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Sunfish moving diagonally on a calm day

bluejester0b

New Member
Howdy y'all. First time out this summer on Irondiquoit Bay in Rochester I found myself in a near total calm, sail barely flapping, but I was moving diagonally, almost damn near sideways to port. Can someone help explain what I was doing wrong? My daggerboard was fully down, tiller amidships, or even trying to correct by steering to starboard. Eventually as I got dangerously close to some reeds I started paddling to correct and get back to the beach.


Only thing I could think of is that the bay's "current" for lack of a better term was pushing me that way.

Needless to say I'm incredibly embarrassed to even ask this but I'm stumped.
 

Sailflow

Active Member
Light air is tough. Do yo have telltales or wind indicators? The sail works with flow like a plane so to need movement over the sail for control. Ex in light air, sailing on port you sometimes have to sit on the port side to heel the boat to give the sail shape to get flow.

Irondiquoit Bay has the Rochester Canoe Club with some of the best sunfish sailors who are very helpful.
 

bluejester0b

New Member
I don't have telltales or indicators yet, just getting the boat back on the water after about 15 years of hiatus. I'm looking into the RCC, though the almost $800 joining fee is a big pill to swallow, compounded by the fact I turned 30 about 3 weeks ago!
 

US 1214

Member
Hey, Irondequoit Bay is a walk from my house! Small world. The bay doesn’t really have any substantial current like a wide river or coast might.

Definitely check out the RCC. Great people. If I remember correctly, they do thistles as well?
 
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Sailflow

Active Member
I would get some type of indicator. It can be a piece of cassette tape hanging on the lower boom. You can use the search on the forum to see some ones users have made. When you can see the wind it is easier to adjust the sail correctly and to sail 45 degrees off the wind going upwind. You can tape cassette tape to your sail to see the flow and Google for how the telltales should look.
The bay is a great place to sail.
 

bluejester0b

New Member
I would get some type of indicator. It can be a piece of cassette tape hanging on the lower boom. You can use the search on the forum to see some ones users have made. When you can see the wind it is easier to adjust the sail correctly and to sail 45 degrees off the wind going upwind. You can tape cassette tape to your sail to see the flow and Google for how the telltales should look.
The bay is a great place to sail.
Do you mean hanging at the far end of the boom, or midlength.

I like the north end of the bay, it's so hard to launch from west bay park with the gravel and the tiny parking area.
 

chris williams

Active Member
Have a look at this post Making a Sunfish Wind Indicator You can google Sunfish Wind Indicator and see both homemade and purchased indicators.

The RCC folks are friendly. Maybe you should try to sail one day when they are racing. You can watch what they are doing and probably learn something from that, and maybe sail up and have them take a look at your rigging while they are between races, or maybe before they start.
 

Sailflow

Active Member
bluejester0b to get you can put a indicator a few sailclips from where you sit on the lower boom. I would guess you are sailing with a wood centerboard. If you get so you like sailing you can switch to a foilboard which does not sideslip very much. How old is your boat?
 

bluejester0b

New Member
bluejester0b to get you can put a indicator a few sailclips from where you sit on the lower boom. I would guess you are sailing with a wood centerboard. If you get so you like sailing you can switch to a foilboard which does not sideslip very much. How old is your boat?
I can't remember the exact date, but safe to say mid to late 70s. Still has the old style hull, AMF Alcort is the labeled manufacturer. Thing was at my grandparents down on Long Island. You're right I'm still using the OEM wood tiller and daggerboard.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
If you go slow enough the daggerboard is stalling out. It may be fully down but
is not able to provide any lift to counter the sail. If it's NOT a proper foil shape
it will stall out at a higher speed/lower angle of attack. The racing board should help a lot but there
is still a minimum speed limit somewhere. Learning to sail in light winds gives
you more time to figure things out but you also end up in irons a lot more.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The boat will sail fine with the old wood board, although the modern racing board is much better. Light air is hard to sail in. I think you didn’t have the sail trimmed properly for the angle you were sailing. If the sail is flapping something is not right, unless you are in no wind getting rocked by powerboat chop.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The shadow came with the boat. Unfortunately it is the smallest board ever offered witha Sunfish and they went back to a larger board that worked better (Barrington Board.). If you could pick up a used Barrington or Round you’d be better off. A racing board from the early 90s up to today is best, but it’s more expensive and much more fragile.
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
Per Beldar's comment, I have a very nice Barrington daggerboard ("Y" in the photos) for sale: Sunfish/Sailfish Rudders and Daggerboards For Sale

The tapered "Shadow" daggerboard is just too small. AMF Alcort tried to use the same board on the Sunfish and the smaller Minifish. It works OK on the smaller Minifish but does not work well on the larger Sunfish. The Barrington is a better design and you would notice a difference compared to the Shadow board.

Alan Glos
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Also check for a "cup" in your daggerboard.

(Still another reason to use the new 'glass board).
 

bluejester0b

New Member
Well thanks for all the advice, I might still pick up a new daggerboard but I think I figured out at least part of my issues after this past weekend's sail on the bay.

I put the damn daggerboard in backwards on that calm day, that is, the longer straight edge towards the bow. I still might pick up a new daggerboard this year but for right now I've got more pressing expenses.
 
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