What to do about my bailer?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Astefanik, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Astefanik

    Astefanik New Member

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    Hello! I am a young woman and I just bought an older sunfish. it's in pretty good condition, but it has An old metal bailer and no plug/cap. I know very little about boat repair or any repair really. My uncle is willing to help me replace the metal bailer with a new bailer in the fall, but I'd like to sail now. Right now, I'm plugging the hole with a sponge, but is there something more sturdy I can use? I tried using a rubber plug but I couldn't fit it into the hole. Does anyone know what size plug I should try? Also, I wouldn't mind getting rid of the bailer altogether and not replacing it. Once I get the bailer off, how do I repair the hole? Is there a way for me to fill the bailer with a plumbers putty or something? Clearly I'm at a lost. Any advice would be great, thanks!
     
  2. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    I'm not sure how to get the old bailer out, but since the top is already off, it might be easier than you think. Here is a link to the procedure. http://www.windline.net/BailerR.htm. Most of the work is getting the cap off, which is irrelevant to you. It looks like there is just a nut holding the bailer in place. If you can remove the nut, the bailer should come right out.

    Once the metal bailer is out, putting a new plastic bailer in is so easy it's almost trivial. Just flip the boat over (or on its side), put it in place from the bottom, then crawl under the boat, put on the nut and tighten it.

    Good luck!
     
  3. brianZ71

    brianZ71 Member

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    have you sailed a sunfish before? in my opinion you really want a bailer. someone removed the one in my boat long before i owned it, and last time out my cockpit had about 5" of water in it by the end of the day.

    ......granted i was sailing aggressively in 15-20mph winds haha
     
  4. Astefanik

    Astefanik New Member

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    I have sailed quite a bit but this boat's only going to be sailed on a smallish inland lake. When I've sailed this lake in other sfs, I've never taken on any water.

    Thanks Geophizz, I think I'll go ahead as replace it with a new one just in case since it seems easy enough.
     
  5. douglas_zargham

    douglas_zargham Member

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    I successfully used a very small black rubber stopper for a number of months before i replaced my old metal bailer. its hard to guage the size of stopper needed - so measure the best you can and buy several that are about the right size (tiny), literally for pennies and jam the one that fits in tightly. i found that the taller ones tended to get kicked out so i pressed a short one flush with the top and carried a large sponge in the cockpit storage for bailing- which i still carry even though i've long since replaced the bailer.

    repairing the hole would require laying up fiberglass, sanding, finishing, etc. - Its far easier to replace the bailer with a new plastic one.

    Happy sailing!
     
  6. element6

    element6 New Member

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    Anyone have a suggestion for a substitute float ball for the SF bailer? I finally figured out this weekend why my bailer wasn't a one-way device - the ball is missing. The two steel pins are still there, so I don't know how the ball escaped.
    TIA
    Dave
     
  7. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Buy a new one:
    http://www.apsltd.com/p-23731-bailer-ball-and-gasket-pkg-5.aspx
     
  8. element6

    element6 New Member

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    I wasn't overlooking that simple solution, Wavedancer, just hoping there might be a cheap, creative alternative. Was considering the nitrogen ball in the Guinness Stout can, but didn't have one handy to try. :)
     
  9. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    At a hardware store, I found a gas can "stopper"—a yellow plastic disk that is a near-fit. I coated the perimeter with silicone sealer—sealing both sides—and taped it over with duct tape. I had to re-tape it after a month, but the two strips of duct tape lasted all summer!

    Insignificant leaking, even if you should step on it from the inside.

    If you moor your Sunfish on the water, don't use this suggestion! :confused:

    I found that stepping on the rear deck of my Porpoise-II would allow all rain water to run out. If you step on the rear deck of a Sunfish to drain it, this will happen. :(

    GEDC0121.JPG
     
  10. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    You might try carving one out of a wine bottle cork. The newer "corks" are "closed-cell": a new ball isn't particularly watertight anyway.

    When installing a new ball, the supplied new rubber gasket has to be fitted carefully. I used a hemostat, and it still wasn't an easy fit!

    I just found that a wine bottle cork will seal the end of my tubular tiller extension. :)
     
  11. element6

    element6 New Member

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    As I woke up this morning I was thinking about the placement of that gasket. Has to b e done from the bottom, after the bailer is assembled through the hull, right? Not a lot of working room.
    Another club member offered me the ball from a complete bailer that I can replace when the ones I ordered come in. We're planning to replace it today before race clinic, so I should have a report tonight or tomorrow.

    Dave
     
  12. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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  13. element6

    element6 New Member

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    No, I think I was not picturing the assembly clearly. The balls come in a kit with matching o-rings. In the first sketch under "Bailer Installation" I assumed that the o-ring is the black circle up and left from the ball, and I thought it had to go on the outside of the threaded piece after that was installed through the hull.
    On this page, look for
    "Product ID: 65087 BAILER, SUNFISH,HOUSING W/BALL" part-way down the page. That's the o-ring I was worrying about.

    Instead, looking at figure 11, I'm not so sure. The instructions mention the ball, but it's not clear to me how it gets replaced. If I'm seeing this properly, the o-ring that the ball seats against is the center black circle in figure 11, and if it is removed the ball can come up out of the external bailer housing. If that's the case, to replace the ball, I need to unscrew the threaded part inside the cockpit, remove the external piece, remove the old o-ring, drop in a new ball, push in a new o-ring and re-assemble. I did remember to pack the camera this morning, so I'll take some photos if that seems helpful.
    Dave
     
  14. element6

    element6 New Member

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    The ball replacement went too fast for me to get any pictures. My later envisioning of the assembly was essentially correct and it was quite simple. I still can't figure out where the old one disappeared to, but I'm glad to have it functional. Worked like it was supposed to and I turned the rubber stopper so it's less likely to get dislodged by my feet wandering around the cockpit.
     
  15. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    :) Excellent; no more wet feet and a 'functional' bailor.
    Actually, as we all know, the bailer only functions well when reaching or running.
     
  16. Jonva

    Jonva Floater

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    Until someone designs a sump pump for the Sunfish, that's as functional as any of us can hope for.
     
  17. Operaman

    Operaman New Member

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    Mine seems to be stuck closed. tried channel locks,,,,spray, nothing gives. The ball is still there.
    Any ideas?
     
  18. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    Operaman, I'd keep it closed if I were you. I wish that I had one that was stuck closed. I've got a brand new one that does nothing but let water in by the bucketful. The plug NEVER stays in place for more than 5 minutes, and then the fountain starts. I had to buy a hand pump so I could bail out the cockpit periodically. I'm thinking of filling the drain hole in the bailer with silicone to permanently plug it up.

    And yes, I've checked the ball (perfectly smooth) and the hole seal (perfect), and there's nothing preventing the ball from making a seal. The bailer is less than a year old. The ball just doesn't rise up like it should. It seems to have no buoyancy. It just sinks to the bottom of the bailer.
     
  19. Operaman

    Operaman New Member

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    Thanks. Now, I haven't tried it as of yet. Got the boat in late fall. Only thing left is to put the mast cleat on and splash it. If it is closed, and does not leak,I will just leave it that way. I would have to cut the thing to get the retaining nut off. It sat for years upside down under trees.
     
  20. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    I am surprised, but can't put my finger on what might be wrong with your relatively new bailer. Mine (2006 Sunfish) works a lot better than what you experience.
    PS: do you have all the O-rings in place?
     

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