Two questions (hull layup schedule, deck drain plug)

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by cyrano138, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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    I purchased a sunfish for a hundred bucks just before Irma hit because the former owner just wanted it out of his yard during the storm. Well I tied it down well enough that there was no damage, and now I'm back to getting the boat ready to get on the water. I ordered a new sail and all it really needs, as far as repairs go, is to have the hole where the bailer used to be fixed, and a replacement for the original deck drain plug which is no longer there and has just been covered up with electrical tape.

    First, let me say I sincerely apologize if this has been covered, but after loads and loads of Google searching I couldn't find anything about it.

    1. What is the layup schedule for the hull? I ask because to be honest I don't really need a bailer and I'm just going to plug the hole by glassing and over. I plan on using polyester resin so I can gelcoat it and I just need to know how many layers of what weight cloth to use.

    2. Can I use a typical plastic drain plug To replace the original? The originals are a bit expensive and Sunfish direct doesn't seem to have them in stock anyway. Also, I'm honestly not sure how to install them. Do either the original drain plugs or a modern plastic drain plug need to be backed with anything whether it's a word or metal backing plate? Or, can the screws that secure the base of the drain plug simply be screwed into the Fiberglass Deck without a backing plate or block?

    Thanks in advance for all your help. I'm kind of hoping I can get the repairs done this weekend and get it out on the water as soon as possible.
     
  2. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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    Forgot to ask one other thing : I bought the new sail without any rings. Any thoughts on just tying it onto the book and gaff with loops of line? A little time consuming at first but I can make them instead of having to order them. Anyone else do this?
     
  3. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Fullscreen capture 432017 33744 AM.bmp-002.jpg My most recent Sunfish purchase also had the bailer sealed-off by the previous owner.

    A quick-weekend-fix for the bailer is a 1¼-inch "Expandable Freeze Plug", readily available from NAPA, Discount, & etc at $6. Put a larger washer and nut on the inside, and I suggest a 5/16" plastic wingnut (or knob) to remove it more readily.

    I'll have to leave the other questions for others, as I don't use polyester resin.

    As for "search":
     
  4. tag

    tag my2fish

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    Yes, there is no issue with using small line for sail ties instead of using the plastic rings.
     
  5. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    I keep a supply of plastic shower curtain rings for that purpose. They're larger than they should be, but they'll work. May be better for the upper spar (or gaff) for depowering the rig.
     
  6. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Question 1:
    Having a hole in the bottom of the Sunfish cockpit is quite convenient for draining lake water, rainwater, or wash water when the boat is hauled. If you don't want to mess with the Sunfish bailer and are prepared to empty the cockpit some other way (bail and sponge out the cockpit, etc etc) it's perhaps not crazy to close the bailer hole more-or-less permanently with resin and reinforcement. The next owner can reopen the hole.

    The diameter of the Sunfish bailer hole is 1 3/8". The thickness of the Sunfish cockpit+hull where the bailer hole is located is about 3/8". There is no need to bevel or enlarge the bailer hole before filling it--a simple glass plug will be plenty strong enough.

    • Preparation

    Clean the area around the bailer hole on both the cockpit and hull side.

    Wrap medium grit sandpaper around a large dowel or round tool handle and lightly sand all around the inside of the bailer hole. You don't want to remove much material, only to clean the inside of the hole and expose a fresh surface.

    Wax the area around the bailer hole on both the cockpit and hull side, being careful to get no wax inside the bailer hole.

    Tape around the bailer hole on the cockpit side to protect the cockpit sole from resin drips when you fill the hole.

    • With hull side up
    Cut a disk marginally larger than 1 3/8" in diameter from polyethylene sheet or any smooth, thin plastic sheet. Center the plastic disk on the sticky side of a piece of 2" or wider duct or packaging tape. Carefully apply the tape over the bailer hole, with the plastic disk centered over the hole. Add more tape to make the patch over the hole quite firm. Rub down the tape all around the hole.
    (The purpose of the plastic disk is to give a nice smooth finish to the hull side of the glass plug that will close the hole. There may be a little very thin resin leakage under the tape on the hull side when the plug is cured. If you waxed the hull this resin flash should be easy to remove.)

