Sunfish turtling

Thread starter #1
hi im wyatt
i have experience in sailing and especially 420's, im a 14 y/o kid and i have recently bought a sunfish. after watching various youtube videos of them being capsized and they seemed to turtle relatively easy. with my experience with 420's i have never turtle because i dry capsize basically every time. so does the sunfish turtle frequently?

also can you dry capsize a sunfish?
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#3
Make sure your spars don't leak to minimize turtling. Big waves will sometimes make your boat turtle if you are not quick enough to counteract.
And yes, you can dry capsize a Sunfish, unless you are 'practicing' death rolls.
 
Thread starter #4
thanks, my only worry with turtling is having the mast go into the sand and mud and not being able to right it, that was a worry about 420s but is the sunfish mast long enough to even have that problem
 
#5
...but is the sunfish mast long enough to even have that problem
from personal experience... yes. if the lake is shallow enough, or there is a mess of weeds, it can be a real pain to right the Sunfish back over if turtled. I basically put most of my weight on the daggerboard, and it slowly worked free of the muck, and finally tipped back upright.

as wavedancer said, you can try to make the spars and mast water-tight to help add some buoyancy. some people have mentioned tying an empty milk jug to the top of the mast, or attaching hunks of pool noodles high up on the upper boom. you can buy a set for $20 here, but that seems pricey for a few pieces of velcro and a pool noodle.

cheers,
thad
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#6
thanks, my only worry with turtling is having the mast go into the sand and mud and not being able to right it, that was a worry about 420s but is the sunfish mast long enough to even have that problem
As thad pointed out, it's the upper spar (gaff) that will get stuck in the mud.
 

Kevin Mc

Active Member
#7
It goes without saying (but I'll do it anyways) that if you capsize it pays to not hesitate in working at righting the boat... Another precaution to take is to limit the lower spar's ability to slide up the mast. A vang arrangement is best, but you can simply run a loose tether from the gooseneck to the section of halyard between the fairlead and the deck cleat. Without this, once the boat's inverted it's possible for the lower spar to slide up the mast to join the upper spar. This happened to me once and it was impossible (with two adults even) to right the boat until the spar was pulled back into position.
 
#8
If you c'size to leeward and get onto the board before the mast goes very far underwater, and if your mainsheet is free, righting is pretty quick. If you have to swim around, it'll probably be turtled. Mainsheet has to be free and lower spar has to be in place low on the mast (secure it when you rig). . . and YES, get your mast watertight.
Given those, a 125 lb. person can right it . . . in reasonable wind and waves.
 

Xmas

senior new member
#9
If you c'size to leeward and get onto the board before the mast goes very far underwater, and if your mainsheet is free, righting is pretty quick. If you have to swim around, it'll probably be turtled. Mainsheet has to be free and lower spar has to be in place low on the mast (secure it when you rig). . . and YES, get your mast watertight.
Given those, a 125 lb. person can right it . . . in reasonable wind and waves.
I took a pool noodle and sliced it once lengthwise and then halfed it I then snapped one on end of gaff and one on end of boom. Since then I have had two tries in anger and they worked just great. I did not even tie them on
 
#10
All of these responses are good, and I would just add that you should practice righting under various conditions.
I did this just a week ago, and found the second righting was much harder than the first (due to the mast/spars filling with water).

I have since sealed the mast/spars (hopefully) with 3M 4200.

The other advantage to doing righting drills, is you learn how far you can go before the boat capsizes. The boat is relatively stable, as long as you react to gusts.
 
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