1950s Alcort Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA Restoration


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As for that left handed saw, set the blade to minimum depth and it will cut a nice curve. Dust collection port picks up almost everything. The left handed blade makes it easy to see the cut line, but be careful, there is not much saw between the blade and body parts. I moved it wrong once and it backed up on me, I should have had the work piece secured better and been standing back a bit. The blade sucked the tail of my work shirt into it before I released the trigger and nicked my pants, too close to the femoral artery. I was not cut but got an important learning lesson.
'Good thing your saw didn't start pulling at a necktie! :eek:

While "touring" eBay sales, this little left-hander seems better suited for the plywood you're using: p[1].jpg

signal charlie

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First coat of TotalBoat Wet Edge BluGlo White over one coat of Topside Primer.


Rolled on with a Mighty Mini roller and Skipper followed behind and tipped with a sash brush.


Anybody need parts, we could sell a few. PM me :)


Fabricated and installed a new rub rail section. SOme boats had them, some didn't. SOme were wood, some were metal, I thin I even read that one was a plastic type material, you know, 1960s stuff.



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First coat of TotalBoat Wet Edge BluGlo White over one coat of Topside Primer.
Rolled on with a Mighty Mini roller and Skipper followed behind and tipped with a sash brush
A less-Mighty Mini roller kit presently can be had—$1Dollar Tree stores. Needle nose pliers—$1. Three decent small screwdrivers—$1.
Self-contained nut-driver set, ¼"-drive—$1—also a packet of 100 clear plastic gloves oversized—like food-handlers use—nice to have while around epoxy, grease and paint—$1.

signal charlie

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1. That little saw would be better for the thin plywood, if for no other reason that it has a newer, sharper blade :) The smaller diameter saw lets us cut a pretty good arc.

2. The keel on this Super SAILfish when we got it was what we might call a skeg, some boats have them fore and aft. It was about 3/4 inch in height and did not overlap the pane edges. Meanwhile over on the wooden SUNfish the keel measures about 1/4 inch and it did overlap the panel edges. One thing we have found with the wooden boats is that they do not tack well with factory rudder and tiny 31 inch daggerboard, plus very little V in the hull compared to the deep V and molded keel on the fiberglass Sunfish. The transom alone on the fiberglass Sunfish is about 3 inches deeper. One more boat for comparison, the STANDARD SAIL fish has a short keel like the wooden SUNfish.

When we added the spoon tip blade to our wooden fleet and Barrington boards we found them to sail better. When we put a new race cut sail on the wooden Sunfish we found it to blow sideways in anything over 8-10 knots, could have stuck with the soft old Fogh sail that came with it for messing about.

During the Marine Survey sail and Intake Assessment on ZSA ZSA we found her to be ballasting for submarine ops, so it was a short sail.

photo 1.JPG

So since the squirrels ate the old keel on the Super SAILfish, we decided to make a new hybrid keel that was both tall and overlapped. We call it the "Hunter Skeg" after Skipper's sailing Navy ancestor Lt Ben Hunter.


Here's a picture of the remnants of the old rotten keel. The squirrels actually helped us out, kind of like their own version of a Marine Survey "...needs replacement..."


Here's the comparison (L-R), old Super Sailfish keel strip, hybrid "Hunter Skeg", wooden Sunfish keel strip. What we really really liked was the overlap, harder to cut but a better fit and more protection for panel edges. The skeg should improve tracking and reduce leeway.


One more comparison, actually 2. The fiberglass Super SAILfish MKII has a molded keel like the fiberglass Sunfish and it tacks well, and our Grumman 17 double ender tracks well with its skeg. We think the Super Sailfish will have improved windward performance, Sea Trials soon.

On a Kit Builder's Note, when the bottom panels were being attached , 2 wooden centering strips were centered on the keel with an E shaped guide that centered them over the keel longeron. They were tacked in place and only used to help fit the bottom panel. The panels were laid and fit to within 1/8th of an inch to the strip, tacked down at the center, stem and transom. Panels were scribed along the centering strips and high spots removed. Once the fit was good the panel was removed, glue mixed, panels reinstalled and nailed nailed nailed. Then there is a hidden sentence at the end of Step No 7: "Be sure to remove any screws or nails holding the deck beam to the bench before nailing down the second bottom panel."

I wonder how many builders went to flip their boat and found the building bench still attached?! Centering strips were removed once the panels were nailed, the center slot was cleaned, more sealant added and the outer keel strips added.

