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Sunfish Sailboat: Cost, Best Models and More

Sunfish Sailboat: Cost, Best Models and More

If you’re passionate about sailing or eager to embark on a sailing adventure, you’ve likely encountered the renowned Sunfish sailboat. The Sunfish is a beloved and adaptable recreational sailboat, captivating sailors worldwide. So, what influences the price of a Sunfish sailboat? Factors such as age, condition, manufacturer, and additional features or accessories play a role. Newer models or those in pristine condition tend to be more expensive, while older or slightly worn vessels are more budget-friendly.

The average price range of a Sunfish sailboat falls between $2,000 and $6,000. However, prices can vary based on location and the availability of second-hand options. Researching the market thoroughly and consulting reputable sellers to find the best deal possible is crucial.

What is a Sunfish Sailboat?

Ah, the Sunfish Sailboat. Picture an easy-breezy day out at sea, blue skies above, nothing but the sound of waves around you, and the perfect companion underneath you – a Sunfish Sailboat. Sounds like a dream, right? But what exactly is one?

A Sunfish sailboat is essentially a personal-sized, beach-launched sailing dinghy. It incorporates a very flat hull and a lateen sail mounted to an un-stayed mast. If this is all sounds a bit too technical, no need to worry – just think of it as the go-to option for a relaxing day sailing on the sea.

Design and Features

Minimalism and efficiency are keywords when talking about the design of the Sunfish sailboat. The body, or let’s call it the hull, is flat and lightweight. This special design makes it quite easy to handle, even if you’re new to sailing. Imagine you’re a kite surfboarder trying sailing for the first time – a Sunfish sailboat can give you a similar thrill without demanding a high level of skill!

Another key feature is the late sail. In case you’re wondering, a lateen sail is triangular, and as the wind blows, it spreads out. It’s kind of like opening an umbrella on a rainy day but with wind instead of rain!

A Sunfish sailboat also includes an unstayed mast. The term “un-stayed” might sound a tad fancy, but it’s quite simple. It just means the mast, which holds up the sail, lacks support or guys. Think of it this way – it’s kind of like your older cousin who refused to hold anyone’s hand while ice skating for the first time. Such masts make sunfish sailboats easy to rig (prepare for sailing) and add to their simplicity.

Sunfish Sailboat

Here, we Have Listed 5 Popular Sunfish Sailboats along with their specs and estimated prices.

1. 1952 Original Sunfish

Key Features

First off, we have the 1952 Original Sunfish. Reminiscent of the era of classic rock ‘n’ roll, this model marked the genesis of the Sunfish brand. Picture this: A flat as a pancake, board-like hull paired with an oceanic lateen sail, giving it a distinguished look and a feel that’s perfect for beginners. The simplicity of its design is akin to the straightforward yet profound lyrics of the Beatles!

Notable specifics:

  • Price: Truly, a piece is valuable as much as someone is willing to pay for it. This model predominantly dominates the used market, with prices varying according to condition and seller.
  • Size: It measures approximately 13 feet 9 inches (4.19 m) in length and 4 feet 1 inch (1.24 m) in width (called beam in nautical language).
  • Key features: Its iconic, board-like flat hull, oceanic lateen sail, and bear-simple rigging make it notably suitable for sailing novices.

2. AMF Alcort Sunfish

Key Features

Fast forward to 1969, and you have the AMF Alcort Sunfish, born when AMF Corp. got its hands on Alcort. Think of it as the classic Sunfish having a facelift! Noteworthy is its fiber-glass construction, which places durability as its top characteristic. Imagine owning a pair of Levi’s denim jeans that just seem to get better with age!

Notable specifics:

  • Price: Like its predecessor, pricing for the AMF Alcort Sunfish can be quite the surprise box, depending primarily on condition and seller.
  • Size: Slightly longer than the 1952 model, this one measures about 13 feet 10 inches (4.2 m) in length and has a beam of 1.2 m.
  • Key features: Its fiberglass anatomy speaks volumes for its durability, making it extremely sought-after during its time.

3. Pearson Sunfish

Key Features

The baton of the brand was passed to Pearson Yachts in 1988. Subsequently, the Pearson Sunfish, bearing the classic Sunfish blueprint paired with modern rigging technology, made its grand debut. It was like marrying the charm of vintage vinyl records with the ease of modern streaming – the perfect blend of old and new.

