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The History of the Sunfish

Designed in 1951, the Sunfish is a miracle of simplicity and function:

The sailplan requires just two lines to control and the boat can be set up in less than five minutes. The patented kick-up rudder system allows full beach landings with no problems. The hard-chined hull and low sail plan provide unmatched stability and a forgiving feel. The Sunfish hull is light enough to throw on top of your car with ease, and the bulletproof Vanguard construction ensures that your Sunfish will provide years of virtually maintenance free enjoyment. The Sunfish combines performance, stability and durability in a package that appeals to beginners and experts alike.

In 1959, Joe Schmidt of Naugatuck Chemical approached Alex Bryan and Cortlandt Heyniger to convince them to use fiberglass in the construction of their popular boats: the Sailfish and the Sunfish. That meeting ushered in one of the greatest revolutions in production boat building. Though the Sailfish never caught on in fiberglass, the Sunfish survived to become the most popular fiberglass boat ever designed, with a quarter million sold worldwide.

Ice boat sailors and tinkerers, Bryan and Heyniger created a unique boat including innovations such as a mast with no stays and a sail that remained permanently attached to the two booms. There were very few parts, and the hull weighted 129 pounds – making the boat simple to rig, sail and transport. Easily trailered or car-topped, the boat could sail anywhere there was four feet of water. The result: this board boat brought sailing out of the yacht clubs and to the beaches of public launch ramps.

“No worries about moorings and boat yards. Five minutes from arriving at the water’s edge, you’re off and sailing,” Will White wrote in The Sunfish Book.

Above all else, the boat sailed well, with a forgiving nature, making it an excellent boat to learn in. The lateen sail naturally de-powered when the wind came up. If the boat did go over, it could be righted easily, due to foam blocks at the hull (and a cockpit bailer designed years after the first boat was built).

This archetypal board boat also offered sensational planing performance. This exciting characteristic launched the modern era of low-displacement high-performance single-handers. Built by Sunfish Laser, Inc. the sunfish continues to introduce thousands to the sport of sailing each year.

If it's racing you crave, the International Sunfish Class has a full time staff that sanctions more than 1,000 events each year. Add the hundreds of local and regional events to that list and you can stay pretty busy racing your Sunfish. The class will keep you posted with its quarterly magazine “Windward Leg” and provide valuable preformance tips. The elegant simplicity, performance, and intelligent economy of the Sunfish is unmatched. The Sunfish enjoys fantastic resale value.

Specifications

LOA: 13'9"
Beam: 4'1"
Sail Area: 75 sq. feet
Hull Weight: 130 lbs

Designed by Alexander Bryan and Cortland Heyniger
Handcrafted in the USA