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GBaldwin
10-06-2000, 05:15 PM
Several months ago someone on the forum was looking for plans for a "wooden sunfish". The authro indicated that the plans were in Popular Science in 1949. He indicated that they were out of print and that Popular Science only had one copy and wouldn't make a copy as it was not acid free paper and would be destroyed.

I have access to a library with hard copy of
Popular Science for the yedar in question. However, there were no plans for a wooden sunfish in 1949, or 1947 - 1953. In the March 1951 issue there was a set of plans for "Solution: A 16 ft. Plywood Sailing Scow". I made a copy of the article and have the plans is anyone is interested.

Then, two days ago I searched Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature. I recalled that the Sunfish by Vanguard was celebrating its 25th anniversary. I looked in the 1975 index and found the plans for "Sailfish" a wooden replica of Vanguard's Sunfish. It was in Mechanics Illustrated, volume 71, pages 40-42 of the August, 1975 issue. I made a copy of this as well and would be willing to share it.

The "Sailfish" is the older design, 13 ft., 46 inches wide, inset cockpit, weighs 186 lbs. (according to the author who used 3/8 inch plywood) and uses the Sunfish rig from Vanguard.

Hope this is helpful and, again, contact me it you have any desire for either articles.

garland reese
10-06-2000, 11:57 PM
Hi Mr. Baldwin,

I'd like to get hold of the plans for the Sunfish. My daughter is learning to sail. I'd love to build her a wooden Sunfish. I have an old set of lateen spars, though not from a Sunfish, but it'd probably work. I think the sail area is less the the 75 sq ft of the Sunfish.
it would seem that 3/8" plywood would build a bombproof hull. I wonder if 4 or 6mm would work?
Let me know how to get a copy of the plans.

ishmael
10-07-2000, 03:02 PM
Hi,

I'm a bit suprised that there were ever plans for a wooden Sunfish (speaking of the class, yes?). The Sailfish was definately originally a plywood hull, as I watched my older brother refurbish one back in the early sixties. He sailed it for a couple years, then sold it.

I learned to sail on a glass Sailfish, and at the time we bought it used and fixed it up (1967?), the glass sunfish had superceded the sailfish as a beachboat/racing trainer on the lake where we sailed. I suppose the sunfish would have been built first in ply as a prototype, but if so, it was well before 1975.

All that said, I think either boat has much going for it as a sail trainer for young folk.

The Sunfish is the dryer,(if such can be claimed for the type!) more comfortable, more able boat.

Prob'ly the major drawback, in warmer waters, is the ease and desire to capsize either boat. A two edged sword no doubt. That said, I remember being proud, that in a month of sailing in all conditions up to a fresh breeze gusting a gale, I never capsized the summer I was thirteen.

Like to hear more of this discussion.

Rick Gruenewald
10-07-2000, 06:54 PM
I have my first sailboat in the basement right now awaiting a new deck. She's a 1954 (or thereabouts) wooden Sunfish that had an oval metal plate tacked to the old deck saying that she'd been built by "alcort inc." in Waterbury, Conn. The sides are solid .625" thick ribbon striped mahogany, bulkheads(?) are all .25" fir plywood (of a grade that probably isn't available today), bottom and deck are of the same plywood with some kind of resin impregnated paper veneer both sides.
I wrote Vanguard Sailboats and they said that 1959 was the last year Sunfish were made of wood. Interestingly enough, there is confusion as to when the first wood Sunfish was built for they said the designers aren't even sure when that was. Evidently alcort did not keep very good records the first few years of operation, but according to Vanguard it was most likely 1952.
I have a wonderful old clear 2.25" thick cypress stave salvaged from a dismantled Heinz vinegar vat that I plan to rip .25" thick strips from and then book-match for the new deck.
Lots of fond memories sailing that boat. It'll be a sad day when my arthritic knees won't let me hike out anymore to keep her on her feet.

Todd Bradshaw
10-07-2000, 07:13 PM
The original Sunfish was designed and built between 1952 and 1954. Even the guys (Al &Cort of "Alcort") who designed and built it couldn't remember exactly when. The first fiberglass Sunfish came out in 1960. Up until that time, they were plywood with spruce spars and originally, ten-panelled cotton sails. The wooden versions were available in kit form.
I've got a book with a picture of a Sunfish kit spread out on the floor. The deck is one piece of fir plywood, the V-bottom is two pieces of the same. Solid ply bulkheads with a couple doorknob-sized holes bored through them, port and starboard, are blocked-in every couple of feet, attached to side planks built from Philppine Mahogany. The daggerboard well and mast step are blocked, to the bulkheads and anchored to a beveled keel piece and a deck beam which are let into the bulkheads and run full length, fore and aft. I can't see a rabbet on the keel piece, so it may have been internal with some sort of outer keel strip to protect the joint where the plywood panels meet. There are also four stringers, two under the deck, two inside the bottom and running lengthwise to help stiffen the plywood panels. The book mentions mahogany rubrails, but I can't tell exactly where they were - deck/side joints, bottom/side joints or maybe both. Other parts and the coamings are mostly mahogany.
These guys originally built iceboats and the construction is very similar to an old DN or Renegade with small pieces blocked together spreading a pair of plank sides.Weight was listed at 130 lbs.
Source: The Sunfish Book by Will White (Sail Publications Inc. - the Sail Magazine guys). It's mostly about racing, etc. but the first chapter has some history.
With that much internal structure, I think that 3/8" ply would be too much.
T.E.B.

ishmael
10-07-2000, 08:19 PM
Thanks Rick and Todd,

Histories are so good; knowing more. I only knew that those glass sunfish were faster than my sailfish, and that my brother had once had a wooden sailfish. My presumption of a 'proto-type sunfish' was clearly that. They were originally built in wood! Was the foot well self draining?

