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

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
UV will oxidize gelcote, making it chalky after years of exposure and eat away at the surface, potentially leaving your "pinholes". That's why a wax protective layer helps....but will help scoot you overboards too! Additionally gelcote might have a 30 yr lifespan, +/- 15 years, depending on a zillion variables.
 
I’ve been set-back emotionally by the gelcoat damage discussed above. I have a feeling that MIXMKR is right that the gelcoat is aged-out. I feel like I’ll be sailing around on eggshells at risk of cracking this brittle aged coating with any bump. Emotions – no facts required.

We looked around and found some smaller areas around that need repair, including the cockpit and deck. Cockpit is no problem since I plan to paint it anyway. If I don’t paint the deck, the bright white Marine-tex damage behind the cockpit would be unsightly. That lead my son to suggest a reverse stripe behind the cockpit to hide those repairs. It would need to be on an angle appropriate to cover the damaged areas, and that happens to match the reverse angle of the forward racing stripe! We’ll see.
Damaged Cockpit Gelcoat.jpgDeck Damage Behind Cockpit.jpg

Do you think it worth the effort to remove the rivet at the stern just to peel back the aluminum trim and Marine-tex these couple cracks? I’m not sure I have what I need to rivet it back together. I think I’ll just chip out what I can next to the trim and fill it in again up against the trim.

Starbord Transom Deck Cracks.jpg

This damage on the gelcoat stripe is more concerning. The cracks I thought were superficial may need to be filled. You all agree I should grind the stripe away or sand heavily, then Marine-tex before painting?

Damaged Gelcoat Stripe.jpg

Now this little package that came in from Intensity Sails was a little more fun for us. I was only slightly disappointed that the lines were not colored as specified. The mainsheet was charcoal, not red as indicated in my order. The color makes the line look dirty, which may mean it will never look dirty. My rope-nut son approved of that color. The outhauls should have been blue, and I cannot tell what color these are. Silver maybe. We’re scratching our head now about the dagger board bungee cord. I’m not drilling a hole in that beautiful wood for this bungee. Maybe it is not even needed at all.
We were all very impressed at how crinkly the new sail is – like tyvek. It almost makes me feel like we’ll break it during the folding process. It was meticulously “flaked” as suggested above that it should be. It also came with some telltales attached and some extras. I did not anticipate those or the couple stickers included. Not to mention I don’t really know how to read the telltales at this point. Except for the USPS long delivery and line color switch, everything went nicely with this order.

Intensity Sales Items.jpg
 
You have an older boat get seaworthy and go sailing.
I had expected a much needed kick in the pants. Bring it on fellas!

BTW - What of my humidity? Checking to see how much power my air has for drying? I think it should be working. Albeit, my ground is sure wet everyday.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
there are many boats older than yours still sailing that have had no maintenance at all. The work you are doing is pretty much all in the “nice to have” camp. It’ll sail fine with the various minor cracks and dings.

As Signal Charlie says - I am badly paraphrasing - it'll look fine from 10 feet.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Everyone seems to really like the product so I'm not going to waver in my confidence in using it.

1) Really tough to get the putty out of the measuring spoon after scooping.
2) The virgin putty is very sticky so anything that touches it gets the stuff stuck to it.
3) The mixed putty is much easier to work with than the virgin putty, so that made things better.
4) The plastic film trick for smoothing the application did not work for me. It trapped air bubbles and left a rippled surface.
Plastic film materials like Saran Wrap, magazine mailer sleeves, and the common grocery bag are too thin. Look through your recyclables for a firmer clear film that was used to cover food items like Breyers ice cream, bacon or raisins. Press the film from one direction, and milk the bubbles out.

Most plastic films don't stick to either Marine-Tex or resin; however, printing on the film can transfer harmlessly.
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
One thing about varnishing, if you want super duper gloss, is using a high build varnish and not over sanding between coats. Imagine the hills and valleys that are in the grain of the wood, oversanding takes the varnish that you just laid down off the peaks and almost back to bare wood.

