What's new

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

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
It's a filler. Fine sanding and buffing *might* give you a satin finish at best. Don't expect a high gloss that paint or gelcoat can achieve.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
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
Agree with Mxmkr.

A large Marine-Tex repair (of my Sunfish) yellowed with year-round outdoor storage.
 
In the meantime, we removed the backer blocks we can reach easily. We did move off to the side about 12” of the polystyrene block at the stern . We’ll foam that back into place when we’re done. (BTW – I’m gonna use my new on-hand can of Great Stuff left over from another project. Go ahead and tell me again why I shouldn’t. This is what I figure, if the old AMF foam absorbs water, then this great stuff will be just like the OEM.)

I took photos of the keel from the inside. You can see the sunlight penetrating. On the right side of the image you can see the mast tube. The keel looks mostly solid to me, just a little splintering. I will add a couple layers of fiberglass from the inside, then lightly grind away the loose gel coat material from the outside and add the Marine-tex as a final external layer.Inside Keel Damage - Sun Penetrate.jpg

Inside Keel Damage - Flash.jpg
 
Regarding shelf life of Marine-Tex

I found this FAQ from Marine Tex - http://marinetex.com/faq/
"Two years in a closed container at moderate temperatures."
Here is the feedback from the manufacturer. Not really answering my question.

Q: Can you please comment on the shelf life of the Marine Tex White product stored in the original container after the first opening? In other words, will I be able to reuse this product in the coming years? What are the required storage conditions?

A: Larry,
Officially 2 years from date of manufacture if stored correctly(unopened).
Unofficially It will be good for many years if not stored correctly (but must be unopened)– try not to freeze or bake it!
Regards,
Phil Shine
ITW Performance Polymers
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I have an old, opened and used container of it, and while the white part is a lot stiffer than it was, once you mix it with the hardener it is fine. Bet that container is 20 years old at least. I also have an equally old unopened container, but I am going to keep it unopened!
 
So what wood for backer blocks? I have on hand: heartwood eastern red cedar, hard white oak, pressure treated pine, composite deck boards.

Please cast your vote among these four for our beach banger project, as it seems to be classified.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
1) Red cedar is too soft.

2) White oak is best--boaters' choice--and tough.

3) Pressure treated pine takes a long time to rot, but is likely to split with two long screws in line with its [coarse summer-wood] grain.

4] Composite wood is good--but HEAVY: opposite what sailors are trying to reduce.

IMHO. :)
 

Njlarry

New Member
Watching your posts with great interest as i have just started a simaliar project. Will post pics once i figure how. Bth i would stsy away from 5200 and even 4200. Repairs are an ongoing project and 5200 is the devils glue when it comes time to make repairs and imho way too much overkill for a dingy size boat. For below water line repairs on ocean cruising keel boats sika 291 and above the water line boat life csulk are more than enough and much easier to repair. For one design sailboats boatlife makes the most sense. Your boat, your choice.
My scale must be off as our sunfish calculated to 391 lbs with waterline stains up to the deck!
 
Watching your posts with great interest as i have just started a simaliar project.
Welcome aboard to the new (Jersey) Larry.

I'm not the one to watch as I have little experience. But these guys will help. I'll keep posting for posterity.

Thanks for the 52/4200 commentary. I already bought the 4200 so I think I will use it. I have to admit, I can hardly think of repairing a boat in the future that I'm repairing right now! Ha!

If you don't know for sure about moving ahead with your project, you might as well cut at least one hole in here to see what's in there. Well, of course peeking in the deck drain would be a good first starting point. When we cut out some expanding foam and squeezed it in our hand it was like wringing a wet sponge. Still I'm not sure how 50-60 pounds of water is hiding in my boat.
 
So what wood for backer blocks? I have on hand: heartwood eastern red cedar, hard white oak, pressure treated pine, composite deck boards.

Please cast your vote among these four for our beach banger project, as it seems to be classified.
Thanks for the Feedback, L&VW. Come on folks cast your vote!
 