I can't remember about my brother's boat, but did the early wooden sunfish have the signature drain in the bow of the later glass ones? I assume they did. My glass sailfish always leaked at the deck joint. It was one of the rituals at the end of the day to turn it over and drain the hull.

Either of you know how many of each were built in wood? Best, Ishmael

P.S. I just had to add that these are GREAT boats for their purpose. Hard to beat, even today, though, obviously, there are more sophisticated hulls and rigs.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 10-07-2000).]

Rick Gruenewald
10-07-2000, 09:09 PM
Ishmael, funny you ask about self-bailing. My boat had a "De Persia Automatic Bailer" made in Grand Haven, Mich. installed in the footwell. It is of some kind of cast metal and has this legend engraved on the knurled screw cap that opens it. I'd like to find another as I had to cut through the retaining nut to remove it prior to renewing the boat.

There were two 1/2" diameter slotted screw-plugs in collars, one mounted fore and the other aft of the footwell that I used to drain the hull after a sail. When the intake of water grew to where it took several minutes to clear, I installed a 6" screw-out deck plate at each location so that I could bail and then sop up the remainder with a towel and air her out for the next sail. (Forgive me, this was in my younger days when it hadn't occurred that to seal the leak(s) at their source would have been the better way to insure the boat's future.)

I weighed the boat one time when I thought she was "relatively" dry inside and tipped the scale at 142 lb.

Todd's description is right on. I can't say about the rubrails as my boat had none. The reincarnation may have curly cherry rubrails mounted to cover the deck to side joint if I can find that board and it's long enough...

garland reese
10-07-2000, 10:45 PM
This is fascinating stuff here. I've been wanting to build a wood version of a Sunfish, since I think that they would be very good boats for the family to learn to sail with. We have a small reservoir here that has a good bit of wind usually. These seem easy to transport and rig, and there are a number of modern 'glass ones around here.......even have a guy in town that is a Vanguard dealer. All the Sunfish that I've seen for sale (used) around here seem to hold their value well, at least as far as indications from the asking price vs overall condition goes. I've not seen too many around here for sale though, and I really would like to have a wooden boat (or two).
I'd never even heard of a wooden one, but given the age of the design, I should have figured that it had been built in wood at some point.
I'm glad to know that it is possible to have a wood version.......even do the spars in wood (I've thought about trying that with the birdsmouth technique). It would not have the history and appeal of an original wooden Sunfish, but it would sure be nicer than a 'glass one and would be a great learning project.
Now.....where is that gentleman with the plans source???
garland

Ian McColgin
10-09-2000, 10:47 AM
Those old wooden sailfish bring back memories. Dad made one in '51 as I remember. Maybe during that winter 'caus I was almost 3 and just rambunctions enough to todder into dangerous places. He and another pilot each made one and our two families - two adults, two kids under 4 and some camping gear on each boat - would set off for the weekend.

Let if never be said that those WWII vets and their young families lacked adventure.

We found when racing a Sunfish with a Sailfish rig against a Sailfish, that the Sunfish was faster mostly due to the greater power of the hull. Interesting what a little extra bouyancy in the right place will do.

Oh yeah, on those family outings, Mother's collie would tack us along the beach and join us for the fire out on the sandspit.

Even as we got larger and larger boats, we never let go of having the Sailfish (and later a plastic Sunfish) as the knockaround kid's boat and the boat the Mom & Dad would slip off with for a few hours . . .

staehpj1
10-13-2000, 02:36 PM
Do You have the MI article in a format that you can email? I would appreciate a copy. If you need to send it via snail mail maybe I should try to find a local copy at the library to save the trouble and postage.

Scott Rosen
10-13-2000, 04:48 PM
Great thread. Like you folks, I've sailed on a lot of different boats of all types and sizes (no square riggers, though). If I had to chose the ideal recreational day sailer, it would be a Sunfish or a Sailfish. They are simply a blast to sail. We had a Sailfish, 'glass I think. On the hot days, we would sail her a few hundred feet from shore and spend the day capsizing her. If you're looking for a boat to get the kids sailing, you can't do better than one of these. There are faster and slicker boats of that size--a Laser comes to mind--but none are more fun.

garland reese
10-13-2000, 09:11 PM
I agree Mr. Rosen,
I think that a Sunfish is just about perfect for starting out in sailing, especially for young people. The reasons that you have stated are the reasons that I'd like to have one. I have two kids 14 and 11, who want to learn to sail, as well as myself and my wife. My youngest is takeing lessons right now. I was very excited about the sailfish plans, but I cannot locate a source for them. The fellow who posted the original message seems to have dissappeared. I have been giving some thought to trying to take off lines from a
Sunfish hull and building one like a cedar strip canoe, or using the station frames to get out plywood panel shapes and build the thing S&G style, maybe with a strip/sheathed deck. The hull is pretty simple, so it shouldn't be too hard, but I don't know how legal that would be to copy the hull. We've no interest in organized Sunfish events, we just want to have some fun and learn to sail so we can build a bigger boat sometime. Building a wood version would certainly add a nice (and unique) touch to these little boats. I'd kinda like to try my hand at some birdsmouth spars too. Whadaya think??? Is it doable? Does it make any sense?
Garland

garland reese
10-14-2000, 12:35 AM
I think that I have found a source for the Mechanics Illustrated article.