    • With deck side up
    Catalyze a small amount of your choice of resin. (The Sunfish is made of polyester resin--there is no need to use epoxy for the plug, but use what you favor). If the ambient temperature is > 70° and if you use polyester or vinylester resin, cut back on the MEKP catalyst--you don't want the plug to overheat as it cures.

    Add fiberglass reinforcement to the catalyzed resin. The reinforcement can be glass cloth cut into 1/4"-1/2" snippets or fiberglass mat torn into small pieces, or both. You want a thick slurry of resin and glass.

    Spoon the slurry into the bailer hole, filling it to the top. Lay a small piece of polyethylene or other plastic sheet over the hole and massage the slurry to remove any air trapped in the hole, and to smooth the top of the slurry even with the cockpit sole. Don't push so hard that you dislodge the tape on the hull covering the hole!

    After the resin cures strip the tape and plastic. Done.

    Question 2:
    You may have to enlarge the hole in the deck for a replacement plastic drain plug. If the deck is in reasonably good condition you can either screw or pop rivet the drain plug directly to the deck.

    Question 3:
    Many Sunfish sailors tie their sails to the spars with light line. This is at least as good (and quieter) than using the plastic rings.
     
  7. Charles Howard

    Charles Howard Member

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    I would put a bailer in.
     
  8. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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  9. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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    Thank you for the incredibly detailed response! I was going to bevel the hole before glassing it just to practice because I have to close up some extraneous through hulls on another boat I'll working and I've never done it before. That's why I wanted to get some thoughts on a layup schedule.

    Would you guys recommend installing an original drain plug? If so, where can I get one? If not, what should I use?

    Finally, what diameter line should I use to attach the sail?

    Thank you again for all your help, guys!

    Jack
     
  10. Roller

    Roller Member

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    If you just plug the bailer hole (without beveling, etc) it's easy to undo should the need ever arise.

    One of the regular posters here has drain plugs in several styles:
    Drain Plug Assemblies | SailingForums.com
    Craig's prices are really low, and he's very easy to deal with.

    Optimist dinghy sailors tie their sails to mast and boom with really small stuff. You can use almost anything that will hold a reef knot--it doesn't have to be high tech. Opti sail ties (these are 1.2mm--pretty thin!) :
    Opti Sail Ties - EX1336
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  11. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    I'd go the beveling route, without a doubt. Don't need a repair to pop out at the wrong time. Just the thickness of the hull isn't enough material to "grab" the repair. Hole saws make quick work at re-creating another hole.
    Some 1/8" line from wherever will do the job with lashing the sail to the booms. I believe most racers tie their sails as well, especially at the ends and near the top of the mast on the upper spar....so they don't snag, like the rings are sometimes prone to do. I got some neat colored line to do mine. Looks spiffy! ha!

    oh ...all that rubbish said....I'd install a new bailer, or at least something to drain the cockpit when out of the water, even if it's just a plug. The bailers work "so-so" and you really need to be on a reach or run for them to work best, but will slowly do the job, especially if you flip the boat and fill the cockpit or take a wave over the bow, etc.
     
  12. Roller

    Roller Member

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    The bailer hole is located in one of the thickest and least flexible areas of the Sunfish hull. If the margin of the bailer hole is properly prepared and the resin is properly mixed it is extremely unlikely that a glass reinforced plug 1 3/8" in diameter could be "popped out".

    I certainly agree that a drain hole in the bottom of the cockpit is a rather handy thing to have.
     
  13. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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    Just to save everyone the trouble of hashing it out, I'm going to bevel and glass over the cockpit drain. I'm sure a plug would hold just fine, but I need to practice the method anyway, and if it turns out to have been a mistake, I can always cut a new hole and install a bailer.