Our sail was also banged up. I figured we could wash it real good and use it. But there’s the 1970-yellow again – dizzying – sorry. It has some rust and a few small tears. I was already leaning to purchase a red white and blue racing sail from http://www.intensitysails.com $120 seems reasonable and they say its good quality for a project like mine. With that color scheme I’d go with a royal blue coaming/cockpit/stripe. Maybe red ropes, or just red sail ties – Later, don’t get caught up with esthetics! Seriously, we attempted a washing – my wife and two girls - Bar Keepers Friend, Tide detergent and a gentle but thorough scrubbing. Nasty! The black sunfish logo was coming off and making everything dirty. After their good effort I threw the nasty thing in the washer with some bleach. We’ll make a sail/spar bag with the material. I just ordered the new sail.

Old Sail.jpg

IMG_0925.JPG
 
While the girls washed the sail, the boys and I tried to straighten the upper boom. 12” ruler and green razor knife shown for scale. The lower boom with main sheet blocks is straight.

Bent Upper Boom.jpg

I’ve seen some folks straightening them like it mattered, so we worked at that. I don’t like the forked-tree or kneel-on methods – that may work for you. I set-up a padded fulcrum at the bend and pressed the pipe ends down to the floor opposite the bend. Then I raised the fulcrum incrementally until the pipe started to bend. I felt like I could creep up on a state of plastic deformation more gradually without going past the point of no return. It is improved, but not perfect. I felt like we started chasing the bend a little, like it is now bent where it was not before. Probably I don’t really understand the mechanics of bending a pipe like that. Is this thing going to work?
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Generally speaking,
IF a sail is somewhat new, it's not a good idea to wash it in a washing machine.
With a really old (and soft) sail, maybe...
 

shorefun

Member
I just used the V of a trailer to bend the booms and mast back to straight.

I have done this kind of stuff before. The trick is to bend a little at a time and work your way across the bend. I pick a tension to pull and see how much movement I get. I keep in one place for a few movements and then move to a slightly different place. After a bit you get a feel for it and can make them surprisingly straight by eye.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I don’t like the forked-tree or kneel-on methods – that may work for you. I set-up a padded fulcrum at the bend and pressed the pipe ends down to the floor opposite the bend. Then I raised the fulcrum incrementally until the pipe started to bend. I felt like I could creep up on a state of plastic deformation more gradually without going past the point of no return. It is improved, but not perfect. I felt like we started chasing the bend a little, like it is now bent where it was not before. Probably I don’t really understand the mechanics of bending a pipe like that. Is this thing going to work?
Aluminum doesn't take kindly to over-strong forces of "repair". The spars can be expected to take a natural bend in strong winds. Sometimes, an extreme bend!
:eek: (With the sail raised, the respective spar ends will be closer to each other than the spar centers--like the sail is trying to make a circle while under load).

With the bend you have newly created, you may want to rotate the gooseneck and/or end-caps to accommodate your present results.

A new sail will be a big improvement in performance over a sail that is soft from frequent furling. ("Flaking" a sail is a better storage treatment--removal from the spars even better).

I see a few Sunfish left at moorings, where the sail is left raised all season. This is both good and bad.

Aside from white, colored dacron material will fade (however uniformly) and degrade somewhat, but the desirable "crinkly" sound of a new sail will remain. The new Sunfish sail surface is "plastisized", which degrades with handling. (Hobie has used a clear mylar coating that peeled off). :oops:

Most sails are cleaned on the lawn with a soft brush and pre-treated with a mild detergent. Use of Clorox, large swimming pools, and machine washing is not advised.

As for backing blocks (or plates), consider "cutting board" material. Light, but strong, it's been suggested here. (One dollar at Dollar Tree stores).

I'd be tempted to thru-bolt all the the hardware. Especially where a bow handle becomes a frequent saltwater replacement item, I'd be tempted to epoxy the bolt's heads inside--and use "acorn nuts" topside--protected from corrosion with Teflon tape. . (Or, into wood-backers, use threaded "hanger lag bolts") All stainless hardware, of course.
 

shorefun

Member
I have a lot of experience fixing metal stuff. I am often asked to fix the unfixable. So I have learned a lot about what breaks when. When your fix fails you learn stuff too. I have had a lot of things break over the years.