Notable specifics:

  • Price: Once again, scouring the used market will be your best bet to lay hands on this model, with prices subject to variation.
  • Size: Pearson managed to squeeze a tad more length, making it 14 feet with the same beam of about 4’1″.
  • Features: This model prides itself on keeping the classic Sunfish design intact but incorporating modern materials and techniques for a heightened sailing experience.

4. Sunfish/Laser, Inc. (SLI) Sunfish

Key Features

Come mid-1990s, and we have the Sunfish/Laser, Inc. (SLI) Sunfish making waves (pun intended) in the sailing sphere. The standout feature? A daggerboard that delves deeper than its predecessors, alongside top-shelf construction aimed at competitive sailing. Picture it as an F1 car but for the sea!

Notable specifics:

  • Price: Predominantly found in the used market, the price of the SLI Sunfish can be as tricky as a game of Battleship, varying heavily based on condition and the individual seller.
  • Size: The SLI Sunfish maintains a coequal length of about 13.9FT/4.24M, and beam measuring around 4.1FT/1.25M.
  • Features: It introduced a slightly deeper daggerboard in this model. The high-quality construction predestines it for competitive sailing, ready to face the waves like a chess master ready for his next match.

5. Vanguard Sunfish

Key Features

Last but certainly not least, we have the Vanguard Sunfish. Introduced by Vanguard in 1997, it is known for its high-quality construction and is commonly used in competitive sailing events. Think of it as the sailboat equivalent of a professional ballerina – elegant, efficient, and poised for performance.

Notable specifics:

  • Price: You can expect to shell out around $2,700 for a 2002 model, but remember, prices can swing like a pendulum depending on varying factors.
  • Size: The Vanguard model measures an overall length of 14 feet with a beam size of approximately 4’1″.
  • Features: Apart from the quality construction that plays a significant role in its performance in sailing tournaments, one more feature that stands out is its potential to hold its resale value fairly well. It’s like owning a collectible action figure that’s worth more as it ages!

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Sunfish Sailboat

When it comes to determining the cost of a Sunfish sailboat, several factors come into play. Let’s explore these factors to gain a better understanding.

1. New vs. Used

The first decision you’ll need to make is whether to buy a new or used Sunfish sailboat. New boats generally come at a higher price due to their pristine condition and the added costs of manufacturing and distribution. On the other hand, used boats can offer significant savings but may require some maintenance and repairs.

2. Age and Condition

The age and condition of a Sunfish sailboat can greatly influence its price. A brand-new Sunfish sailboat will understandably command a higher price than an older one. Similarly, a well-maintained and cared-for used Sunfish sailboat may hold its value better than one that has seen neglect or excessive wear and tear.

3. Accessories and Upgrades

Another factor that affects the cost is the presence of accessories and upgrades. Some Sunfish sailboats may have additional features such as covers, trailers, or upgraded rigging. These added features can increase the price but also enhance the overall sailing experience.

Sunfish Sailboat

Average Price Range for a Sunfish Sailboat

A Sunfish sailboat can range in cost from $1,000 to as much as $6,000. Of course, the price will depend on the type of boat chosen and where it is purchased. A second-hand sailboat will be cheaper than a new one, so a second-hand sunfish sailboat will be perfect if you’re looking for a budget option. But if money isn’t the problem, go for the brand-new Sunfish sailboat. The price range of both new and second-hand Sunfish Sailboats is mentioned below.

Cost of New Sunfish Sailboats

New Sunfish Sailboats cost between $3,500 and $6,000. Sunfish Sailboats are available in various colors that the buyer can customize. Most of the time, A new sunfish sailboat is better to buy than a second-hand one. However, the price can be reduced by searching on the Internet for a used boat. You can purchase a Sunfish Sailboat from several retailers, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports.

new Sunfish Sailboat

Cost of Second-Hand Sunfish Sailboats

You can find second-hand Sunfish sailboats for around $1,000 to $3,500. Look for boats that have been dry-sailed and are in good condition with no holes or imperfections. If the boat is in bad shape, it’s not worth spending money; wait some time and buy a new one once you have the money. But if the condition is good, then go for it.

