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1965 Alcort Sunfish WAVE Repairs


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Clark, in a complete off Sunfish topic question, I just noticed that you're growing hops over your pergola. Do you actually harvest them and brew beer?


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20200310_112242.jpg20200310_114752.jpg20200310_135433.jpg20200310_112242.jpg20200310_114752.jpg20200310_135433.jpgThanks for all of the awesome information. We recently got a '75 sunfish and I'm in the process of making a trailer and doing some hull repairs also. But since this is our first sunfish, I have some questions. 1) Why is there a recessed groove behind the gudgeon? 2) It appears the previous owner had run her into a dock ??? Has anyone had to build that area up? Is this a common issue (we'll have kids learning on her)? 3) I'll be removing the hardware to paint. If the screws are loose, is there a good way to secure the bow handle w/o cutting up the deck? 4) Does the keel see much abrasion from going into shallow waters getting in and out? Is there value in glassing in a strip of stainless as a wear plate? Curious to hear the expert responses. Thanks and God Bless.


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I've thought about a stainless strip too, but actually is just as easy to fill any gouges with your filler of choice. The screws on the strip would almost for sure go thru the hull and be a high source for future leaking, with knocks and bumps on said screw.


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On my 69 sunfish, I cut holes on the bottom side and epoxied aluminium plates, for the hardware. I just tapped the holes and use stainless machine screws. This method, after glassing the bottom back up, left the deck intact, free of several inspection ports, and is probably the superior method to secure hardware. I did put inspection ports in the front and back walls of my cockpit though.

signal charlie

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mixmkr, back to your sandpaper question. I use Gator paper from Lowes, it doesn't seem to hold the grit for too long, 120 becomes 200ish pretty quick. That may vary from paper brand to paper brand, so if someone is out there buying really good sandpaper they might want to go with 220 grit. I change discs a lot, but every now and then I get a good one that lasts forever. Other factors are the amount of pressure I put on the sander. And in some cases I angle it a bit to get a tough blob of old paint gone, but not for scuffing between coats or when I get near gelcoat.

PBC1974, many folks here in this Forum have been extremely helpful sharing information so we are happy to add to the folk knowledge. Everyone has their own methods and materials that they prefer, so it is fun to see how other folks are doing it. I learn a lot from pictures, I love it when folks post and we can see how their "shop" is set up. We had a little corner of a garage for the longest time, so we still try to optimize space. We also have been trailer sailors since the last Millenium, haven't always been spoiled like we are now.

When you get ready to go on your boat let us know, and take pictures!

signal charlie

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Let's see, important stuff first. Those are Scuppernong grapes in the middle and Wisteria on the outer 2 posts. The salamanders and squirrles love the grapes. The Wisteria scares me, it grows fast, I had it reach out and tap me on the shoulder one day.

Poppi, I was wondering where I left my tractor. That photo may be a Forum First, don't remember seeing that before. Good job. She's a nice looking boat, does she have a name?

1) As answered above, that groove is a cutout for the carriage bolt that was used on the 1960-1971 hulls. Later hulls had a flat transom. My thinking is that AMF/Alcort may have kept making hulls for a few years like that in case they had do do a warranty swap out, or someone's old hull got missing/lost/stolen and all that was needed was a new hull that could take the old style rudder parts, which were still in supply.

2) Which area, the bow? No need to build it up, there are aftermarket bow guards or put a pool noodle up there if plans are to run it into a dock a lot (attempted humor). KISS Principle. Or put bow noodles on the dock.

Freebird Kent dock.jpg

3) For those not familiar the wooden backer block inside the hull was held on by adhesive and also a fiberglass strap aka hanger. After several decades the hanger and adhesive fail or the block rots away if left to become waterlogged. When removing hardware, take one screw out, loosen other screw, swivel hardware out of the way of the first screw hole, reinstall first screw, remove other screw(s). Tape screws with blue tape to keep them from getting painted. Reverse method to reinstall screws.

The warranty repair to replace a bow block was to split the deck/hull seam, repair form inside and seal back up. On the boat below we split the seam back farther because we were also removing and replacing the waterlogged two part expanding foam. Check out the dirt! We vacuumed about 4 pounds of dirt out of her. You can see the stain on the starboard block where mud sat in her for years. She had ridden out 50 years of Gulf Coast hurricanes though, maybe the weight kept her grounded.


Quiz time, extra points from the picture above. Just inside the bow, what is the little tangle of fiberglass for?

4) Does the keel see much abrasion from going into shallow waters getting in and out. Is there value in glassing in a strip of stainless as a wear plate? Curious to hear the expert responses.
-After restoring close to 40 Sunfish, the only keel issues we have seen were from the boat being dropped and trailers rollers providing a crush point when boats were left to fill up with water. Racers may be hyper attentive to their bottoms but Beach Bangers (© Alan Glos) need not be troubled.

Our thoughts on extra glass and keel plates. Glass adds weight and unless you are a pro at applying it....ah nevermind, glass and steel add weight, holes etc...the only hull we walked away from had a lousy glass job on the bottom on the entire bottom and it was heavy. The only boat we have taken to the dump was a Scorpion where someone had addressed leak issues by pouring Polyester resin all over the bottom, and then let it just drip up the sides like pancake syrup. It was heavy also. We repurposed her other bits into another hull, so her spirit lives on.

