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Advice Needed for Sailfish MK-II

svSugarMagnolia

New Member
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Hey everyone,
My name’s Finn, I’m new to sailing and the forum. I’ve been fascinated with sailing since a trip to SeaBase with my scout troop two years ago. I recently saw a Facebook Marketplace post for a sailfish in my area, it was an older widow selling her husband's neglected boat, so I bought it for $60. It’s got a brand new sail, but is missing the rudder and daggerboard, as well as various cleats and lines and such. I figured it’d be a good project for Christmas break and spring. I’ve got a couple of questions for anyone familiar with Sailfishes.

As it’s the MK-II, it’s the 14 foot model, and has the same sail size as the Sunfish. Is the tiller and the daggerboard the same? I was hoping to build them myself, and I think I have some good draw ups, but does anyone out there have advice on how to do this, or if I should just buy the parts?

The paint on the hull and deck is old, as it has sat under a porch for 10 years. I’ve read that you need to be extra careful while sanding down fiberglass and paint. Do I need to sand the paint completely down before repainting, or do I just need to sand down the chipped areas? I’m hoping to not have to spend 6 hours with a little electric sander, but I can if I have to.

Also, can anyone tell me what’s up with the two holes on the deck? I’ve never seen them in pictures of sailfishes. The screw caps are missing, so I can’t plug them. It looks like someone stuffed some foam and styrofoam down there. Should I try and plug these, or does anyone know where I can find caps that are waterproof and will fit? It could be nice to have a bit of internal storage.

Sorry for the storm of questions, but I’m excited to get on the water. Here in Middle GA we don’t have many places to sail, but I’m considering Lake Sinclair/ Lake Juliette. Any advice is appreciated as well. I’ve looked for a hull ID number, but I can’t find one. Can anyone tell from this picture, or can tell me where to find it?
Thanks for your help,
Finn
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hi Finn

Congratulations on your new boat, they are a lot of fun. She'll need a name soon :)

The rudder is the same shape as the rudder found on the 1960-1971boats, but the bronze rudder hardware is a little different, the vertical hinge plate is about 4 inches vs the longer 7 inch plate found on the fiberglass Sunfish. There are several awesome folks here in the forum who sell ready to go, correct parts, I'd use them vs ebay. They know how to pack and ship fast.

Any daggerboard can fit, you'll want a period correct "Spoon Tip" or a later "Barrington Board."

Sand enough to scuff the old paint and remove chips so new primer will stick, then fair chipped areas with fairing compound, then prime and paint. Try to stay with the same family of fairing compound, primer and paint, our Go To products recently have been TotalBoat TotalFair, TotalPrime and their Wet Edge one part paint. There are many other paint options, to include good ole Valspar enamel.

The two holes on the deck are deck plates, the owner either wanted to add something like extra flotation or remove something like wet foam. Take some photos of what's inside so we can tell you if its factory or later, and measure the opening of the port. You can buy replacement ports that have dry bags incorporated into them or maybe just the cap.

Here are the white structural foam blocks found inside the boat and the yellow expanding foam that holds them in place. Both foams also provide flotation. One is missing at the bow.

Sailfish foam blocks.jpg
 

svSugarMagnolia

New Member
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Thanks for your advice Charlie. It’s a mess down there. I’m hoping to find one of those dry bag storages you mentioned. I really don’t have the money, but I may buy the rudder but make a daggerboard myself. As far as paint goes, will WetEdge be fine for the hull as well?
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You're welcome.

Everything I see inside came from the factory, although a few foam bits have been broken off.

L&VW it almost looks like non skid strips have been epoxied or painted to the deck.

Original design would work. You might be able to get just the hardware for Sailfish rudder if you have all the deck and hull parts.

Daggerboard & Rudder (1).jpg
Don't be surprised if you boat is more like 110 pounds. These are marketing numbers from the 1960s. Nowadays the weight control is better.

Specs Alcort Sailfish Sunfish.jpeg

BTW your boat makes a very stable SUP.

