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1970 Sunfish Repair - Needing help to bringing order to the chaos!

At the request of Signal Charlie, I'll start a thread on my repair. Reference: Old Style Rudder - Lower Plate Attachment

Notice I'm not calling it a restoration. Restoration would imply that I have a deep passion for this project. Honestly I just want to get the boat working so my kids and I can go sailing. This opportunity just presented itself for $40 (I gave him $80) - trailer included. So, where I could have found a shorter route to the water, I am a sucker for fixing stuff - even when I don't know what I'm doing. Bear in mind I'm running an expense report, too. So no hiding expenses on this little distraction. I'm up to $350 already! So here goes.

Ours (un-named) is a 1970, old style rudder type, with what appears to be little actual use. The damage is from sitting unloved in the weather and from the improper trailer. We weighed it at 195 pounds. Signal Charlie did a comprehensive (and amusing) analysis to indicate she is full of 8.33 pounds of water. I bet it could be more than that even. I thought dry weight was 120. I'll start in the next week or two to cut two inspection ports and try drying and replacing backer blocks for the old tiller parts. I guess this model pre-dates the said "cheeseburger" foam. I also need to decide how to fix the keel damage caused by the trailering. So I'll get some photos on that soon.

I will show the bow damage. Gel coat repair kit will handle that, I think? I want to change her color eventually too. The 1970-yellow coaming makes me dizzy. We'll do that later...LATER!

The most pressing issue is the inspection port locations. I'll search it out, unless someone wants to just give me dimensions. 12-14" forward of the stern (5"), and centered between the dagger board and the name plate (6")? Can I reach the fairlead backer block from that location, I doubt it.

Welcome aboard.

Larry


PriceNotes
80​
Asking price $40, paid him $80, includes trailer.
50​
New rigging - Complete: Halyard, Main Sheet, Outhauls, Bungee
50​
Missing Bronze hardware
40​
One or two inspection ports $20 each
2.72​
Drain plug
40​
Gel Coat for the front bow damage? Spectrum color patch paste
13​
42/5200 Marine Sealant
26​
Buffing Compound - Buff Magic
26​
1/4"-20 8" Bronze Bolt with wing nut and washer. #12 x 1-1/4" Screw
15​
Rudder tube - white nylon tube is 1/4" ID x 1/2" OD x 5 1/4"
342.72​
 

Attachments

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure I'd spend $40 on gelcoat. On an old boat like that it probably won't match. White Marine Tex costs nearly as much, but is more versatile so you may get future use of it.
 

shorefun

Active Member
I want to state my point of view is the Sunfish is a low cost simple boat. I look at how I need to do repairs to best make it operational, not a pretty. Though I do try to make it pretty because I am like to try to learn. I do not try to hard to make it pretty.

My thoughts on your bow repair.

You need to probe it and see how soft it is in the front. The picture is not good for assessing possible repair. My gut is the bow damage is from a hit and the glass is loose. A better long term repair maybe sand back and put in a couple of layers of glass then gel coat. It is a small area so here is where lucking into a local person that has the materials just laying around would be a huge help. Even if you slop epoxy there is a strong likely hood you want to layer some glass in for added strength, just because it is the bow.

What ever way you choose you are better off feathering back some. This will do two things. You need a properly abraded surface for best adhesion and a longer area gives you a better repair.

What I have learned so far with repairs are that there are many ways to fix the parts. All seem to be correct.

The key in the end is to understand how the 'glue' needs to bond to the surface and what gives the glue structure for the area of repair.

In my years of doing car restoration I found a lot of people do not read directions and properly prepare the surface according to the directions. Bob down the street with 50 years of experience may tell you to do it in a way, but if that way seems a lot different then the factory directions I would re-think the value of his advice.

To me the glass structure has to come from layers of glass properly bonded to together and to the surface you are repairing. So keep that in mind as you do the repair.

If you probe and the layers of glass seem loose then you are better off sanding back to solid and putting a few layers of glass back down. Especially at the bow where I can tell you that it will get further abuse so it is best to protect it now. I will be doing a repair that this on my son Sunfish.

