Winter Sunfish Pics

#5
We have starting line buoys setup just offshore then there's a series of channel markers we use as race marks. Depending on the wind direction we'll pick a series of markers that make for a challenging, fun, or when necessary a safe course. We set a course to avoid jibes in heavy gusty wind and large waves for understandable reasons. Three races a morning with typically 2 minute starts.

I've sailed most of my life and I knew several gotchas from boats like Hobie 16s but I was still learning important things about the Sunfish during my first winter sailing season with this group. It'd been decades since I'd sailed a boat where I weighed more than the hull so I wasn't as focused on my cockpit position as I should have been in gusts and surf. You can probably guess where this is going... We're out in 15 gusting to 20+, I'm running downwind and easing the sail beyond 90 degrees because my heading seemed to be favoring that and I was approaching a mark where I could just sheet in so I didn't want to jibe to better set the sail for the heading. I was far too forward in the cockpit for that sort of configuration and as I climbed over a wave and started surfing down the face the bow dug in and I was throw out as the boat did it's best to cartwheel like a Hobie pitchpole.

I floated in the water watching everyone pass me while taking in the lesson about sheeting out too far on a run in ridiculous wind... I managed to get my hat back but it was too wet to be worth putting back on for warmth... then I went through the gyrations to bring her back to her feet which is a science of it's own in those conditions... but I had a grin the entire salty time all the while thinking 'this does not suck!'. Good times indeed ;-)

Clearly I kept warm which was the other half of your question. I wear a 5mm wetsuit, most folks are drysuit dudes. I also have that orange Stormr jacket that goes on when air temps are below 40 (suit alone is fine for me down to 50). We've sailed as low as 20 and we'd probably go lower but it just doesn't get that cold here often. I start with a balaclava and hat but that often comes off when I get sweaty... Sunfish sailing in those conditions is very physical and I'm typically hot and soaking wet in the suit regardless of air temp by the time we're done.

The wind seems to be stiffer and the competition is fierce in the winter because only the skilled lunatics come out which makes it my favorite racing time of the year.

(That's me in #5 taken by a friend onshore)


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#9
Very cool. Yeah I like the pic of #5, that is really sheeted in there..

I come from hobie 16 myself, solo sailed quite a bit. But I missed a number of sailing days because it was too big of a hassle to set up, or the wind was a bit too high.. Don't have that problem anymore.

It would be great to have this sort of racing thing here in central texas though. Just a casual thing. I'm thinking of starting something, maybe not limited to Sunfish and just make it Portsmouth.
 
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#10
Very cool. Yeah I like the pic of #5, that is really sheeted in there..

I come from hobie 16 myself, solo sailed quite a bit. But I missed a number of sailing days because it was too big of a hassle to set up, or the wind was a bit too high.. Don't have that problem anymore.

It would be great to have this sort of racing thing here in central texas though. Just a casual thing. I'm thinking of starting something, maybe not limited to Sunfish and just make it Portsmouth.
They have some of the Sunfish / board boat racing on Lake Belton

Due to low numbers they are mixing boats instead of doing a one design.
I'm suspecting the low numbers has to do with the need to be a member of the little "Yacht Club" and/or lack of advertising.
 
#13
They have some of the Sunfish / board boat racing on Lake Belton

Due to low numbers they are mixing boats instead of doing a one design.
I'm suspecting the low numbers has to do with the need to be a member of the little "Yacht Club" and/or lack of advertising.
Thanks, I didn't know about that. Looks like membership is $200 plus a one-time $100, which is reasonable to me if i get a few races. I sent them a couple questions, nice to see they have events in the winter also.
Austin Yacht club is too expensive for me.
 
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