A couple of amateur ice-boat builders in Connecticut started building small boats that used the same lateen sailing rig that their ice-boats used. They called it a Sailfish. A photographer saw people having fun with their Sailfish and did a story on the boat. After Alcort made it into the 1949 LIFE Magazine, a boom was born. Click here to see photos of an original 1954 Sailfish.

The Sailfish has a thin pancake-type hull that you can sit on to sail. Modern windsurfers still use this concept, but the sailor stands on these. A growing fan club of the Sailfish wanted a small cockpit that you could sit in, so the company condescended and built the Sunfish. Another story has it that the pregnant wife one of the Alcort founders insisted on it.

The Sailfish and Sunfish were built for many years of both wood and fiberglass, but demand for the Sailfish waned and the Sunfish gained in popularity. Alcort decided to stop production of the Sailfish in 1962 but the Super Sailfish MK II was built until 1975.

If anyone is interested in an original, one-owner 1954 wood Sailfish, click here for pictures and more information.

Volkswagen capitalized on the popularity of the Sailfish to sell its 25-window Samba Bus. I have had the privilege of owning both. I have had two Sailfish, three Sunfish and nine VW busses!


In July, 2006, I found an Alcort "Sailfish" for $125. It was over 40 years old and dirty from years of storage, but still in great condition. In the following pictures, you can follow the process of restoration.

A lot of scrubbing was necessary to get the mold and dirt off.

The rudder and daggerboard were in good shape. The sail had a few scarcely noticeable holes, which were patched with special Sunfish sail patches.

The Sailfish deck got a new coat of paint and the rails were sanded and refinished with marine varnish. The gray area has non-skid paint, so it was left alone.

The brass hardware was in excellent condition

Although the hull showed only minor scratches, it was sanded and given a new gel-coat.

The Sailfish sold for $405 on eBay

The new owner loading his Sailfish on May 21, 2007 and after arriving home in Canada the next day.


I also restored a second (donated) Sailfish which I sold for enough to cover material costs!

Following are photos of the restoration

After brushing off the debris and giving it a good power wash, the hull looked pretty good with no cracks or breaks. (still wet in picture below)

I repaired many light scratches and painted the lower hull with two coats of Interlux polyurethane.

The Sailfish looked pretty good after the first coat of paint

After the second coat I allow it to cure well before turning it over.

I painted the deck light blue with a white seating area.

I tried to sell it for $500 but sold it for $350 before winter set in.
Click here for Sunfish