Newly Acquired Sunfish

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by MarkP, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your progress report, and the great pictures. :)

    On my lake, there's a seasonal drawdown, and too many oversized powerboat wakes. The late-summer drawdown means lifting the Sunfish nearly three feet off the water to pull it onto the dock. :eek:

    So as not to renew a back injury, my solution was a long lever, which put the bow handle "in-tension". (And not "in-shear").

    While screws had worked for decades, the old original bow handle eventually broke. :( A new one is bolted now, but wish I'd thought to "pop the deck" instead of cutting into the side. (That became a very tight space in which to bolt the bow handle).
    "Arthrosopic Surgery" on Sunfish | SailingForums.com

    GEDC0051-001.JPG

    This picture below shows the interim "kayak" bow handle, temporary plumber's strap "fix"—and two different inspection port lids. One shows a container for O-ring seal grease, and the other is a bayonet mount with an old CD pop-riveted to it—for use as a signaling mirror.

    SunfishPort_CD_Lube.jpg

    On my borrowed Sunfish, I moved the coaming slightly, remounted it, using S/S screws. (No sealant, as with "the boys" around, it was likely to be knocked off again). :rolleyes:

    Even a trace of silicone resists adhesives, resin, and new paint. I'd use a sealer without silicone—something else—or nothing at all.
    :)
    .
     
  2. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    The reason the outside screw holes on the splash rail crack is that the hull flexes
    when sailing. The splash rail stiffens up the hull however the same location is
    where the hull seam usually comes apart due to the flexing. Perhaps turning
    the hull upside-down and adding a extra layer of fiberglass to the inside of the deck
    might help. Anyway, the hull in going to flex and there is really no way to get
    around that. Someone posted a video a while back the showed what happens
    when sailing and the two outside screws of the splash-rail are missing. You
    can see the hull in full flex-o-matic mode.
     
  3. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Based on my 3 'Fish, this is a fairly common area of damage in "veteran" Sunfish. Since they (and I) aren't taking on stressful sailing conditions, I treat them as "cosmetic". (Sand and paint—go sailing). ;)

    Consider buying drill bits that are "left-hand-twist". As you drill (in :oops: reverse) the heat of drilling helps to loosen the rusty bond, and the damaged threads can back out automatically. (And most-often will). :cool:

    Harbor Freight sells a kit of 13 different sizes—'don't remember where I got my one 1/8th-inch LHT drill bit, :confused: but it works very satisfactorily. (Maybe the Snap-On™ tool truck?)

    Maybe you can trade your incomplete set of "Easy-Outs" for the 13 LHT drill-bits kit. ;)

    .
     
  4. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    That video is here:

    Deck Fittings - Upgrade to Bolts | SailingForums.com

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  5. Gail

    Gail 24186

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    Skip the 3rd port on the front deck. There isn't enough room to get your hand in there and get to the bow handle area with the foam block that is in place (just did one last August). While splitting deck and hull is ill-advised, this area might be a good choice, but don't do the whole thing. Your side blocks are well in place.

    The aft deck port is very helpful. You may find some dark yellow 2-part expanding foam (the "glue" that holds the Styrofoam in place), that can be carefully cut away and removed, but not where it is gluing. White Styrofoam must remain as it is structural. Do your best to avoid cutting where the Styrofoam block is if you can, but keep the port centered so you can reach things. You'll want to add a hiking strap at some point ...

    DO NOT USE 5200!!!! 4200 is OK. If you ever need to repair again, 5200 is truly permanent. You ain't gettin' it off. Most of us use silicone sealer for bedding. Nothing on a boat is forever. Maintenance is part of the game. That said, Sunfish repairs are usually good for 20 years ...

    Your dry out and getting down to 130 lbs. will go faster with two ports. Unless you smell fiberglass cooking, the stronger bulb may be ok. I've used a hairdryer, but that ran up the electric bill pretty quick. When it gets up to 90 degrees, covering half the deck with black trash bags and blowing air through the deck hole works well, too.

    Greater Detroit Sunfish Club would love to have you come sail! They will give all kinds of help, too. Even, visit the first time to see all their boats, pick brains, and figure out what's next. I'm hoping to make their camping weekends this summer and maybe one more outing. A great group of people, family oriented, camping, bring your own lunch/dinner, etc., fleet.

    As to your fiberglass repairs, visit www.westsystem.com and read their how to. Their product is terrific and they lay out simple instructions. I took their class at a conference in October. Four layers, sized up in overlap, are what you want for each. Also visit Yahoo!Groups and find the Sunfish_Sailor group; there are all kinds of examples of fixing holes on the flat and on the edge, how to make a form, etc. If that's not enough, visit www.windline.net, scroll to the bottom to find the Sunfish fixing guide ...

    Good luck! Hope to meet you this summer.
     
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  6. signal charlie

    signal charlie Active Member Staff Member

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    Those fasteners you pulled out are not factory. Check with a Sunfish parts dealer to get the appropriate size rivets.

    Lots of info on splitting a deck on our blog: Small Boat Restoration: Sunfish Pickin Columbus GA Hoops and Yoyo

    As Gail said, don't split the whole deck. For a bow handle block you only need to go back 18 inches or so. Use rot resistant wood like cypress for the new backer, and consider coating it with epoxy. To put a new block in I would use 3M 5200 or thickened epoxy.

    Cheers
    Kent
     
  7. MarkP

    MarkP Member

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    Hi Gail,

    Thanks for the feedback. Hope to meet you as well.
     