Now folks who race have different ideas on varnish, wet sanding etc, but usually have the latest plastic boards and not wood.
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
Here is what 3 coats of Minwax Gloss Spar Poly on bare Mahogany and Ash looks like. As always, sanding prep (60 grit, 100 grit, 220 grit) and light 220 grit and fine steel wooling between coats is the key. I still like "real" Interlux varnish, but to be honest, the Poly holds up better over time. I like the roll and tip method if doing more than a few items at a time.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

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Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
MarineTex can be wetsanded out to near gelcoat appearance. The white MarineTex ends up looking like a true white gelcoat. If your hull is a little off-white, add a pinprick amount of yellow gelcoat tint to match the MarineTex to the hull. Go carefully. A little tint goes a long way.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Macs

New Member
MarineTex can be wetsanded out to near gelcoat appearance. The white MarineTex ends up looking like a true white gelcoat. If your hull is a little off-white, add a pinprick amount of yellow gelcoat tint to match the MarineTex to the hull. Go carefully. A little tint goes a long way.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Do you have to buff it out and polish it cause I have wet sanded it and it is still very dull compared to the gelcoat finish.
 
If your hull is a little off-white, add a pinprick amount of yellow gelcoat tint to match the MarineTex to the hull.
I should try this on the top side repairs that are pending. I'll have to find a source. Are there other common substances that I could find more easily for tinting? I honestly don't want to invest in a whole cabinet full of boat chemistry. [Insert "impossible-to-please" emoticon here.] I have not even been to my West Marine shop yet. Shame on me. I'm waiting on a friend to show up with fiberglassing stuff so I can avoid that investment. In the end I can see wanting some of that to slather on everything that ails me. We'll see. Just feeling my way into all this new stuff.
 
You all agree I should grind the stripe away or sand heavily, then Marine-tex before painting?
Can I get a little feedback on this one? I just don't think I can paint right over these cracks (see above) without filling. I know I have to fill the hole I popped. I'm thinking light angle grinder on the yellow racing stripe to give the Marine-tex something to bite into before I smooth it over. I know I've been told Rustoleum spray paint, but I was OK with buying a quart of Rustoleum Topside paint for the stripes, cockpit and coaming. Is this $16 a waste? Or will it hold up better and cover thicker with a couple coats compared to spray?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Can I get a little feedback on this one? I just don't think I can paint right over these cracks (see above) without filling. I know I have to fill the hole I popped. I'm thinking light angle grinder on the yellow racing stripe to give the Marine-tex something to bite into before I smooth it over. I know I've been told Rustoleum spray paint, but I was OK with buying a quart of Rust-Oleum-Marine-Coat for the stripes, cockpit and coaming. Is this $16 a waste? Or will it hold up better and cover thicker with a couple coats compared to spray?
Angle grinder is pretty extreme for those stripes! Use maybe 240 or 320 to prepare for the Marine Tex. Use perhaps 320 wet or dry sandpaper than 600 wet after MT but before painting. Might even take a lower grit initially after you apply Marine Tex. Why are you painting the cockpit? 8A7AEE46-3484-4C92-95FA-82597F448631.jpeg
 
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mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Marinetex will not buff out to a high gloss. That said, most 30 yr sunfish hulls are probably no more than a satin finish...which Marintex will "sorta" blend in....being in a similar "color" group...of the zillion shades of white.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Can I get a little feedback on this one? I just don't think I can paint right over these cracks (see above) without filling. I know I have to fill the hole I popped. I'm thinking light angle grinder on the yellow racing stripe to give the Marine-tex something to bite into before I smooth it over. I know I've been told Rustoleum spray paint, but I was OK with buying a quart of Rustoleum Topside paint for the stripes, cockpit and coaming. Is this $16 a waste? Or will it hold up better and cover thicker with a couple coats compared to spray?
Would you do this on the hood of your car....? Does your sunfish need to look as nice as a good car shine?......mearly a flesh wound??
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
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​
We're all guilty of "Mission-Creep". ;)

Fine cracks won't be corrected with spray paint, even if you use body filler.

