Howdy from TX

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Monsoon, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    Howdy all! I've sailed these guys several times over the course of my thirtysomething years. I spent a bunch of my summers during high school on the Potomac in my bud's laser, sailing out of Ft. Belvoir.

    Anyway, about 4 months or so ago, I noticed the stern of a sailboat poking out from behind an old van at this boat dealer. I finally inquired about it.

    It was a little sunfish! I asked the lady at the counter about the boat; she said someone had just stolen the sail and some other odds and ends. She said she'd let it go cheap.

    So, $100 later and it was cinched on the back of my truck and on the way home.

    Anyone know of a good place to pick up a cheap sail, daggerboard, and rudder? I have to make a repair to the boom as well (you can see in the pics where it got tweaked).

    I'm looking forward to getting it, well, ship shape over the winter.

    [​IMG]

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  2. dinghyone

    dinghyone Curmudgeon

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    I've got a cheap daggerboard, an old sail and a new spar

    C.P. Burks
    dinghyone at att dot net
    Fort Worth, Texas
     
  3. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    AND, you're close! I'm in Fate (just a few miles east of Rockwall).

    Whatcha want for all that?
     
  4. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    Okay, well, I've done a little cleaning (still need to pull it off the trailer and flip it to give the hull a proper scrubbing) but in the process I've discovered that the hull has some water in it. I noticed it when I was pushing it back into the garage.

    Is there a common issue with a particular area of the hull prone to leak?

    Also, is there a common way to drain that water out? I admit that I'm not very familiar with the nuances of the Sunfish; the laser was an open hull, wooden craft. No need to do anything but sponge. This is a very different animal.
     
  5. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    A bit of spit & polish...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    There is a silver screwhead on the deck next to the splashrail. Thats the drain. Open it up, tip the boat on its side and drain away! The boats can leak from a number of places. If you search this board I think there are some recommended ways of finding the leaks. Thebest way is to tape over the vent hole at the forward side of the cockpit, up under the deck lip, then use an air compressor or bike pump to put a LITTLE air pressure in the hull. Then use a soapy sponge on all the seams of the boat and look for air bubbles. Do NOT put much pressure in the hull or you can start popping the seams apart. You got a great deal on this boat!!! I think Rockwall is near a lake whose name escapes me (maybe Lake Ray Hubbard??) with a very active yacht club with a Sunfish fleet. They may be able to help you locate some inexpensive replacement parts. BB
     
  7. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I have a compressor well up to the task, and it's exactly how we shoot aircraft leaks; makes perfect sense.

    There is quite a bit of sealant at the deck/hull seam, but all under the silver rail. Not sure if that was factory or not, and I'm certain that it has dried out beyond its usefulness at any rate. I have some really good stuff available to me that I can use to seal this little boat up with no worries.

    As for the lake, yup, Ray Hubbard. In fact, I kayak there all the time. For anyone interested in my trips to the north end of Hubbard, you can go here:

    http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30514 where you can jump to various postings of various places and see lots and lots of gorgeous images.

    If you really like those images, you can find them, and more, here: http://s187.photobucket.com/albums/x61/johnny_monsoon/kayak/

    I can hardly wait to get the camera out on the Sunfish! Although I may have to get a waterproof housing for my D80 before I attempt that. There's no tacking or hiking out on a kayak (well, at least none of mine).
     
  8. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    I have a compressor well up to the task, and it's exactly how we shoot aircraft leaks; makes perfect sense.

    Repair advice from Vanguard (former Sunfish maker) cautioned not to exceed 3 ounces of pressure per square inch (0.2 psi) so be extremely careful using a compressor. The job can be accomplished simply using your breath. I carefully use a bicycle tire hand pump.