Do not forget to do a leak test after you patch up all the holes to chase down water ingress points.
 
If I buy the larger container, does this stuff keep over time? Sorry for basic product knowledge questions, but you are promoting it.

The photos of the bow may not be clear enough, but the defects are pretty shallow and the structure is sound. The rusty angle iron of the inappropriate trailer, did the damage while in transit. They had a rag tied around the iron. It is the keel I need to send photos of. That will probably need fiberglass. Again that damage was from the trailer.
 

shorefun

Active Member
Some epoxy keeps in the freezer. In fact in some industrial cases the epoxy is mixed and frozen and sent to the manufacturing facility where they thaw it and use it.

I have noticed some epoxies do not behave the same after a year or two. I have also had epoxies go bad after a few years. You mileage may vary. When in doubt contact the manufacturer and ask.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
If I buy the larger container, does this stuff keep over time? Sorry for basic product knowledge questions, but you are promoting it.

The photos of the bow may not be clear enough, but the defects are pretty shallow and the structure is sound. The rusty angle iron of the inappropriate trailer, did the damage while in transit. They had a rag tied around the iron. It is the keel I need to send photos of. That will probably need fiberglass. Again that damage was from the trailer.
For the keel repair, consider the methods covered by the thread, "Starting from the Beginning". Keep in mind, the keel is no thicker material than the rest of the hull! :eek:

What's holding the yellow "splashguard" on? Whatever the hardware is, it's tiny or missing. Once removed, it's an easy item to spray paint a color to your liking. :)

The green spots are lichens--from being stored outdoors: They'll power-wash off. :cool:

Consider Thixo, which is thickened epoxy. For the dollar, you'll get a little more volume, with more versatility. (Or the costly equivalent West System Six-10).
 
I cut the first 5” inspection port in last night 16” from the back of the transom to the center. I cut right into the center polystyrene block. I used a router to neatly buzz away the top of the block.

I happened to have a 5-1/2” fan I had salvaged from a previous RV fan repair job. It fit inside perfectly. I made a bracket to capture the polystyrene block right below it. Since that worked so well, I removed it all and added a small incandescent lamp (25 watt) to add a touch of heat to the inside of the hull. My son thought this was worthy of a forum photo. I ran it all night wondering if the thing would malfunction and burn the house down. It is just an old cheap RV bath vent fan.
IMG_0912.JPG
Of course, in my original post I mis-quoted Signal Charlie on his calculation of the amount of water inside my boat. It was around 56 pounds or 6.72 gallons. So, to continue the calculating fun, how long would it take a 25 watt lamp to evaporate 7 gallons of water? Using this simple online cheater tool, it suggests 17,000 watt hours. Well, I’ve got 16,800 watt hours to go. Ha! I’ll need a bigger lamp, I suppose. It doesn’t help that it is 96% humidity and 29F outside. Although the garage is somewhat more hospitable. The air flow is only through the deck drain at this point, but I want to add a deck inspection port, so that will help. But where??

Latent Heat.png
 
What's holding the yellow "splashguard" on? Whatever the hardware is, it's tiny or missing.
Small SS screws which I removed. They look to mount into plastic anchors. I'll seal these down after the said re-paint. IMG_0918.JPG

Oddly enough, my kitten was creeping around the attic last night where I had supposedly stored the coaming safely. Well she managed to knock it to the concrete floor and broke a small corner off. We can fix/ignore it. Pesky cat!
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I’d consider a good washing, wet sanding and waxing rather than repainting. You’d be surprised what you’ll find with a little elbow grease. Here’s the same boat, same color as yours, before and after I polished it up.
79ED9C9E-6084-4774-906B-01F15C6D214E.jpeg8A507FE0-750A-4A37-B504-EF223968CA99.jpeg
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Small SS screws which I removed. They look to mount into plastic anchors. I'll seal these down after the said re-paint. View attachment 43140

Oddly enough, my kitten was creeping around the attic last night where I had supposedly stored the coaming safely. Well she managed to knock it to the concrete floor and broke a small corner off. We can fix/ignore it. Pesky cat!
Those screws mounted into rivnuts. You will want to pull out those plastic anchors and fill the 13 holes with thickened epoxy (I like West Systems Six-Ten with some finely chopped fiberglass). You can fill the broken piece of coaming with the same, sand to shape. Reinstalling the splashguard/coaming is best done with the proper rivets.
 

shorefun

Active Member
You need to consider sublimation from the moving air speeding up the process. If you also point a high wattage flood lamp that will increase the temp some.
 
