Saturday, September 4, 2010


Not my AMF Alcort Minifish sailboat, just one I found on the Internet that looks exactly like mineI have owned an AMF Alcort Minifish sailboat since one was given to me as a present from my family for my eleventh birthday in 1969. My father and I taught ourselves to sail the little boat and enjoyed cruising it around the Chain of Lakes in Waupaca, Wisconsin over the next several summer vacations. When I was old enough to drive, I would take the boat out to the lakes west of Milwaukee, where I grew up, and sail it with friends. I even took it with me to college in Madison, sailing on Lake Mendota after classes. When I moved to Aspen, Colorado in 1986, there wasn't room in the U-Haul trailer for the boat, so I drove it out the following year. Nan and I would sail it every summer on Ruedi Reservoir, about an hour from home. Now we live in Grand Junction, and there really aren't any good places nearby to sail. There's Highline Lake to the north and Ridgway Reservoir to the south, but they're both so overrun with powerboats most of the time that we haven't even bothered. So the boat has been sitting unused in the garage for more than five years.

When I was back in Milwaukee visiting family in July, my sister Jane mentioned the boat. She and her family live in Seattle near Green Lake, and they also have a vacation home on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Her sons, Max and Ben, are developing an interest in sailing from lessons they have been taking on Green Lake, and she was wondering what I was doing with the old Minifish. I explained that we weren't really sailing it anymore and asked if she would like to have it for the boys to sail. She said yes, and we emailed back and forth about it again this past week, so next spring the Minifish is going to get shipped up to Seattle. I need to do a little work on it first: the plastic rings that attach the sail to the mast and boom are missing or cracked and need to be replaced; one of the mast's endcaps got dinged when the mast and boom fell off the trailer the last time we used the boat; and the current nylon halyard needs to be replaced with a better, non-stretching one. None of these repairs is too major, but I want to hand off the boat in good condition. Ideally, I would like to fly up there and introduce Max and Ben to the boat after it arrives to give them the benefit of my forty-one years of personal experience in rigging, launching and sailing it. I'll let you know how it goes.


bookbooster said...

Found this doing a search for Minifish images as I have a similar situation. Some of my happiest days were spent on the family Minifish as a kid, and now that I live near a lake I hope to rescue it from my parent's garage and revive it. Did you have luck doing the repairs? I sail, but do not have any experience maintaining boats (Dad did that), so I'm hoping I can find someone if anything needs to be done that I can't figure out. Anyway, enjoyed your post, thanks :)

John Lichty said...

Thank you for sharing your Minifish experience. My sister Jane and I have still not worked out the details of getting the boat up to the Seattle area. When I looked into replacement parts, I found only Sunfish ones, but most of them should be compatible. Best of luck in getting your old Minifish back on the water!

bookbooster said...

Hi John, I'm sorry it took me this long to check back and notice that you kindly replied. I appreciate it, and again, appreciate you sharing your experience! Not much about the Minifish out there when I did an initial search. I likewise wish you the best with getting your boat to Seattle. I still have to get mine to my house, let alone get moving on some sort of "boat caddy" to walk it to my nearby lake since it's too heavy to carry alone, but I don't want to deal with a trailer if it can be avoided. I would love to hear how it turns out for you. All the best and smooth sailing :)