John Muxlow
22 Somerset St.
Dartmouth, NS
Canada B2Y-1Z1

I found his email through a search on the web. He said he cannot scan the article, but he can photocopy and send it for $1.00/page plus $1.00 S&H. The article is three pages and is called "Build Our Aquafish" Mechanics Illustrated, August 1975.
Mr. Muxlow's email is jj.muxlow@ns.sympatico.ca
Hope this helps those interested.

Dave Carnell
10-14-2000, 11:23 AM
I located the MI article on the SUNFISH clone. I was sure I remembered one in Popular Science, too, but I extended the search from 1953 to 1970 and found nothing.

The MI AquaFish is grossly overweight, mostly because of using 3/8" plywood where 1/4" plywood would be more than adequate. As a result the AquaFish weighs 186# vs. 139# for a fiberglass Sunfish.

For $1 and an SASE I will send it along with information on a much simpler alternative and information on a very low-buck rig equivalent to the SUNFISH. If non-US send $2 and I will supply postage and envelope.

Dave Carnell
322 Pages Creek Dr.
Wilmington, NC 28411-7850
USA
<davecarnell@att.net>

[This message has been edited by Dave Carnell (edited 10-15-2000).]

BradW
10-17-2000, 01:41 PM
Here's a link to a Sailfish page! I learned to sail on a plywood Sailfish many moons ago. That thing could fly, I thought. The Sailfish site author lists 3 variants, one a Super Sailfish that is 2' longer and hoists a bigger sail. The author apparently sails a standard Sailfish w/ the larger sail, for a "turbo sailfish"! http://www.execpc.com/~abuelow/sfish.html

ishmael
10-17-2000, 08:58 PM
Off the wind, in a fresh breeze, in good puffs, the connection between the lone skipper and the boat on a sailfish is beautiful. Because of the low freeboard, without attention, it would dive. You had to lean back to keep her nose out of the wave overtaken. If you saw and moved just right, the boat skipped the waves like nothing I've experienced before or since.

Dave Carnell
10-21-2000, 06:32 AM
On rec.boats,building Jacques Mertens has posted that the Mechanix Illustrated for March, 1964, has an article on a FUNFISH that is a SAILFISH or SUNFISH clone. He is offering the magazine on ebay.

I have the 1975 MI Aquafish article for those who want it. My library only has MI back to 1967, so I don't have the '64 article. That may be the SAILFISH clone that I rembered as being in Pop. Sci. The one I remember had to be well before 1975.

The question of copyright was raised. This material is copyright, but the magazine is defunct and you cannot retrieve the articles any way but from back issues. It is the same as the problem of getting old "Rudder" articles.

If anyone can supply the 1964 article, I will be glad to combine it with the 1975 article and offer the package for $1 and a long SASE.

jsumrok
11-27-2000, 02:05 PM
Mr Balwin,

I'm very interested in obtaining a copy of the article describing how to build "Solution: A 16 ft. Plywood Sailing Scow". I'm not sure how to get in touch with you. Can you please post your e-mail address, or reply to me privately at jsumrok@serviceware.com? Thanks.

Tom Beecroft
11-29-2000, 01:16 AM
Boy you guys sure know how to humble a poor bloke. I've sailed sunfish about a dozen times from about 1970 to 1985 or 86, and again last year. Last year was the FIRST time I can recall not capsizing, and that was probably because I never got outside the seawall of the marina (my daughter was bored after a few minutes). How do you do it?

Todd Bradshaw
11-29-2000, 04:19 AM
I spent a couple years sailing a Sunfish when it was the only sailboat that I had access to. I was flying a balloon for a living and didn't have any money, but any day with winds over 10 knots was a day off, which left me a lot of time to go sailing. At first, I think it was a bit embarassing to be seen in a lowly Sunfish, which a lot of people don't think of as a "serious" sailboat. Out of vanity, as much as anything else, I decided that that if I was going to be seen sailing one, I wanted it to be as I passed most of the other boats on the lake.

The boat will sail in almost any kind of waves and wind, but there are a few tricks. First, rig the sail fairly low. Most people set-up a Sunfish so that they barely have to duck when the boom comes across. You want to limit the heeling power of the rig, so lower is better.

Second, in heavy air, you really need to be ready to hike-out. The boat is much faster flat than heeled way over. Also, at severe angles of heel, the clew and the end of the boom will hit the water and skip along the surface. When it does, you have reached the limit, as far as easing the sail and letting the top twist-off and spill wind. If you don't hike and bring the boat back up, it goes over. On windy days, the edge of the deck will be about halfway up your thighs and every thing above that will often be outboard for balance. After a while, you'll have abs of steel, just like Suzanne Summers...

