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The Sunfish Experience

Gray Young

New Member
Hi all,
I currently own a Capri 14.2. I admittedly have very little experience sailing it but I have had a few of the glorious days where everything works out with wind and sun and life is pure bliss. I love the boat and feel very comfortable when sailing it. Unfortunately, for a lot of little reasons that all add up, sailing on the Capri amounts to a bit of a production. I am also limited in the number of places that I can go without having to trailer long distances.
So for increased mobility and tactical flexibility, I bought a Snark Sunflower a few years ago. My reasoning was solid, I needed to be able to car top the boat and carry it myself, sometimes over rocks that would prohibit the use of a dolly. For all of it's shortcomings as a sailing craft, the Sunflower hit the bullseye on it's intended function. Get me out on the water instead of dreaming of what it would be like to sail. I can car top it on a Corolla and there is no place out of reach for me to put in by myself. That is maximum flexibility.
As it goes, I have been immersed in the threads of this forum at a time when the Sunflower is leaving me wondering what it would be like to be out on a lightweight boat that gets up on a plane. This also comes at a time when the family is quite honest that there is not a whole lot of interest in hopping on the Capri with me. At least not for a as long as I like to be out.
All of this adds up to me having the itch to know what it is like to sail on a Sunfish for the first time.
Is it far more of a handful than the Sunflower? Is having the experience of sailing the Capri 14.2 helpful or is it an entirely different experience?

Thanks in advance for any insight!
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
If you can sail the Capri you can sail a Sunfish. Obviously a Sunfish will sail circles around a Sunflower, and you can go out when it is windier than a Sunflower can handle.

Look for a used, non over weight Sunfish in decent shape. Sunfish are popular in Mass so you should be able to get a good one.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
I had been thinking about a daysailer like a Capri 14.2 also. The idea was to take my family out and get them interested. After having my boat for over a year and a half, I realized they don't seem too enthusiastic although my wife does sincerely like the videos of my friends and I out on the water. Get a good Sunfish and your skills will improve and you'll have a lot of fun!
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
One thing about those craft with less freeboard, they SEEM faster because you're closer to the water, LOL... no lie, it's the same effect one experiences when driving or riding in a low-slung convertible as opposed to a lifted disco truck, both vehicles can be doing the exact same speed but the convertible will feel FASTER, LOL. Another example: when my friend rode with me OTR in a big ol' 90-m.p.h. rocketship tractor, he was amazed by how SLOW the truck felt even though we were doing 90 straight-up, it was the elevation from the roadbed that created this illusion. If I remember correctly, his exact words were: "IT FEELS LIKE WE'RE IN SLOW MOTION, BUT WE'RE GOING 90 F#%ING MILES PER HOUR!!!" This after he checked the speedometer, not believing that we were maxed out, LOL. :confused:
 

Gray Young

New Member
Wavedancer - tacking in the sunflower is a whole bunch of flopping around for me. The lack of seating is a big drawback on the boat for me. I have the optional center seat but the seat sits fairly high and that means raising a knee to the chin to get the leg over when changing sides. It's just an awkward arrangement. Without the seat, you are free to flop around in the bottom. Once I get comfortable, it is fine but sailing in a good breeze means a lot of shuffling around to get the weight positioned right. I like the simplicity of the sunflower and the lateen rig means a shorter mast of course. I have sailed the capri on the main only just to see what it would be like without the jib sheets in the cockpit. It is nice but she won't point very nicely due to the aft center of effort without the jib. (I learned that on this forum and was pretty stoked when I got to the point where I could see the difference!).
Coastal - yes, that sense of greater speed that comes from being down on the water is a big part of the draw for me. I see pictures of folks hiked out and head low to the water and I just can't imagine how fun that must be!
I know the capri is fast and I love the boat but it is a little more than I need at this point and I would like to keep things more manageable and just concentrate on learning to be a better sailor.
Thank you all for the comments!
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Wait! Before I get started on a big ol' pot of spaghetti sauce, Tiger wants to show you his hiking technique for small craft, LOL... ;)

IMG_9621.JPG IMG_9622.JPG IMG_9624.JPG

That's how it's done, take it from Tiger... black cat Crackhead is a better sailor & he has seen it all before, LOL. :rolleyes:

IMG_9611.JPG IMG_9612.JPG IMG_9613.JPG

My Canon cam is worthless on gray days like this, but I tried to catch sunlight on the crags, domes & spires of the Stronghold (West Side) between rain squalls, had a moment where the Dragoons were dark and the rocks illuminated, but the camera couldn't quite capture the beauty of it all... :confused:

Funny how the range can seem so close on certain days, and so far away on other days like today... meh, I'm not gonna waste any money on a new camera right now, this one will have to do for the present. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS... WTF, it was cheap at the time of purchase, LOL. :D

TIME FOR THAT HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH ALL KINDS OF HERBS & FRESH VEGGIES, INCLUDING ONION, CELERY & THOSE 'SWEET MINIS'---MULTICOLORED SWEET PEPPERS THAT ADD TERRIFIC FLAVOR, AYE??? CHEERS!!! :)
 

Fremont

Active Member
Keep the Capri! I mean, go ahead and get a Sunfish too, but you're going to want the bigger boat sometimes.
I've had Hobie 17s, Thistle 17, Rascal 16, have sailed bigger boats to 34', currently have a Hobie Getaway (16'). I was given a Sunfish. It's a fun boat, super easy to rig and sail, fun to capsize (pops back up like a cork). It's a blast on high wind days, with the boat way up on it's side (days where I'd be flying a hull on the Hobie). I don't know that it's making me a better sailor (except for never ever letting go of the tiller), because I feel like there's no consequences to recklessness. But, still, fun!
 

Gray Young

New Member
Thanks Fremont. Your right in that you never know how things change and maybe the Capri would be very nice to have as an option in the future. It sure is a fun boat to sail and I have grown fond of it!
 

tag

my2fish
I've been thinking the same thing as norcalsail - find a smallish daysailer that can be solo sailed if I want to go alone, but can also carry a couple extra guests (have like the looks of the RS Quest and Topaz Argo) and especially, maybe increase my sailing season time window a little earlier in the spring, where I'd (hopefully) not get as wet sailing on cooler days.

I agree with the others.... keep the Capri (if you can store it and afford it), and get a Sunfish, or maybe a Minifish if you can find one, to solo sail and work on your sailing skills.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Nothin' wrong with a Minifish, I learned to love mine while I had her, solely because she was easy to load and unload atop The Mighty Camry... when launching from Glorietta Bay Park near the Naval Amphibious Base, I usually sandbagged passing Seal Team guys to help me flip the boat down onto the dolly, or from the dolly back atop the car, but I also worked out a system to load & unload whenever nobody else was around. This was a bit trickier, it involved sliding the boat & blankets atop the car, alternately lifting & repositioning bow & stern onto padding (folded oversized beach towels) on the grass or ground below... once the boat was safely on the grass, I could get her onto the padded dolly without too much trouble, sliding her until the balance was right. Needless to say, this system involved some experimentation early on, and The Mighty Camry still has scratches in the paint to prove it, LOL. :confused:

Meh, this is why ya never use your Ferrari or Lamborghini to haul a Minifish... ;)
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
like the looks of the Quest
Hi Tag, I have been looking at the RS Quest a lot. Can't get one anytime soon but it seems to have a lot of versatile options. They claim it can be singlehanded and I wonder if that would be difficult. It does have jibe and spinnaker options and seems to be pretty fast for such a boat. There's a good You Tube video of it called Hong Kong Royal Yacht Club/ Quest, something like that. The guys sailing it seem to be moving along really well.
 

tag

my2fish
Hi Tag, I have been looking at the RS Quest a lot. Can't get one anytime soon but it seems to have a lot of versatile options. They claim it can be singlehanded and I wonder if that would be difficult. It does have jibe and spinnaker options and seems to be pretty fast for such a boat. There's a good You Tube video of it called Hong Kong Royal Yacht Club/ Quest, something like that. The guys sailing it seem to be moving along really well.
Norcalsail - yeah, the RS Quest looked great to me as well. I think I'd give it a try solo, but then can easily take a couple of my boys, or more adults than I normally like to squeeze onto my Sunfish!
 

