READER BOAT: AMF Sunbird, Lusty Slogger
Small Craft Advisor|March - April 2020
On May 1, 2009, while riding my beloved Triumph Bonneville motorcycle on Interstate 40 in Asheville NC, I was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer rig.
Norman Stringfield

After spending several weeks in the hospital with various broken bones and only partial use of my left arm, I decided—after a 15-year hiatus—it was time to return to my other “first love,” sailing.

A year later, with most of the trauma behind me and armed with a reasonable settlement from the trucker’s insurance company, I started looking for a small sailboat I could single-hand…with only a single hand. I looked on Craigslist, Knoxville TN, and saw an ad for a Sunfish for $700. While I wasn’t really in the market for a board boat, the price was right and I’d started my sailing career on such boats. I made arrangements to view the boat and discovered it wasn’t a Sunfish at all, but a 1979 Sunbird 16—a far different creature.

The Sunbird, also marketed by AMF, is 16 feet long with a small cuddy cabin and a rather large cockpit. The boat came with a trailer and, although dirty, was in fairly good shape. It did have a patch on the stem at the waterline, but I was told the boat had been sailed several times since the patch, without issues. Further, since the boat was full of water I reasoned it did not appear to leak. So, concluding I’d rather have this boat than a Sunfish, two days later the boat was behind my truck en route to my office. I christened her the Lusty Slogger (formerly Judy) and prepared for launch day.

Fourth of July, 2010 was chosen as the day to get the boat wet. The general warning about not changing the name of a boat without an elaborate ritual proved to be true that day. Since I couldn’t raise the mast on my own, one-handed, I enlisted the aid of my brother-in-law. We raised the mast in the parking lot, only to discover I’d forgotten to install the new halyards. So, we dropped the mast and took care of that. Then as we started backing the boat down the ramp we discovered a powerline about 20 feet above the ramp entrance. (Naturally, the boat had a 22-foot mast.) So, down the mast came again. We moved to the other side of the electric line and all was well—we finally had the boat in the water.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM SMALL CRAFT ADVISORView All

POTTER WITH A LATEEN RIG?

Our editor-at-large Larry Brown is 75 now…an increasingly ancient mariner. He’s sailed various Potters since the early 1990s.

4 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

Vintage Lightning

Reborn as a Camp-Cruiser

6 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

The Joy of it All

Choosing a Boat Design

10 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

OPENING DAY

Sitting hove-to in 30 knots of wind was not how I anticipated spending my opening day.

3 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

RECONSIDERING ROSIE'S RIG

It was a typical hot Mississippi day when I walked into the Ocean Springs Yacht Club to cool off. I had just spent two hours bent in half while working inside the cabin of my West Wight Potter 15. I was stiff and drenched in sweat but feeling proud of myself. I had just turned Rosie into a lateen-rigged catboat.

4 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

SHALLOW DRAFT

When we were kids, we had a cocker spaniel aboard during summer cruises. The dog apparently had a massive bladder, but we kids were happy to row her ashore when nature called. We thought boating with a pet was terrific…but did our folks have a voice in the matter?

3 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

TECH BIGHTS

Some fiberglass boats, like Boston Whaler skiffs and MacGregor power-sailers, are built with integral flotation foam between the inner and outer laminations. Roger MacGregor was willing to flood his water-ballasted boats just to prove that they would not sink—and you can still find his old sales videos if you want to see for yourself. (youtube.com/ watch?v=hemNdJmzQBo)

8 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

MAKING THE SWITCH

Following are some methods for adding a Lateen rig to a Potter 15. Most of the photos are of my boat, but some clever ideas from others are included as well.

3 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

FIVE QUESTIONS: Richard Woods

Sailing experience with Richard Woods

2 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021

Core Sound Cruising

Hmmm. I’m in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a nifty camp-cruiser sailboat on a trailer. I have a daughter on a sailing lake in Michigan, and another daughter on Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

10+ mins read
Small Craft Advisor
July - August 2021
RELATED STORIES

FRESH APPROACH

A REFRESHING NEW BRAND BUILDING FAST AND SPACIOUS CATS OUT OF VOLCANIC ROCK AND PLASTIC BOTTLES? TOBY HODGES WAS INTRIGUED

8 mins read
Yachting World
February 2022

LUCKY MAN

TOM SLINGSBY IS ON A ROLL. HE TALKS TO HELEN FRETTER ABOUT SAILING AT THE VERY TOP OF THE SPORT, AND HOW HE GOT THERE

8 mins read
Yachting World
January 2022

MASTERCLASS

PIP HARE ON TUNING YOUR AUTOPILOT

6 mins read
Yachting World
January 2022

A Boys' Adventure

An adventurous sail with his teenage crew in the Caribbean is a sobering experience for Lou Boudreau

10 mins read
Yachting World
January 2022

Bid to reinstate Paralympic sailing

World Sailing has launched a bid to reinstate sailing as a Paralympic sport in time for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. The ‘Back the Bid’ #SailtoLA campaign is being supported by many big names in the sport.

1 min read
Yachting World
January 2022

Yachting – 5 Expert Tips

How to put together a winning team

4 mins read
Yachting World
November 2021

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

HOW TO SAIL AWAY WITHOUT QUITTING YOUR LIFE: ADVICE FROM A COUPLE WHO’VE DONE IT. PATRICK AND SHEILA DIXON EXPLAIN HOW TO MAKE ‘HYBRID CRUISING’ WORK

10+ mins read
Yachting World
October 2021

MASTER CLASS

PIP HARE ON HOW TO MAKE A 21ST CENTURY PILOTAGE PLAN

6 mins read
Yachting World
September 2021

ESCAPE ARTIST

IT’S RARE TO FIND AN OCEAN-GOING YACHT THAT CAN DRY OUT ON THE BEACH, BUT DISCOVERY’S REVISED 48S MAY HAVE BROUGHT THE SWING-KEEL BACK INTO FASHION

10 mins read
Yachting World
June 2021

MATT SHEAHAN

WAS AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ‘BOT’ THE SECRET TO EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND’S AMERICA’S CUP SUCCESS?

3 mins read
Yachting World
May 2021