Starting at the BEGINNING

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Whitecap, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Hey folks,

    First, let me introduce myself and say thank you, to all that have contributed so much to this site. It is truly a treasure trove of knowledge here - THANK YOU!

    My name is Whitecap, and I live on a lake near Fort Worth Texas. For the past few months I have been reading as much Sunfish information as I could get hands on. This place has been instrumental in starting my journey. After learning, here, how to buy a used Sunfish, what to look for, where to look for it, (scouring the want ads, craigs list and other avenues listed on this forum) - my old neighbor down the street GAVE ME HIS OLD ONE, which has not saild in many years (sitting outside in his back yard).

    Boom! Now I have a Sunfish. After a BBQ dinner at my place to say thank you, I set forth to determine the condition of the boat and start the restoration process.

    In my mind the process looks like this:
    1) say thank you to owner - done

    2) say thank you to all here for helping me grow so much in education over the last couple of months - done

    3) weigh the boat - done (it weighed in at 178 punds - my research here tells me that the foam blocks have probably absorbed 40+ lbs of water. I can hear some water sloshing around inside of her when I move her around. It surly needs to be dried out).

    4) age determination? Pre 1971? [​IMG] (Expertise welcome here) [​IMG][​IMG]

    5) leak test this boat

    6) get the inspection ports installed and start the drying process.

    7) ascertain the status of the hard ware - no sail. Mast and spars look straight. Some spar caps are missing. Rudder assebly is servaceable, but the boat is missing lower rudder plate at bottom of boat. (Maybe time for a rudder conversion!). Dagger board is split, ect.

    8) ascertain the status of hull integrity - Minor Scratches. Hull dings with gelcoat missing, with blackend glass showing beneath (been studying up on hull repair on this site).

    9) sand, prime, sand, fare, sand, prime, sand, paint, sand paint, sand paint (as listed a bunch on this forum)

    10) replace with serviceable hardware.

    11) build a boat dolly for her using plans found here or around internet ( for the yearly maintenance to the garage from our dock).

    There is so much more to do that I have not learned yet. Will you guys join me on this adventure and lend me your expertise as I begin this journey? (More detailed pics to follow).

    Very warm regards,
    Whitecap

    PS- yes, our little lake, and most of Texas, is flooding!

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    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  2. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    I guess starting at the beginning means learning EXACTLY how to insert my pics. I thought I knew how to do this already..... Guess this may be a reoccurring theme! Ill read up on it here and post those pics pronto. I know they help immensely.

    DONE!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  3. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Any thoughts on the age of this boat?
     
  4. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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  5. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Thanks Beldar!

    If this boat was yours, does the above plan, look about right to you? There seems like so much to do! Just wondering where to start for sure. (The difference between knowledge and wisdom is experience. I am lacking in all three here - with any knowledge gained from this group's postings).

    Thoughts going forward?

    Thanks for th help,
    Whitecap

    Ps..... Also found a nice link for helping to determine the age and history evolution of a sunfish through its serial number. Hope it helps someone out there.

    http://www.sunfishklasse.nl/documenten/Sunfish Timeline.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  6. tag

    tag my2fish

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    I don't mean to discourage you, but a few things to consider:
    • that is a pretty old hull, well over-weight, and most likely with leaks somewhere
    • the rudder is the old-style, which can be harder to find parts for replacement
    • a rudder upgrade/conversion is expensive
    • you can find a cheap used sail here in the "for sale" section, or a new "recreational" or "practice" sail can be bought for about $150 from Intensity Sails
    • I would browse around on the "for sale" section and sites like Intensity Sails or APSailing to get a rough budget of what it will take to get you up and sailing
    as hard as it is to turn down something free, if you're looking to get on the water and start sailing, you might be better off finding a newer Sunfish on Craigslist or similar classifieds, that is already in decent shape, has all the required parts and rigging, and will get you on the water faster, with potentially less total cost (and sweat equity)!

    best of luck, and keep posting your progress and questions!

    cheers,
    tag (my2fish)
     
  7. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Greatful for the insight, Tag. Thank you.

    To be honest - Im not a sailor. Yet.

    Im not in a hurry to get on the water. My goal is to spend the rest of this year fixing her up. I think, like the Merci build, the act of taking something old and unservicable, and breathing new life back into her, is my goal. I've never done anything like that before.

    Besides, I havent been excited or nervous about anything in a long time. Its nice to have a "thing" again. I hope someone out there can understand what Im trying to say.

    Im looking forward to this build. Next stop - inspection ports, followed by the leak test.

    Although there are leak test instructions on this forum, I was thinking about following these steps (link below). These steps are easier for me to picture. (Ill install 2 inspection ports, near tiller and splashguard. Electric air matrice pump will be taped to one port, the other port will be left open. Then suds her down with a paint brush and 50/50 soap/water.)

    How to find that leak!

    What do you guys think?

    Grateful for the pragmatic insight,
    Whitecap

    PS, I LOVE the my2fish website!
     
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  8. tag

    tag my2fish

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    Whitecap,
    Then carry on! If you don't mind the hard work, the journey is sometimes just as fun as the destination.
    For the leak test, just be sure you don't put too much air pressure into the boat, or it could pop a seam and/or make a leak worse before you find it!

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog. :)

    Cheers,
    tag
     
  9. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    I guess the first place to start, is to build some sort of work area for the boat. I need to construct some sort of boat stand, if you will. A place where the boat can be placed, in the garage, where I can work on it freely. Any ideas out there?

