Wood Sunfish Feedback

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by KSmit, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    Good morning all,

    My name is Kevin and I am new here! I am not a sailor and strangely I have no real desire to learn to sail, but I have a slight addiction to refinishing these little sunfish sailboats! They are simple, and a lot of fun to work with (on land anyways!). This winter I started with a fiberglass boat that my neighbor had been swindled into buying from CL. It was a sentimental purchase for her as she had a few sunfish growing up, so when she seen one posted for sale on CL she purchased it more for nostalgic value than anything else. However when the boat was delivered it weighed about 400lbs and was waterlogged beyond belief! Long story short, she wanted to throw it away, so I pulled it into the garage and began working on it for her and so began the addiction.

    3 fiberglass sunfish later I run across an old wood sunfish that had been held up in a shed in PA. From what I know, the original owner ordered it as a kit in the late 50’s, early 60’s and built it in the same shed. Sailed it a few times and then it sat for several years before someone took a crack at refinishing the boat, and then it sat again. Fast forward 40 years or so and I find it! I brought the boat home and started cranking away at it, and it turns out that it’s a beautiful boat!

    As I have no desire to sail it, or keep it, I will be looking to sell it in order to fund my next project but I cannot find ANY information on how to price this thing! Most of the adds I find for wood sunfish are several years old and the boats are in variable conditions, so I wanted to consult with those who had more experience.

    The boat I mahogany and in what I consider very good condition. There are a few blemishes in the wood here and there, but we would all be so lucky to look this good at 60 years or so! The boat was very well built and appears to have all the original Alcort hardware, mast, boom, two sails, rudder, dagger board, and trailer.

    It is not completely finished yet, so forgive the lack of a perfect finish, but you kind of get an idea of the boats condition from the pictures. I would highly value any information, opinions, or resources that would aid me in placing a value on this boat.

    Thanks!

    Kevin
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  2. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    Hull value will vary a lot depending on who you talk to... That's a pretty boat but useless to racers. Too nicely finished to be used for new sailor training. And its essentially one of a kind.

    I doubt its going to be able to be sold for much more than an average fiberglass Sunfish would go for.
     
  3. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    Thank you for the feedback fhhuber, that is why I am here! The original sail has a big number colored on it, so I was assuming that this was originally used in local races, so I wanted to preserve that purpose with the new paint scheme. Its a cool boat! But I would imagine the technology involved with building racing boats these days is far greater than these garage built boats from the past! Your assessment makes sense to me.
     
  4. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    On this forum, Signal Charlie is the 'go to' specialist for 'woodies'.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  5. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    Thanks Wavedancer! I just sent him a message.
     
  6. JohnCT

    JohnCT Active Member

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    Beautiful boat and I would love to sail it.
    I will share my experience with old boats.
    I love them, I spend lots of time and money that could probably be better spent.
    But when you feel the pull of the wind and power of the water, working with the craft you have put so much into, every second is worth it.
     
  7. signal charlie

    signal charlie Active Member Staff Member

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    Howdy

    Nice looking boat. Does it have wooden spars and the hybrid wood/aluminum mast? Judging by the splashguard it is one of the newer wooden boats and would have the aluminum spars and mast. And these boats have a little different bow handle, hopefully you have that. Your boat has the enclosed bulkheads in the cockpit and drain plugs on the deck, out first generation 1953 boat had big cutouts in the cockpit bulkhead, not optimum in a capsize :) We also have the long sweeping coaming and elephant ear rudder. So I think your timeframe estimate is spot on, and kits were sold into the mid 60s.

    Price depends on condition, local market and how cute the kid is standing there with Mod/Dad/Grandpa wanting to buy it. The market for a wooden Sunfish is very small but all you need is one buyer. In Florida our restored, ready to sail fiberglass boats go from 1200 up to $2000, age ranges from mid 60s to a 2003 we recently let go for a low price. The people who want a Sunfish usually want a fiberglass one, so you have to decide what you want/need out of it and go for that. The wooden Sunfish are really rare but mostly because people didn't care enough about them the first time around to care for and maintain them, they let them rot against the tree.

    When we finally get around to refinishing our 1965 wooden hull, we will sell it with the intent of recouping our material costs of around $1200 plus a token amount for labor. It had aluminum spars but we may retrograde it to wooden spars and bump up the price a bit. Whoever buys it will want the experience of owning a wooden boat. It definitely feels different to sail, and I like the nice wooden clunk the mast makes when we tack.

    Good luck with the boat!

    PS These boats are good for the boat shows, ours is heading out in a few weeks. Audrey and Zip Smile SS 2014.jpg
     
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  8. imported_Andy

    imported_Andy Andy

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  9. imported_Andy

    imported_Andy Andy

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    Last year I sold my 1963 mahogany Sunfish for $2800. It was virtually in 'like new' condition. It took a while to get that, and as mentioned here it took just the right buyer. (The purchaser paid to have it shipped to Cape Cod where he sails it in the ocean - not my first choice for where I'd like to have seen it go, but, hey, it's his boat and his money).
     
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  10. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    JohnCT, thank you! It really is turning out beautifully, I am pretty proud of this one! I love old boats too, and hope to someday find a nice barrel back project to occupy all that extra time I don’t have!

    Signal Charlie, thank you for the information! It does have the aluminum spars and mast, and I do have the goofy bow handle! You are correct; the rudder is pretty unique as well. And thank you for the information on pricing. I am certainly not looking to retire of a project like this, and it is my hope that it goes to someone who truly appreciates a wood boat. With that said, I want to make sure I don’t insult anyone with whatever price I decide to go with! I may just toss it up on eBay and see what the market wants to pay for it!

    Really nice boat Andy! It would tickle me pink if I could get anywhere close to that price, hopefully all the extras and the trailer will help out some. The interesting thing about these boats is that you can probably buy some of them on CL, sell the parts and hardware, turn the hull into a flower bed, and still come up with a small profit!
     
  11. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    Andy,

    If you dont mind me asking, how did you find your buyer? My other boats went by word of mouth and CL, but I think this might require a little extra effort.
     
  12. imported_Andy

    imported_Andy Andy

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    Just put it out in as many places as possible. CL, Sunfish groups such as this one, our local sailing club newsletter, and eBay. There's someone out there will want to buy it, but it took me two seasons to sell mine. Lots of folks would love to own one, but when it comes down to it they realize it's pretty impractical for most uses (i.e. racing or training as mentioned above). You said you don't sail, but for a Sunfish sailor it really is a neat experience. Signal Charlie mentioned the sounds, and I loved the smell of the damp wood. I'd take it out two or three times a year. The man who bought mine lives in Europe, summers on Cape Cod, and just really wanted a wooden Sunfish to sail with his nephews. Money was apparently not much of an object, because he paid (I think) $300 to have it shipped to Cape Cod and told me to just keep the Trailex trailer that came with it.
     
  13. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    Thats not a bad deal! I really appreciate the feedback!
     
  14. KSmit

    KSmit New Member

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    Almost done! image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
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