Audrey Sweetness paddle.jpg

We wrote an article about the wooden sister Super Sailfish for Small Boats Magazine.

ZSA ZSA Alcort.jpg
 

svSugarMagnolia

New Member
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You know, I actually read your article before deciding to buy the boat, it was very helpful.

I went ahead and cut the daggerboard 40 inches by 9.25 out of some extra 3/4 inch birch plywood I had from my Eagle Scout Project. I figure I can round it off with a bandsaw and then file down the angles with a wood file. Then I can stain it a bit and put on enough polyurethane to sink a ship. (Might have jinxed myself . It won’t be completely precise, but It sure beats buying one. I will probably either buy The rudder or the mechanism. And if all else fails I can live with a $60 paddle board!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Got a belt sander? That works well to taper the edges. Or a spokeshave. Shinto rasp. ETC...

39 inches below the handle works for our daggerboards. Newer ones are even longer, around 44 inches.

You'll need to put your skills to work on some new handrails too! More info on our blog
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I think Beldar was going to mention that the Sailfish are good with the shorter board, as their hull is not as deep as the Sunfish...
 
View attachment 43068
You know, I actually read your article before deciding to buy the boat, it was very helpful.

I went ahead and cut the daggerboard 40 inches by 9.25 out of some extra 3/4 inch birch plywood I had from my Eagle Scout Project. I figure I can round it off with a bandsaw and then file down the angles with a wood file. Then I can stain it a bit and put on enough polyurethane to sink a ship. (Might have jinxed myself . It won’t be completely precise, but It sure beats buying one. I will probably either buy The rudder or the mechanism. And if all else fails I can live with a $60 paddle board!
good luck fellow eagle scout!
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Is the aluminum trim missing? Or maybe just dirty so I can’t see it. Also, is the halyard cleat there? Is rudder hardware correct? Looks a little funky from your first pic, but hard to tell. The inspection ports will make repairs easier, but you’ll probably have to replace them if you don’t have the covers. Costs will add up... but the sail is worth more than the $60 invested if it’s in good shape. Does it have the Sailfish logo?
 

svSugarMagnolia

New Member
Would you recommend shorter than 40?
Is the aluminum trim missing? Or maybe just dirty so I can’t see it. Also, is the halyard cleat there? Is rudder hardware correct? Looks a little funky from your first pic, but hard to tell. The inspection ports will make repairs easier, but you’ll probably have to replace them if you don’t have the covers. Costs will add up... but the sail is worth more than the $60 invested if it’s in good shape. Does it have the Sailfish logo?
Cleat is definitely missing, and the sail is in good condition with one 2 inch tear. It’s got a sunfish logo, but from what I understand it’s the same size.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Would you recommend shorter than 40?


Cleat is definitely missing, and the sail is in good condition with one 2 inch tear. It’s got a sunfish logo, but from what I understand it’s the same size.
Yes, same size sail. I bought ‘Ripstop kite paraglider sail repair’ on ebay for $1.25. (Shipping was about $3, but still a deal, I thought). Patch both sides of the sail, round the corners a bit.
That halyard cleat can easily get a backer through your inspection port, so that’s an easy fix. Here’s one from the “I wish I’d kept it, but you can’t keep ‘em all” files.
 

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Charles Howard

Active Member
That boat is rough. Being glass it can be fixed but there will be a lot of cost and time. I would look for a new hull with parts. Just for the sail and booms you are ahead on your investment.
 

svSugarMagnolia

New Member
Hey everyone, thanks for your help so far.
I’ve nearly finished cutting my daggerboard, I ended up cutting a rough angle with a jigsaw and sanding the rest, it turned out pretty well. All I need now is a couple of coats of stain-polyurethane mixture.
image.jpg

I’m planning on purchasing a rudder, but I’m gonna rough cut one over the next couple days and figure someway to install it so I can try out the boat soon. One issue I’ve encountered is how to attach things through the deck. I figure bolting them on with washers or screwing them into pieces of 2x4 on the other side would be ideal, but I’m not sure how to reach them. I do have the 2 inspection ports, but I can only access enough to install a cleat and the first 2 screws on each of the side rails. I also need to reattach the front handle better. How much of an ordeal is taking the deck off? It’s glued on, not screwed on, right? If I could take it off, and do all the screwing and bolting I need at once, that may be easier than trying to finagle 4 attachments.

