How to Sail a Sunfish Sailboat


How to Sail a Sunfish Sailboat

There are a lot of fun things to do in and around Ocean Isle Beach, but for generations, kids and adults have loved sailing the beloved Sunfish. If you aren't sure what a Sunfish is, it is a small, one-person single sail boat. These boats are used at summer camps for training and have introduced thousands to the joy of sailing. This week we have some tips and resources to help you get on the water in one of these wonderful little boats. 

What's a Sunfish?

The Sunfish is a personal-size, beach-launched sailing dinghy. It features a very flat, boardlike hull carrying a crab claw ("Oceanic lateen") sail mounted to an un-stayed mast. The Sunfish was developed by Alcort, Inc. and first appeared around 1952.

The Sunfish has a wide beam for stability, increased freeboard, and a foot-well for a more comfortable sailing position. Sunfish began as a wood hull design and progressed to fiberglass construction. Having a crab claw sail with its simple two line rigging makes a Sunfish simple to learn to sail and set up. Upgrades can be added to enhance sail control for competitive sailing, but ultimately the Sunfish is the ideal boat to learn to sail. Many people learn to sail a Sunfish in a day by trial and error. However, lessons are always recommended. 

Due to the broad appeal of the Sunfish, in 1995 it was commended by The American Sailboat Hall of Fame for being "the most popular fiberglass boat ever designed, with a quarter million sold worldwide" (at that point in time).

Whether you are looking to learn to sail or just kick back on the beach with a great book and watch the waves roll in, we have a home for you. Ocean Isle Beach features a great selection of vacation homes. You can choose from larger homes to condos all at great prices and backed by our impressive customer service. 

How to set up a Sunfish 

One of the best features of a Sunfish is just how easy it is to set up. Even a novice can set up a Sunfish in less than 10 minutes. There are only a few steps to follow. Since the Sunfish has an unsupported mast and sail, it requires no special knowledge to rig. Don't worry about learning a bunch of fancy sailor's knots. All of the rigging to the Sunfish requires knots that anyone can learn in a few minutes. 

Another great feature about setting up the Sunfish is that it has a removable center board and can be launched from the beach, dock, or anywhere you have access to water. Because the Sunfish is relatively light, it's easy to move around. This makes it the perfect choice for kids and adults alike. 

Are you ready to set up a Sunfish you purchased? If you are, check out the video above to get an idea of just how easy it is to enjoy this little boat. 

Learn to sail 

There aren't too many things you can't learn to do from watching a YouTube video. Sailing a Sunfish is no exception! In fact, many people have just launched their boat on a light wind day and sailed successfully in a few hours. To be honest, that is how I learned. The simplicity of a Sunfish becomes apparent the second you hit the water. However, we do recommend taking a class to learn the basics. Many of the local recreation departments host sailing classes during the summer. If you would like to find a class in your area (so you'll be ready to sail when you get here) check out US Sailing's website


Whether you are looking to enjoy a day on the water or just kick back by the pool with your favorite book, Ocean Isle Beach has something for everyone. Now is the perfect time to book your next summer beach vacation. We have a wonderful selection of homes to choose from all at reasonable prices. Of course, we have great team of dedicated professionals here to assist you with all your vacation needs. Give us a call today at 800-727-9222 to begin planning your 2021 Ocean Isle Beach vacation. 

Sail on over to Ocean Isle Beach for Your Summer vacation

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How to Sail a Sunfish Sailboat


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