Last fall I bought a sunfish, best I can tell is built in about 1974 (43 years ago) and has all original sails, sail rings (hold the sail to the spars), tiller, etc. Everything but the lines seem to be original.

Yesterday it was sunny and warm, wind at about 9MPH, 15KPH, 8 Knots. I took it out to the lake for the first time since I got it. The was a lull as I launched and things went very well. On my third upwind leg (narrow lake) I got good wind and was on beam reach doing about 15MPH, then the outhauls and sail rings started breaking. This was something of a distraction, shore rapidly approaching, so I got a chance to practice my self recovery skills, when I tipped it over.

After getting the boat upright, I was able to sail back to shore.

I notice that several places sell "Sunfish Tune-A-Fish Kit" which includes Lines, sail rings, etc. Presumably there is some recommended frequency for changing out gear.

How often should line, sail rings, etc be changed?

  • 2
    I suspect you know this reply is coming, and I hate to be the one who says it, but the frequency of changes depend on a great deal. Where you store the Sunfish (indoor/outdoor), whether you race or purely recreational, number of times you go out in a season, etc. My advice would simply be change the gear, and then inspect before and after each time out. Replace as you feel it is required.
    – Dan Priest
    Apr 6, 2017 at 14:08
  • @DanPriest that is kind of what I found on several forum posts. I was hoping for more. I would expect that everything should have a life expectancy that can measured in hours of sun, or years of use, or something. Apr 6, 2017 at 14:23
  • Yes, it would be very handy that way, but there are just too many factors to consider for putting a life expectancy on rigging. Wish I could be more helpful.
    – Dan Priest
    Apr 6, 2017 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


I have always taught sailing students to run a full check every time they rig the boat (if it's a dinghy or the mast is regularly lowered) or annually before returning it to the water after winter.

Additionally, a full check after any collision or incident, or after heavy weather/storms is recommended.

The problem is that while you can look for worn rigging, it can be very difficult to see problems in areas above your eye-line, or within booms/mast, and deterioration varies due to conditions, storage, sailing stresses, etc so is unpredictable.

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