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bow repair


So I figured out why the sunfish was getting so much water when I sailed. Huge cracking on underside of bow. Question, do i need to keep sanding or have I gone far enough? The very front seems to be in good enough shape. Or do I need to sand it out and remove it? And do I just put new fiberglass in, essentially sealing the top and bottom together, or do I try and keep the repaired area separate and then use 5200 to glue together?bow1.jpeg bow2.jpeg bow3.jpeg bow4.jpeg
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Active Member
I had one like this. I split the deck and hull then rebuilt the hull lip. The idea
being that once the hull lip was rebuilt I could rejoin the hull and deck the
normal way as if no damage had happened. I think if you just try to add
fiberglass without splitting the deck you'll get a repair that's good for a season
or two before cracks start showing up again. Anyway you are suppose to grind
back at minimum 12% the damage size of the hole. The missing lip makes that
problematic. If you can make a mold of the damaged area off another Sunfish
that makes things much much easier. I had a Sunfish splash rail missing three
inches off the end. I made a fiberglass copy off another splash rail. Seemed
to work well.


Well-Known Member
Check that the tip of the remaining bow doesn't move. :eek:

What I'd do, is build up a hardened 2" x 10" epoxy/cloth strip on flexible plastic. Peel it off, trim to fit, sand it, wet it, and insert it behind the damage. Pull taut with a screw inserted in the middle and a bungee cord. I use epoxy, as it's very strong, versatile, and what little odor it has, won't carry throughout the house.

The back side of the Sunfish hull is a coarse fiberglass "roving". For proper adhesion, the back side should be sanded, so reach what you can with coarse sandpaper or a Dremel tool. I'd double the amount of removed gelcoat already evident in the last photo. Build up layers, sand fair and paint. It's less messy to use scissors and pre-cut the cloth sections needed.

You may need three $30 epoxy repair kits, available today at Overton's, which is—at this moment—offering a 15% Labor Day discount. This makes each kit $7 cheaper than West Marine. The kit has everything you need, depending on what you already own. Ease of mixing can be had with West's "SIX10" cartridge, here.

If you suspect the damage has affected a greater area, or want to make a real project out of this, cover the front 10" of the bow with plastic sheet, make a mold of the bow and, sparing the deck, cut the away the front 8" entirely. Insert the new form from behind, sand the contact areas, and build up layers of cloth and epoxy, finally bonding with the deck.

Nobody will notice that the new bow doesn't look "factory".

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Wow. I was impatient and started the repair before I saw either of your posts. I may have to repair again in a couple of seasons, but for now I sanded back a bit more and applied fiberglass. Guess I'll see how that works. bowb.jpeg

Charles Howard

Active Member
Sosopix - Havinge repaired several Sunfish. You are doing it the right way, remove bad material, clean and start laying up the new material. You will be sailing in no time and it will hold up fine.