Depending on where you launch, if you have to move her a ways from the trailer or around concrete ramps, rocky beaches, etc...you might consider purchasing a dolly. Or even just to get here in and out of the water. Racers don't drag their boats across the beach, and we don't either because Skipper makes weird noises when she does. Your family and bow handle will love you if they don't have to carry 139+ pounds around.


signal charlie

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Loose starboard bow block before we shoved it as far back into position as we could. The old expanding foam is in the way to get it fully back into position plus I ran out of mechanical advantage up front. In an effort to minimize disruption we decided to get it as close as we could and foam vs opening the deck/hull seam.


A Forumite shared a good idea a few years back, tilt the boat as needed to get the foam to gravity flow where needed. WAVE is set up for us to pour along the bottom edge of the block.


The block persuader. Before proceeding any further, cover every square inch of your body, most certainly your hands and arms.


The first cup I poured is on the right, to give an idea of how much the foam expands, it had about 3/4 inch of foam in the bottom when I set it down. The cup on the left hasn't cooked off yet.


I had more foam than I wanted on the first pour, but that block is not going anywhere. For reference, I used the 4 mark on the Jamsetown Distributors cup for Part A, which is just under half of that cup, then added Part B to get about 3/4 of the cup....which bu the way fit through that inspection port. That amount of foam covered about 3 feet of the block and the foam expanded out about 6 inches. Too much, not enough? It's a Goldilocks thing, and I'd rather have a bit much than not enough. One consideration is to make sure that no foam blocks drainage along the bilge.


signal charlie

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Looking aft towards cockpit tub, starboard side.


Looking forward towards the bow. I didn't get the forward end of the starboard block shoved all the way back into the factory position, it should go right about 4 inches. The old expanding foam up there was hindering progress. So we chose "Good Enough For Government Work" over popping the hood and disrupting all of the foam on the port side block. And while I got a bigger blob of foam to starboard than I would have liked, the block is set pretty good now. In fact the foam pour on this boat was pretty slim, referencing the port side, and that was one of the reasons that the starboard side block popped loose after only 53 years of service. Once again a reminder to makes sure the bilge water can run clear, even better, make the boat tight so that there is no bilge water. Most overweight boats that we replaced expanding foam in had huge blobs of foam in the stern, water would get trapped back there. The reason was that in the mid 70s AMF switched from hand pouring the foam to using a foam gun, and foam went everywhere.


We picked up this old screwdriver about 9 years ago, nice fat, wide head. So far it has only had one purpose in life.


Soon girl.


Remember way back when we removed the remnants of WAVE's old metal bailer? The bottom half was sheared off and the previous owner in Hawaii decided to use epoxy putty to hold the remnants in place, and put dome kind of freeze plug in to plug up the top. It looked bad so we drilled that out and repaired/filled the hole with thickened epoxy. I asked Skipper if she wanted to put a bailer back in and she said no, just leave the hole plugged. We can sponge her out as needed, and if you notice in the picture above, WAVE has a drain grommet for the cockpit on the deck, so if you turn her on her port side the cockpit will drain. She is the only boat we have seen that on.

Back to the bailer plug, we'll get some touch up paint on that.


signal charlie

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There's the little backer patch I put in so I could repair the transom, where I had added a drain plug. Check out the little wooden block and fiberglass strap for the old style rudder, keel latch plate.


Looking down into the transom area, transom to the right, is the old backer block for the keel latch plate, held in by a fiberglass strap. Still there if we ever decide to go back to classic rudder.


There are two gudgeon backer plates for the new style rudder system, this is the correct one for the hulls that have the carriage bolt notch. The mid 70s boats and later have a flat transom and a flat backer plate.



Next up, touch up the deck stripes. 1965 boats had no stripes from the factory, the striping started around 1966 with tape, then a couple of years later Alcort went to the gelcoat stripes. We see a lot of white boats from 1968 with the wide double red/blue stripe, only on the bow. 1971ish thinner triple stripes showed up on the bow, and then the stern strips showed up when Beldar?

Capn Jack liked the wide double stripe, and he liked boat and stern. So that is what WAVE has.


Vintage filter.


signal charlie

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Used an awl to find the first hole on the backer plate.


Stainless steen maching screws, 10x24, 1 1/2 inches long worked great. I put a little sealant around each screw hole.


Wisteria is blooming, and grapes a recoming in.



A tip when buying hardware, buy extra in case the small bits disappear into the bilge.


signal charlie

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Staff member
Inspection port needed to be resealed.



TotalBoat sent us some free stuff to use on WAVE. Their tech team has been a lot of help with product selection, they sell many brands to include Pettit, Interlux and Rustoleum, I also got to visit their business in Rhode Island a few months back and found a t-shirt, Kristin hooked us up.


Our Sunfish Bits Box, on old Plano tackle box that has been the family over 50 years.

Hey I never noticed there is a remnant of the deck's backer block still stuck up there. I guess we left that behind.



signal charlie

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New bow handle, new old stock, made by Perko.


We added the deck stripes many years ago, time to spruce them up.


Touching up the stripes and coaming to match the hull color. We used 2 inch tape to mask off two 2 inch stripes, bow and stern.


signal charlie

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Staff member
Little grapes.


Touched up the stripes and coaming with the hull paint. Added back the Marine Corps NCO Blood Stripe that Capn Jack put on her in 1994, used vinyl tape. She's off the Finishing Dolly!


Test rigging, we still had all the bits.



signal charlie

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Time for a sponge bath.


Formulated for fiberglass, but it worked well on the paint too. A good paste wax is suitable also.


Each one of our 3 fiberglass Sunfish rudder and daggerboard are set up a little different, so we color coded the blades.