The Sunfish is the most popular sailboat on the planet. Twice as many Sunfish sailboats have been sold as compared to the closest competition. Its popularity has sparked an abundance of words to honor it, including:
“Once launched, it brings its occupants closely and swiftly to the glories of wind and water.” –The New York Times, 1974
“The appeal of the Sunfish. . . cuts through a lot of social, economic and ethnic strata.” – Sports Illustrated, 1982
Stephan Platzer’s high school graduation present of a green Sunfish became the source of fifty years of adventures, connections, and friendships. Much has occurred since he received it, but that Sunfish has truly remained a strong, vivid part of his life. He shared the boat with many friends and relatives who presently range in age from 25 to 75 years old and who agreed to tell their stories of the Sunfish. In addition, others have related their experiences on other Sunfish sailboats. They all have contributed to a wonderful collection of romantic, funny, and heartfelt stories. Platzer got the boat when he was 18 years old and he has now gathered 18 stories. As an avid listener to StoryCorps on National Public Radio, he often encourages people to write down their version of a particular adventure and to share it with others. Obviously, this Sunfish has played a very important role in his life … and also in their lives.
Although he began his sailing adventures on the Sunfish, Platzer has since journeyed on larger vessels, such as a Viking replica ship from Norway to England; a yacht surrounded by icebergs in the Greenland Sea; the 1890s schooner, Ernestina, from Africa to Newport, Rhode Island; and a steel-hulled sailing ship around Cape Horn in the southern hemisphere winter, traveling from east to west, against the wind and currents.
Platzer is a physical chemist with 62 US Patents (jokingly, one patent per year since he was seven years old). His specialty is photoimaging systems. He presently works at Southern Lithoplate, Inc., as the Director of Research and Development. He has lived in Wake Forest for the last 6 years, during which he has enjoyed the companionship of the mayor, the associate editor of the Wake Weekly, the founder of Neck of the Woods, and others at the White Street Brewing Company.