Sunfish Sailboat

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by zekeWN, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. zekeWN
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    zekeWN New Member

    Ok, First off, I have never officially owned a boat before but I came across a sunfish sailboat in the paper, for only 300 dollars. Would it be worth it to purchase this as a solo person boat to go around on calm days? Also, note would it be possibly to rig it for fishing? Right now I have a lil 9 foot inflatable boat with a 50 lb thrust motor on the back and it has holes in the bottom from my cousins deciding to drag it along the rocks at the beach instead of picking it up. So I decided to look into this "Sunfish"

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Great training sailboat, but wet. It will hold two, and can be a blast to sail on windy (not calm) days.
    Everyone learned to sail on one, me too.
    But as far as fishing goes, I can't imagine a worse boat. It's got almost no freeboard, almost no cockpit, and almost no way to make it go besides sails.
    $300 is a great price for the boat, especially if with trailer (though light enough to carry in a pickup (with 6 ft sticking out). I used to transport one in a Wagoneer. Til I cracked the windshield with the bow.
    Often, what's wrong with a used Sunfish will be a part is missing, so ask. Daggerboard, rudder, sail, etc. Usually a good deal if you can make the part.
    Also check the hull for cracks, uneveness, heaviness, tell-tale signs of structural problems, etc.

  3. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Sunfish are good little boats. As Alan says, they can be wet, and it will for sure dunk you on the first windy-day outing. It is also an insanely fun and simple boat, with an elegant and surprisingly powerful (if rather quirky) rig.
    Fishing from one would be hell. They're more like a bloated two-man windsurfer than a normal sailboat. Stability at rest can be rather twitchy and the cockpit is small. They're designed and built to expose you to the full joy of sailing at its simplest, not to be practical workhorses.
    $300 is a darn good deal if it's in usable shape. Sunfish are foam-filled; they weigh something like 120-140 lb without rigging and if it's significantly heavier the foam is probably waterlogged (which could also be a sign of hidden or badly patched hull damage). Replacing the foam would not be fun; you could do it if necessary but it would involve about a week of full-time manual labour, plus a few hundred dollars of expansion foam.
    The daggerboard and rudder are fairly easy to fabricate from marine plywood if you have moderately good carpentry skills.
    A related Sunfish thread at
  4. Pierre R
    Joined: May 2007
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    Pierre R Senior Member

    Yup I agree the Sunfish is a great little sail boat. As far as calm days? Pure bunk, I sailed mine across Lake Michigan and back when I was 15 years old. Seas were three to four and the wind was 12-15 knots. Once you get the hang of it, not much can dump you. Catch the back side of the wave with judicous use of the main sheet and plane away. In 20 knots it will stay on continuous plane.

    Fish, yeah I fished but I was little and fit nicely in the boat then. I would never get out of the damn thing if I spent and hour in one today. Take the sail down/bungee it to the mast, use a shallower dagger board and rig a small electric trolling motor off the side of the cockpit. Use the sail to get where you want to fish then stow the sail. Make sure you secure the battery and I would only use this rig in protected waters without big boat wakes.

    Imagine my surpise when I caught a 18lb Brown trout and hauled it aboard that Sunfish.
  5. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    I sure Pierre has done it because people do all sorts of strange things with boats that were never intended, but I can't think of a boat less suited for fishing. I used to fish with my 17 foot Thistle sailboat. Sunfish sure are fun to sail though. I sailed one all over Pearl Harbor many years ago when I was there for a week. They are a kick *** little sail boat. $300 bucks seems a pretty reasonable price, especially if the sail is in good condition. The only thing to look for is how much it weighs. These boats are filled with foam and sometimes water gets in and saturates the foam, which can easily add a hundred pounds to the boat. It should weigh about 130 lbs.
  6. zekeWN
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    zekeWN New Member

    Well, thanks for all the insight, and looking around I saw something to the extent of a home made sailboat. PDracer or something like that. The person said it could be build for under 100 and he keeps a little 30 lb thrust trolling motor on it. And in fact sails to where he wants, anchors, and then fishes. He said he keeps the motor just in case. It also holds up to 650 lbs of weight so that would be perfect. Now.... just need to start coming up with some schematics. I'm pretty good at designing, and building so that shouldn't be a problem.
  7. frosh
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    frosh Senior Member

    Your thoughts on going with a PD racer if an inexpensive sailing and fishing and pottering around boat are what you want are pretty spot on in my book.
    I wouldn't bother then with the Sunfish which is a wet but fun sailing boat.

  8. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    The Puddle Duck racer is not going to be as fast a sailer as the Sunfish but it is a better boat for fishing. Not to say the Sunfish is a speed demon. I'd want to stretch the PD a foot or two if used as a fishing platform.
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