    All I need to figure out now is the deck drain. I'm tempted to glass that over as well because the previous owner installed an inspection port just to the left of and about six inches behind the bow handle. If there's water in the hull, it should be able to cross over the centerline and drain from the inspection port, right? Seems reasonable since the one starboard side drain was meant to be the original and only means of draining the hull. If anyone has an original drain plug assembly for sale and doesn't mind explaining to me how to install it I wouldn't mind putting it in just for the heck of it, but so far I have 240 bucks into this boat and have to spend another 40 or 50 on running rigging, so I'd like to do everything as simply as possible and get it in the water as quickly as possible. It wasn't meant to be a restore project or anything -- it was meant to be something I can sail while I'm restoring my cal 20.
     
  14. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    With the surrounding hole area beveled, especially on both sides, it's impossible for a repair to pop out, versus "extremely unlikely" .
    My experience seeing repairs done without beveling and even just omitting adequately cleaning the area before glass layup, has proved too high a failure rate, even if it's just re-cracking around the hole perimeter. I see this quite frequently with small screw holes especially. People popping their fav filler in a screw hole to only to see it reappear next season. Do it right, do it once.
     
  15. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    The bailer is a safety feature. If you will be glassing it over, I'd go ahead and glass over the entire cockpit so you can't find yourself with a full cockpit and unable to bail. Sailfish did fine with no cockpit so shouldn't be an issue to eliminate it.
     
  16. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    If the hull is level the water pools just behind the dagger board trunk.
    I use a inspection port behind the splash-rail and suck the water out
    with a 50 cc syringe. You would have to tip the boat forward for the
    bow port and then all the water would run past the port.

    Find a used bailer on E-Bay or maybe someone will sell you one. They
    go for $25 dollars. They may be primitive but they save a lot of time
    draining water. You don't need the DePersia plug if you don't have it,
    a wine cork or hardware plug will do. If you really want to go sailing
    now you could seal the edges with epoxy and stick duck tape over the hole. It will
    not sink if you loose the duct tape.

    You can save money by buying the halyard and sheet lines at your local hardware
    store. Should be able to do it for $18 and have just as good or better quality
    than a Sunfish Rigging Kit bought online.

    Original drain plugs have a rubber o-ring on the hull side and a 1/2" Flange Nut
    on the tub side. That's all, nothing more.

    Should be able to find a hardware set-screw for the deck drain plug until
    you get something better.

    I tie the sail on with Paracord, others use different types of cord. It works
    better and cheaper than the shower rings. Paracord also works good for
    the deck traveler.
     
  17. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    The OP may be mixing the terms, "bailer" and "drain plug".

    The drain plug is on the deck—right side. For sailing this weekend—which starts on the East Coast in about 12 hours—duct tape will work. ;)

    The bailer is in the bottom of the cockpit—left of the keel. Depending on the year, the original could have been metal or plastic. Entire plastic bailers are available new from Sunfish Direct for about $45.

    In 12 hours, resin will still be smelling of MEK. :(
    In 12 hours, NAPA will be open. :)
     
  18. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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    I need to fix both. I should have taken some photos to avoid confusion. The old bailer was removed, the deck drain plug and all its associated parts are missing.

    I'm going to install a plastic drain plug in the deck. Maybes I'll beef up that little patch of deck from the top so the screws have something to bite into. Might be a little ugly but, hey, it's a $100 boat.

    I don't know about your time table, l&v, after almost twenty years of surfboard repair I can't think of a time a repair done at night (and done right) was still tacky in the morning. :)
    If I can get it in the water by Sunday night it still counts.
     
  19. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    Deck is too thin for wood or sheet metal screws. You could use 3M 5200
    to secure the plug. I think the plastic deck drain is not so good a fix since
    the plug tab will be sticking up and you want a flush mount. Just bevel
    and fiberglass over the plug hole. Then install the plastic deck drain
    in the transom. Now you don't have to flip the boat to drain it, you
    can drain it on the trailer. This gets you closer to what's normally done
    and you don't have to go back and redo what you did.
     
  20. cyrano138

    cyrano138 Member

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    Webfoot, I like the transom idea a lot. Would you still use 5200 on the transom or is the glass there thick enough to screw it into?
     

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