The third tip is to do all your tacking and jibing under control. Don't sit there with half the mainsheet hanging out and wait for the boom to come flying over. Trim the sail as you steer through the turn. When the sail breaks, grab the boom, hand-carry it over your head and ease it out the other side with the sheet as you finish the turn. The best way to practice this is to spend a while doing tight figure-8's.

Tie a piece of 1/8" bungie cord, about 4' long to the tack corner of the boom. On the other end of it, make a loop that is a fairly snug fit over the top of the daggerboard. Most of the time, the loop-end of the bungie just hangs off the boom, but when you are running, you pull the board up, grab the bungie and loop it over the top of the board. This works as a preventer (to prevent an accidental jibe) and also jams the board against the front of the well, to keep it retracted. This keeps the boat from "tripping" on the daggerboard if you are going downwind in heavy air.

The Sunfish is highly under-rated as a sailboat. Many people learned to sail on one, but most quickly moved on to something grander. Very few stuck with it long enough to really learn it well. All you have is a tiller, a mainsheet and your body as ballast, but it feels really good to blast by a $20,000 boat on a broad reach and overhear them say "Gee, that guy's really good."

paladin
12-12-2000, 01:17 PM
Gentlemen,
The "wooden sunfish" article came out in the 1956-1958 time frame either in Machanix Illustrated or a similar magazine because I built one in wood shop in high school. It used 3/4 by 1/2 inch stringers on edge for the deck 3/4 by 1" for the chine logs and 1/4 inch plywood for the hull and deck....I may be wrong on where the plans came from because I also built a Thunderbird during the same time frame and the plans came from the U.S. plywood Corp. who spnsored the T'bird project. I remember because I coated the entire boat inside and out with low viscosity epoxy, no cloth, and used epoxy and duplex nails, the nails being removed after the epoxy set. I had lots of "famous" boubuilders and a couple of designers telling me it would never work. 25 years later it was still sailing until my nephew destroyed it in an auto accident. The T'bird still sails and is lighter than the new ones.
Chuck

millsfam
06-03-2010, 11:29 AM
Several months ago someone on the forum was looking for plans for a "wooden sunfish". hello, Then, two days ago I searched Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature. I recalled that the Sunfish by Vanguard was celebrating its 25th anniversary. I looked in the 1975 index and found the plans for "Sailfish" a wooden replica of Vanguard's Sunfish. It was in Mechanics Illustrated, volume 71, pages 40-42 of the August, 1975 issue. I made a copy of this as well and would be willing to share it.

The "Sailfish" is the older design, 13 ft., 46 inches wide, inset cockpit, weighs 186 lbs. (according to the author who used 3/8 inch plywood) and uses the Sunfish rig from Vanguard.

Hope this is helpful and, again, contact me it you have any desire for either articles.
hello, i have a n interest in your wood sunfish plans . if you would be able to get me copies i would greatly appreciate it. let me know of what expence i need to cover. thank you, Bob Mills

PLyTheMan
06-03-2010, 02:13 PM
Not a Sunfish exactly but there are free plans for a sailboard over at Svensons called the Jamaican (http://www.svensons.com/boat/?p=SailBoats/Jamaican). This one doesn't have any kind of cockpit on it though. Also check out a discussion with a bunch of plans over here (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?t=11619).

Cuyahoga Chuck
06-03-2010, 02:36 PM
Salvation is at hand. Jacques Mertens did an S&G version of the "Sunfish", recently that he calls the "Moonfish". Being S&G it's about 50 lb. lighter than the weight quoted in post #1. Some of the Sunfish pieces will fit the Moonfish but not vice-versa.
http://www.bateau.com/studyplans/MF14_study.htm?prod=MF14
Why get carpal-tunnel driving screws when you can glue your boat together?

Boatsmith
06-03-2010, 03:00 PM
The third boat I built was a Sailfish. Sophomore woodshop. That boat would fly and flip, great fun. David

Todd Bradshaw
06-03-2010, 04:41 PM
The Moonfish looks quite good, though I'm not too keen on their mainsheet system compared to the one on a Sunfish and would change it. I suppose they're trying to eliminate the drooping tendency of the sheet running along below the boom, which you do have to watch out for on a Sunfish when tacking, but in the process of changing it they lost a lot of sail control. They took a lot of volume out of the front of the hull. I wonder what happens when you stuff the bow into a big wave?

Cuyahoga Chuck
06-03-2010, 06:50 PM
Not a Sunfish exactly but there are free plans for a sailboard over at Svensons called the Jamaican (http://www.svensons.com/boat/?p=SailBoats/Jamaican). This one doesn't have any kind of cockpit on it though. Also check out a discussion with a bunch of plans over here (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?t=11619).

If you look at the Jamaican plans carefully you'll see the bottom isn't wood. There's a keel hanging down from the deck that forms a vee-bottom when it's overlayed with several layers of Dynel and wetted out with polyester resin.

