"Arthrosopic Surgery" on Sunfish


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Here, the controlled lake level drops through the warmer months. The purpose is to reduce shoreline damage from ice, and to make room for "Spring-Melt" off the hills. My former sailboats had lifts, but it is easier to just pull the Sunfish up on the dock. That is, until nearing the end of summer, when that initial pull can be a two-foot lift—"standing" on my knees—by pulling up only with the bow handle. :mad:

As those bow handle screws were getting a little loose :( and perhaps some day, there would be no way to get the Sunfish safely "aboard" the dock, I decided to through-bolt the handle to the foredeck, using all stainless-steel hardware. The rear screws, which don't have much "bearing" could stay as screws, so I epoxied a fixed stainless-steel bracket together to fit the front two (greatest load-bearing) bolts:

Then, drilled a hole under the bow handle where it couldn't be seen when reattached—then enlarged it to a lima-bean shape. (To accept the bracket). The bracket (pictured tilted, below) got a copper wire (right) inserted in such a way that the bracket (left) was free to rock 180°. :cool: Here's the bracket being inserted, using the wire:

(Messy adhesive, which had separated from the duct tape used to seal the hole from rain—appears to the right).

Finding the bracket ("blind") with the bolts was tricky. At this point, the only thing that could go wrong was for the bracket to hit a piece of unseen foam, and slide off the wire, entombing itself forever inside the hull. :oops: So...


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Above, I've reconstructed how the epoxy insert should have looked successfully installed; unfortunately, the insert dropped off the wire—and fell inside the hull. :confused:

So, a cut had to be made in the port bow to access the bolts. :( A larger opening, and one further forward would have been more convenient, but the bolts got secured—finally! :) The inside of the removed piece was brushed with epoxy resin, placed on two layers of fiberglass cloth, and a "halo" of firm fiberglass constructed. A screw-eye was affixed to the center, and a bungee cord firmly pulled the piece into place until the resin had hardened.

My repair is similar to the previous video, that showed the use of battens.

Like the keel repair, it's strong—ready now for more sanding, faring, and painting. However, since I can still go sailing—these two repairs can wait until next Spring.

One lesson to pass along is that the backing wood block is fairly thick. If your bow handle is loose, try adding longer screws as a fix.
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Just like to add, that member mixmkr renewed his backing plates by cutting through the bottom of the hull has the right idea. :cool: The bottom is thin, easily repaired, strengthened by the repair, and it's possible to undetectably lengthen the waterline. ;)

Found the thread:
New Backing Plates | SailingForums.com
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Why would you not just cut an inspection port on the top deck?
Because I already have one? :p

Well, as of last week, I have a second port for ready access to ample storage and inspection of the center deck (and bilge) area. Ultimate Inspection Port... | SailingForums.com

The previous owner's 6" Holt and Allen bayonet-style port has deteriorated from UV sun exposure, and needs replacement: the upper deck is otherwise in good shape, so why introduce an additional maintenance item to sun exposure? :confused:

My best Sunfish has no inspection ports, and shows no weight gain. Should it ever need a repair, I'd prefer that it not show. Especially :rolleyes: my repairs! :oops:

Actually, with seven possible future repairs needed to the deck, they can't all be reached from just one point. :( However, cutting into the bottom leaves an intact top deck for supporting the occasional full passenger load. :)