Breeze Bender, Nice finish. We will do the wet sand. I bought some 600 grit. My daughter is going to love that part when the funk finally comes off. I agree, I don't want to or plan to hull paint. But I won't live with the yellow accents if we are really going to be able to sail this thing long term.
 
Shorefun, any wattage suggestions? I was thinking to go to 100 watts, one per side, maybe 150. But your suggestion is to point a lamp at the boat from the outside? If can get a warm sunny day, I can roll it outside.
 
Breeze Bender, Am I allowed to remove the old Alcort/sunfish stickers from the side and inside cockpit? :D (Of course this is after the structural....Later...later...) I'm happy with just the number plate.
 
Below is the extent of the structural keel damage. You see the shallow depth of the screw driver probe? There is a depression along the length of the keel in this area where the trailer roller was bumping. I’m really leaning toward glassing it. I’ll see if I can find a friend with some laying around materials and some know-how.

IMG_0916.JPG

I’m pretty concerned about the discoloration and spider cracks in the lowest portion of the cockpit. It is just water ingress, I suppose? The coaming/cockpit/stripe new-paint/new-color (no hull repaint!) will hide the brown color, but the cracks may remain. Any concerns?

IMG_0920.JPG
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Breeze Bender, Am I allowed to remove the old Alcort/sunfish stickers from the side and inside cockpit? :D (Of course this is after the structural....Later...later...) I'm happy with just the number plate.
Yes, it’s cool you’ve got the ID plate, they often fall off through the years. I’ve seen new decals sold on eBay, or of course remove them if you’d like but I like to keep as much of the original as possible. On this boat I even kept the previous registration stickers because I thought they showed it’s colorful View attachment 43145history!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Can I reach the fairlead backer block from that location, I doubt it.

Welcome aboard.

Larry


PriceNotes
80​
Asking price $40, paid him $80, includes trailer.
50​
New rigging - Complete: Halyard, Main Sheet, Outhauls, Bungee
50​
Missing Bronze hardware
40​
One or two inspection ports $20 each
2.72​
Drain plug
40​
Gel Coat for the front bow damage? Spectrum color patch paste
13​
42/5200 Marine Sealant
26​
Buffing Compound - Buff Magic
26​
1/4"-20 8" Bronze Bolt with wing nut and washer. #12 x 1-1/4" Screw
15​
Rudder tube - white nylon tube is 1/4" ID x 1/2" OD x 5 1/4"
342.72​
You don't "exactly" have to reach the halyard fairlead backer block.

The old wood block should be held in place by a loose fiberglass strapping. SC should be able to provide the old block's width. (In order to slide the replacement wood within the strap).

The strap may not have been installed at the factory--a benefit!

Drill a series of 1/8-inch holes in your replacement wood block, and glue it to 1x1-inch stick. Get a rough measurement on top of the deck, sighting down the crook of your elbow against the forward inspection port. (The stick can then be shortened for ease of use).

Although I have done this alone on my Folboat, a helper should be handy to probe for any one of the pre-drilled holes.

Drill the second hole, attach the fairlead, and break the stick away at the glue bond.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Small SS screws which I removed. They look to mount into plastic anchors. I'll seal these down after the said re-paint.
Interesting. My 1977 had plastic anchors, and I assumed the original "whatevers" had been replaced with plastic anchors. Any sign of previous sealant, or did you clean it off?

I'm not a fan of sealant, as the splashguard* seems to be the target of frequent misadventure. On my most recent acquisition, I've replaced the splashguard hardware twice! Because...boys... :rolleyes:

*On military boats, like PT-, MTB, MGB, or E-boats, deck gunnery is shielded by analogous "waveguards".

