Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sunfish Sailboat Trailers

We have used a variety of trailers to transport Sunfish. A light duty trailer will usually work if there is at least 8 feet from the hitch back to axle, that will allow the CG and weight of the boat to be forward of the axle. Bunks can be fashioned to support the boat fore and aft under the cockpit and keel or trimmed to run side to side. The best supports will be placed under the boat in areas where fiberglass meets fiberglass, examples are under the mast step, under daggerboard well and under the cockpit. The other areas of the boat are only supported by internal foam blocks or nothing at all, and a support could punch though the fiberglass. Hull down or up are acceptable, but if you race you might keep the hull up so road debris does not chip the hull. One key is to not tighten straps too tight, ratchet straps can break the boat. Another tip is to duct tape pool noodles to the bunks, they act as great cushions to dampen road forces transmitted through the trailer.
Light jetski trailers, motorcycle trailers or john boat trailers are easily converted, a leaf can be removed form the spring if needed. Trailex sells a good aluminum trailer and Harbor Freight sells a nice light boat steel trailer. Academy Sports sells an aluminum trailer and your local trailer supplier can make or deliver a good galvanized trailer, essential for use in saltwater.

From left to right in this picture are a motorcycle trailer with bunks added, the Trailex trailer and a Highlander light boat trailer adapted for the Sunfish.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

12 inch tires work great for long trips, if you use the 8 inch tires and travel long distances anywhere warm, take a spare, we burned up a new set of tires just getting across Arizona in the Summer. This Highlander is perfect for local pickin trips and has a tilt feature that helps to load/unload the boat.

From Small Boat Restoration

This small jetski trailer required little adjustment, we a added a keel roller and still need to add a bow stop. In this picture the boat is too far forward, the keel roller should rest below the mast step.

From Small Boat Restoration

Here is a larger Magic Tilt jetski trailer set up for two Sunfish. We added two sets of trailer guides to the side and crossbeams, padded with large pool noodles. This rig made an 1156 mile trip with no problems, both boats rode great. Our local trailer manufacturer Eddie English in Milton helped me pick the parts, the key is to get steel trailer guides posts, aluminum will not carry the load on the upper deck.

From Small Boat Restoration

From Small Boat Restoration

From Small Boat Restoration

From Small Boat Restoration

Double jetski trailer.

From Small Boat Restoration

Sometimes you need a trailer to carry your trailer :)

From Small Boat Restoration

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sunfish Zip's New Sail

Zip the wooden Sunfish got a new sail, cut by our local sailmaker Hunter at Schurr Sails. We wanted a heritage feel to the sail and Hunter did a great job incorporating some of the vintage features into a modern sail with a fuller draft. The sail is awesome but the original daggerboard is tiny tiny and the rudder is also too small for this powerful sail. The Skipper spent a lot of time today in the 12-15 knot puffs going sideways and having to roll tack to stay out of irons. What we will do for medium wind days is build up another rudder with old style hardware that uses the newer blade size and shape, and use one of the newer daggerboards like the shadow or Barrington board, depends on which vintage we can get at a decent price. The original rudder, daggerboard and vintage North Sail from Canada will be used on light wind, ghosting days.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Dagger board comparison, old wooden style on the left at 30 inches, than old style daggerboard for fiberglass boats at 39 inches, shadow board at 39 inches and template of latest racing board at 44 inches. Not shown is the Barrington board, which is similar to Shadow but not as tapered on trailing edge.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Rudder comparison, old wooden boat style rudder is not too much smaller than the latest style rudder but you lose a lot of bite from that rounded lower edge.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Madison was the chase ship today, ZIp's much younger sister.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Yankee Driver Ratcheting Screwdriver

I saw the old wooden Sunfish Kit building instructions and the person building the boat had a nice ratcheting screwdriver, so I wanted one. Went to Sears and picked up a Yankee Driver, it works great! I was going to change out bow handle on the wooden Sunfish but the new one is a littler different, so I kept old one on and will look to see if I can get it rechromed.



The driver required help getting a screw loose, but once it started it worked great, and it did a good job driving screws, saved time over regular screwdriver and had a better touch than an electric drill. Check out youtube video

Next I'll get a bow tie:)