$300 Sunfish...Worth it?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by lewisboats, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Haven't seen the boat, it was just put in the paper Saturday. What are the specific common problems with these used hulls? They are also selling an old Chrysler 16' (LS) sailboat, also for $300.

    Steve
     
  2. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Sun fish? Essentially a really big surfboard with a sail. I have sailed them. They are a lot of fun and a real kick to sail. Almost zero maintenance, and they can be transported in the back of pickup or on top of car. They take maybe five minutes to set up.

    If it's in good condition yes it's worth $300. The big problem with these is that they are filled with foam. The hull should weigh about 130 lbs. If it weighs significantly more than that then water has gotten into the foam. To replace the foam is a pain in the ......

    If that's the case I'd give it a pass.
     
  3. Joe6
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Joe6 Junior Member

    Check the sail, if it needs replacing it could double the price of the boat!

    Joe
    I've never sailed one but they look like a lot of fun, wear a bathing suit!
     
  4. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Lewis,

    I have a Sunfish that is 41 years old. It still sails very nicely. It had a water soaking problem in the foam, and to cure it, I cut a hole in the deck about 18" forward of the transom on centerline and installed a 4" diameter clear-cover inspection port. We leave the boat on the beach on the shore of Lake Superior during the summer, and for a few summers we made sure that the cover was off during the day under the hot sun. As the hull heated up, the water evaporated, and after about two summers, I think most of the moisture is gone. The hull is noticeably lighter. It takes awhile, but it works.

    Eric
     
  5. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Great boat, the Sunfish. Loads of fun. Yes they can dunk you if you overcook it, but they're pretty easy to right when they do.
    They are indeed foam-filled so follow the advice of Ike and Eric on this count. I would only expect wet foam if it has been damaged and poorly repaired, or stored outside in bad conditions (ie. winter). Stored indoors, they last forever. The rig's a bit unconventional for some (what would you call it anyway, a lateen catboat?), but is surprisingly easy to get used to and decently quick (can get it on plane in a fairly light breeze). They can pull along nicely even at 40-50 degrees off the wind. So yes, if the foam's not wet and the sail's not shredded, $300 is a steal.
     
  6. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    By the way, all the hardware, including new sails, is still available. Just Google "Sunfish" and you'll get links to all the sites. Recent pricing for a new sail, as I heard from a friend, was about $149.00, as set by the National Sunfish Association (not sure of exact title).

    The Sunfish was designed back in the late 1940s, 1947 I think, and I don't know what you would call a Sunfish sail, other than a Sunfish sail. I used one like it on the sailboat proposal for Captain Eric Humprhys' Round the World venture (www.captainhumphrys.com). His boat is not as long as a Sunfish (almost 3' shorter) so a Sunfish sail out to do OK--maybe could go a bit bigger.

    My Sunfish is the one I really learned to sail on.

    Eric
     

  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Now I know where you get your ideas Eric!
     
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