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Total Sunfish beginner.


New Member
My father has always been quite the sailor. He's had a few Hobie 16's, a Butterfly, and a couple years ago stumbled on this bargain of a Sunfish. I'm 21 and never really had an interest. This week we finally got the Sunfish on the car and I took it for a spin this evening. I had a blast! The wind was calm, but perfect for my first time. Definitely looking forward to going again tomorrow during the day!

Of course, with what we paid for it, it needs some work, which I might enjoy doing this winter. I embarrassingly don't even know what YEAR it is. I'll find out and report back, haha. I'm sure I'll be around asking questions, but my first question is, why does my lower boom sit so low? There are a few other Sunfish on the lake and they have much more room under that thing. We set it up as it came. Is the mast tied too high on the upper boom? Thanks!



Member Emeritus
...why does my lower boom sit so low? There are a few other Sunfish on the lake and they have much more room under that thing. We set it up as it came. Is the mast tied too high on the upper boom?
Where the boom sits is, as you observed, a function of where the halyard is tied to the upper spar.

In this regard, your Sunfish is setup by the book..., today's book anyway. In earlier days the manual's instruction and the general preference was to tie the halyard between the 8th & 9th sail clip.

Currently the trend is for a sportier and more efficient sailing style so they've lowered the boom :rolleyes: on the more recreational manner of setup. Of course you, as Master & Commander of your boat, may set the boom wherever you desire.

The sailing physics...

The higher the sail, the more leverage the wind has. Consequently, the sooner and farther you are required to hike out as the wind rises. The Sunfish sails most efficiently with only a slight amount of heel (lean), which equates to speed.


beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
That height you have is pretty good for control when it gets windy, while still being able to comfortably get under the boom. You might move it up maybe 4 more inches, but after that it gets tougher to control when windy.

If that is a photo of your boat, I think it is somewhere in the 1989-1991 or 1992 age range based on the stripes on the side.

Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!


beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The other way to get a little more headroom would be to move the gooseneck - that bronze thing on the lower boom - forward some, which will angle the boom up in the back. Yours does look a bit far back. 18-19 inches from the front of the lower boom is a good all-purpose recreational setting and that will also give you more headroom. BB

Edward Teach

New Member
Welcome aboard! Glad to hear you had an exciting first time out on you fish, it easy to get hooked. I to am a novice being that this is my first season with my sunfish, and I have found that just going out and experimenting has worked best with me and then asking questions about my experiences or problems on this forum. The folks on this forum have a wealth of info to share.

In the light winds that we have been having this summer in my neck of the woods I have had my sail set between the 8th and 9th clip where it meets the mast. I am able to sit in the cockpit with my feet hanging over the side, and have excellent visiblity. When the wind kicks up I sit on the deck the and still have pretty good vis. If I move the sail any lower I'm going to need to get a sail with a window, as the sail blocks my view and on the reservior I sail on there are a lot of PWC and power boats. Good luck with you new fish!


You might also move your weight forward - as close to the forward edge of the cockpit as you can get. Also turn sideways and take care of the tiller extension with the aft hand and the mainsheet with the forward hand. Just some thoughts but - most of all - have FUN! :D


Upside down?
Staff member
Welcome to the world of Sunfish(es)!

There is a wealth of information on this and other (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sunfish_sailor/) forums and the Internet.

This Forum has a Search feature (in the upper bar) that works well. In addition, read the Sunfish KB & FAQ section and study the topics that are relevant to your situation.

The Yahoo! Groups Sunfish forum is organized differently, but has a wealth of info as well.

I hope you will continue to explore your boat. Be forewarned though: sailing can become a lifelong addiction (of the good kind); apparently, it has been for your Dad!