Buying a Sunfish in a country that doesn't sail them - am I crazy?

KCfromDC

New member
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Oz
Hi all-

I learned how to sail on Lake George many years ago on a Sunfish and have fond memories of it being easy to rig and sail. I now live in Australia (Queensland) and have gotten into sailing with the local club by taking lessons in Pacers/Herons and crewing during races.

I'd love to go into single-handed sailing, but the boat du jour at our club is a Laser. We really don't have anything in-between: the kids learn on O'Pen Bics and then are expected to go into LaserLand if they want go solo.

I would love it if the club had an in-between boat that's similar to a Laser but doesn't require as much athleticism to sail - ergo, a Sunfish. Unfortunately, they simply do not exist in Australia - Laser never marketed them here and they don't have a class for racing, so any you see are rare as hen's teeth.

Out of sheer luck, I found an inexpensive Sunfish in the country for sale. I tried valiantly to convince my club to consider buying it as an in-between training boat for the kids and even for the adult learn to sail classes, but they weren't moved. They prefer racing and it's all about Lasers, Tasars, and NS14s.  :wacko:

Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I'm thinking about buying the boat for myself - it's reasonably priced although would need to be shipped up to me. TBH, the market here for used, fun, cruise-around type boats kind of sucks here. 

Am I crazy to even consider this? Is my nostalgia for Sunfish clouded by a couple of decades of dry land, and it's a crap boat to sail? I see varying opinions on their sailability around here - either you love them or hate them.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

-KC

 
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JMP

Member
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Most of the folks I know that want a single hander that isn't as athletic as a Laser to sail in Aus, tend to grab an Impulse or a Sabre dinghy.  If the sunfish is really cheap though and you like sailing them, just grab it and have some fun.

 
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Xeon

Anarchist
749
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England
If you want to race get a Sabre .

If you just want follow your heart and just mess around and cruise , get the Sunfish . 

And I say this as a uk based person who cannot think of any reason why anyone would want to sail a sunfish ever  :D

 

KCfromDC

New member
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Oz
Yeah, not so into racing. I've done almost two decades of another time/money sucking competitive sport - one is enough for now. :)

 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
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If the Sunfish meets your need for a less athletic boat than a Laser then go for it.

The Sunfish is a lot of fun to sail and some people would never want to sail anything else.

I say this as a Brit who sailed a Laser in England before moving to the US where I sailed both Sunfish and Lasers for about 15 years, and who now sails an RS Aero.

 

 

Alan Crawford

Super Anarchist
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Bozeman, Montana
Agree, if just for fun then why not go with the Sunfish. However, depending on the cost and so on, why not take a look at the Rocket? See the "Fulcrum Rocket" thread. Fulcrum (Dave Clark et. al.) are shipping Rocket's and UFO's around the world.

 

Flyingfish

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Getting the Sunfish is a good idea as long as the large parts - the spars and daggerboard - are in good shape.  Replacement parts would be financially infeasible to get to Australia.  Rudder parts or a sail would be doable without breaking the bank.  Also weigh it to be sure it is 135 or so lbs or less.  If it is a lot more than that, you will have a drying-out project ahead of you.  That may be fine with you, but be aware of it before you buy.

 

fastyacht

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Of course the spars are simple ally tubes....but you may have to pay too much for them

 

KCfromDC

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Oz
Agree, if just for fun then why not go with the Sunfish. However, depending on the cost and so on, why not take a look at the Rocket? See the "Fulcrum Rocket" thread. Fulcrum (Dave Clark et. al.) are shipping Rocket's and UFO's around the world.
The Sunfish is a 1986 version and inexpensive (would sell for the same price in the U.S.). The rudder/centerboard (or "centreboard" as it's spelled here  :D ) and spars appear to be in good condition, but I can't tell myself from just pics. Trying to find someone who could inspect it for me, but it's proving difficult ATM. Most inspection companies specialize in motorized watercraft and don't want to waste their time on a sailing dinghy.

 
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KCfromDC

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Oz
I should also mention that I sent an email to Laser Itnl to suss out any possibility of Sunfish arriving south of the equator. They wrote back and said they're looking into establishing a dealer or distributor here for Lasers in the next year (apparently there isn't one right now) and would consider offering Sunfish since you can cram more in a shipping container than Lasers.  :lol:

@Alan Crawford, my budget doesn't suit the Rocket, unfortunatley.

Agree, if just for fun then why not go with the Sunfish. However, depending on the cost and so on, why not take a look at the Rocket? See the "Fulcrum Rocket" thread. Fulcrum (Dave Clark et. al.) are shipping Rocket's and UFO's around the world.
 
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Flyingfish

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Don’t count on them finding someone to become a Laser dealer.  As is documented elsewhere on this forum, Lasers are no longer class legal to race!  ILCAs replaced the Laser.  Laser Performance is trying to establish an “outlaw” class association for Lasers, but it’s not gaining traction.  I doubt anyone in Australia will be interested in selling Lasers, esp since an established ILCA manufacturer is located in Australia.   

 
I should also mention that I sent an email to Laser Itnl to suss out any possibility of Sunfish arriving south of the equator. They wrote back and said they're looking into establishing a dealer or distributor here for Lasers in the next year (apparently there isn't one right now) and would consider offering Sunfish since you can cram more in a shipping container than Lasers.  :lol:

@Alan Crawford, my budget doesn't suit the Rocket, unfortunatley.
If your budget doesn't suit the Rocket, it definitely won't suit a new Sunfish from LP.  A new Rocket is 10% cheaper.

 

Wavedancer II

Anarchist
697
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The 2021 Sunfish Worlds are now history, but you could easily qualify for the next one (2022) in Italy.

The Class needs some from Down Under  ;)

 

Crazy Horse

Member
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Queensland
Fair dinkum mate, let go of your Seppo memories and get a yacht that is popular in your part of AU and will have a resale value. Plenty of options, a laser would be 50 times better

 

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
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For me I could sail either. But it is true that the Sunfish is generally easier to loaf in. It is also better behaved downwind in waves in my experience. But it's a water toy. I don't mind swimming. (I sail a canoe. That says it all). Confession: I've sailed lasers 1000 times or more more than a sunfish and I hadnt sailed a fish in decades until this year when we got an old one.

 
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KCfromDC

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Oz
From this statement, I assumed you were also considering a new one:
"I should also mention that I sent an email to Laser Itnl to suss out any possibility of Sunfish arriving south of the equator."
I mentioned that in case as a reason to buy the used one (e.g., if others buy new, it won't be an anomaly). Sorry to confuse.

 
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