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  #1  
Old 06-24-2011
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New to sailing - Sunfish for $250?

About a year ago I had the chance to go sailing on a 32' sailboat on Lake Michigan. Now, only a year later, I randomly came across some free Sunfish hulls. While I missed this deal, it led to a lot of research because I had no idea I could get started in sailing for under a thousand bucks.

Jump ahead a week or two to yesterday...

I was frustrated with missing all the $300 boats by mere hours because they go so quick. So I posted a wanted ad, which turned up a $250 boat from 197x, and the best part is that it's at one of the local lakes. Yesterday I went and took a look, and it seems to be in great condition. It has a cockpit storage area and the newer rudder / tiller, and the only damage is a pinky finger sized hole on the transom, which has been properly repaired with fiberglass. The sail is original but good, with no holes or tears (it was always stored indoors). The boat was purchased by the current owners three years ago and used the past two seasons. I didn't bring a scale to weigh the hull, but I was able to drag it, flip it over and lift each end with somewhat ease.

Should I buy this or wait for another? I'm going back in a week with a friend who used to race these so we can have a good look at everything, so I'm curious what to look out for, check, etc.

Thanks!
Daniel
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Old 06-24-2011
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Stick it in the water, raise the sails and see if it sinks. If it floats and has sails and a rudder you are getting your money's worth. For $250 you aren't getting a gem nor are you making a huge investment. If it floats and sails you are getting a deal. Learn to sail and have fun. You are investing about the cost of one day at an amusement park, if you get two sails on it I'd say you came out ahead.
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Old 06-24-2011
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I'm not a huge fan of Sunfish. The rig is basically a windsurfer that you're sitting down in. No jib/foresail...no spinnaker possibility. If all you want to do is putz around in lakes, by all means...go Sunfish.

But I'd keep a lookout for a used 420. Marginally more money in the long term, and they have infinitely more options/capabilities.
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Old 06-24-2011
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250.00 Yeah buy it... even if the hull is shot you could always build an Ice boat and plop the rigging on "er
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Old 06-24-2011
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There are a lot sub $1000 boats out there in the dinghy size. I currently have a catamaran I am trying to get rid of for $600. If you pass this deal up there are bound to be plenty of others.
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Old 06-24-2011
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The biggest potential issue with a Sunfish, IMHO, is whether or not the hull takes on water. If the hull stays dry then you can sail it for hours without any problems. If the hull takes on water it can become pretty unwieldy to sail and will need to be drained. You can only find this out if you sail it for a couple of hours.
The Sunfish is a perfectly good platform for learning to sail. It is cheap, it sets up in less then 5 minutes and it can actually get up on a plane in the right wind (>10 knots) on a broad reach or beam reach.
I am volunteering for a teen sailing program again that uses Sunfish. I basically learned to sail on these when I was a teen (aeons ago).
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Old 06-24-2011
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Join a sailing club or hang out at the marinas, talk to the sail boat owner, there are so many ways to get you on the sail boat with much money. If you indeed want to buy a boat, you are much informed then.

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Old 06-24-2011
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Buy it - great first boat -


Note they all leak - go and put an inspection port in to help dry it out.

Look on web 'inspection port for sunfish' - you'll find instructions

Look on web ' learn to sail a sunfish in 3 days '


Enjoy, practice capsizing and righting - it will do you good when you actually do capsize, plus once you are good at you'll have Fun cooling off.
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Old 06-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDSchock View Post
Buy it - great first boat -

Note they all leak - go and put an inspection port in to help dry it out.

Look on web 'inspection port for sunfish' - you'll find instructions
Look on web ' learn to sail a sunfish in 3 days '

Enjoy, practice capsizing and righting - it will do you good when you actually do capsize, plus once you are good at you'll have Fun cooling off.
Now that is an endorsement.
My sailing club puts drain holes on the 'transom' of the Sunfish so with the hull dragged up on the beach it will drain out with minimal persuasion.

As WDSchock suggested you can also add a 6" circular inspection port in the deck behind the 'splash guard' that will help the hull dry out. The factory made drain hole is on the beam of the boat which requires you to prop it up to get it to drain.

There is a 'Sunfish sailor' group over at Yahoo with thousands of members.

You can't go wrong with a Sunfish as it is cheap, easy to set up and easy to offload when the time comes. You might even find that you miss the simplicity of a Sunfish when you do move up to a bigger boat.

I swear I have got a Sunfish to go 6+ knots while up on a plane.
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Old 07-06-2011
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How would you guys compare a Laser to a Sunfish for a new learner?
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