Is Sunfish Race right for me?

WCB

Super Anarchist
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Park City, UT
@Sun I'm not sure if it's been clearly stated but it may not be possible to buy a new Sunfish. Laser Performance hasn't been good at supplying them and I believe the pipeline has dried up. That's why SunfishDirect has decided to make their own Sunfish type boat, called the Sol, and the opportunity presented itself for Fulcrum to create a board style boat like the Sunfish but with all of or most of the issues of a Sunfish resolved, especially the weight. Maybe just maybe somebody somewhere has a new Sunfish that hasn't sold but I kind of doubt it.
 

Sun

New member
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.....SunfishDirect has decided to make their own Sunfish type boat, called the Sol.....
I wonder if the Sol hulls comes with the foams inside - or are they like the new Sunfish hulls.
 
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@last

Anarchist
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I wonder if the Sol hulls comes with the foams inside - or are they like the new ones.
Based on the people involved in owning/running the company/actually building the boat, if the goal is to buy new, and the Sunfish is not available, the Rocket would be an easy second choice as the Clarks are very talented.
Finally I did read a post one time that kind of stuck with me from a new buyer such as yourself. They used the phrase, paralysis by analysis and perhaps you might be headed in that direction. At the end of the day, pick a direction that gets you on the water sooner rather than later, be it a sailing school, club, community sailing center, buying a new or used board boat. Not meant as a criticism, I just can't imagine a life devoid of actual sailing and I think the sooner you get to that stage the better.
 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
5,666
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Rhode Island
Based on the people involved in owning/running the company/actually building the boat, if the goal is to buy new, and the Sunfish is not available, the Rocket would be an easy second choice as the Clarks are very talented.
Finally I did read a post one time that kind of stuck with me from a new buyer such as yourself. They used the phrase, paralysis by analysis and perhaps you might be headed in that direction. At the end of the day, pick a direction that gets you on the water sooner rather than later, be it a sailing school, club, community sailing center, buying a new or used board boat. Not meant as a criticism, I just can't imagine a life devoid of actual sailing and I think the sooner you get to that stage the better.
Just do it.
 

WCB

Super Anarchist
4,517
909
Park City, UT
I wonder if the Sol hulls comes with the foams inside - or are they like the new Sunfish hulls.
There's a good chance that it does, or whatever the Sunfish was using most recently in their build because the Sol is targeted at being able to race boat for boat with a Sunfish so making it as close as possible without infringing on the intellectual property of the Sunfish was the goal.

@Sun, where are you located? Not in a specific/personal sense as many want to preserve their privacy, but where is your general sailing area? I'm just curious about a good fit for boats. For example, if you were near me, I knew of a recent Sunfish for cheap in the middle of nowhere and it looked to be in great condition.
 
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There's a good chance that it does, or whatever the Sunfish was using most recently in their build because the Sol is targeted at being able to race boat for boat with a Sunfish so making it as close as possible without infringing on the intellectual property of the Sunfish was the goal.

@Sun, where are you located? Not in a specific/personal sense as many want to preserve their privacy, but where is your general sailing area? I'm just curious about a good fit for boats. For example, if you were near me, I knew of a recent Sunfish for cheap in the middle of nowhere and it looked to be in great condition.
The SOL does not have foam internally. They chose to address that problem by using internal air bladders inside the hull.

If you are giving serious consideration to buying a new boat and trying to decide between the SOL and the Rocket there are really only 2 main considerations:
- The SOL is intended as a proxy for a Sunfish. In terms of hull shape, rigging and weight they are identical. As far as I know, the only hulls out there are prototypes and there are currently no organized SOL fleets. From what I've read, about a dozen people put orders in at the Annapolis boat show. It remains to be seen how many boats will be on the water in 2023. Having said that, SOL is designed to race against Sunfish and SOL racing will allegedly allow Sunfish hulls to race. It remains to be seen whether ISCA will reciprocate.
- The Rocket was never conceived as a Sunfish replacement and is not geared toward racing. The whole point of the Rocket was to use modern materials and methods on a classic design for the single purpose of having fun, whether that's with a family, racing with other Rockets, or just splashing around by yourself. As far as I know, there is only 1 Rocket "fleet" - a bunch of friends in Marion MA that all decided to get Rockets. In total, there are less than 200 of them in the wild. Most owners are like me - not geared for racing, but interested in having fun with a classic design (that just happens to be 40 lbs lighter than all other comparable boats).
As I have said before, I don't think either is your best choice (but if you have money to burn, knock yourself out). I can't see making a $5-6000 investment in a hobby you don't know if you like yet. You can easily find an excellent used Sunfish between $1-2K and if you eventually get the racing bug you can upgrade it for about the same investment. I can personally attest that the Rocket is a great boat and will do everything you want it to (except qualify to race in a Sunfish fleet). If you have the money to spend on a new boat, we'd love to have you in the Rocket family. I can't personally attest, but strongly suspect the same is true of the SOL. But as a sailor with a budget, I can't recommend either as a sound investment for someone in your position.

