Join Date: Sep 2013
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Re: Used sunfish / purchase guidance
THANKS so much to everyone who joined in on this forum to lend support to my issues. I'm please to say that I now own the boat and took it out for a first sail this afternoon. It handled great . . . and the truth is that this boat is significantly better than my sailing skills!!! But, I felt confident even though conditions were not optimal. I sail in a moderate size creek that empties out to a bay that empties out to the Ocean. Wind speed (approx. 13MPH) was a little much for my very basic skills, but when I "caught it" and wasn't too paranoid about how fast I was going (or felt like I was going) it was INCREDIBLY EXHILARATING and SO MUCH FUN!!!
A few things I learned from may maiden adventure:
1) I can't be afraid to hike back. That said it would definitely help if I had a hiking strap!!! Will probably pick one up tomorrow. Hardware is already mounted on boat. Just need strap. Any recommendations (or are they all fairly the same for my basic non-competitive day-sailing needs)?
2) The life vest (PFD) I had on was horrible. Not that I needed it (I didn't flip!), but the main sheet kept getting caught on the back of it when "coming about". Its the PFD I use when Kayacking . . . a very good one which feels like it has foam blocks sewn into pockets of an outer shell. I think the mainsheet kept getting wedged between the foam blocks on the back. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but it happened more time that I would have cared for!! Is there a better/smoother/less cumbersome PFD you can recommend for sailing?
3) As I said, winds were approx. 13mph. (maybe a bit more). I realize it is all relative to ones personal taste, but what is considered light, mild, strong, etc.? I'm sure many of you live for strong wind, but for now, for me, I think something in the 5 - 10 mph range would be ideal. Curious to hear whatever "wind stories" you folks have.
4) AsI noted, I sailing in a creek (not a small body of water by any means) surrounded by land, marinas, houses, trees, etc. (kind of like swimming in a fish bowl). As a result, it felt like the direction of the wind kept changing way too often (I assume depending what obstacles I happened to be passing by at the time that blocked or let wind pass through). Control and handling was definitely better when further away from shore and out in more open water. Once I get my confidence up a bit I will need to get out into the open bay (something that may need to happen sooner rather than latter due to issue #5 below!).
5) I went out at low tide and the dagger board was hitting bottom WAY TO OFTEN! This meant that I had to raise and lower it frequently in order to move. Problem is that I couldn't get it to stay up when I needed it to. That made it cumbersome to hold the tiller with one hand, the main sheet with the other and the daggerboard with . . . .! Exactly, it felt like I needed at least three hands to even move at all at times. I understand that you're supposed to tie a bungee through the daggerboard hole and then around the bow handle with with so-called brummel hooks or sister clips. Is the idea there that the tension form the stretched bungee will act as a grip that holds the daggerboard in the position you want? Any explanation/guidance would be most appreciated here (including length of bungee cord needed and where/how to place it.
6) Good news is that any of the stress cracks (including the one down in the mast step) held up perfectly without getting any worse. I have a feeling that the advice I got out previously was right . . . not a major issues. Nonetheless, I will take the advise of many and use Marine Tex, the "go-to" wonder product to address the crack issues I had as precaution, if nothing else. (again, particularly in the mast step). That said, any suggestions for applying it (especially in hard to reach areas) or other advice from those that have worked with it is GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Wishing you all the very best and safe sailing!