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1982 AMF Sunfish PHOENIX Deck and Side Reconstruction

signal charlie

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1982 AMF boat PHOENIX was damaged during Hurricane Sally also, she was in the stall next to WAVE. While the paint on WAVE dries...

Pre Sally.


signal charlie

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TETRIS....PHOENIX taking a ride in Skipper's Sunfish hoist, she'll be moving over to the work dolly. We'll paint WAVE upside down on the Dynamic Dolly.


Forgot about this rash, a simple blind patch will work.


Removed what was left of the bow trim, 1/8th inch drill bit.



We jigsawed a clean edge on the deck a few weeks back. One issue to address is the complete fracture by the number 2, we'll put in a backer patch. That split comes in handy soon, keep reading :)


We have a bow section from a sister boat, sent to us by our buddy Tom. I split the donor deck from the hull, removed PHOENIX's bow handle and clamped the deck on top of PHOENIX. Then Voila!, there is a access from the side to traces the seam on the underside of the new deck piece with a calibrated Sharpie.


signal charlie

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Seems we're being watched...


Black Sharpie line is the cut line for the DeWalt 20V jigsaw. We used a DeWalt 20V oscillating multi tool with a bi metal blade to clean up the bottom of the deck panel where needed, cut off the fiberglass hanger for the bow handle backer block and shaved away old foam, very satisfying. A putty knife would also work.


We cut the deck edge flange (lip) from the hull section, very scientific measurement, I just let the edge of the jigsaw foot guide itself along the curve of the flange, that left a nice one inch lip. Take note of how the flange is missing from PHOENIX.


The flange nestles inside of the side of the hull and sticks out about 1/8th inch less, but the deck still clamped nicely to it.


The chine and side fracture will be repaired from inside first, we'll get to that in a minute. The trick with the falangee will be to make sure the new falangee gets set at the right height. In this photo it is drooping a little in the middle. So we'll epoxy the inner deck seam on top first, and then use its natural curve to help define the flange height.


Here's how we did final trimming of the deck seam, took off high spots where needed with a DeWALT 20V oscillating multitool, bi metal blade. That also left an essential tiny gap for thickened epoxy.


signal charlie

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Once everything else is spiffy, we'll put on some New Old Stock Sunfish vinyl. Our buddy Howie did warranty work for AMF 1978-1988, after working at Alcort 1960-1978, and he sent us some spare stickers a few years back.



signal charlie

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We interrupt our irregularly scheduled program to announce that we are finished with repairs to damage sustained during Hurricane Sally, 16 September. Today we finished replacing the ramp to the Sunfish Shack, supervised by a good portion of the Armada.



Spent a day sprucing up the yard. PHOENIX and WAVE snoozing inside the Carriage House aka Lewis Boat Works HQ.


signal charlie

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Here's the brush we like to use, bristles are soft and the tip is flexible. Doesn't cost a fortune.


Trimmed more bits to make an internal backer plate.


Ready to be epoxied into place. Note the deck backer plate and flange also.


Lightly sanded the first coat of TotalBoat Wet Edge, then got smart and got Skipper to apply the second coat. She thinned the paint to her liking, about 2 capfuls of thinner into 1/3 of a quart, brushed it on, no rolling, kept a feathered wet edge. The paint is leveling beautifully.



signal charlie

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Weston, You're welcome. We have fun and enjoy re-sharing tips and tactics that other Forum folk have kindly shared with us over the past 10 years. Alan got many a phone call from me when we started diving into a lot of boats, especially the fiberglass work. He's an amazing source of knowledge and parts, and will deliver anywhere in CONUS, just call him :) Here's a shot of him dropping off our Standard Sailfish WINNIE, Syracuse to Navarre, FL.

(L-R) Grasshopper and Sensei

Kent and Alan Spray.jpg

Speaking of Sailfish, we have a gent looking for a wooden Sailfish to restore, he is in Massachusetts. If anyone comes across one, please let us know, we're sure Alan will pick it up and deliver it to him :)

With Pandemic still hanging around, I don't think Alan will swing by this year, but we'll have him load up extra bits next year. And he's still shipping.

Alan and Kent 2.JPG

He's been known to haul boats back North also, that's quite a feat, finding a nice Sunfish down here in Hurricane Alley.

Bella Dieci VW Alan.JPG

Let's see what projects y'all have going on, big and small. We are fiddling with varnish and a daggerboard, more on that in another thread.
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signal charlie

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Took a hard right turn away from gelcoat and decided to paint. BlueGlo White was too white so we mixed the BGW with Bristol Cream 8:1 to get a color closer to 1982 Sunburnt Sunfish. Still wet in the photo.


If I spill paint I make a Sunfish. Sometimes I spill on purpose,


Foredeck drying and flattening out. Test stripe with Rust-Oleum Gloss Sail Blue, it feathered in nicely. Not sure whether to go with gloss or satin on the red, as we're going to wax the gelcoat.