Edit to add disclaimer: I do not have any relationship with Fulcrum Speedworks other than being a happy Rocket owner. I do personally know both the owner of Fulcrum Speedworks and one of the principles behind the SOL. Both are wonderful people and dedicated sailors.
 
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Sun

New member
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The SOL does not have foam internally. They chose to address that problem by using internal air bladders inside the hull.

If you are giving serious consideration to buying a new boat and trying to decide between the SOL and the Rocket there are really only 2 main considerations:
- The SOL is intended as a proxy for a Sunfish. In terms of hull shape, rigging and weight they are identical. As far as I know, the only hulls out there are prototypes and there are currently no organized SOL fleets. From what I've read, about a dozen people put orders in at the Annapolis boat show. It remains to be seen how many boats will be on the water in 2023. Having said that, SOL is designed to race against Sunfish and SOL racing will allegedly allow Sunfish hulls to race. It remains to be seen whether ISCA will reciprocate.
- The Rocket was never conceived as a Sunfish replacement and is not geared toward racing. The whole point of the Rocket was to use modern materials and methods on a classic design for the single purpose of having fun, whether that's with a family, racing with other Rockets, or just splashing around by yourself. As far as I know, there is only 1 Rocket "fleet" - a bunch of friends in Marion MA that all decided to get Rockets. In total, there are less than 200 of them in the wild. Most owners are like me - not geared for racing, but interested in having fun with a classic design (that just happens to be 40 lbs lighter than all other comparable boats).
As I have said before, I don't think either is your best choice (but if you have money to burn, knock yourself out). I can't see making a $5-6000 investment in a hobby you don't know if you like yet. You can easily find an excellent used Sunfish between $1-2K and if you eventually get the racing bug you can upgrade it for about the same investment. I can personally attest that the Rocket is a great boat and will do everything you want it to (except qualify to race in a Sunfish fleet). If you have the money to spend on a new boat, we'd love to have you in the Rocket family. I can't personally attest, but strongly suspect the same is true of the SOL. But as a sailor with a budget, I can't recommend either as a sound investment for someone in your position.
Rocket seems cartoppable. IMO, anything over 100lb is not. Big plus if that is doable.

Sol would be great. When I move, I can race it and never will get rid of it. Let's see what ISCA will reciprocate.

This was very helpful. Thank you. Although, I'll have to respectfully disagree with, "You can easily find an excellent used Sunfish between $1-2K."

I could've sailed through Oct, Nov, and a couple of days in Dec if I hadn't been looking for a used Sunfish. The gas, time I spent and the frustration.

If I buy new, I have to order now to get it by the summer. If I keep on looking for a used SF, I'll be gambling.

Anyway, I'll find something to sail by summer. Where can I follow the ISCA decision on Sol?
 
Rocket seems cartoppable. IMO, anything over 100lb is not. Big plus if that is doable.

Sol would be great. When I move, I can race it and never will get rid of it. Let's see what ISCA will reciprocate.

This was very helpful. Thank you. Although, I'll have to respectfully disagree with, "You can easily find an excellent used Sunfish between $1-2K."

I could've sailed through Oct, Nov, and a couple of days in Dec if I hadn't been looking for a used Sunfish. The gas, time I spent and the frustration.

If I buy new, I have to order now to get it by the summer. If I keep on looking for a used SF, I'll be gambling.

Anyway, I'll find something to sail by summer. Where can I follow the ISCA decision on Sol?
Used Sunfish: It depends on where you are looking. You still haven't shared your location, and that's cool, but don't be afraid to expand your search. There is a guy in Sloatsburg NY who restores Sunfish and sells them on Craigslist for around $1000 and up. He almost always has 3 or 4 boats for sale. Here are 3 in the price range I described:


Cartopping: A Sunfish is also easily cartoppable, but a bit harder to do solo. One advantage of my Rocket is that I can load and unload without any help if I use a piece of wood as a sidebar across my roof rack. I could probably do it with a 'fish, but it would be a little dicier (Note: my dad did it all through the 70s without even a roof rack). A Sunfish is super easy if you have a second set of hands.