What you can try is apply masking tape and roll/brush oil-base paint directly from a can. (Remove the tape promptly after painting, or paint will "creep" under it).

Avoid sanding between two coats by noting within how many hours a second coat can be applied should one coat not be enough to hide the cracks. I use Rustoleum, but drying fully takes a couple of seasons in the sun. :oops:
(Edit: This is due to the very different "vehicle" in most Rustoleum paint products. Whatever it is, today's recommended thinner is xylol).

Sanding first will help to reduce the depth of the cracks, and provide a good gripping surface for the paint. (As previously stated).

Keep in mind, that if the cockpit interior is painted a different color, it will need to be touched-up every season. (Less often if you sail barefoot). :rolleyes:
 
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Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
As for tinting, I will admit that I have used a little Testors brand model paint to tint gelcoat and MarineTex. Use a toothpick and add a small amount. Stir then add more if you need it. I am not sure about the chemistry but the model paint seems to be compatable with gelcoat and MarineTex.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia,NY
 
Regarding getting busted for mission creep: I want to attempt an excuse. When we started we already decided to paint the coaming, cockpit and stripe due to the nauseating 1970-yellow color. That was a given from the start. The how to do it is debatable. As for not wanting to "restore" I was trying to preemptively fend off the purists that would prevent me, for example, sanding away 3 ugly Sunfish stickers. (As it stands we are keeping the one UGLY sticker in the cockpit for a tribute as suggested.) Plus I do have my girls expecting her to look nice when we're done. As for getting her sea worthy, I do have a priority list of things to do and I am unable to do some of them as I wait for a supplier and a friend to follow through. As such, I can not do a leak test yet, I can not assemble the rudder hardware and I can not go sailing. So, I'll piddle and debate about my next steps in the mean time, as long as you'll put up with me, and wait for the hull to dry out. It is too chilly anyway for a beginner sailor/swimmer. Ha!
Finally, I have had to prioritize another project that is almost 2 years going. We think we will finish this weekend. And though I know this is not a woodworking website, I'll post a photo of the current status. Bear in mind we started with two trees two years ago, and we'd never tried this before either.
I'll have other projects in the pipeline to distract us from the hobby boat, but she'll get wet soon enough. Hang with me.

3 Dressers.JPG
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Wow those chest of drawers look awesome!

And yes, we always have what we call a "Moaning Chair" project boat.

The "Moaning Chair" is described by Howard Chappelle as an essential tool to have, the place where you sit and ponder what you have either just screwed up or are about to screw up with all of your other tools. Moaning chairs come in all shapes and sizes and can be found next to favorite beverages. Moaning chairs should be available for all of the "usual visitors" as well so they can point out any mistakes the builder might have missed.

So in addition to a chair we also have a Moaning Chair Project, while we are waiting for paint to dry, parts, etc on the primary project.

Our Moaning Chair boat is MADISON, and also a little rowboat we are butchering into shape from one piece of plywood and 1x lumber. Meant to be lightweight, easy to build, fit in a pickup bed.

0B27941C-8D7A-4CDD-B5A5-B9A066305E07.jpeg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
No, MARGARET ROSE is our other Moaning Chair Boat, a 16 foot Pascagoula Diamond Bottom Catboat. She got shoved aside when we got hurricaned in September, her bits are being guarded by pirates, that's her transom pattern you see below the little rowboat, whose name might get changed to SCUPPERS now.

IMG_2331.JPG

IMG_4053.JPG

Float Test for MARGARET ROSE's keelson.

IMG_9944.JPG

Stem pattern, keelson, deadwood and transom. Strongback to left, which at the time was attached to the Sunfish Restoration Dolly, now holding PHOENIX.

C6D679CA-FA51-4553-A6F4-1E62A9BA7ADC.jpeg

Which scuppers in the photo are you referring to?

