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Home » Sailnet Boat Reviews » A - Boats starting with 'A' » AMF
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AMF (Alcort) Sunbird
Reviews Views Date of last review
2 7846 Fri June 18, 1999
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated None indicated












Description: AMF (Alcort) Sunbird
Keywords: AMF (Alcort) Sunbird
 


Author
Review Date: Fri June 18, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:





Design Summary/Features:

The 1978 AMF (Alcort) Sunbird is a daysailor with a standard sloop rig. The standing rigging is very straightforward with a forestay and two sidestays. There is no backstay, just a boom topping lift. She has a centerboard with a cam-cleated drawline and a pop-up rudder. Her overall length is 15'9", and she includes a small cuddy cabin and a big (~7'long) cockpit for her size. She displaces around 600# and has no ballast to speak of (you and your crew are ballast). Her mast is aluminum, measuring about 20'. She has 12-18" of freeboard and a ~5' beam.

Strengths:

This little boat was my first, and she was a fine choice. She's forgiving, easy to pull behind a four cylinder, and you can sail her right up on the beach. Her cuddy provided a small measure of shelter in a pinch, but mostly I used it to stow gear. I slept in the cuddy (in a sleeping bag) once or twice on a lake, and it's just long enough (6') for a person to stretch out. She was quick to rig, a single person can step the mast (email me for details), and she has a self-bailing cockpit. She runs downwind wing-on-wing pretty well with the centerboard up and the jib flying on a whisker pole. Her best point of sailing is definitely a broad reach, and she's fairly stable on this point in gusts up to 20 knots or so if you've got the ballast to take that kind of wind (don't try it without 4 people on the gunnel). She's essentially unsinkable with lots of buoyancy packed in her cockpit seats. Her rigging is pretty ubiquitous, so you can always find what you need in a local hardware or marine supply store. I rigged a down and dirty little whisker pole and strongly recommend it (6' long, 1" diameter dowel with an eye-screw on each end. Click a D-ring on one end and bang, you're done.) Attach the D-ring end to the mast and the other end to the jib clew. It's quick to rig and de-rig.

Weaknesses:

As in all small boats, ballast is lacking. In heavy weather, reefing in the main isn't always enough unless you've got the crew weight to keep her upright. If you flip her, she's pretty quick to get back on her feet and you can sail the water right out, but turtling her is a different story. At 600#, she's not that willing to come back over, especially if her mast is stuck in the sand . . . Another thing to watch is her centerboard. If you take her up on a beach, make sure the centerboard is willing to rotate back down. Sometimes a pebble wedges itself in the trunk and it jams in the up position. An untended bow paint can also wedge itself pretty tight in the trunk. I'd recommend keeping a stiff stick or steel rod on hand to push her back down. Sometimes the only way to get her down is to return to the beach, have your crew hall her over with the main halyard, and manually pull her out. It's a chore. The only other major gripe I've got with her is her heavy weather helm, but maybe I don't have her rigging tuned properly. Take a type IV PFD along -- you'll want it for your sore butt (from jumping up and down on the gunnel to keep her upright.)

Overall:

A fine boat for a new sailor that wants to be able to share the sport with friends and family. She stays high in the water with four people aboard and her roomy cockpit keeps you from getting to know your crew too well. You can pack lots of gear in her cuddy including coolers, tents, etc... Combine that with her pop-up rudder and centerboard, and you've got a great little weekend camping & sailing getaway boat on your choice of local lakes and rivers -- wherever you can launch her. I strongly recommend this boat to new sailors and folks on a budget. I bought her with an EZ Loader trailer in 1994 for $1250.00 -- one of the best investments I've ever made. Don't give over $1500 for this boat (and that only if she's in immaculate shape). Some of my greatest joys in the past few years have been had sailing the Columbia River in my tough little Sunbird with the occasional wave breaking over the bow and pouring 5 gallons into the cockpit. She's what you might call a "wet sailor."












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Review Date: Thu July 26, 2001 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Design Summary/Features:

The 1978 AMF (Alcort) Sunbird is a daysailor with a standard sloop rig. The standing rigging is very straightforward with a forestay and two sidestays. There is no backstay, just a boom topping lift. She has a centerboard with a cam-cleated drawline and a pop-up rudder. Her overall length is 15'9", and she includes a small cuddy cabin and a big (~7'long) cockpit for her size. She displaces around 600# and has no ballast to speak of (you and your crew are ballast). Her mast is aluminum, measuring about 20'. She has 12-18" of freeboard and a ~5' beam.

Strengths:

This little boat was my first, and she was a fine choice. She's forgiving, easy to pull behind a four cylinder, and you can sail her right up on the beach. Her cuddy provided a small measure of shelter in a pinch, but mostly I used it to stow gear. I slept in the cuddy (in a sleeping bag) once or twice on a lake, and it's just long enough (6') for a person to stretch out. She was quick to rig, a single person can step the mast (email me for details), and she has a self-bailing cockpit. She runs downwind wing-on-wing pretty well with the centerboard up and the jib flying on a whisker pole. Her best point of sailing is definitely a broad reach, and she's fairly stable on this point in gusts up to 20 knots or so if you've got the ballast to take that kind of wind (don't try it without 4 people on the gunnel). She's essentially unsinkable with lots of buoyancy packed in her cockpit seats. Her rigging is pretty ubiquitous, so you can always find what you need in a local hardware or marine supply store. I rigged a down and dirty little whisker pole and strongly recommend it (6' long, 1" diameter dowel with an eye-screw on each end. Click a D-ring on one end and bang, you're done.) Attach the D-ring end to the mast and the other end to the jib clew. It's quick to rig and de-rig.

Weaknesses:

As in all small boats, ballast is lacking. In heavy weather, reefing in the main isn't always enough unless you've got the crew weight to keep her upright. If you flip her, she's pretty quick to get back on her feet and you can sail the water right out, but turtling her is a different story. At 600#, she's not that willing to come back over, especially if her mast is stuck in the sand . . . Another thing to watch is her centerboard. If you take her up on a beach, make sure the centerboard is willing to rotate back down. Sometimes a pebble wedges itself in the trunk and it jams in the up position. An untended bow paint can also wedge itself pretty tight in the trunk. I'd recommend keeping a stiff stick or steel rod on hand to push her back down. Sometimes the only way to get her down is to return to the beach, have your crew hall her over with the main halyard, and manually pull her out. It's a chore. The only other major gripe I've got with her is her heavy weather helm, but maybe I don't have her rigging tuned properly. Take a type IV PFD along -- you'll want it for your sore butt (from jumping up and down on the gunnel to keep her upright.)

Overall:

A fine boat for a new sailor that wants to be able to share the sport with friends and family. She stays high in the water with four people aboard and her roomy cockpit keeps you from getting to know your crew too well. You can pack lots of gear in her cuddy including coolers, tents, etc... Combine that with her pop-up rudder and centerboard, and you've got a great little weekend camping & sailing getaway boat on your choice of local lakes and rivers -- wherever you can launch her. I strongly recommend this boat to new sailors and folks on a budget. I bought her with an EZ Loader trailer in 1994 for $1250.00 -- one of the best investments I've ever made. Don't give over $1500 for this boat (and that only if she's in immaculate shape). Some of my greatest joys in the past few years have been had sailing the Columbia River in my tough little Sunbird with the occasional wave breaking over the bow and pouring 5 gallons into the cockpit. She's what you might call a "wet sailor."

If you are interested in getting the owners manual for this boat, go to: http://www.strato.net/~mikeveg/AMFSunbird.pdf

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