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While looking at the mast base, I noticed something I hadn’t before. Two little raised bumps where the HID normally would be. I think it’s missing and not painted over, but I’m not completely sure. Can anyone tell from this description.
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Once again, thanks to all of your helpful advice. I’m really enjoying working on this boat so far!
Thanks,
Finn
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
1) "Stored under a porch by the previous owner". Hmmm.

Could the rudder still be there :confused: hidden by leaves?

2) I'd suspect a plywood daggerboard to be more affected by expansion with humidity or water intrusion. Allow for space in the daggerboard trunk, so it doesn't jam. :oops:
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Yes, those ‘two little bumps’ are where the ID plate was once attached. See my photo in previous response. Yours is missing. Still can’t tell if your aluminum trim is missing or just under the dirt? If it’s missing you may already have a split seam, may as well open it up. Finding new trim will be difficult and it’s expensive to ship. I’d look for another hull, but that’s just my 2 cents!
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Howdy

What kind of plywood did you use for the daggerboard? Hopefully marine grade as it has waterproof glue and more plies. We would suggest SEALING the plywood with a wood sealer or epoxy before stain and varnish, but we know that sometimes ya go with what ya got (YGWWYG).

I know it is tough to take a breath and wait for parts or paint, but one of our Parts Gurus here in the Forum could get you the period correct bits in a timely fashion. You still need a way to close the deck plate holes. All that said, cutting wood is fun, if it is plywood it needs to be marine grade or you may only get a few uses out of it. Perhaps you have a lumber supplier nearby that could sell you some 3/4 inch stock that would work for a rudder, mahogany, oak, cypress, even pine? Home Depot and Lowes sell Select #1 Pine in 12 inch wide planks, it is advertised as 1x12x6 foot or longer sections, used for shelves mostly. It is actually 3/4 inch thick, 1 inch was the thickness before it was finished and sanded and sold to the store, the consumer pays for the waste. You could cut boards from that to get started. Do you have a belt sander or spokeshave? Those are alternative ways to shape the edge. Draw the inner line to shape to and leave at least a 1/8th inch face on the edge of the blades.

spokeshave.JPG

spokeshave edge.JPG

Clean up the shape with a sander.

sander rudder daggerboard.JPG

As far as attaching things, one way is to access the underside of the deck to attach wooden backer blocks or metal/HDPE backer plates. 3/4 inch thick wood is plenty, 2x4 weight would add up. The factory way was to bond the block to the deck with adhesive then they also put a strip of fiberglass over the block to hold the block in place, I call it a hanger.

Hoops bow backer installed.jpg

Can you get the boat cleaned up with a little sopa and water and take some closer photos of the stern, bow and handrail area? That will help us let you know which rudder assembly parts you need. We are assuming that you have the typical deck/hull flange that could be split to access the interior, but Alcort did some experiments with different hull construction methods. I just learned that they started experimenting with fiberglass in 1957, probably on the Sailfish first, which explains some One Off hull designs we have seen through the years.

It is not an ordeal to split a seam with a good putty knife, the CAUTION here is to only split a small section, not the entire seam. If the entire seam is split then it is hard to regain the shape.

putty knife seam deck hull.jpg

For a temporary repair you might bond a "backer plate" to the topside of the deck with thickened epoxy, maybe Gorilla Glue, it could be chiseled off later. Capn Jack used a marine grade stainless steel for his bow handle on WAVE, the plate was fastened to the deck with adhesive and marine grade stainless wood screws.

