About the Sunfish

Class Logo

The Sunfish dinghy is a single-handed, pontoon style dinghy, with an un-stayed mast and a lateen sail. It has a simple rig set-up, making it good for beginners, but the class is hugely popular with a very competitive racing scene.

With over 300,000 sold worldwide there is an argument that it is the most popular fibreglass boat ever produced. They are hugely popular boats in the United States, and this popularity is spreading into South America and parts of Europe too.

Videos for Sunfish Sailing

On board at a World Championship:

David Loring talks about his technique when sailing in a breeze, and also briefly his fitness regime:

Andrea Aldana with some pointers on setting up and sailing in a breeze:

Sailing with Bill Brangiforte

Video from the Worlds in 2011:

Some tips for Sunfish Sailors

Rigging a Sunfish:

Adjustable Hiking Strap design

Sail a Frostbiting Race from the comfort of your own home (including a capsize at 27 mins 55 secs)

Books for Sunfish Sailing

Specific for Sunfish Sailing

The Top 3 Class Specific Books (All in One!)

This book has the main three books in one, so it is definitely the best class-specific book there is. If you only need one of the titles, then all three are still available separately, and I've listed them below.

The Other Class-Specific Books

General Books Useful for Sunfish Sailors

The Bestsellers

These three books will help any sailor improve in any class of boat.

Sailing Fitness

You need to be physically fit to do well - even just a little bit of all-round fitness can improve your results a lot. These books are all helpful in designing a program that works for you. My favourite is Sailing Fitness & Training by Michael Blackburn.


Getting your head right can be as important as getting your technique right. These books will all help with this area, and the Eric Twiname book, Sail, Race and Win is possibly my all-time favourite book on how to improve your sailing

Books for Self-Coaching by Olympic Coach Jon Emmett

Jon Emmett coached Lijia Xu to an Olympic Gold Medal,and is a multiple World Champion himself. These well written books share the secrets of how to coach yourself and improve your sailing.

Sailing Technique and Performance Books by Frank Bethwaite

Frank Bethwaite is a bit of a legend - relentless in his pursuit to understand high performance race craft. His two bigger books (High Performance Sailing and Higher Performance Sailing) can be quite dense to read while Fast Handling Techniques is lighter and easier to read. All are hugely important.

...and finally, Three Absolute Classics

These three books are nailed-on classics - books that have helped generations of sailors and are still relevant today. Start to Win is a good, relatively basic book that will help get you to the front of the fleet; Winning in One Designs is widely regarded as essential reading for one-design sailors; and Advanced Racing Tactics is more in-depth, is a tougher read, but will help with a lot of in-race strategy.

Links for Sunfish Sailors

Class Information

Boat Set-up, Boat Handling and Other Tips

Mark Mendeblatt gives some tips on setting the boat up for sailing in a breeze, and includes the basics of his fitness regime:

One of the many great things the class does is provide "Words of Wisdom" from top sailors explaining the things that they felt were key to them doing well in particular regattas. It is always great when top sailors pass on information and tips that will be useful to other sailors, and this class is particularly good at doing this. Have a read and find out what the best sailors focus on:

Andy David:

Bill Brangiforte

Forums for Sunfish Sailors


Blogs and Blog Posts

The Vital Statistics

Suggested sailor weight range: 55kg to 90kg (120lbs to 190lbs)

  • Hull Material: Fibreglass
  • Year designed: around 1953
  • Length: 4.19 metres
  • Beam: 1.24 metres
  • Mainsail Area: 7.0 square metres
  • Hull Weight: 54 kg

Who's Who in Sunfish

  • Alexander Zimmerman
  • Matheus Dellagnelo
  • Jonathan Martinetti
  • David Loring
  • Paul Foerster
  • Sebastian Mera
  • Lucas Gonzales
  • Eduardo Cordero
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Paul Jon Patin
  • Stephen Smeulders
  • Scott Kyle
  • Donnie Martinborough
  • Bruce Sutphen
  • Andy Pimental
  • John Kostecki
  • Dave Chapin
  • Cor van Aanholt
  • Pierre Siegenthaler
  • Paul Fendler
  • Serge Marsolle
  • Bob Bowles
  • Ted Moore
  • Gary Hoyt
  • Bill Brangiforte
  • David Mendelblatt
  • Andres Ducasse
  • David Gonzalez
  • Jonathon Martinetti
  • Doug Kaukeinen
  • Andy David

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