  8. MarkP

    MarkP Member

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    Any idea what the dimensions are for the coaming rivets?

    I'll consider the deck split. Does not seem like it would take more than an hour to split. When it comes to the deck split, epoxy is preferred over polyester resin? I know epoxy is a no no when it comes to adhesion with polyester (gelcoat).
     
  9. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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  10. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    Time needed to split depends of if the seam gets hung up on one side. Both another member
    and I ran into this on the same spot on the right side. Whatever they did at the factory
    bonded the seam so that the fiberglass tries to separate upward or downward. Maybe
    just a coincidence, with 300,000 Sunfish made two boats are a really small sample.

    Epoxy gives maximum pull strength, I'm sure polyester would work fine. Manufactures
    use polyester to reduce costs. People who use silicon sealer really don't understand
    how a Sunfish hull works.
     
  11. MarkP

    MarkP Member

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    Silicon sealer is definitely a no go. Had the salesman at west marine recommend that I use 5200 as the sealer for the split deck:rolleyes:...

    Bought some 3m gelcoat restoring compound... Results of 30 seconds of buffing using an old rag (before and after):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Did a nose job using some filler purchased at the local mom and pop fiberglass shop (Eastpointe Fiberglass here in the metro Detroit area). Highly recommend you give this type of shop your business, rather than a large commercial outfit.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Proceeded to do some gelcoat repairs:
    [​IMG]

    Upon applying the gelcoat, I realized I did not add enough pigment and ended up with a somewhat transparent coat. May have to sand that down and reapply... Hopefully not, though. I got pretty good at matching colors so I am happy. Realized that unless you redo the entire gelcoat it is impractical to try to fix every single scratch on a 40 year old boat. I'd be happy enough once I lower the weight a bit more and polish the hull up.

    Coming soon: More gelcoat/small fiberglass repairs. Daggerboard/rudder refinish. Coaming install. Bow handle repair (leaning towards the access port for simplicity; wouldn't perform this on a newer hull, though).

    Appreciate all the support.

    Will provide another update soon.
     
  12. South Tower Demon

    South Tower Demon Member

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    Not clear from the thread to date if your bow handle backing block is reasonably intact; if it is, you might consider my solution...

    I used EZ-Lok threaded inserts and new bolts all in stainless. They also have brass which are more affordable and perhaps more easily sourced. Search EZ-Lok on Amazon.

    I did need to drill, (grind), out the replacement handle a bit to accommodate the large bolt size I opted for. Fix seems VERY strong.

    Here's the fix in progress...

    Bow_Handle_Fix.JPG
     
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  13. MarkP

    MarkP Member

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    Hello,

    So I went ahead and cut an inspection port at the bow. Thankfully I was able to slide a mahogany backing block in with no issues. There was no goop in the way where they would have glued the backing block in place so I got lucky. Total time to cut the port and install a new block: 25 minutes. Decided to go ahead and do this due to the simplicity. Yes, I could haveday to spit the deck seam and glue it back together but that was more work than I'd like to perform.

    The gelcoat I mixed was too light and I now have some translucent repairs where you can faintly see the scratches below. May just wet sand and buff the hull and look the other way. At the end of the day, it is a 40 year old hull that will be a ton of fun. I'd rather spend my time sailing it than doing gelcoat repairs to maybe get it looking perfect. As long as there are no leaks I'll be happy.

    Can anyone provide me with a size for the coaming rivets? Planning on reattaching it and sealing it with 3M 4200 this weekend.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    I think I remember using stainless steel screws, locknuts and fender washers
    to fix the splash rail on one boat. If you use pop-rivets the existing holes may be
    too big and you will have to fill and redrill the holes in the hull.
     
  15. MarkP

    MarkP Member

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    Measured the hole diameter to be a bit larger than 1/4". The 1/4" diameter rivets should do the job. I guess the real question is what length I'd need.
     
  16. Roller

    Roller Member

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    I like folded leg rivets for use with thinner fiberglass structures. They draw tight and are good for slightly oversize holes or in places where you want to spread the stress. One size of longish folded leg rivet can accommodate materials of different thicknesses:

    Tri-Fold Blind Rivets - Bolt Products Inc.
    Rivets | Blind Rivets | Bulbex - Tribex - Trifold Blind Rivets | Buy Rivets | Rivet tools - Rivet Nuts & Other Specialty Fasteners

    Lots of sizes and sources available... google "tri-fold rivets".
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  17. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    Look on the box for "Grip Range." This is the total thickness of the material
    being riveted.

    You are going to need to use the small washers that come with the rivets to prevent
    pulling through the fiberglass.
     
  18. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Question regarding the above mahogany lumber:

    I've seen such "repurposed" /spliced dimensional lumber used in indoor applications. While there's nothing wrong with using vintage woodstock, are these bonded suitably for wet applications?
    Fullscreen capture 482017 41444 AM.bmp.jpg

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  19. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Because the legs of a tri-fold rivet expand so widely when the rivet is pulled there is less need of a backing washer (but using a washer is always best if the barrel of the rivet is accessible before the rivet is drawn).

    Another benefit of tri-folds is their extended grip range. One commonly available 3/16" tri-fold grips from 3/16" to 1/2". This property is very useful if you don't exactly know (or have difficulty measuring) how thick the material is you're riveting. This also means you need to keep fewer rivet lengths on hand....
     
  20. MarkP

    MarkP Member

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    The piece was coated yesterday with polyurethane and will be installed today. There is no way for me to know what they used for glue.
     

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