Keith Wilson
06-03-2010, 08:28 PM
Well, I learned to sail on a Sunfish, and a wooden clone would be interesting. I just bought a 'March '64 Mechanix Illustrated on eBay for $3.50, and when it arrives I'll make scans if the plans look decent. If I can figure out an easy way to do it, I'll put them on the web somewhere so anyone can download them. Otherwise I can send 'em by e-mail as .pdf files.

sailboy3
06-03-2010, 08:53 PM
I have a wooden sunfish hull that I got for free but have never had the time to deal with it. Too many other boats.
I also have a fg sunfish to generally abuse and fool around in with my friends; great boat for the purpose.

marcellsworth
06-03-2010, 10:28 PM
There is a Sunfish Sailor group at Yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sunfish_sailor/

In the files they have plans for a wood Super Sailfish. You have to join the group to get to the files, but it's free.

Marc

waynec
06-04-2010, 07:48 AM
I can't remember about my brother's boat, but did the early wooden Sunfish have the signature drain in the bow of the later glass ones? I assume they did. My glass sailfish always leaked at the deck joint. It was one of the rituals at the end of the day to turn it over and drain the hull.

Either of you know how many of each were built in wood? Best, Ishmael

Todd has it pretty well nailed down with his reference to Will White’s Sunfish® Book…, now revised and expanded as The Sunfish® Bible. Same history, just more tactical info for sailing the lateen rig.

I will add the wood hull was ¼” plywood.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/17/Sailfish_Drawing_c1945_.png/230px-Sailfish_Drawing_c1945_.png


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailfish_(sailboat) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailfish_(sailboat))


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunfish®_(dinghy) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunfish_(dinghy))


As Todd mentioned, record keeping was poor to non-existent. Serialized hulls didn't appear until the fiberglass generation. I think it's anyone's guess how many wood boats came out of Alcort. I've heard unconfirmed estimates of 200 a year (in later years) for wood Sunfish®, 400 a year when the fiberglass design was added.

The wood fish had the bow drain, however they were available as both Alcort shop built or kit built. Kits came with two drain plugs and the instructions recommend one in the bow and one high on the transom..., open both for ventilation during storage. I've seen kit built boats with drain plugs in some pretty unconventional places.

The glass boats were originally bonded at the deck flange, but saw rougher kid-play than probably anticipated. I first learned to fiberglass re-affixing that seam on my first Sailfish® back in ’63.




My boat had a "De Persia Automatic Bailer" made in Grand Haven, Mich. installed in the footwell. It is of some kind of cast metal and has this legend engraved on the knurled screw cap that opens it. I'd like to find another as I had to cut through the retaining nut to remove it prior to renewing the boat.
De Persia bailers still show up now and again. I’ve seen them in both bronze and aluminum. They liked to corrode solid. The original instructions said to disassemble and grease the threads monthly.

Several boats used that bailer, but Alcort probably ordered the lions share. De Persia went belly up shortly after Sunfish® switched to their own plastic design. A replacement these days is PVC, available from any Sunfish® dealer…, or watch ebay and keep a few gold sovereigns handy for bidding on the old style metal one.



There is a Sunfish® Sailor group at Yahoo -http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sunfish_sailor (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sunfish_sailor) In the files they have plans for a wood Super Sailfish. You have to join the group to get to the files, but it's free.
Thank you Marc…, I was wondering when that resource would come up. ;)

Also if you use the search feature at WoodenBoat Forum (an obscure forum, I know) you’ll find several threads on the subject as recent as a month ago with links to a few of the wood knock-off fish available today.

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?t=114111&highlight=sailfish (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?t=114111&highlight=sailfish)


I agree, the MoonFish looks like the best of the lot with the MiniCup a close second.
MiniCup Link - http://www.stevproj.com/FastSailrs.html (http://www.stevproj.com/FastSailrs.html)


Mid to late '50s Sunfish®


http://www.sunfishforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=5444&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1259591189
Rob Herschel Restoration Project



Here’s some trivia for fun…

Alcort founded 1945
First boat – Standard Sailfish® 11’ 7” wood hull 65 sq ft of sail (plans or Alcort shop built - you paint & finish)
Within a couple of years … Super Sailfish® introduced 13’ 7” wood hull 75 sq ft of sail.
Late ‘40s the kit idea appeared, plans went away forever - replaced by the kit assembly instructions.
~’52 the Sunfish® came onboard (kit or Alcort shop built only – never were plans available to the public for the brand name Alcort Sunfish®)
1959 Sailfish® emerged in fiberglass
1960 Sunfish® out in fiberglass
Alcort phased out shop built wood boats, but still offered kits until AMF bought the company in 1969
Wood kits could still be found at a few dealers up into the 1970’s
;)

SamSam
06-04-2010, 08:29 AM
I had a Sailfish that was loads of cheap thrills, but I did have a crappy time once when I abandoned ship a little too early and it sailed away from me. Wear a life jacket.

Jlaup
06-04-2010, 09:55 PM
Hi,



Prob'ly the major drawback, in warmer waters, is the ease and desire to capsize either boat. A two edged sword no doubt. That said, I remember being proud, that in a month of sailing in all conditions up to a fresh breeze gusting a gale, I never capsized the summer I was thirteen.

Like to hear more of this discussion.

