Interview / Sailing News / Sunfish

1952 Sunfish from Grand Island, NY finds new home in Pensacola, FL

227426_491440800936035_333926261_nIf you’re really into Sunfish you will probably know that the Sunfish was introduced in 1952 because Alex Bryan’s pregnant wife found the Sailfish flat deck pretty uncomfortable. And, if you are into Sunfish, you will probably be as excited as I was to find out that #13 had been tucked away in up in Grand Island, NY just waiting for the right guy to come along and take care of her. The right guy turned out to be Kent Lewis of Navarre, Florida just outside of Pensacola.

Kent has some real experience with Sunfish restoration. You can check out his blog at to catch up on some of his many restoration projects. He has lots of great photos of both he and his wife sailing the project boats.

I caught up with Kent on the phone and talked with him about his first wooden Sunfish project.


We got an offer to restore the 13th Sunfish made, a wooden model assembled at the factory. The owner bought it in an estate sale but never got to restore it, he saw the work we did and wanted to offer it to us because he knew we would do it right. The Sunfish was in Grand Island, NY and it was ours if we want it, we just had to pick it up. It turned out to be a fun drive. The owner also had a 1977 boat looking for a new home, so we g0t to test out the double stack trailer.

Supposedly the first 20 boats were built for friends, and this is number 13. Whatever the number, she is awesome! I have no documents to prove the number, just word of mouth info from estate to seller to seller to me, so the term “reportedly” number 13 is appropriate. There is no doubt as to its design age, early Sunfish, long splashguards, rudder fittings that predate the “old style”, wooden spars, remnants of a wooden mast that is spliced into an aluminum base (although it has a different setup at the top for halyard that seems off, a sheave cut into the mast vs a block).

We are still in shock, our first wooden boat and she’s a sweetheart.

Check out more pictures and keep up with Kent’s projects:

Kent credits 3/4 of what he know to the following groups (the other 1/4 he credits his father in law):