Gray Young

New Member
Would a Minifish sail OK with a 200 lb man aboard?
I have seen some for sale and would love to have something small enough to car top by myself. I just don't know if it would float me well enough to not be bogged down.
I had a fantastic sail on the Capri yesterday and will definitely keep it. I would like to slowly improve it as time goes by. I have brand new shrouds and she is in really good shape so there is no rush to dump it.
I just need to have something that offers a bit more simplicity for me when I want it, but with more performance than the Sunflower.
My issue is that I am incredibly uncoordinated as an individual and sailing solo in the Capri on a gusty lake can be a handful if you are prone to tangling things around your feet, grabbing the wrong line and generally fumbling around with things that others find quite simple.
Of course, I could lower my wind max threshold and sail in gentler conditions but hiking out is incredibly addictive!
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
Norcalsail - yeah, the RS Quest looked great to me as well. I think I'd give it a try solo, but then can easily take a couple of my boys, or more adults than I normally like to squeeze onto my Sunfish!
I like that you have a crew! Wish I could get my now adult daughters interested in forming a family regatta. Glad I have my awesome sailing friends out here though.
 

tag

my2fish
I take 2 children out often enough. Three plus me would be REALLY tight... unless I raised the sail up quite a bit and had one sit up on the deck near the daggerboard.
 

Gray Young

New Member
This hopefully links to a page with official Minifish mfr specs. It says crew capacity is 300 lbs. Picture 435 For Minifish ( Mini Fish ) By AMF / Alcort - ShortyPen Sailboat Guide

So you’ll be safe aboard it but perhaps not go all that fast til it really starts blowing.
This hopefully links to a page with official Minifish mfr specs. It says crew capacity is 300 lbs. Picture 435 For Minifish ( Mini Fish ) By AMF / Alcort - ShortyPen Sailboat Guide

So you’ll be safe aboard it but perhaps not go all that fast til it really starts blowing.
That's the clarification that I was hoping for. So while I would love to have a Sailfish just for the right conditions, I will keep my sights on a future Sunfish. Thanks Beldar.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Hey, OP, I used to sail with another hand aboard my Minifish, and we were both 190+ lbs. or so... had to take wakes and whatnot at a certain angle due to slightly reduced freeboard, and a breeze of 15 knots or higher was good for making speed, plenty of live ballast to offset those higher winds. Maneuvering was a little tricky at first, with two fairly large guys learning not to knock heads while ducking under the boom, LOL. :confused:

Don't write off the Minifish as an option, I had a lot of fun aboard that boat, and she carried me the length of the Salton Sea, right down the centerline of that bad boy lake... something my beloved Laser of decades never did, as I sold her before I made those Salton Expeditions (I and II). On the other hand, the Laser made those island voyages to Los Coronados, wildlife sanctuaries off the northern end of Baja... so each boat was dear to me for separate reasons. :rolleyes:
 

Clyde

Member
As I got along in years I thought I'd rather be IN a boat than On one so got a nice O'Day Daysailer - about 14 feet I think. You know what? With the main, jib, centerboard, etc. it was just too much work! Ended up donating it to Wounded Warriors. Back on the Sunfish. Have two that I alternate year to year. Needless to say I'm careful with the weather but what fun with less hassle!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
As I got along in years I thought I'd rather be IN a boat than On one so got a nice O'Day Daysailer - about 14 feet I think. You know what? With the main, jib, centerboard, etc. it was just too much work! Ended up donating it to Wounded Warriors. Back on the Sunfish. Have two that I alternate year to year. Needless to say I'm careful with the weather but what fun with less hassle!
I was given a O'Day Mariner, from which I am selling parts.

Amazing :eek: how much more money sailors are paying for 19-footer parts over a 14-footer.
 

Fremont

Active Member
500 pounds on a Sunfish? Wow. My Hobie Getaway, which is touted as a "social" boat, only has a capacity of 900 pounds. My Hobie 17 was rated, I think, at 350.
Personally, I consider the Sunfish a solo boat. But I've only had it a little while, and only sailed it a few times. Maybe I'll try it out with a grandkid or 2. Just not much room on deck. But I'm used to my Getaway with about 100 square feet of trampoline (has a forward and aft tramp).
As far as single handling, I solo my Getaway, with main, jib and spinnaker. And I know people who solo Hobie 21s. I used to solo my Thistle 17 all the time too, with a spinnaker.
Really, I think it's mostly wind speed that's the limit on these small boats, since WE are the ballast! There are times I won't solo the Getaway, because of wind speed, or if I do, I reef the mainsail and don't fly the chute.
 
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