1975 Sunfish Worlds report

International competitors of the Sixth Sunfish World Championship used surfing techniques to pass each other on the off wind legs. Derrick Fries, a 21 year old meteorology student from Pontiac MI, won the world title. The University of Michigan sailing ace was top American finisher against Caribbean sailor domination of the last two world meets. Fries won over a field of 97 entrants from 14 countries racing off Kings Bay Yacht and Country Club of Miami, Florida.

713 – Paul Fendler (USA)

Fries weighs 165 pounds, compared to only 138 for the 13-foot, 10-inch Sunfish. His weight was an advantage in brisk breezes. The week long competition saw prevailing southeast winds post 2 to 12 knots with major variations on parts of the course, plus shifts of 10 to 20 degrees at fairly regular but not predictable intervals. Tacking on a major shift then sailing into a hole was a frustrating, repetitive experience. A good start was mandatory to keep one’s wind clear. Also, some psychological composure was necessary toward the surface of Biscayne Bay which irritated many and otherwise calm, competent, confident skipper. The shallow bay plus mild wilds produced a surprisingly steep chop.

“I grew up in Sunfish” fries said after the final race on Saturday. He credited his victory to good timing in the crowded starts. Fries had it wrapped up before the last scheduled race and didn’t even have to compete since all skippers were allowed one trow-out.

But the last heat was never sailed, as hard-charging skippers edged twice over the start line, jumping the gun and forcing recalls. When the time limit set for the day was reached, AMF-Alcort Race Director Rick Wonson called off the test.

Fries was never seriously threatened, although he said some of the lighter skippers worried him in light-air conditions. Among them were Paul Fendler of Rye (NY) and University of Miami student Mike Catalano . They ranked second and third. The 18 year old Fendler, weighing in at 125 pounds found the occasionally brisk breezes a bit much for his liking. It was a rough week for Catalano, who had to skip one race because of exams.

Fries was awarded the Sunfish World Champion perpetual trophy donated by Motor Bating & Sailing. The top ten competitors received silver bas-relief half-model Sunfish plaques and individual race winners were awarded silver pitchers.

Sunfish Worlds 1976

Previous post Sunfish Class Aruba opgericht
Next post 1976 Sunfish Worlds report