It is your favorite cottage sailboat. It is your sailing option at most all-inclusive resorts. It is the only open, single-handed class in the Pan-Am games. It is also one of the most popular and raced dinghy classes in the world. The Sunfish is arguably the most accessible sailboat ever designed.
With over 300,000 hulls manufactured as of 2001, this class likely does the best job of any dinghy class in that it is super easy to sail for beginners and also maintains a highly competitive fleet that is raced regularly. Unlike the Laser, which shared the same manufacturer for years, (Laser Performance), the Sunfish is forgiving given her wide beam and flat-ish hull which planes readily. The encapsulated fiber glass reinforced plastic (FRP) hull minimizes any risk of losing the boat in the event of a capsize and is easily placed on the roof of a car for transport to the next lake or beach.
Born in 1952, the Sunfish moved quickly to an FRP construction in 1960 and never looked back. The simple hull, spars, and rigging made this class a favorite for those just looking to get out on the water without much fuss. The Sunfish is a recognized class by World Sailing and has been in the Pan Am Games as the open class, single-handed dinghy since 1999. There are active fleets in over 28 countries and 9 national championships held annually. If you count in the all the cottage regattas and resort racing this class has likely been sailed by more non-sailors than any other.
There is a lot to be said making our sport more approachable and accessible. This little boat accomplishes this greater than most.
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