. A third item would very likely keep people from making the purchase, subsequently keeping a potential sailor off the water.

A minor upgrade like a hiking strap (kit from Layline-$49.95) or new boom blocks (my current ones are terrible, I would love to be able to put new Harken blocks on) are fine.

A new racing sail ($386.97 on Layline) and a new daggerboard ($197.71 from Layline) are pretty MAJOR upgrades for a decent boat that could be purchased used for about $750.00.

I remember practically begging my parents for a Barrington Board when I was in high school 20 years ago because my first boat (1974 Alcort Sunfish, that I purchased used) came with a "new style" daggerboard. Lucky for me I did not need to buy a racing sail or I could be riding around on one of those jet ski things on Sunday instead of sailing.

I do not think that an additional rudder (currently $137.00, I have a feeling that the new one will be more) would be considered a "minor" upgrade.

It is bad enough already that some events have different divisions for "classic" and "racing". I may be mistaken, but I do not believe that there are many other sailboat classes that run regattas that way.

Mike Fortner
Rochester Canoe Club
Certainly there is a finacial component to any change in equipment, but to me it has more to do with competitive equity. If we are to remain a one-design class, then the design must be "one", be that the current rudder or new. Because so many folks will not have access to (for financial reasons, usually) the proposed newer style, this leaves too many sailors on the slower "outside" looking in. Would l like my Sunfish to sail faster, or higher? Sure, but so long as I am saddled with the same handicaps (if you believe they are such) as my fellow fish sailors, then I am more than satisfied, and my club's 273 members (the majority of whom sail Sunfish exclusively) appear to agree. For those looking for something different, there are lots of options, and some will excercise that option by moving to a different class. They'll be missed, but I am confident I'll gain more new sailors, and keep more, by having a boat that they can sail head-to-head with the perception that the boats are (more or less) equal. I'm not opposed to progress, I guess I'm just happy with the boat as it is, and would hate to see the fleet become fragmented by offering different versions. As I indicated in a previous post, I am the only one in my fleet that owns a race sail. I only purchased it this year when my son decided to sail in the North Americans in Lewes, and we knew the rest of the fleet would have this equipment advantage. I would hate to see casual sailors being forced to make more of these kind of purchases just to keep up with the serious sailors. Beat me on the water by being a better sailor (and most of you would), but I'd like to get back to the beach knowing I had a fair chance.
It is all about being competitive, knowing it is the ability of the skipper to sail, not to out spend the competition that makes "one design" sailing so exciting. Everybody enters the field on an equal basis, equipment wise. I think there is a large, but silent majority that feels this way. If a new rudder is allowed, and it changes the performance of the boat, it will only serve to splinter the class more.
I think before you start speaking against any possiable changes you should keep an open mind and listen to what is being proposed. Have you seen the proposed new rudders? Have you used them? Have you talked to a sailor that has?
I may not have been sailing a sunfish for 30 years and it will not get me in the upper half of the fleet. But before speaking out against any new proposals I became a member of the sunfish class. I know it will set some of you back a good $35 but well worth it. Membership includes a News Letter
(Windward Leg) to keep you informed on all that is going on in the fleet.

Thread starter #26
I think before you start speaking against any possiable changes you should keep an open mind and listen to what is being proposed.
How can we listen to what is being proposed when, according to the official minutes of the meetings at which this was discussed, nothing was proposed or even discusssed? :confused:

I think we should declare this thread dead because the powers that be have published minutes that show that there never was a discussion about new rudders at the Advisory Council in Martinique, there was no vote by the Advisory Council by a narrow margin to take this issue to the World Council, there was no further discussion of the issue at the World Council and that the non-proposal to consider non-existing new rudders was not overwhelmingly defeated at the World Council. So nothing happened and there is nothing to worry about.:eek:
Oh, and while we're at it, lets not confuse the new rudder with the new rudder. That is the new traditional style rudder now available in plastic versus the prototype which was not discussed...or were both not discussed. I can't remember what you all discussed about what was discussed. Disgusting. In any event, I think I shall get one of each rudder and perhaps some others as well and have a whole pallete of rudders at my disposal. Kind of like iceboat runners.

One more merit of the traditional can shed weed pretty easy as you can yank it up and push it down very quick while racing (or cruising). I would want to try that with any new blade too. I'm assuming it would kick up in similar fashion, and NOT like a laser.

I am still waiting patiently to see one of these rudders in person and to try one out. I have no beef against looking into it but I also think there should be no rush to get it finalized. We need lots more informed opinions and less speculation at what it will do for the boat.
After some deep thought ( working down cellar), it dawned on me, after reading Tim's reply, that I have not been concerned with what the new rudder, the one that was never discussed, nor voted on, would due for the boat. I have been concerned about what it will due to the class, and I don't think there is a direct connection between the two. (If you improve the boat, do you improve the class?)
I feel that class strength depends on boat visibility (maybe we should make them all neon yellow), meaning the number of boats being activily sailed. Will a new rudder design drive new sailors to the local Sunfish dealer to pick up the "new and improved Sunfish" or will it take boats off the starting line that are already being sailed?

Actually, I think the OG is right.
dig-dig, shovel-shovel. Its dead and buried
Even though i race and enjoy a highly modified boat in small, local races with my friends.... I think the official "Class Design" should remain as it is. The class is quite strong, and the current rudder design works quite well. Changing the design would force competitors with older boats to buy new equipment to stay competitive..... which rather defeats the purpose of one-design racing.