    There is quite a bit of sealant at the deck/hull seam, but all under the silver rail. Not sure if that was factory or not

    That could be the problem right there. The Sunfish is a hollow pontoon made by fusing the hull and deck with fiberglass to make it a one piece enclosure. Aluminum edging just covers the joint for protection. I’ve picked up a couple of Sunfish that had sealer gunk smeared on the edging to try and stop leaks. I had to clean off the gunk and remove the piece of edging to find the actual leak in the joint. ( http://www.windline.net/proj4.htm )

    Fixing the joint with fiberglass or epoxy resin ( http://www.apsltd.com/Tree/d315000/e313471.asp ) ( http://www.apsltd.com/Tree/d315000/e313466.asp ) was easier than cleaning away the gunk. ( http://www.windline.net/joint.htm ) Don’t overlook the bottom corners of the dagger board slot. I’ve found more leaks there than anywhere else.
     
  9. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    If 3psi blows a fiberglass hull, there are bigger structural problems than leaks. I have materials available that can seal that hull and hold it sealed until I cause the structure to fail; that isn't a problem. Besides, getting 3psi into that much space requires a high volume, low pressure application; there shouldn't be any way you could reasonably pressurize the hull in a short amount of time with a hand pump.

    I'll do some aircraft application for leak testing that should be quick; just pop a smoke canister and blow the smoke inside the hull and see where it escapes.

    I think for my issues with this boat, the deck and hull are going to have to be separated. There's enough sloshing in there to give me deep concerns and it'd be very unlikely that I'd ever get enough moisture out of the foam blocks to avoid a big mold problem, which will propagate the glass deterioration.

    I have time, and the means to accomplish the work correctly with the correct parts. This will never be a racer, it'll never be a show-boat, and it'll never be a great example of a Sunfish (whatever that might be). I'll simply take it for what it is; a nice little craft to revisit some of my teen years sailing, and an opportunity to teach my sons what little about sailing I know.
     
  10. Bill Siler

    Bill Siler Member

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    3psi * at least 5000 sq in= 15000 lbs of force, variously concentrated by the structure. Seems like trouble to me.
     
  11. papayamon2

    papayamon2 Member

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    True, it doesn't take a lot of outward PSI force to risk damage to a hull. I just acquired '73 Sunfish myself, and one of the first things I did was to put an access port between the splash guard and the daggerboard well. This provides a simple way to sponge water out of the hull, and it also makes a handy way to check for leaks by blowing air into the port. The best way I've found is to use a vacuum cleaner on "reverse", placing the hose 6 inches or so away from the open port. (DON'T TRY TO BLOCK UP THE PORT AROUND THE HOSE!!) This creates a slight pressure in the hull (enough to make bubbles with soap) without damaging anything. It doesn't take much pressure at all to find the offending leaks.
     
  12. imported_Scott

    imported_Scott Member

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    Greetings, I've posted this before:

    A different and in my opinion easier way to do the air test: Keep the drain plug screwed in, put a piece of electrical or duct tape over the weep hole and push a ball stem on a bike pump (like the kind you blow balls up with) right through the tape. The tape keeps enough of a seal to do the job.

    Scott
     
  13. Gail

    Gail 24186

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    DON'T DO IT!!! If you do a little more digging about repairing, draining, and drying out Sunfish hulls you'll find there's little, very little to be gained by separating the hull and deck and huge headaches to be acquired by doing so. Look on this forum, visit those links from Dan (Crabber), and register for and look into the Yahoo! Group sunfish_sailor, where there is so much info you could read and learn for a week!

    Learn a little about the basic and simple structure of the boat. You'll find it's not as dire as you're concerned it is. I think nearly any Sunfish can be brought back to racing life with a little TLC.

    Good luck with your project. The transformation from the cleanup was surprising!
     
  14. Porpoise2

    Porpoise2 New Member

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    If you can't see any damage, I'd agree that the daggerboard trunk is likely.

    If yours is a humid environment, the water inside could be an accumulation of months of condensation—even in a new hull.

    I pulled my catamaran up on shore and covered it for the Florida off-season: six months later, I couldn't move it. Both hulls were half-full of water! :eek:
     
  15. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    Originally Posted by Monsoon - If 3psi blows a fiberglass hull, there are bigger structural problems than leaks.