Capn Jack bow handle plate.jpg

You will enjoy working on the boat, you can't really mess it up and learn a lot along the way. She appreciates the effort.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member

You fiberglass Super Sailfish MKII uses the smaller vertical hinge plate, about 4 inches long, the same size plate that is used on the wooden Sailfish and wooden Sunfish. One difference is that the carriage bolt is external to the transom, and the horizontal hinge plate on the deck does not have the dog ear screw holes, those holes are found under the spring plate.


Here's some homework, learn the nomenclature for the Rudder Releasing Mechanism parts.

Alcort Rudder Releasing Mechanism Patent page 1.png

Alcort Rudder Releasing Mechanism Patent page 2.png


Alcort Rudder Releasing Mechanism Patent page 3.png
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I'm with Signal Charlie - get the right rudder fittings and potentially the rudder too. But be sure to get the right fittings. You don't want to mess up the fittings on the boat just to get a temporary arrangement on there. US postal service is slow as molasses right now, but I am sure Sailcraft RI or one of the other sellers on here will get you what you need promptly.

Regarding your daggerboard - keep in mind that when (not if) you capsize, that board needs to support your body weight hanging on it as you right the boat. I am pretty sure the plies in plywood run perpendicular to each other. That is important, as the board you cut has the outer plies running across the board. If that was a solid piece of wood and not plywood, the board would snap - with a solid piece the grain has to run the long way.

You may find this guide handy, and it shows righting a Sunfish after a capsize. https://www.sunfishclass.org/documents/learn_2_sail_in_3_days.pdf

While that Sailfish is rough, as long as it doesn't leak, (and if it does, you can fix the leaks - it is typically not too hard) you are going to learn a ton, have fun fixing it, and have more fun sailing it. And as several have said, since you have a sail, and soon to have a board, at some point in the future you could buy a Sunfish hull with its rudder fittings on the cheap and then have two boats!
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Is not the daggerboard trunk 3/4" wide?
If so, a 3/4" board with numerous layers of "whatever" painted on it, might make for a super snug fit.
 

svSugarMagnolia

New Member

You fiberglass Super Sailfish MKII uses the smaller vertical hinge plate, about 4 inches long, the same size plate that is used on the wooden Sailfish and wooden Sunfish. One difference is that the carriage bolt is external to the transom, and the horizontal hinge plate on the deck does not have the dog ear screw holes, those holes are found under the spring plate.


Here's some homework, learn the nomenclature for the Rudder Releasing Mechanism parts.

View attachment 43121

View attachment 43122


View attachment 43123
image.jpg
Mine seems to be even simpler, mabye after market. It’s 4-4.25 inches.
 

svSugarMagnolia

New Member
My plywood is 3/4” untreated birch, which I read would be ideal because it would absorb a lot of sealant and get a good waterproof. So if i understand correctly, I could apply a good few coats of total boat wood sealer and another few coats of total boat lust varnish, it should be safe and water ready?
Thanks everyone, Merry Christmas!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The only plywood I am familiar with that will not eventually come apart if immersed in water for extended periods is marine grade, because it has waterproof glue. I would not assume that a few coats of sealer and varnish would make it water ready.

Sincerely,
The Grinch

PS It might work for a short time, and other folks may have better experience with untreated plywood. Wouldn't use it on my sleigh.
Santa
 

LAWilliams

New Member
I am with Charlie on this situation. My SF came with a homemade rudder out of plywood and it appears to not have been used very much and it is already delaminating. I was planning on sanding it back down and fiber glassing the cut edges and sealing the entire rudder with epoxy. I think this might give it some longevity. Sorry for the bad news. Merry Christmas
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
svSugar

Skipper suggests trollling the local thrift stores, used furniture stores, craigslist or facebook marketplace and look for old furniture that is solid wood, a lot of it is made from oak or mahogany. You might be able to reverse engineer a table leaf into a daggerboard and rudder, and you'll want handrails as well. She made off with some mahogany we had bought for blades a few years back and made table leaves out of them. Notice the darker leaves on the kitchen table?

Penobscot 14 Arne Vodder stands.JPG
 
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