Breeze Bender has advised against painting the deck, and I wouldn't paint the cockpit, either--even the same color! :eek: Also, you don't have cracks in the cockpit! ;)

As for the keel repair, my previous suggestions--from "living it":

 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
As for drying the foam out, expect a slow process--taking months, not weeks. Weighing it is the best way to determine progress.

If you have some PVC adapters, I'd extend a 3-inch pipe into the rear inspection port (at an angle) and adapt your RV fan to it. Inside air needs to circulate, and have an adequate space to exhaust. Might as well install the forward port...Don't most of us install a 6-inch port, forward?

The floodlamp (heatlamp) outside is a great idea! :cool: The foam that needs drying is on the bottom. Win-Win!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
+1 on "Contact the manufacturer and ask." And then report back here and let us know what they said. I've found Interlux, Pettit, West Systems, Kirby Paint and Jamestown Distributors (TotalBoat) to be very responsive. JD sells most every product line and their Tech Team is awesome.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Your unnamed boat SER NO. 76428 is a 1970. Did you notice that there is a Sailfish logo on the plate also.

Stickers first. Sand em or Leave em. We usually sand off the side stickers with 220 grit, light pressure. We like to leave the cockpit sticker, tape it off and spray the cockpit with RustOleum - your favorite color - keeping in mind what your color palette is on the hull and most importantly the sail colors you plan to use. We leave the cockpit sticker as tribute to the original boat, we got the idea from the Naval Aviation Museum, where they did a beautiful restoration on an SBD Dauntless that is a Battle of Midway survivor, they left the 200 bullet hole patches and some of the crusty paint markings on tail panels.

sbd-02106-2.jpg

MERCI kept her AMF Alcort sticker, she is 1969 vintage.

MERCI AMF Alcort sticker cockpit.jpg

Merci after 3.jpg

IMG_4436.jpg

PS if you notice a little hole in the forward cockpit bulkhead? Do not fill it in. That is the hull vent.

Dawn dishwashing liquid, water and a light scrubbing to get her cleaned up. One product we like is 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax, we bought a cheapo 5 inch car buffer at Walmart and bonnet set to apply and polish the 3M product.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
It is awesome that the kids are involved. Give them creative license :)

Dry weight of the 1960-1987 hulls is 139, 144 not uncommon. Thicker woven roving, almost bulletproof. Your extra weight is most likely in the yellow adhesive foam along the bottom of the white flotation blocks, not the blocks themselves.

For the keel damage, if the substructure feels solid, I'd file that out enough to remove flaky bits and then inject thickened epoxy into the void. The keel is indeed thicker than the rest of the hull. TotalBoat THIXO in a 2 part cartridge is our pre-thickened epoxy of choice, Pettit Flexpoxy another, which can be found at West Marine sometimes. You can cap it off after use and save remainder for later. You should also invest in a High Thrust 18:1 caulk gun to dispense it, your hands will thank you.

"The most pressing issue is the inspection port locations." We reached the halyard block location from there, but I can't remember if we used a stick trick like L&VW suggests. First thing to do when amidships deck plate hole is cut is to peek in there with smart phone and flashlight and see if the old block is still there, as you might be able to reuse it through a variety of methods. Tape the edge of the hole with blue tape and wear a longsleeve shirt while working through the hull to avoid scratchy fiberglass.

WAVE port plate.JPG


No concerns with the spider cracks, those are in the gelcoat and not the fiberglass, sand lightly to get RustOleum to adhere. The brown is probably just a muck stain in the surface of the gelcoat. Don't sand aggressively or paint heavily, you'll want to preserve the non skid texture. If anyone has any concerns about spider cracks, then they don't get to go sailing with you :) that falls under our "If They Don't Like It" criteria in our Problem Solving Matrix.

I like L&VW idea of putting in a small PVC pipe to push air into the hull, the open perimeter will allow an escape route for internal air to exhaust. TOO much air forced into a hull, way more than a computer fan, can balloon the hull, pop seams and pull the deck loose from the blocks. Someone had a nice Forced Warm Air rig that used HVAC ducting to get the warm air from a temperature controlled space heater in one port and it exhausted out the other, we too have been leery of placing hot bulbs inside a hull.

