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

CaptainLarry

Active Member
So we had our big sailing adventure in FL - about 5 days of effort. The first day there wasn't enough wind and what breeze we had blew right in the mouth of the long bayou channel. Then 3 days days of ideal winds. We sailed for miles. All the crew has been initiated and two have taken the controls on their own. On the final day we sailed a GA lake we visited en route to home. Wind was strong there, but erratic.

Boy, but the boat suffered on that last day. Running aground in the sand is nothing like hitting solid red clay. The youngest crewmate toppled right over the coaming, poor guy. I also let us drift into a pontoon boat while trying to reroute the misplaced mainsheet. It hurts my heart to see the dagger board like this. My main problem was I was hurried trying to take advantage of a lunch hour before the time the weather was forecast (inaccurately) to turn stormy. I was in a tizzy for that whole experience.

During that last ride we also had the goose neck slide off the electrical tape spot on the boom. (That's the way it was fixed when we got it.) That made a headache of a ride, literally. At one time in FL the halyard tape slipped and left every bit of its adhesive on the upper spar. So my electrical tape connections need some help.

New Dagger Board Damage - running aground in red clay
New Dagger Damage.JPG

New Hull Damage - Drifting into pontoon boat
New Hull Damage.JPG

Goose Neck Moved Again - maintenance error
Goose Moved.JPG
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Chalk it up to experience... you can always fix those problems. Like SC says, "Great Adventures!!!" :cool:

You think that red clay is hard, try a rock reef on a Baja island, lol... THAT will cause some damage! Don't ask me how I know this... ;)

Meh, these things happen, and shakedown cruises are important, if only to learn what NOT to do, aye? :rolleyes:
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
Captain Larry on your gooseneck from Allan.
Remove the set screw, then pry the jaws open with a flat screw driver and small hammer until you can get a fine flat file in ther gap. Chuck in a vice and file the gap about 1/8" wider. Place on boom and tighten If it is snug, tighten and go sailing. If not, repeat the filing step.

I don't know why some of the old goosenecks were out of spec, but this is a common issue for many of them.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
If you have a micrometer, check the diameter of the boom in the gooseneck area. The boom is soft aluminum tubing, and may have become "undersized". If no micrometer is available, an adjustable wrench can give an approximation.

Consider more wraps of electrical tape.

"Shrink-tubing" is available that will fit--a thicker and tougher desirable alternative, although the color may not match your sail. :confused: There is a translucent size, but may be too small.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
My solution was similar to the one charles made. I removed the screw and stuck the piece in the edge of my standing belt sander. Sanded one side down, then pulled it out, flipped it over and stuck it back in and sanded the other side. Fix took about 2 minutes with a 80 grit belt. I will also drill out the hole and replace the screw with a bike seat adjuster I got cheap from amazon. Good luck.
Side note. I've used electrical tape...its ok...but gorilla tape make a white color sold at Walmart store looks better and holds better.
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
drill out the hole and replace the screw with a bike seat adjuster
I really like the seat binder idea a lot, but I won't modify this classic piece of bronze to that extent. I might do it if I obtained a second one from a scrap project. Of course I hate the straight slotted bronze screw too, but I hate the idea of buggering it up with an undersized screw driver used in a pinch. I may use a SS hex bolt for the routine use. (I'm being fussy again, if you had not recognized that.) :rolleyes:

If you have a micrometer, check the diameter of the boom in the gooseneck area.
I do have one and I'll check it.

I'll do all this the night before she sails again. Right now she packed away nicely and I'm focusing on the old trailer that will make transport much easier than the top of the van.
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
While we were in Florida, we were given a copy of this.

Chapman Piloting.jpg

It has been a good read so far. Just the term "seamanship" makes me feel like I need to be more responsible when sailing, like I'm representing a class of sportsman that depend on me to hold up a standard. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone felt this way about being Americans - just thinking.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Gooseneck...Good ideas above about filing the gap, but what we did was put a wrap of PRO Gaff Tape around the boom. Gaffer tape is cloth with an adhesive that removes easily, used for the film and theater industries by to secure lights in position and conceal wires across floors preventing tripping hazards tears easily by hand, and doesn't leave that notoriously sticky residue synonymous with duct tape.

Modern day gaff tape is developed from protective servings that real sailors put on spars, where one spar crossed another, to protect the wood. It made its way into Old Skool theaters long ago as the rigging in was much like that of a ship, lines and blocks used to move heavy items and backdrops, in fact many old theaters still have pin rails like a ship has.

pro-gaff-black.jpeg

"Learning the ropes."

theater pin rail.jpg

Gaff tape under ZIP's goosneck. That boom originally had a bolt that held on a leather collar, or yoke, to connect the boom to the mast. A previous owner upgraded her to the late 50s style bronze gooseneck, and the spruce boom was just a bit undersize for the gooseneck. When we got the boat, there were copper shims between the bronze and the spruce.

Sunfish gooseneck wooden gaff tape.jpg

Down the road you can lace your sail on with 1/8th inch diameter Dacron cord and a Marlin Hitch, how they used to be before Apollo and plastic sail rings :)

Gaff tape on our Penobscot 14's sprit.

IMG_2584.jpg

Penobscot 14 mast.

IMG_2581.jpg

We like some kind of tape between a bronze gooseneck and aluminum spar, as it helps prevent the dissimilar metal corrosion found on saltwater boats.