The gentle curves in the above booms will fix fine for what stress the sunfish will give them. If there was enough bending to make the surface of the Al look funny then that is another thing. If there is a kink or a flat area on the tube then the material is likely compromised. One of the booms of a sunfish at our club had a flat area after a bend when stuck in the mud. I thought it best to replace it.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
My vote is for the hard white oak, agree with L&VW, and you’ve got it on hand. Good to have a nice new sail, and Intensity prices can’t be beat. Funny, the blue and yellow is one of my favorite classic color combos. Repurposing the sail material is a cool way to go. You’re making great progress with your restoration!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Seems fine to us to wash the sail since you don't really plan to use it anyway, and that logo will probably never stop bleeding.

I'd try the composite deck board, then the white oak.

I like your thinking on Great Stuff. Easy to use and you have inspection ports to sponge out any water.

This is 38 pounds of wet foam, from the stern alone.

hoops foam.jpg

Hoops blob.jpg
 
Guys, I appreciate all the feedback and I will digest later. Now a hurdle I must get over with your help. Below photos of the inside of the stern area looking up at the seat for the rudder deck plate backer block. Two screws shown for reference. The second image has a bizarre semi-circular object highlighted in red that prevents the backer block from moving back against the inside of the stern. The last image shows the original backer block with a semi-circular cut out. Notice the left screw had virtually no wood to screw into due to this cut out. Maybe such an exaggerated feature was to accommodate the more subtle contour of the stern profile which accommodates the rudder lag bolt outside. CAN I CUT AWAY THE HALF-MOON BLOB SO THE BACKER BLOCK CAN FIT-UP BETTER AND GIVE MY SCREW SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO?

Inside stern area at deck plate screws
Deck Plate Block Seat.jpg

Can I cut away this dingleberry circled in red?

Deck Plate Block Seat Question.jpg

Original Deck Plate Backer Block.jpg

PS - I'm moving ahead with white oak at this point. I've epoxied nothing so far.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I think your "Lag bolt" is a "Carriage bolt". :oops:

Using this forum's enlargement feature, (which flashes too briefly as the square-with-arrow), the factory wood block appears OK; however, I see you've already removed it.

There are "blobs" all over fiberglass boats, so removing it probably won't hurt.

I might replace the port screw, as it seems to have run out of threads, and might have been defective "out-of-the-box". (Or replace all the screws with bolts, Nylock nuts, and "customized" washers).

Me? I would have left it alone, quoting from the school of,
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it". ;)
 
Last edited:
I think your "Lag bolt" is a "Carriage bolt".
Yes, do keep my terminology correct. I did know better to say "carriage bolt." Ha! I've probably made lots of other errors. It has been fun learning the language.

The screws shown are from the deck cleat position. I did purchase some replacement screws for the rudder mount as one was missing and another damaged. All the teak blocks are soaking wet and the area near the holes punky. Things were certainly broken to a degree and needed some repair. I could have reoriented and drilled new holes, but I'm waiting 2 weeks just for these blocks to dry.

Yes is the way.
Signal Charlie, please clarify your statement.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Your Question: CAN I CUT AWAY THE HALF-MOON BLOB SO THE BACKER BLOCK CAN FIT-UP BETTER AND GIVE MY SCREW SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO?

Simple answer: Yes

I was trying to be funny, the new Star Wars series is called Mandalorian, the Mandalorian Warrior Creed is "This is the way." So we could apply that creed to Sunfish repair as well.

Capn Jack's Creed: Measure twice, cut once.
 
OK, done deal. I got rib of the blob with a stone cutter in a Dremel tool. Worked like a charm using a mirror to guide my cramped hand. After about 4 dry fits the block can move into a location where I have good solid wood to screw to. Compare the before/after screw hole locations. I guess the above “measure twice” comment was a warning about cutting right through the transom. This time I did well.

Deck Plate Blocks.jpg
 
With lots of effort and little cost advantage I made my own rudder pin from a ¼-20x4” SS hex bolt from TSC. I was copying what I’ve been led to believe was an original design. But I suspect there is a lock mechanism in this design that I don’t have and without a compression spring, mine is sure to fall off.

"Original"

Rudder Pin.jpg

My Home-made


Home Made Rudder Pin.JPG

I’ll probably just purchase this bolt again ($2) and drill two holes for split rings, unless you guys have a better idea.