I was 'docked' for 3 weeks in the summer of 1968 for flipping a sunfish a reported 20 times (I was not counting) in one afternoon on Lake Winnipesaukee at Camp Tecumseh:) At 11 years old, what's the fun of sailing if you can't cool off every now and again. I was outraged by the unfairness of the punishment!

waynec
06-05-2010, 01:07 AM
I was 'docked' for 3 weeks in the summer of 1968 for flipping a sunfish a reported 20 times (I was not counting) in one afternoon on Lake Winnipesauke at Camp Tecumseh. At 11 years old, what's the fun of sailing if you can't cool off every now and again. I was outraged by the unfairness of the punishment!
This sounds like more of a camp politics issue than a boating one. I surmise you were supposed to be learning sailing and improving rather than doing perpetual capsize drills..., but you'll have to take that up with the camp's powers that be.

I can empathize having spent many youthful summer days "sailing" beach boats. It's all part of the fun. :cool:

.

boatbuddha
06-05-2010, 09:45 AM
I was 'docked' for 3 weeks in the summer of 1968 for flipping a sunfish a reported 20 times (I was not counting) in one afternoon on Lake Winnipesaukee at Camp Tecumseh:) At 11 years old, what's the fun of sailing if you can't cool off every now and again. I was outraged by the unfairness of the punishment!

I learned to sail on a sunfish, and I'm sure I spent more time in the water than on the boat when starting out.

Daniel Noyes
06-06-2010, 01:56 PM
Yeah there as much a swiming toy as a boat!
but they really are a great boat.
I routinely sail by 20-25' cruising boats on PI sound

I think I have unintentionally fliped my Sunny 3 times in 8 yrs and I think I had the darger board out sailing off the wind in heavy conditions each time, the deck burries and grabs and over I go

Jlaup
06-06-2010, 07:07 PM
Just for the record, all the flips in 1968 were intentional:)

Keith Wilson
06-08-2010, 06:06 PM
I just received the March 1964 issue of Mechanix Illustrated. (Communist Subversion Schools Operating in the US!! :D). It contains plans for the "Funfish", which looks a great deal like the Alcort Sunfish. The coaming's slightly different, but it has a footwell. If anybody wants a copy of the plans, send me a PM. I'll post them on the web eventually, but paper copies are easy.

Chan
06-16-2010, 01:18 PM
The sailfish was flush decked, I've also thought of building a wood sunlfish, I'm sure it would be lighter than the glass version, all the hardware and sails could come from sunfish dealers for quite a bit of money for what they are, ie. last time I priced a new rudder, tiller It was hunderds of dollars.
I remember sailing a sailfish with 5 of us little buddies in a gale in Vineyard Haven harbor. The flags were all red and we were screaming with the hull totally submerged, jumping off then climbing back on...what a memory.

waynec
06-17-2010, 02:15 PM
I've also thought of building a wood sunfish,

I'm sure it would be lighter than the glass version,

all the hardware and sails could come from sunfish dealers for quite a bit of money for what they are, ie. last time I priced a new rudder, tiller It was hunderds of dollars.

There are links to some available plans in earlier replies to this thread.

The kit Sunfish weighed in at 145#, Today's fiberglass Sunfish weighs 120# Fiberglass has a specific gravity > than most wood, but at 7/32" thick the bulk is a whole lot less.

I've worked up the BOM for building a wood Sunfish. Using the aftermarket sail now available for around $140 and used fittings & spars it can be done for between $1500 and $2000. Even less if you get lucky on used parts and go cheap on the wood.

Buy new fittings and rigging from the dealer and the cost would be right in there with building a new car using parts counter components. :eek:

.

pwilling
08-27-2010, 07:27 PM
This thread was great fun, and very nostalgia-provoking. I learned a lot about sailing on a sunfish my dad built in a couple of weeks in 1956 or so -- he painted her out, launched her, and won a race with her the next week. She was a plywood kit. I think my cousin still has her in the Adirondacks. I started thinking about her because my stepson might get the sailing bug, and I can't think of a better start for a newbie on the water (SF Bay).

Dave Carnell
08-28-2010, 12:02 PM
My Nutmeg, a modified Bolger Featherwind. can use a SUNFISH rig as a drop in. I sold over 600 sets of plans worldwide befor selling the business to Thom Vetromile at <smallboatsforum.com>. He sells it in his store. And Bolger's estate gets a royalty.
You cannot flip it and it will accomodate four adults.

signalcharlie
01-12-2014, 07:40 AM
2014 Update: Plans for the Funfish, featured in the March 1964 Mechanix Illustrated, are now available in the Yahoo Group Sunfish_Sailor (http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sunfish_sailor/files), courtesy of Brian. Scroll down to the pdfs. Also Norman shared a picture of the boat he built from the plans in 2011. Can't upload jpg here, too big, but I have a picture on my Small Boat Restoration blog (http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2014/01/funfish-sailboat.html)

Kent

We have two wooden Sunfish, one restored 1953 and one 1965 hull. The 1965 needs new plywood on the hull, and the entire rig, that is our next project after the Penobscot 14

Cuyahoga Chuck
01-12-2014, 06:56 PM
Here's a thread on building a Moonfish that is almost a tutorial on how it's done.
http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?170494-Moonfish-Build-in-UK

Keith Wilson
01-12-2014, 11:04 PM
And I now have scans of the article from Mechanix Illustrated, March '64, with the Funfish plans. PM me if you'd like a copy. There's quite enough detail to build one if you're so inclined.