Usually, second-hand boat sails will need to be replaced after some time and should be replaced with newer ones if you plan on racing competitively. An excellent place to find a used Sunfish sailboat is on the Sunfish Sailing Forum (which can be found worldwide).

Second-Hand Sunfish Sailboats

Where to Buy a Sunfish Sailboat

When you’re ready to purchase a Sunfish sailboat, you have several options for finding one.

1. Authorized Dealers

One option is to buy from authorized Sunfish sailboat dealers. These dealers can provide you with the latest models, warranties, and expert advice. Visiting a dealer allows you to see the boats in person, ask questions, and make an informed decision.

2. Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and are popular platforms where individuals and dealers list both new and used Sunfish sailboats for sale. These platforms offer a wide selection and the ability to compare prices and conditions.

3. Classified Ads

Local newspapers, sailing club bulletin boards, and online classified ad websites are worth exploring as well. Sometimes, you may come across individuals in your area who are selling their Sunfish sailboats directly.


What are Sunfish Sailboat Specifications?

Sunfish sailboats are an excellent choice for beginners and those with expert skill levels. The boat is 14’9 with a beam of 4 feet and a draft of 2’11. The sail area covers 75 square feet, while the hull weighs 120 pounds/59kg. The Sunfish can hold 1-2 people and is perfect for sailing in lakes and coastal areas.

Is Sailing a Sunfish Easy?

Sunfish Sailing is easy for all skill levels. This is great for beginners because they can learn the basics of sailing without the fear of capsizing and being in danger of drowning. In addition, the boat is self-righting, which means that if it capsizes and you are thrown out of the boat (as long as no one else was in the boat with you), it will right itself.

What are Sunfish boats made of?

The hull is made of fiberglass, and the sail material is nylon. The mast, boom, rudder, and centerboard are all wood. A fiberglass Sunfish weighs about 110 pounds, and a wood Sunfish weighs about 120 pounds. Sunfish are built in three sizes: 6 feet, 7-1/2 feet, and 9 feet long. The 6-foot boat is the smallest and lightest, while the 9-foot boat is the largest.

The Sunfish is a small sailboat that one or two people can sail. The boat has no keel and is not designed for sailing in rough waters. It’s best used in protected bays, lakes, and ponds. The Sunfish is a very stable boat and can be sailed by people of all ages.

How much weight can a Sunfish sailboat hold?

A Sunfish sailboat can hold around 600 pounds and have a capacity of 3 people. It has a flat bottom, low center of gravity, and wide beam, making it stable even in rough water. The Sunfish sailboat is available in two styles: the standard model and the deluxe model. The standard model has a basic design, while the exclusive model is designed for racing and holds less weight.

What are Sunfish Boat Controls?

The Sunfish sailboat has two controls: the rudder and the centerboard. The rudder steers the boat while the centerboard helps turn. Both are controlled by a tiller attached to the bottom of the ship. The Sunfish sailboat can turn left or right using a tiller extension, which allows for more precise control over travel direction.

Sunfish is easy to control and is a fun boat for all ages. The tiller is the central control for steering and is located in front of the sailor. The jib sheet, mainsheet, boom vang, and traveler are all used to adjust sail size and position.

What are the Benefits of Sunfish Sailboat?

The Sunfish is very easy to sail, especially for beginners. It does not require any previous experience or knowledge. The Sunfish sailboat has a centerboard, rudder, and tiller. The mainsail sheet can also control the boat to maintain speed.

How many sails does a Sunfish have?

The Sunfish sailboat has three sails: a jib, a mainsail, and a spinnaker. It is an ideal boat for one or two people to sail on lakes and ponds. Just one person can easily handle the Sunfish. Sunfish are made of fiberglass, making them very durable and easy to repair if they get damaged. A Sunfish boat can last for many years with proper maintenance.

Can you teach yourself to sail a Sunfish?

You can teach yourself to sail a sunfish because it is straightforward, but good things take time. A Sunfish sailboat is a great starter boat for beginners in the sailing world. After that, you can go out on the water and learn everything you need about sailing from your mistakes (which will happen a lot). Sailboats are not cheap, but you can get a sunfish for under $1000. The best place to find one is on Craigslist or eBay.