ISCA: Meh - check their website. Follow Facebook groups. Follow discussions here. Talk to Sunfish racers. Again - there are no SOL fleets yet, so at this point it's all theoretical.
 

Wavedancer II

Anarchist
724
187
Unfortunately, the Sunfish class (ISCA) is controlled by LP ☹. This company won't allow official incorporation of the SOL into the Sunfish class. However, clubs could allow SOL racing along with Sunfish. All this is speculative of course since there are no SOLs as yet. I have my doubts about the economic viability of the SOL in the long run, but if LP keeps the supply of Sunfish at some sort of minimum as they currently seem to practice, perhaps there is a commercial future for the SOL.
 

WCB

Super Anarchist
4,517
909
Park City, UT
Unfortunately, the Sunfish class (ISCA) is controlled by LP ☹. This company won't allow official incorporation of the SOL into the Sunfish class. However, clubs could allow SOL racing along with Sunfish. All this is speculative of course since there are no SOLs as yet. I have my doubts about the economic viability of the SOL in the long run, but if LP keeps the supply of Sunfish at some sort of minimum as they currently seem to practice, perhaps there is a commercial future for the SOL.
I don't think that's true at all. The Sol was developed with the cooperation of the class, as well as the "practice" parts that were allowed by the class that were sourced by SunfishDirect prior to the development of the Sol because they couldn't get the parts they needed from LP.
 

@last

Anarchist
928
68
As it always easier to spend someone else money........

Looks like two of the boats you are interested in are in stock at this dealer (if inventory posted on their website is correct.



This is what I was referring too with the Trailex trailer. I believe their lead times have improved and this can be UPS'ed to you and falls within the average DIYer skill to assemble.


An example of what looks to be decent shape used one.


Also some equipment info. While the three used ones listed above my post look very nice, the blue one has the old style rudder (pre 1972) and I would personally avoid this like the plague. They stopped producing this style and LP at one time (not sure if they still produce it) offered a rudder conversion kit for like $500-600 (not sure what current pricing might be if avail) that converted this older style rudder to a new style gudgeon/pintle/blade/cheek, etc. It's like throwing good money at a very old car-unless there is some sentimental attachment (boat has been in family for a long time and family wants to keep using it/restore it) it doesn't make sense to go down that road. The most expense one of the [email protected]$2200 looks to be the nicest one of those three.

With regard to sails, it is not usual for older boats (and sometimes newer ones) to have new (or newer) sails installed on them. Sails fall into two categories. First, non OEM/not class legal ones primarily used for rec sailing. These are very good and could be had for under $200. If racing in a class sanctioned event, then you have to use class legal sails and the cost would be roughly double that.

As I mentioned earlier, road trips are nearly mandatory. While it is possible that the right boat might happen to be in your back yard, that is probably unlikely. The last 4 trailerable boats I bought involved two round [email protected],000 miles each and two round [email protected],000 miles each. Bear in mind these were for what are considered pretty common boats (Sunfish, J/70, etc). On the plus side I had two sellers who were able to work with me and as part of the pricing agreed to meet me half way in the delivery. YMMV on this though as some sellers are not able to or have any desire to be a part of the delivery process.

Well enough rambling for now. Good luck.
 

Flyingfish

New member
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24
US
I don't think that's true at all. The Sol was developed with the cooperation of the class, as well as the "practice" parts that were allowed by the class that were sourced by SunfishDirect prior to the development of the Sol because they couldn't get the parts they needed from LP.
Having spoken with some people involved in administering the Sunfish class, they were totally unaware of the Sol's development.

To Sun, if you plan to race, buy a Sunfish (new or used.) If you don't plan to race, buy a Rocket. Buying a Sol would be buying a boat no better than a Sunfish that cannot be raced (I doubt there will be many Sol fleets) and will have less resale value.
 
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Fat Point Jack

Super Anarchist
2,417
386
When the kids got tired of sailing it, I turned into yard art.
Sunfish rudder.JPG
Sunfish Santa.JPG
Sunfish reinporps.JPG
 

Jack123123

New member
RS Areo seems like a nice one too, but I assume, it would be too much for me. Rs Neo or Zest are good, but I think I'd stick with the Sunfish instead. And MC Scow is very tempting.
MC's are great if you worry about tipping over or if you have trouble hiking. My club has a fleet and I know plenty of people who sail them that are in they're 60s-70s. they almost never tip over and there isn't a huge learning gap.
 




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