Plastic anchors and stainless wood screws...if it works, use it...Rivet nuts (rivnuts) were used back then with marine grade stainless machine screws, but a rivnut gun and rivets will run you about $150+.

rivnut.jpg

There are other alternatives, one is to put some fiberglass strips over the old holes and either drill new holes for the closed end aluminum rivets, which are used nowadays, or move the coaming forward a smidge and drill brand new holes. When we redo rivets we put a blob of sealant around the rivet holes before we place the coaming, then install rivets. As for sealant around the coaming, the factory did not do it, and keep in mind you will have a nice inspection port amidships to sponge out any water that sneaks in through the 30+ holes that are designed into the hull.

As for "racing" stripes, coaming and cockpit, we say paint away! All the rage in 1969. Now if you don't plan to race, I'm not sure if you're allowed to have the stripes...

1969 Racing Stripes.png
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
About 22 inches up to the halyard block. I don't have long arms and can just reach the block inside, can't get much leverage but I definitely could wedge something in there to hold a block long enough to let adhesive dry. My hangers were intact so those held the blocks in place.

8C9BCDF8-D525-4101-82AC-7CC58359EFB6.jpeg

If you still have blocks you may be able to fill and redrill, or move hardware over 1/4 inch to new wood.

IMG_1649.jpeg
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Plastic anchors and stainless wood screws...if it works, use it...Rivet nuts (rivnuts) were used back then with marine grade stainless machine screws, but a rivnut gun and rivets will run you about $150+.
Check with your local source. My friend (with the Viking) put a deposit on the rivnut "gun", and the store loaned it to him. :)
 
+1 on "Contact the manufacturer and ask." And then report back here and let us know what they said. I've found Interlux, Pettit, West Systems, Kirby Paint and Jamestown Distributors (TotalBoat) to be very responsive. JD sells most every product line and their Tech Team is awesome.
I found this FAQ from Marine Tex - http://marinetex.com/faq/
"Two years in a closed container at moderate temperatures."
 
For the keel repair, consider the methods covered by the thread, "Starting from the Beginning".

Hello All,

I’ve been on a little break for Christmas, AND I took time to read the Whitecap rebuild thread as suggested by L&VW. Of course, that took me down some rabbit trails. So I have more to fuel for my plan. It seems from reading Whitecap that the biggest problem is the anxiety of indecision due to inexperience. You guys do help a lot, despite the conflicting opinions, because, as it has been said by Shorefun, there are many ways to do this and they are all right.
 
I went ahead with the midship inspection port position for my second hole. I followed the guidance from the old AMF letter, but more so I centered the hole between the deck ID plate and the dagger board well. The midship position was selected due to the keel damage being below that area. Also, I figured maintenance on the deck cleat and halyard block (and potential main sheet ratchet block) backer blocks would be better serviced from there. As a drawback to this choice, I must repair the backer block for the bow handle remotely with the long stick trick, or I drill out those screw holes big enough to find an alternative repair. The point is the forward position for the second inspection port was not useful enough and posed a more significant esthetic impact.Midship Inspection Port.JPG
 
So the boat continues the drying process now with two 5” inspection holes. I fitted a 250 watt heating lamp into the forward hull position and watched the steam waft off the old expanding foam which has pulled away from the deck. I decided I could not sleep that night with that lamp inside and a fan stoking that potential fire, so I pulled it out and pointed on the outside of the hull at a safe, warm distance. I left the 75-watt lamp in place. I also routed a shop vac hose to the far forward hull position and vented it out of the midship inspection port. This way the air being pulled out of the boat by the stern fan is drawn into the hose vent, past the forward area inside the hull, then all the way back to stern. Mainly, I'm using sunlight to heat the hull. I added the black plastic bag trick to the bottom of the hull and rolled the boat into the sun. Waiting…waiting…Midship Vent.JPG
 

Macs

New Member
Marine Tex is extremely solid stuff and can bridge a small hole and add some structure as long as it is applied thick enough.
Can marine tech be polished out or do you have to paint it. Have used it on some areas of my hull and have sand down so now do I buff out or look at gel coat top layer? Thanks
 
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