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Advice Needed on Repair of 1960s Sunfish


I am new to boat repair and need some guidance. I was given some advice . . . but fear that it was not good.

I was given a 1960 Sunfish that had lived a good life, seen a good bit of use. Learning as I go . . . I repaired a four inch crack/hole in the keel, underneath the seating well. The gelcoat was in bad shape . . . .lots of very thin spider cracks, and hundreds of tiny pits, some deep of scrapes, previous repairs, etc. I dremmeled those out, put in fairing, sanded the entire surface and painted with epoxy primer, one coat, one quart. (Total Boat). It's looking good.

My intent was to apply gel coat, and I am realizing now that it might not be correct to put gel coat on without first having removed the old gelcoat.. Am I good to go just applying gelcoat (after sanding, etc.) If so, am I good with just one coat of epoxy primer. My concern is that I did not remove the original gelcoat ( though I did sand it down well enough to remove the yellowing ). And . . . applying gelcoat, from what I am reading it needs to be applied thick enough to set up, and it has a very short working period. It's easy to imagine that going sideways.

Plan B would be to add another coat or two of epoxy primer. From reading the instructions it appears to be used as a final coat on boats. The single coat of epoxy primer looks great . . . so perhaps I apply another coat or two and call it a done for now?

Thank you . . .


Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
When you say you dremeled out and “put in fairing” I hope you mean you added a fiberglass patch, or at least thickened epoxy to the damaged keel first?
Don’t bother with gelcoat at all. This is the bottom of a Sunfish. Yes, primer and a couple coats of Rustoleum Marine, spray or brush, and you’re good to go!
Thank you! Good news.

I've got a quart of Gelcoat which I think does not store well, so I'll look for someone locally who might be able to use it.

Yes, I dremmeled out the spidering and the pits. The hole . . . that was dealt with with fiberglass. I used fairing to fill in the dremmeled out areas as well as some rather deep scrapes.

For the hole, I created a mold for the shape of the keel using plaster of paris (see photo). In this photo, I've already sanded down the fiberglass, which is the lighter colored area of the repair.

The instructions on the epoxy seem to indicate that it is used as a final coat . . . minimum of three coats, I think.

The photo here is before I sanded the entire hill . . . it is still yellowed. Once sanded, it had was as white as the edge of the repair. But, with quite a bit of aging to it. In the photo, you can see a few places where I dremmelled out weak gel coat.