Is Sunfish Race right for me?

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
This; it's SO much more fun when it's easy to go when you want. I can have my trailer 'Fish in the water in about a half hour which means I go more often.

Also agree on the likelihood of " wanting all the boats".
I have a minimalist Laser trailer for when I'm solo and not using a triple stack, and do not want to bring a dolly. The trailer has a spacing strut above and just behind the axle. Purchased 4" pool noodles, pulled the strut off, spray teflon on the strut and insides of the noodle and shimmied them on (really hard work, the noodle hole circumference is smaller than the strut circumference) and re-attached the strut. Now I can roll on and off the Laser directly from the trailer for water launching. Still a steel trailer so have to be careful to not let the boat touch it when the wind is up but it does the job very well and when you are done its sitting on the hull/deck joint, not the hull.

On the trailer the boat can go from packed and attached to a car to in the water and ready to sail in less than 30 minutes. Now the sailor, he's OCD with boats, gear, clothes, the mini-cooler for beer, and takes a bit longer to get ready.
 

@last

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I have a few random thoughts to add.

With regard to the trailer, Trailex makes a very nice lightweight aluminum trailer that due to its weight can double a a dolly for a Sunfish with the caveat that it is used on a hard ramp and not beach sand.

With regard to some of the newer boats listed and with the disclaimer that I have no axe to grind with any of these manufacturers whom I am sure make greats boats, consider this.
Look at the number of Sunfish produced to date. Then compare one of the new boats and what their total production numbers are to date. There will be a dramatic difference in the number of hulls out there between the two. In a matter of speaking (relatively speaking) the newer boats are "orphan boats" comparing these numbers. Where this comes into play is if you spring for a new "orphan boat" if/when the time comes to sell, your loss could well be more than buying something more established. Just my 2 cents and YMMV as they say.

Finally with regard to the Sunfish, I have a few personal preferences and please bear in mind these are just personal preferences. Post 1972 for sure with the new rudder/mount. Beyond that the boat has had many different builders over the years so there are some differences among them. I prefer the newer style "rolled edge" hull to deck joint as opposed to those with the aluminum toe rail. I also like the glass blades for less maintenance. I could be wrong about this, but from memory there was a time frame when Vanguard built the boats. The very talented Clark family had an involvement at the time (from memory Father Steve either owned or ran Vanguard back then-son David is the guy behind the Rocket-also a very good boat). Anytime you have actual sailors who have a passion for sailing involved in running the company/producing it, I think the outcome is bound to be better than some of the corporate mentality that you see these days. Again just my 2 cents and YMMV.

Good luck and enjoy, wishing you many happy days on the water.
 

WCB

Super Anarchist
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Park City, UT
I have a few random thoughts to add.

With regard to the trailer, Trailex makes a very nice lightweight aluminum trailer that due to its weight can double a a dolly for a Sunfish with the caveat that it is used on a hard ramp and not beach sand.

With regard to some of the newer boats listed and with the disclaimer that I have no axe to grind with any of these manufacturers whom I am sure make greats boats, consider this.
Look at the number of Sunfish produced to date. Then compare one of the new boats and what their total production numbers are to date. There will be a dramatic difference in the number of hulls out there between the two. In a matter of speaking (relatively speaking) the newer boats are "orphan boats" comparing these numbers. Where this comes into play is if you spring for a new "orphan boat" if/when the time comes to sell, your loss could well be more than buying something more established. Just my 2 cents and YMMV as they say.

Finally with regard to the Sunfish, I have a few personal preferences and please bear in mind these are just personal preferences. Post 1972 for sure with the new rudder/mount. Beyond that the boat has had many different builders over the years so there are some differences among them. I prefer the newer style "rolled edge" hull to deck joint as opposed to those with the aluminum toe rail. I also like the glass blades for less maintenance. I could be wrong about this, but from memory there was a time frame when Vanguard built the boats. The very talented Clark family had an involvement at the time (from memory Father Steve either owned or ran Vanguard back then-son David is the guy behind the Rocket-also a very good boat). Anytime you have actual sailors who have a passion for sailing involved in running the company/producing it, I think the outcome is bound to be better than some of the corporate mentality that you see these days. Again just my 2 cents and YMMV.

