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Sunfish Speed Blog


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To encourage Sunfish owners to trick out their boat to get the most out of it, I have started a Sunfish Speed Blog on my web site, www.aerosouth.net.   Before others suggest we just buy a Laser or other faster boat - this is all about using brains and our shops instead of our wallets to be the fastest on the water.  Well, faster than a stock Sunfish at least.  The current speed record is 10.9 kts (12.5 mph).  Some have suggested that 15 kts or more should be possible.  Can you do better?

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Assuming you have boats that have good transverse and longitudinal stiffness, and you're at minimum weight, I'd think the next thing would be lighter and stiffer rigs and sails.

The stiffest carbon tubes you could get would trim weight and decrease spill-off.

I think that that white scrim polyester laminate sailcloth, APEN, or even cuben fiber would get you light, supple, strong sails that would give you a better shape.

Vectran and pre-stretched dyneema/spectra lines obviously, maybe take a look at how the sail is attached to the boom and the gaff if you want to try to do sleeves.

Maybe a central traveler or bridle, try and clean up that system from the crimped wire traveler.

I'm no sunfish sailor but there's some rigging tricks and techniques that are apparently huge like the "jens" rig.

Carbon, high-aspect rudder and daggerboard, carbon tiller and extension, maybe delrin or ptfe washers on the gudgeons, spectra-cored universals

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On 12/21/2019 at 7:01 PM, kmisegades said:

To encourage Sunfish owners to trick out their boat to get the most out of it, I have started a Sunfish Speed Blog on my web site, www.aerosouth.net.   Before others suggest we just buy a Laser or other faster boat - this is all about using brains and our shops instead of our wallets to be the fastest on the water.  Well, faster than a stock Sunfish at least.  The current speed record is 10.9 kts (12.5 mph).  Some have suggested that 15 kts or more should be possible.  Can you do better?

in a class legal way?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for my late reply.  Christmas hectic.   No rules really, other than starting from a stock hull of any age.  And no motors of course.   Rules are for the ISCA, which is understood.  Rules kill innovation, the purpose of my challenge.   I see some great ideas here especially from onepointfivethumb.   Just share on the Speed Blog what you have done to your Fish and prove your speed with a shot or recording from your favorite app or GPS.  I use MotionX-GPS, a $2 app.   My own effort is mostly underwater - new rudder fins and dagger board.  See my work on  https://aerosouth.net/sailboats       Share your images and stories here and on the Sunfish Speed Blog, https://aerosouth.net/the-sunfish-speed-blog

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On 12/22/2019 at 3:28 PM, Tink said:

What is the criteria, how is it measured and verified. A max speed for a second on a sat nav is not that relevant. 

Good question.   I believe that for the Sail Rocket 2 record run, the speed over a 500m stretch was measured.   At the record speed of 78 mph / 125 kmh that was about 15 seconds of sailing, in a straight line along the Namibian coast.  Since most Sunfish sailing is done alone and it is hard to know where we might hit our best speed, I am not sure it will be easy to come up with a criteria. In my case, I record the track and speed while on the water and look at the results after sailing.  I suspect that the sailing community will figure this out.   This is all about having fun anyway and sharing what we thinks works and what doesn't.

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  • 7 months later...
On 12/21/2019 at 7:01 PM, kmisegades said:

To encourage Sunfish owners to trick out their boat to get the most out of it, I have started a Sunfish Speed Blog on my web site, www.aerosouth.net.   Before others suggest we just buy a Laser or other faster boat - this is all about using brains and our shops instead of our wallets to be the fastest on the water.  Well, faster than a stock Sunfish at least.  The current speed record is 10.9 kts (12.5 mph).  Some have suggested that 15 kts or more should be possible.  Can you do better?

You can get a used laser for just as much as a sunfish...and sell it for almost as much as you paid...franken fish do not have such a market. Than again, it is a cool engineering challenge...foiling fish.

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