Here's the one on signalcharlie's site:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-A3bMCdulYmw/UtKWaweloGI/AAAAAAAAKKo/DRiREll9UQM/s800/Funfish.jpg

Tim Marchetti
01-15-2014, 08:41 AM
Keith was kind enough to send me plans for Funfish. I have most of the parts modeled on the computer. I wanted to get opinions on whether to camber the deck or not before I expand the panels and finalize the layout.
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab331/123mardog/Funfish/lines_zps334c2410.png (http://s877.photobucket.com/user/123mardog/media/Funfish/lines_zps334c2410.png.html)
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab331/123mardog/Funfish/ren2_zps49a5f2b8.png (http://s877.photobucket.com/user/123mardog/media/Funfish/ren2_zps49a5f2b8.png.html)
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab331/123mardog/Funfish/ren1_zps7ff29a8b.png (http://s877.photobucket.com/user/123mardog/media/Funfish/ren1_zps7ff29a8b.png.html)
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab331/123mardog/Funfish/ren4_zps6b7a6f23.png (http://s877.photobucket.com/user/123mardog/media/Funfish/ren4_zps6b7a6f23.png.html)

http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab331/123mardog/Funfish/ren5_zps28be6f0c.png (http://s877.photobucket.com/user/123mardog/media/Funfish/ren5_zps28be6f0c.png.html)

timo4352
01-15-2014, 10:06 AM
The flat deck makes for the easy setup on the strongback. It's built upside down so the frames are all at the same height.

Tim Marchetti
01-15-2014, 10:25 AM
The flat deck makes for the easy setup on the strongback. It's built upside down so the frames are all at the same height.
I'm thinking about tab and peg construction without a strongback, so the deck could have some camber. I think it would be nice, but I'm not sure if it's needed or desirable.

Todd Bradshaw
01-15-2014, 11:41 AM
The modern Sunfish has a little bit. It might stiffen the deck a bit and makes it look a bit less like a box.

http://webpages.charter.net/tbradshaw/Sails%20and%20Plans/sunfish.jpg

Notice the big clam cleats on deck near the forward corners of the foot well. These, combined with a small ratchet block on a stand-up mount between the daggerboard and foot well are the best way to handle the sheeting on a Sunfish. It would be wise to back up the deck ply with some structure for them.

p.s. The daggerboard does not need to be that wide (front to back) on that boat. A sunfish board is maybe 10".

Tim Marchetti
01-15-2014, 12:02 PM
Thanks Todd, that was my thinking too about the deck. I drew the baord and the rudder from the Funfish plans, but I'd like to see the actual sunfish parts.
Nice sail in the picture!

Keith Wilson
01-15-2014, 05:49 PM
Nice CAD models. I think a little athwartships camber would look good, make the deck a bit more rigid, and maybe keep a tiny bit of water out of the footwell. The sheer is dead flat, so you you could do it without torturing the plywood at all, or really making it much harder to set up on a strongback.

Another thought - I'd put a large solid wood piece inside the joint between the deck and the footwell sides, then round it to maybe a 1" radius. That would avoid a lot of bruises on the back of the legs.

Tim Marchetti
01-15-2014, 07:44 PM
Thanks Keith, good idea about the well.

Todd Bradshaw
01-16-2014, 01:18 AM
There is a good profile drawing showing the foils here:
http://sailsportmarine.com/images/Sunfish_Rig.jpg

There are a number of things that can be done, some similar to a modern Sunfish, which would improve the cockpit if feasible in plywood. On a Sunfish, the deck overhangs the cockpit foot well by a few inches on all sides. It gives a place to through-bolt the ratchet block in front, gives a place to hook your toes when hiking on the sides and allows a small cubby-hole in the aft side of the cockpit for storage. Sailing the boat well in decent wind would be quite difficult without somewhere to hook your toes on the far side of the cockpit as you hike, because the boat needs to be sailed flat for best performance. A fore and aft hiking strap in the footwell is also pretty handy. Also, the farther forward you can rig the forward boom block, the better. With the free-sliding gooseneck, a block well forward acts as an automatically adjusting downhaul for the sail. The harder you sheet in, the more downhaul tension you have, to flatten the sail for upwind and heavy-weather sailing. As you bear away and ease the sail, the tension is reduced for a fuller sail. Moving that block farther away from mid-boom also reduces the amount that mainsheet tension can bend the boom and suck the draft out of the lower part of the sail.

You also want a Sunfish-style shorter tiller with a tiller extension. The one shown would never allow you to hike out, or to sit on it when you need a third hand during a tack. The drawing has a shock cord "retainer" from the deck handle to the board. This jams the board against the front of the slot and keeps it in position when sailing downwind with the board partially raised. You can do better if you tie a loop of shock cord to the junction of the boom and yard, pull it back and loop it over the top of the board when sailing downwind. Then it acts both as a retainer and as a preventer, keeping the sail from being able to accidentally jibe. Stick a small eyestrap on deck behind the coaming and tie a hunk of paracord about four feet long to the eyestrap and board to prevent it from floating away in a capsize.