Sailfish Kit Instructions 1.jpg

Kent and Skipper

signal charlie

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Back to the sea, Float Test and Sea Trials PASSED! We were happy with the rigging, the sail set beautifully. Little wind with some puffs, perfect to get back out on the water, we love how well these boats perform with just a whisper of wind. She tacked quickly, the skeg seemed to be very effective. Rudder setting was good, daggerboard required a little handling due to the shoal water, most of the sailing was in about 30 inches of water so Skipper was holding the board up with her feet.



Tested out our Sunfish paddle, we made a paddle with a Greenland style blade that will fit in a Sunfish cockpit. We have tall pines on our shoreline to it comes in handy to get out of the wind shadow, or to help the boat get through a tack in light winds.


We have more fit and finish now, and need to address the small leaks in the daggerboard trunk, mast step and deck seam. We were ecsttatic the the bottom seam and keel had no leaks!



signal charlie

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Replaced the rub rail and toe rail.


Fastened the rails with THIXO. Sealed up the inside of the mast step and daggerboard trunk also. Once epoxy dries we'll remove screws, failr holes, prime and paint. Fit the bow handle. Sanded the deck and the sides with 40 grit to clean up any checked plywood. A vintage paint scheme is planned, tribute to the 70th anniversary of the LIFE Magazine article, wait til you see it!


signal charlie

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Removed the trim attachment screws and faired the holes.

While the fairing compound dried we applied the first coat of primer.


After the primer dried we sanded the fairing compound and applied a second coat of primer.



signal charlie

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Dust Deputy. Too skeered to hook it up yet, I plan to get a new shopvac to go with it as the current vac makes loud squeals of protest when it shuts down, bearings are going out.

Meanwhile, in other news...


signal charlie

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I'm just sayin....there is a nice wooden transom there to screw into...All we'd need is a small keel shim on the bottom...


Sun is setting so it looks a little red orange, but it is more red blue in the light. TotalBoat WetEdge Fire Red and BluGlo White, brushed on with a sash brush.



Original "elephant ear" rudder, but we'll upgade her with a spoon tip daggerboard. She also has her original tiny 31 inch daggerboard.

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signal charlie

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Our 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA is finished!. We wheeled her out and I checked the daggerboard clearance, had to file down a few high spots of epoxy where we had coated seams inside to fix a small leak at the top of the trunk. We also had inadvertently leak checked the mast step, left her in the yard while the sprinkler crew was checking sprinkler heads and the mast step filled up, yay!

74F with light winds, time for photo session. Then Skipper commandeered her for Sea Trials. She did a couple of tacks and gybes and liked how she handled. The toe rail came in handy to rest a heel against or grab with a hand.





The new skeg works great, it bites just forward of the daggerboard and we can tack in a short distance, not too much skid. The Super Sailfish elephant ear rudder likes a little more tiller than the later spoon tip blade, the flat plate area is carried further aft than it is downward.


She's a little rocket in tiny wind. The long hard chine digs in pretty good about the time the wind spills off the top of the sail. SPeaking of the sail, thanks again to Alan for spotting this sail years ago when we first found the boat, it is a nice, soft Ratsey and Lapthorn 5 panel classic.


ZSA ZSA's (EVA) complete restoration log is on our blog, a full Sea Trial report will be posted soon.

Clark and Skipper


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As mentioned previously, I really like how the paint job wraps around, going below the waterline. I'm going to do similar on another one design day sailor. On high tech racers nowadays, the paint jobs can be really cool...even extending up into the sails.

signal charlie

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When you start to run out of red in the water on the weather side, ease up on the sheet or head up into the wind a bit :)



Skipper spent quite a bit of time looking at the boat's lines, the boat trimmed well when I was sitting just aft of the handrails. That was a good spot to reach the tiller extension, and brace feet against the handrails or new toe rails. No issues with submarining, what we discovered during the restoration was that the Super Sailfish bow was changed a bit after the first model came it, it was given a little more rocker and the beam was flared out a bit. We now have measurements for the first generation Super Sailfish and second.


signal charlie

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....soooooo when are you starting your Super Sailfish. Here are the plans with the Gen 1 bow, 2nd Gen plans coming soon. Build the hull and all the hardware is still available, used or buy new from Laser Performance :)

Super Sailfish Plans Alcort.png