Good luck and enjoy, wishing you many happy days on the water.
Yes on Vanguard building the Sunfish. Steve was one of the owners. I worked for them for a short while and honestly regret leaving the company but I met my future wife two jobs later so I can't complain. Vanguard built the boats very well and they really had production down. I still recommend people buy a Vanguard Laser to this day and recently sold two to new homes in our fleet.
 
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Sun

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Also agree on the likelihood of " wanting all the boats".

So true. I spent the weekend checking out RS Aero, 100, 700, Melges 14, and such. I haven't even bought the Sunfish, and yet, looking at the future 2nd or 3rd boat already. I have to admit the Neo idea was the fruit of this kind of online time wasting. Starting on a Neo would possibly frustrate me anyhow.

I think the cure to this phase is buying the Sunfish and getting on the water ASAP.
 

tillerman

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So true. I spent the weekend checking out RS Aero, 100, 700, Melges 14, and such. I haven't even bought the Sunfish, and yet, looking at the future 2nd or 3rd boat already. I have to admit the Neo idea was the fruit of this kind of online time wasting. Starting on a Neo would possibly frustrate me anyhow.

I think the cure to this phase is buying the Sunfish and getting on the water ASAP.
Some people are never "cured" of constantly thinking about what boat or boats to buy next. Eventually they end up owning six or more boats of different classes and then spend half of their time wondering what boat they will actually sail this weekend.
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
Some people are never "cured" of constantly thinking about what boat or boats to buy next. Eventually they end up owning six or more boats of different classes and then spend half of their time wondering what boat they will actually sail this weekend.
Easily remedied by having too many boats to maintain and sail. Only when you have exceeded your available time, money, and expertise to be able to sail and keep them in racing condition will you feel satiation. Unfortunately that new feeling will be one of waste.

If you are wise you will begin getting rid of the least sailed boats and go back to 3 or 4 vessels, then begin again with the accumulation and fixing up of boats until you once again achieve the point of boat ownership saturation and some of the boats begin to decay faster than you can repair them.

True balance is when you have many boats, all but one or two race-able. With one or two boats always coming and going. You may also find such a state stable only when single.

(Edit: Fleet reduction to 1-2 boats was too severe, not sure what I was thinking. Grammar fix too.)
 
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Sun

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Easily remedied by having too many boats to maintain and sail. Only when you have exceeded your available time, money, and expertise to be able to sail and keep them in racing condition will you feel satiation. Unfortunately that new feeling will be one of waste.

I think my second sailboat choice might be an easier one to make. I've decided to move by a nice sailing venue eventually. If / when that happens, I'll simply look at the fleets around; I assume the right sailboat must present itself. Until then, I have a used Sunfish to find.
 

tillerman

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I think my second sailboat choice might be an easier one to make. I've decided to move by a nice sailing venue eventually. If / when that happens, I'll simply look at the fleets around; I assume the right sailboat must present itself. Until then, I have a used Sunfish to find.

If you move to a "nice" sailing venue like Newport or Annapolis there will be fleets of many different classes and you won't be able to make your mind up.

Much better to move to somewhere remote like Montana or the Outer Hebrides, then you can choose whatever boat takes your fancy and spend the next 20 years trying to persuade other people to follow your lead.

Alternatively you can just stick with the Sunfish, win the nearest Regional Championship and qualify to go to the Sunfish Worlds somewhere exotic where you can race 99 other Sunfish maniacs.
 

Ventucky Red

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I think my second sailboat choice might be an easier one to make. I've decided to move by a nice sailing venue eventually. If / when that happens, I'll simply look at the fleets around; I assume the right sailboat must present itself. Until then, I have a used Sunfish to find.


