Sunfish sailboats are personal sized sailboats intended for dinghy sailing in beaches. Some features of the sailboat include a pontoon type hull, lateen sail and an un-stayed mast. The lateen sail features two-line rigging to make Sunfish sailboats easy to learn and set up, usually in under five minutes. The boat also has an old-fashioned design due to its low-aspect ratio lateen sail. The lateen rig allows for better performance in lighter air and down-wind scenarios.
The Sunfish Sailboat was designed in 1951 by Alcort, Inc as an improvement over its previous sailboat model, the Sailfish. The improvement provided more stability, increased freeboard and a foot-well for comfort. Since the sailboat is easy to set up and allows for upgrades and improvements, the Sunfish is popular for competitive sailing and beginners. In 1995, the American Sailboat Hall of Fame praised the Sunfish as the most popular fiberglass boat ever designed.
Other features of the Sunfish sailboat include its kick-up rudder system, hard-chined hull and low sailpan. The rudder system allows for full beach landings, while the hard-chined hull and low sailpan provide additional stability and forgiving feel. The lateen sail allows the boat to automatically de-power when winds increase. If the boat goes over, the boat is fixed easily due to the foam blocks in the hull.