    I always thought the caution was because the hull is built to withstand pressure from the outside and the test put an opposite force on the way it’s made. You’ll need to ask the factory people about their reasoning. I was just trying to say the test is simple and easy, no need for heavy equipment. It only takes me about a dozen or so pumps with a bicycle pump to see bubbles coming from a leak. I agree with Papayamon, Scott and Gail the whole thing is simple and you’ll make a little problem into an overly complex and costly job by taking unfounded actions. Nobody’s guessing, these procedures have a track record of good results going back a long way. Start by opening the drain like BB said to get the water out. Put in an inspection port to air things dry and see what the inside looks like. Better to know for sure by easy means than guessing it needs to be complicated.

    I borrowed the instruction sheet from Sunfish Sailors since Laser Performance doesn't have the Vanguard repair sheet posted anymore. They are the same information.
     

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  16. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    >If 3psi blows a fiberglass hull, there are bigger structural problems than leaks. I have >materials available that can seal that hull and hold it sealed until I cause the structure to >fail; that isn't a problem. Besides, getting 3psi into that much space requires a high >volume, low pressure application; there shouldn't be any way you could reasonably >pressurize the hull in a short amount of time with a hand pump.

    I>'ll do some aircraft application for leak testing that should be quick; just pop a smoke >canister and blow the smoke inside the hull and see where it escapes.

    Couple things - 1 I don't know the physics behind it, but you can pressurize the boat enough for a test with either your lungs or a bike pump. It is actually simple and fast.

    Second, unless your boat has a big, gaping hole, I will be surprised if the smoke comes out. These boats generally leak via fissures, and that is all it takes to get lot of water sloshing around.

    And as someone else already said, taking the deck off is rarely if ever necessary. You can fix leaks (and even full blown holes) via an inspection port or two, and dry them via the port too. There has been a lot posted on those topics and you will be able to find a solution that works for you.


    BB
     
  17. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    I don't know the physics behind it, but you can pressurize the boat enough for a test with either your lungs or a bike pump. It is actually simple and fast.

    You'll notice in the instructions, that's ounces, not even pounds per square inch. Seems it just doesn't take much to get the job done.
     
  18. imported_memnar

    imported_memnar New Member

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    I am reading this post and I think some people don't understand how leak rates, cycle purges and pressure tests work.

    I am not going to go into it, but 3oz of pressure seems about right for the Sunfish. Anymore and you are gong to blow out a seam. Yea thats about the power of your breath. I would not use a vacuum in reverse, and just a couple of pumps on a bicycle pump at a time would be enough.

    I remember from my Navy days on board submarines, that just 2 psi was enough to raise the nuclear missile in the tube, if that helps visualize it..

    I just don't want anybody "fixing" their boat and making more leaks by overpressure.

    just my 2 cents...
    Erik
     
  19. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    I did notice the Windline instructions call for a considerable size blow-by vent for their reversed vacuum method. IIRC I had this conversation a couple of years back where we brainstormed adding a "T" in the pump hose and attaching a latex glove as a pressure gauge. I think that was originally a Laser or Hobie trick. When the glove stood up you were there, if it began to inflate further you were going too far. :eek:
     
  20. Monsoon

    Monsoon New Member

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    The main reason I'd like to pull the deck is that this boat has been outside in the TX sun for at least a year; and has also weathered the cooler part of the winter (in the freezing range). It wasn't in good shape when it got there, and if it leaking via fissuring there is a substantial amount of water that has been trapped inside. I'd like to air it all out and start from scratch.

    Smoke? You'd see it for sure, but it isn't smoke like from a fire; it's specifically for micro-leaks. We'd get smoke at 1" of mercury from pinholes.

    I think my comments on volume are being confused with pressure; and where the pressure is read vs where people are assuming it'll be read. AND, a gas is compressible, a liquid, not so much (which is why you could jack up that missile with only 2psi). You'd need a lot more volume of air to do that.

    Anyway, ultimately, I want a rig that I only have to spend one good patch job on; I don't want a boat that I have to constantly re-seal. I can do the work myself, and have access to military grade parts/materials. Plenty of tools and time. It's just a matter of knowing what is necessary and what is a waste of time.
     

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