This should help

 

Sun

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Another day off was wasted to see a used Sunfish over a hundred miles away. I'm seriously considering a brand new one at this point. Is a new Sunfish worth it, or should I continue looking at the ads?
 
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tillerman

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Another day off was wasted to see a Sunfish over a hundred miles away. The whole process is like dealing with dating apps. The photos are taken 10 - 15 years ago -- or from certain angles. I'm seriously considering a brand new one at this point. Is a new Sunfish worth it, or should I continue looking at the ads?
This is why people buy Lasers.
 
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Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
I feel like more new Laser's are always flowing into the market. The nice thing about the Laser is you can have more than one rig/sail and sail them depending on how much wind there is, how hard you feel like hiking, and your skill.

If you are considering a new Sunfish, go with a Rocket instead. Here's the thread for it.

Oh, price is now $5,200.
 
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tillerman

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Why is that? Are Lasers easier to find?
It was a joke.

As far as I can see there are a lot more second-hand Sunfish than Lasers available on the "dating apps" but most of them are crap.
Most Sunfish are used for recreational sailing - a boat at the cottage for the teenagers to mess around on. They start to leak and nobody bothers to fix them. They are sold because the teenagers have gone off to college and Dad can't be bothered to renovate the boat.

Most Lasers are used for racing and are looked after by their owners. They are sold because the owner wants a new Laser so he can compete better with the other guys at the club with new Lasers.
 
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@last

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Another day off was wasted to see a Sunfish over a hundred miles away. The whole process is like dealing with dating apps. The photos are taken 10 - 15 years ago -- or from certain angles. I'm seriously considering a brand new one at this point. Is a new Sunfish worth it, or should I continue looking at the ads?
A few thoughts, may or may not be helpful.

Travelling is certainly part of the game with a used boat. The fish I have now was located 3 states away when I purchased it. As you have found out, press for current pics and many clear pics. Some sellers get lazy and will cut and paste from the Sunfish brochure or other online sources. It's not like you don't know what one looks like now, you need to know what the one they are selling looks like. Also if you are taking it home, make sure it is road worth (wheel bearings greased, tires ok, trailer lights working, show up with correct size hitch, etc.) I had a deal go south on a different kind of boat a few years ago when I kept pressing the seller (it was 500 miles away one way) if the boat was road ready and he kind of blew me off, so I moved on. That said when the right boat appears you have to move immediately, not when it is convenient. When I sold the fish I had before this one, about 3 minutes after I posted it I got a call and he came from 200 miles away cash in hand the next morning. I think he had a sniper program or something that when what he was looking for popped up for sale, it notified him immediately.

It is not unusual for these boats to be bought new, taken to the family cottage and then not on the market for 30 years or more. So the supply of really nice/nearly new condition boats is very thin.
I think the sweet spot for you might be like 1994-2008 years (or newer if one pops up). As mentioned many are bought new and never hit the market again until they are old/tired. Occasionally though things do change in life-the boat purchased new for the son/daughter, etc. either goes off to college, doesn't want or need the boat, there is a death in the family and the cottage gets sold, etc. In profiling a boat, something that was used on fresh water, seasonally/covered and stored in a garage during the off season (read Midwest or inland lakes) is probably as safer bet than one that sat in South Florida on the beach, uncovered since new.

With regard to buying new, there is certainly merit with a few caveats. I think the new ones are made in Portugal, Have not seen one so can't comment on current quality. As with a car the minute you drive it off the lot it drops in value, maybe 20% or more, more in the first few years for sure. On the plus side, as mentioned nearly new Sunfish are pretty rare so there is a ready market at the right price. If I was to order one I would get it with a Trailex trailer and probably the rec model (rather than race) with the glass blades (rudder and daggerboard).

On the flip side I saw a really nice Rocket come up for sale this past year. You could tell it had been babied, came with trailer, etc. for like 5-6k. Predictably it sold in like a few days.

Well enough rambling on, Thanks for taking the time to read, as they saw YMMV and good luck in the search. You will have to post pics when successful.
 
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