I like the look of this product below, but it is too short.

https://www.sailrite.com/Quick-Release-Clevis-Pin-With-Spring-Key-Ring
 
Regarding the straightened spar:

With the bend you have newly created, you may want to rotate the gooseneck and/or end-caps to accommodate your present results.
Rotate? How about a complete end-to-end switch to put the stresses in a different place? I suppose it depends how the spar was bent (during transport or during sailing?) and where it is in relation to the mast and halyard connection.

Hold the line....Let me investigate further.
 
Regarding old decals:

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
My son worked at sanding away the side Sunfish sticker. He started with an old piece of 320 grit. It seemed he cut through the outer seal (the part that the shows the weather/aging cracks in the original.) which allowed some acetone to soak in and soften the base material. We found alternating acetone with a very sharp paint scraper worked best, but eventually we chiseled off the “plastic” base material and the sanding seemed more productive, making white dust. I showed up with a piece of used 220 grit and it made a good pile of white dust quickly. Still it seems there is a nice smooth hump where the sticker was and we can still read phantom “Sunfish” on the side. We’ll wait until the Soft Scrub / wet sanding on the hull before evaluating the final state of the sticker removal project. So now he says, “Only one more to go.” We’ll probably tape over and preserve the less noticeable sticker in the cockpit during the repainting.

Anyone know the nature of this sticker/decal thingy? It seems to be more than that, like it is an integral part of the gel coat somehow.

Before

Old Sunfish Sticker Before.jpg

After

Old Sunfish Sticker Removed.jpg
 
Regarding the wet sanding of the outer fiberglass...

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.
What exactly are we trying to achieve by this wet sanding? A shiny smooth surface or deeper mildew stain removal? I'm advised to be careful not to sand too much.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
This is the OEM rudder pin and keeper chain. It was screwed to the deck on the starboard side of the horizontal hinge plate, you might even find the small screw hole there. The chain tended to break loose during transport, there are many to be found along the shoulders of America's roadways.

Rudder Pin 2020.jpg

old style rudder hardware pin.jpg

What you found under the sticker is unmolested gelcoat, the sticker acted as sunscreen, especially under the darker letters. Wet sanding the sunburnt gelcoat can remove surface grime and light scratches and you may find brighter gelcoat underneath. Or if you sand too deep you find the top layer of polyester resin in the fiberglass matrix.

Wet sanding using increasingly finer grits can bring back the gloss. There is a gent up in Vermont, Chip, who does amazing work. He doesn't paint, he sands sands sands...If y'all think we're crazy about Sunfish you should check out his shop and website Sailfish llc

Chip Sunfish wet sand sailfish llc.png
 

Weston

Active Member
Although I have done this alone on my Folboat, a helper should be handy to probe for any one of the pre-drilled holes.
You have a Folboat? Awesome! Would love to see a photo or two. Those are great examples of engineering.
 
Regarding white oak backer blocks:

Copied from the Mariner website:
We need a few more data columns, like rot resistance. I see there are many advantages to the white oak. I have the new blocks ready to install, but it will be a while yet.
 
Regarding the rudder pin:

This is the OEM rudder pin and keeper chain. It was screwed to the deck on the starboard side of the horizontal hinge plate
Can you describe the mechanism that keeps the swiveling part from inadvertently turning to the straight orientation and falling out during a sail?
 
We scrubbed the boat with Soft Scrub and bleach. I thought one of you had recommended that, but I can’t find it. No problems doing that, I hope? The boat looks much better. Compare the old decal images before and after the bleaching and scrubbing. The deck has some deeper stains, and that’s why I was asking about wet sanding. Should I hope to get these out?
Area of the removed decal before bleaching:

Decal Contrast After Washing.JPG

Same area after bleaching and heavy scrubbing.

Old Sunfish Sticker Removed.jpg

Keel damage still visible. Marine-Tex finally showed up. I’ll be working on that next.

After Soft Scrub-Bleach.JPG

Here are the ebay parts we received. USPS took a very long time during the Christmas season. The only part we needed was the keel plate for the rudder. It was in good condition. A little nick on the non-functional surface above the latch. Anyone recognize the black circular thingy? (Not the two spar end caps.)

Ebay Parts.jpg

There is a slight curvature to the plate that seems to match well to the keel? This is correct or should it be flat? Maybe the CARRIAGE bolt had been over tightened at some point?

Bent Keel Plate.jpg
 
Top