    Here is a pic of what Im talking about: is this design a good way to go?
    [​IMG]

    Any plans, drawings, or advice on building something that can hold a wet sunfish thats makes a relatively stable platform to work, cut, scrape, fare, sand and paint, drill, or cry over?

    Warm regards,
    Whitecap
     
  10. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    2 sawhorses and a fat pool noodle. Duct tape the noodle to the sawhorses.
     
  11. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Got a pic? Did you cut the noodle to fit on top of the sawhorse ridge, then wrap the duct tape around the horse and noodle? How did you do it exactly? Did it work well for you?

    Thanks fhhuber,
    Whitecap
     
  12. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    Slit the noodle so you can force it onto the sawhorse.

    Sorry , no pic. Its just a pair of padded sawhorses. Works fine.
     
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  13. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Great! ........ Ill head off to walley world and look for some fat pool noodles.

    Thanks for the quick and easy fix,
    -Whitecap
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Check Dollar Tree/General Dollar/Family Dollar stores for those pool noodles—cheap! :)

    But you might want to consider the cloth belts (as shown). Belts make it easy to tip the boat anywhere from a flat position to the exact angle needed for cutting, scraping, faring, sanding, drilling, painting, pop-riveting, and a very desirable level fiber-glassing position. I used fat nylon lines between dock posts for a Porpoise II transom repair , but belts would have been better. :cool:
     
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  15. danpal

    danpal Active Member

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    If you want to go all out you can build one of these! It's what they used at the Laser Performance factory. It took me an afternoon and makes moving a Sunfish out of the way a breeze.

    [​IMG]

    Work Dolly | SailingForums.com
     
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  16. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Danpal and LVWs,
    Thanks for the input here. Maybe I could make a hybrid between these two. Use the bottom support rail of Danpal's pic, attached to the sling pic up top that I posted, with wheels mounted on it. That way I can move the boats location in the garage, and position the boat as needed for repairs in the slings. Cant be too tough to make. Ive got the equipment to make it pretty simply in my garage.

    1) L&V Winds, what width do recommend is best for a sling set up frame? Any thoughts? Might be a good project while I wait for the inspection ports to show up. I ordered two, 5 inch ports from APS (with the fat bag). Once they get here, Ill start working the leak test. Then Ill take a look at those foam blocks to see where we stand. (wish me luck - I can hear something rattling around inside he hull, when I flip the boat over in the yard).

    2) Also, anyone have advice on how best to clean the surface of the sunfish, in general. Power washer? Bleach solution? Some have recommended a paste, or gel-like solution from West Marine that is supposed to clean the boat very well with no effort. Anyone got any recommendations out there?

    3) Where is a good place to look for those sling belts. What are they? Thoughts?

    Thanks again everyone,
    Whitecap
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
  17. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    'Dunno. :oops: I rescued a yellow 30-foot truck load-securing belt from the roadside. It is about 8" wide. (!) Also inherited a 4" cotton belt from my Grandfather, but used the "fat" nylon line because it was within a few feet of me when it came time to work. A few clove-hitches later, and the repair started—positioning the work-piece in a stable manner—and was able to re-use the lines later. :)

    "Horse-lead" is a fat, soft, and braided polypropylene line available from Tractor Supply or Amazon that might fit the bill. I'd say wider is better, so make a long rectangle with the line around the posts.

    If it's making a dull sound, it's likely the foam blocks. A sharp sound could be the much smaller backing blocks—or something else left inside from a previous repair.

    Y'know, you don't have to glue the Styrofoam® blocks back in with messy expanding foam. The blocks can be pressed aside from the center of the hull, using a "spring" made of ¼" marine plywood, with wood blocks at either end. (Shaped like a stretched "H"—like so: [————] ). With the "spring" epoxied into position, the blocks will jam in place at the chines and support the upper deck—as they were intended. (Use epoxy resin, as it doesn't dissolve Styrofoam®).

    'Can't help with cleaning suggestions for the hull, but there are threads here with helpful solutions—including pressure washers.
     
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  18. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    :oops: Oh, yes...Use a slow-acting catalyst for the epoxy resin, as the normal catalyst ("hardener") will heat the Styrofoam® to the point that "smoke" will appear! :eek:
     
  19. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    L&VWs,

    Thanks for the great insights. That "wooden spring" idea is very intreaging. Ive done a lot of research and found a lot of info on the expanding foam technique (with pics and videos). I understand that procedure well (now, to do it would be another thing). If the time ever comes, I'd LOVE to get detailed instructions from you, on how to make the "wooden spring" technique work. Thanks L&VWs, your posts are really helping me out.

    Anyone else care drop some experience on theses information requests?

    1) What width works best for a sling set up frame? Any thoughts?

    2) Also, anyone have advice on how best to clean the surface of the sunfish, in general. Power washer? Bleach solution? Some have recommended a paste, or gel-like solution from West Marine that is supposed to clean the boat very well with no effort. Anyone got any recommendations out there?

    3) Where is a good place to look for those sling belts. What are they? Thoughts?

    Thanks again everyone,
    Whitecap
     
  20. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    Soft scrub with bleach is a good first thing to clean with.

    I'd check with light and variable to see if his H idea has ever actually been tested or if it is just an idea kicking around in his head.
     
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