Tim Marchetti
01-18-2014, 07:18 AM
Thanks for the great info Todd, I'll play around with this some more when I get some free time from paying work.

signalcharlie
03-09-2016, 09:07 PM
If you're still entertaining Sunfish ideas, here is some info on Hull Number 13 that we acquired in 2013. The boat was number 13 of the first 20 built, Al and Cort built them and gave them out to friends to see if they would like them. The Number 2 boat is at the Lake Champlain Museum. The bow has a nice piece of quarter round trim that wraps down from the bow handle to about 18 inches back on the keel. There is a 3/4 inch wide strip of thin oak that covers the deck/side seam from bow to stern, 2 pieces each side. The mast collar is a laminated piece from oak, and the huge coaming is made from mahogany. The early early boats had no drain plugs, check out the big ports in the cockpit with no plugs. V 2.0 had the cockpit walls sealed up and drain plugs appeared fore and aft of the cockpit, on either side of the deck. WWhat is most unusual to me is the hybrid mast, bottom section made from aluminum tube and top tapered with a sheave. When I first saw it I thought it was a repair but then I spotted it in Alcort advertisements and we just acquired a Sailfish with the same setup. There were removable floorboards and the Sunfish used the same rudder hardware as the Sailfish/Super Sailfish. The overkill on the coaming is balanced by the tiny elephant ear rudder.

FMI Sailfish: (http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2016/02/1950s-alcort-sailfish-spray.html) (http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/06/1952-wooden-sunfish-zip.html)http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2016/02/1950s-alcort-sailfish-spray.html


FMI Sunfish: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/06/1952-wooden-sunfish-zip.html


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-aWFxx3vhNAY/UbfqRKp9pyI/AAAAAAAAOsE/gBgtyoQKnxc/w1378-h1034-no/Buffalo%2Bwoody.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-A9hWaLGhJiA/Uce3S2zsp1I/AAAAAAAANio/8Q2LohhALv4/w776-h1034-no/image.jpg

SAILfish hull.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-eW-tPL_AwuY/Vr_eS72O4mI/AAAAAAAARic/KwMR-GYnFbc/s1600/Spray%2Bhull.jpg

Sailfish/Super Sailfish/Sunfish parts early 50s vintage.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-d8nvzWt-Yck/Vr_c0KMklfI/AAAAAAAARh8/jddl2ms9vzg/s1600/Spray%2Bpart.jpg

Ben Fuller
03-09-2016, 10:23 PM
When doing an exhibit down at Mystic I looked into this quite a little. Hard to imagine anything in today's over staturated media that could get national attention like a 4 page spread in Life. Seems that someone had a friend at the magazine. Part of the reason for the Sunfish was that Al or Cort's wife was pregnant and wanted a little more comfortable ride.

For those of you that have a Sunfish rig kicking around, veteran iceboat sailor and builder Lloyd Roberts has designed a Sunfish sail powered iceboat called the Cheapskate. All dimension lumber from a big box store, runners from old iron bedsteads. A bunch have been built. Not as quick as a modern DN but a fun and cheap ride.

cluttonfred
03-10-2016, 04:28 AM
http://duckworksmagazine.com/01/articles/featherwind/200_1.jpg

Since this old thread has been revived....

The late Dave Carnell was a frequent contributor to this group and others and you can still find many of his articles floating around. Dave used to offer plans for the "$200 Sailboat," a simplified version of Phil Bolger's "Featherwind" (sometimes called "Nutmeg") hull modified to take either a stock Sunfish rig (aluminum spars and all!) or an inexpensive and often colorful replacement Sunfish sail on DIY wooden spars. See this old Duckworks article (http://duckworksmagazine.com/01/articles/featherwind/index.htm) to learn more.

According to this builder's blog (http://david-greenwood.blogspot.com/2012/08/avocet-diy-sailboat-i-built-avocet_5321.html), you could still get the plans from Tom Vetromile as of a few years ago. No site, just an e-mail address: Tom's-first-and-last-name-put-together-with-no-space@yahoo.com.

I would definitely consider building one of those before trying to replicate a Sunfish hull.

Cheers,

Matthew

UPDATE 3/13/16

I heard back from Tom Vetromile. I don't think you're going to find a better deal on boat plans anywhere:


Yes, I still ship Plan Packets for Dave Carnell's "Nutmeg" (i.e. $200 Sailboat). The cost - including 1st class USPS - is $30.00 to the Continental US. Other places will need an additional shipping charge determined by location. Overseas or South America may need to go by Priority International Envelope with a Tracking Number to get past customs. This shipping method may nearly equal the cost of the Plan Packet... Some have paid by Western Union in US dollars and others send a check by mail drawn on a US Bank. Most folks e-mail me and we work out the costs.

signalcharlie
03-16-2016, 06:49 AM
Here's the trim strip on the deck/side seam that was mentioned.

Sunfish number 2, currently at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-G3BSOnXhd58/UbHZgfO6mhI/AAAAAAAAFzc/WMzlzszOnAQr0dOxpaJZXUlOu1--UcOeA/w960-h720-no/image.jpg

(Image LCMM, 2013).