BTW this thread is officially open now for photos of other folk's projects, until Captain Larry and Trusty Crew get back to their irregularly scheduled program.

And CaptainLarry, If They Don't Like how y'all decide to fix up your boat, then they don't get sailing on her :)
Please review Problem Solving Matrix Solution 3
 
Last night the Crew had a meeting. We tried to agree on a stripe design. Some hold that the rearward stripe, intended as a mask for topside Marine-tex repairs, looks just like a mask for something awkward. We played with narrowing and widening and adding a 4th stripe. All agree we really like the forward twins. I think we’ll make the repairs behind the cockpit before we decide on the rear stripe.Crew - Stripes.jpg
 
We also made a bit of progress on the supply chain. GreenBoatStuff decided to go ahead and ship a partial order, which seems counter to their objective of being “green”, and counter to my instructions to hold the order until everything (the unicorn carriage bolt) arrives together. They also upgraded my shipping. With my back-and-forth on the order details, the shipment was reduced from 10 screws to 4, the bare minimum needed to assemble the rudder hardware. This happened when I learned of the difference between brass and bronze (shame on me!) as it relates to corrosion resistance in sea water. Rather than send them more paypalls I had them reduce the screw count to balance the price difference. I was disappointed to learn the order changed from Brass Wood Screw - Round Head - Slotted Drive #12 x 1 1/4", 10 pcs @ $0.37 to Silicon Bronze Wood Screw - Round Head - Slotted Drive #12 x 1 1/4", 4 pcs @ $0.925. So much for having spares. The screws are stout. Nice deep thread. They look handmade. Hopefully not child slave labor. NOW I NEED THE $15 CARRIAGE BOLT! :mad:
GreenBoatStuff.jpg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Ahhh, fun with stripes. I think there are some similarities in design principles to vexillology. One option is to turn your kids loose with a 16 color box of crayons and some paper and see what designs they come up with a few constraints:
1. Keep it simple
2. Meaningful symbol
3. 2-3 colors
4. No lettering or seals
5. Be distinct or be related

Another option, and I wish I had a photo, one of the prettiest Sunfish I ever saw had a seascape painted on the deck, with the focal point being a sea turtle as viewed from above. The sail was simple white.

Speaking of sail, what are your sail colors?

A few other thoughts, for repair areas that were going to be obvious our friend Howie used to paint or gelcoat a Sunfish logo onto the deck, usually when he did mast step repairs. We have done that a few times using vinyl stickers, it looks fun where there were chine repairs, little Sunfish jumping along the waterline. We have also done theme boats, one painted like a WWII Army Air Corps Stearman, another like a Navy flight trainer, another like the Navy's VF-84 Jolly Rogers.

Merci after.jpg

Merci after 3.jpg

IMG_6669.jpg

IMG_3275 2.JPG

I liked the 1949 vintage scheme

IMG_8814.jpeg

IMG_1075.jpg

And of course we like the double stripe, WAVE has 2 sets that Capn Jack added, she had none from the factory.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Last night the Crew had a meeting. We tried to agree on a stripe design. Some hold that the rearward stripe, intended as a mask for topside Marine-tex repairs, looks just like a mask for something awkward. We played with narrowing and widening and adding a 4th stripe. All agree we really like the forward twins. I think we’ll make the repairs behind the cockpit before we decide on the
That rear stripe would look better if it matched the direction of the bow stripe, no? Or flip bow stripe direction if that’s how you cover the repair behind cockpit. After I repaired a hole in the deck of my early 70’s Sunfish I blocked off the area with painter’s tape and didn’t worry about finding a perfect color match. The repair was solid, the boat was clean. I also love the idea of adding Sunfish logos, as SC suggests.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
CaptainLarry

Look what we found today. Send us a PM and we'll get them in the mail to you and the motley crew. I believe they came off a boat that our friend Tom salvaged for us, he sent them to us along with the bow bits that we put on our 1982 boat PHOENIX.

47EE225F-3779-4889-A0D0-07271BB3E4A6_1_201_a.jpeg
 
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