Looks good on the coaming, time for some masking tape.


Alan sent is the trim, it has matching 1965 and 1982 patina.


Sourced rivets from Lowes.


signal charlie

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While the paint dries we'll ponder the chine...


Plan is to cut a backer chine from the salvaged boat SALLY.



signal charlie

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SALLY donated two pieces of chine, one for the blind backer patch and the other to help pull the side back into alignment, there is a tiny bulge outward there. String to pull backer patch up against hull once inside.


Put THIXO on the backer patch, inserted into hull, pulled it snug, put a large blob of THIXO in the void and then laid some poly to prevent outer chine shaper piece from becoming a permanent part of the boat.


Used a calibrated 2x4 to bring the side plank back to vertical, and hold the outer chine shaper. Pulled strings tight to snug up the backer patch and engineered a fine system to tie those strings off with deck screws and a paint stick. About 5 hands was needed for this mess, only 2 were available.


Here's the fearless crew, Cat II hurricane rated. MADISON, PHOENIX, WAVE.

3 sunfish wave phoenix madison.JPG

WAVE and PHOENIX in Texas, pre Sunfish Shack days.

Wave Phoenix snow Keller.JPG

Ahhh, that seems like better weather...PHOENIX's first Florida sail.
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signal charlie

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I started adding up the cost of all the supplies I'd need for 4 different colors of gelcoat, once it went over $200 and I could only get a premix custom gelcoat color in a gallon can, I punted and decided to try spraying a custom mix I made from WetEdge BlueGlo White and Bristol Beige, I color we call "Sunburnt Sunfish." I thinned it with about 20 percent thinner and experimented with the Preval sprayer for the first time, and we're very pleased with the results. I bought a VALPAK from Fibreglast, $39.95, that had multiple power units, the pistol grip, bottles and dip tubes. Jamestown Distributors sells a one bottle kit for $8.60. The little touch up size bottles were handy, I had one of those about half full, left over from when I rolled and tipped the deck a few days back




The first coat I thinned too much and sprayed too much, so it sagged. I wiped that off real quick and thinned about 5:1 paint:thinner. Sprayed a very light coat and went to watch football for 30 minutes. The next coats seemed to stick better, as the bond was paint to paint vs paint to hull. I hope mixmkr has more tips, esp on where to get gelcoat in economical size/price!





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Paint stripes and such...gelcoat the hull. All personal preference. Some colors are extremely hard to match...so just painting makes sense. I'll always use a paint I can sand and final buff.
I buy gelcoat quarts unless a single job calls for more. $30 and up depending. Spectrum Colors can do an extremely good job a recreating factory colors (like a light chocolate brown on a $300, 000 Colbalt). But their prices have inched up to $150/quart over the years. Ouch!


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Oh...i never use the PreVal pistol grips. Just boxes of replacement power units and usually clean the glass bottles with acetone...and spray like a rattle can. The plastic jars if used, get pitched


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Your video...seems like your spray sweeps are excessive. Maybe good for a first tack coat....but too sweeping and thin to cover. Learn to spray thicker and more deliberate, and the same for product consistency that won't clog..and also sag/run. Horizontal surfaces are your friend.

signal charlie

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I sure did...cuz it was getting replaced! Voila.

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 8.57.10 PM.png

Used 3M Fine Line tape, worked well.




Aft stripes will get some attention.


signal charlie

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Put the trim back on, Alan sent replacement trim but one piece got bent, so we dug another piece out of the trim bin. I used my brother's rivet gun to install the trim, he watches from Heaven now and is always laughing over my shoulder at his Jarhead brother butchering wood and chipping away at Sunfish.


Little Walmart buffer and 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax




PHOENIX has arisen (again) and is ready for Sea Trials.


No sooner did PHOENIX hop onto a Dynamic Dolly than the Standard Sailfish WINNIE rolled into the Carriage House. We'll get some measurements off of her for those wanting to build the original 1947 Sailfish.


signal charlie

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Skipper drags me in and I get fed well. The pace will let up soon, I have had days off from my flying job since Christmas, plus 3 weeks of vacation early January, then I bid for more days off at the end of January, historically the slow season for flying. Things get back on schedule in February and we'll see how the Spring and Summer go, go make some money to pay for Sunfish bits.

Mild mannered Delta Air Lines pilot "Clark" Kent Lewis, checking out PRIM, a Herreshoff AmphiCraft on display at the Providence airport. When they're not looking, we plan to sneak her out and take her sailing. PRIM has a state of the art wishboom and feathering mast, she is trailered backwards for easy launching and the mast is two piece, all of the rig fits inside the boat with neat little chocks to hold everything secure. Her trailer rolls on Indian Motorcycle wheels.

Amphicraft Kent 1.jpg