Tape will not be a good fix if you plan to adjust the gooseneck a lot like Racers do. Once we found the gooseneck setting we like for recreational sailing, the gooseneck never moves.

If you do find that the boom diameter is shy where the gooseneck had been due to corrosion or overtightening, over the Winter you can remove the boom, caps and blocks and flip the boom end to end, to get fresh metal forward.

Last tip, we have a big, proper size screw driver that is only used on the gooseneck screw. It is vintage. We also have a dedicated screwdriver for the deck drain plug.
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
Well, I hope it has been worth all the views. I have totally enjoyed the experience. I do plan to wrap this up soon. I've got just a couple more issues.

Right now I'll review my new SLO Sail and Canvas spar bag for posterity. I provided this review to them directly a couple weeks ago and gave them a chance to respond to my 4 star rating, but they haven't.

First, the SLO Sail and Canvas customer service was very attentive and satisfying. They did what they said in a timely way.

The product meets my expectations. Big bag, tough material. The bag just went 1200 miles to Florida and back with no issues. The bag was roomy enough to get the hardware inside easily. We even fit the mahogany parts in there, though they did not ride on the roof that way.

The draw string is a nice heavy line.

Two details that don't suit me. 1) The two loop handles don't work. If you hold one only, the bag droops to the other end. They are too small/short to both go over the shoulders. They basically require two hands to hold. 2) There is a considerably large opening in the bag after the draw string is cinched down. Can we get the end closed better so saw dust from my garage projects does not get in? I did manage to wrap the cord around the end for a better seal.

Spar Bag.JPG

Draw String.JPG

One question to the forum, if my sail was "dry" when I sealed into into this water proof bag will it still mildew in there?
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Nice review and we are glad that you gave them the feedback. SLO Sail and Canvas has always been great with us and while we have had a few suggestions over the last 10 years, We give them 11 out of 10 stars for answering phone calls and emails, and offering good quality covers with many options of straps, mast up/down, material choices etc.

"I do plan to wrap this up soon." You better not, we expect trip reports and updates on your new SV (Sailing Vessel). I'm trying to remember, did the crew ever settle on a name?
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
NOW I NEED THE $15 CARRIAGE BOLT! :mad:
So GreenBoatStuff FINALLY shipped my 8" bronze carriage bolt. Now we can go sailing? No, Signal Charlie got us out of that jam months ago.

So my review on GreenBoatStuff is they do what they say, but it could take a very long time.

Ordered 12-18-2020
Delivered 4-28-2021

Customer service was attentive. I was able to speak to a HUMAN and make order changes straightforwardly. I will give them another try eventually.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Just a curiosity think with me but the 2 handle set up seems really odd to me. I don't even understand the purpose or the design. 1 long 1 short would make for hand or shoulder carry. But balance us an obvious issue when I first saw it. Am I being a knot head?
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
It works for me (old and decrepit).
The whole kaboodle (spars, boom, sail and lines) is heavy. Distributing the load over two handles makes sense.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
So GreenBoatStuff FINALLY shipped my 8" bronze carriage bolt. Now we can go sailing? No, Signal Charlie got us out of that jam months ago.

So my review on GreenBoatStuff is they do what they say, but it could take a very long time.

Ordered 12-18-2020
Delivered 4-28-2021

Customer service was attentive. I was able to speak to a HUMAN and make order changes straightforwardly. I will give them another try eventually.
Please note that the parts situation has been bad for years because Laser Performance did not deliver. As s results, (parts) dealers in the USA were hurting
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
the parts situation has been bad for years
Maybe so, you know better. But this was a touch more like bait and switch. The indication was that the parts were available to ship "within 24 hours" , then they were not. It was definitely a screw machine supplier problem. I assume China, but I don't know. 4 months is a long time to wait for one a bolt.GreenBoatStuff.png
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
The trailer repair is moving off dead center now. We tried the Rustoleum Rust Dissolver gel after lots and lots of angle grinder work. In fact it took more than one grinder. :rolleyes: I guess it was just time for the Makita to go. One complaint (shall we not always have at least one complaint? :rolleyes:) was that the "spray" bottle had no spray option, only stream. Maybe it is too thick to spray. but that would have made application easier.

I think it will take years to know whether the Rust Dissolver worked. Then we can still ask many unknowable questions like, did I grind enough? did I apply it correctly? did the primer take? was the paint adequate? Or the final question, What do you expect for a 1970 trailer?

Do I recall correctly that the 70's produced some of the most rust-prone steel we've ever suffered? Who has a good story on that?


Tongue.jpg
Suspension.jpg
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
That was the "during" phase, so it looks pretty bad. The gel is flowing off the rusty metal and taking rust with it. It is now primed and looking better, but the pits will always remain.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
My word for rust is "patina". ;)

After asking, I was donated a terribly rusted Continental trailer, used for an 18-foot "flats" fishing boat. It was only six years old, rinsed daily after salt water use, but still in terrible shape. Even the tires were on their last legs. But each part would hold my weight without collapsing, so I advertised it for $75. I quickly got a delighted buyer, using Craigslist.

Since I'd given my truthful opinion of its questionable worth, I asked the buyer what he was going to do with it. He said, "I'm going to move my "flats" boat across the street".

You can't do better than this happy buyer and seller! :)
 
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