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Buying a Used Sunfish

sjlegrice

New Member
Hello,

I am new to the group and recently new to sailing again. I sailed many times when I was younger but I recently sailed a Sunfish a couple of weeks ago and fell in love again. Now I would like to buy one as it is hard to find a place to rent them around where I live. I wanted to get your thoughts on this Sunfish for sale, the price is high for its age but it looks to be in excellent condition and I am absolutely in love with the colors, love the flag blue hull and the sail. If I was to buy a Sunfish, these are the exact colors I want. I haven't been to see it in person yet but I plan to the weekend of the 11th and will try it out on the water. What do you all think? Here is the link, Restored 1968 Sunfish Sailboat - boats - by owner - marine sale

Thank you.
 

tag

my2fish
That price seems quite high.

A 1968 would have had the old-style rudder… so that has been upgraded, I’d make sure that work was done well.
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
Following up on tag's suggestion: The rudder has been upgraded which is why there is an inspection port by the transom. To install the new style rudder, you have to add a metal backing plate to the transom inside the hull. You can look inside the hull via that rear inspection port to see how that work was done. They have also replaced the old style bailer with the new design which is easier to use. The $3K includes a trailer, which is probably worth $800-1200 if in excellent shape, so the actual cost of the sailboat is in the $1800-2000 range. For comparison, This time of year, I see older Sunfish for sale on Craigslist in the $500-$1200 range, depending on the shape they are in. Add to that the cost of a new sail and installing the new style rudder (add $180 for a brand new recreational sail or double that for an official class sail). The cost of installing the new rudder would be about $300 including several hours of labor. So, those are all factors to consider. The boat looks nice! It is hard to say no once the Sunfish bug bites. :)
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
One more follow up. This craigslist search for your area shows 3 other Sunfish (and a couple of clones - an AquaFinn and a Scorpion) available in the $1200-1500 range, some with trailers. The orange Sunfish appears to be a '72-'74 model (which has the cubby in the cockpit for storing items). The sail is old and, of course, you would want to inspect the hull for damage and also weigh it to see if it has taken on water. If it weighs more than 140, that would indicate water. I would prefer boats sailed in fresh water to those sailed in salt. I hope that is helpful.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
That price seems quite high.

A 1968 would have had the old-style rudder… so that has been upgraded, I’d make sure that work was done well.
But it presents very well in pictures and text.

I think Ironton trailers are similar to Harbor Freight, but sold at inflated prices by Tractor Supply. (They are frequently quoted as "the" competition by HF).

This boat appears to have received a LOT of love, and suspect before the 11th, this Sunfish will have found a new home. :confused: Find a way to inspect it sooner than later.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
That boat is significantly overpriced. It’s probably a $1200 boat. It sounds as if they are admitting it’s heavy, and a newer, lighter boat with a storage cubby would be much nicer to have.

It’s odd that all 3 boats for sale in the area have been painted. It’s better to have a boat with the original gelcoat and no paint. Paint scratches and chip easily - note they are giving you paint for that reason.

I’d contact John Butine at Lake Norman YC. He is a Sunfish veteran and can probably point you to a better boat in the area. Also, despite the sellers claims, trying to use that trailer as a dolly won’t be fun - it’s too heavy and awkward to use as anything but a trailer.
 

sjlegrice

New Member
One more follow up. This craigslist search for your area shows 3 other Sunfish (and a couple of clones - an AquaFinn and a Scorpion) available in the $1200-1500 range, some with trailers. The orange Sunfish appears to be a '72-'74 model (which has the cubby in the cockpit for storing items). The sail is old and, of course, you would want to inspect the hull for damage and also weigh it to see if it has taken on water. If it weighs more than 140, that would indicate water. I would prefer boats sailed in fresh water to those sailed in salt. I hope that is helpful.
Yeah I know, I just fell in love with the colors of this one but I agree, I need to just keep looking and go with something else.
 

sjlegrice

New Member
That boat is significantly overpriced. It’s probably a $1200 boat. It sounds as if they are admitting it’s heavy, and a newer, lighter boat with a storage cubby would be much nicer to have.

It’s odd that all 3 boats for sale in the area have been painted. It’s better to have a boat with the original gelcoat and no paint. Paint scratches and chip easily - note they are giving you paint for that reason.

I’d contact John Butine at Lake Norman YC. He is a Sunfish veteran and can probably point you to a better boat in the area. Also, despite the sellers claims, trying to use that trailer as a dolly won’t be fun - it’s too heavy and awkward to use as anything but a trailer.
Thanks! Do you have his contact info?
 

sjlegrice

New Member
But it presents very well in pictures and text.

I think Ironton trailers are similar to Harbor Freight, but sold at inflated prices by Tractor Supply. (They are frequently quoted as "the" competition by HF).

This boat appears to have received a LOT of love, and suspect before the 11th, this Sunfish will have found a new home. :confused: Find a way to inspect it sooner than later.
It's been on Craigslist for over a month now. He said he had it listed for $4k and dropped the price recently. It'll be up there a while until he comes back to earth.
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
Is there a way to know if the boat has been sailed in salt water other than rust?
Depending on what year the Sunfish was manufactured it will have aluminum parts, stainless steel parts, and on older boats, brass parts. Where you have dissimilar metals in contact with each other, electrolysis causes a galvanic transfer from one metal to the other, bonding them together. So if you can't unscrew the bailer (assuming it is the older metal bailer) or you see corrosion where stainless steel screws attach to the aluminum spars, that could indicate salt water usage. Note that electrolysis happens in fresh water too and if the boat is several decades old, there will be some evidence of that even if the boat has only seen fresh water use. Regardless of what type of water the boat was used in, it is good to look at the mast where the gooseneck rubs against it, and the lower boom where the gooseneck attaches. Those are the most likely places that a mast or boom will fail.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
It's been on Craigslist for over a month now. He said he had it listed for $4k and dropped the price recently. It'll be up there a while until he comes back to earth.
For $125, I bought a beautiful 1971 Sunfish--always moored (no trailer). Maroon in color, it needed only the deck polished. I sold it for $800 the day after placing a Craigslist ad after having polished only about 2 square feet of its deck! (So the deals are out there).

This Sunfish has the color scheme (you like), which you'd have to pay to change on a cheaper Sunfish.
Touch-up paint included. $15?
The replaced parts can recoup...ummm... $300?
NEW rachet block is $85.
NEW trailer--already assembled--with light kit ~$300-$400?
NEW clamp on gooseneck. $15?
NEW tires, installed. $90?
NEW bailer $50, installed.
NEW bridle $25, installed.
Recent bow handle $30, installed.
Properly painted with primer. Decent job.
Inspection ports $50, already installed.
Cockpit trim, installed.
Bow bumper, installed.
Complete installation of NEW aluminum trim, :eek: IDK but I wouldn't want to tackle that job--and especially--the expen$e. $300-400?
Add expendables. $50.

That's a lot of labor, and you aren't "locked-in" at his present price. If those are plastic rudder cheeks (not the unbreakable aluminum) deduct $200.

So, make an offer... ;)
 

aborgman

Member
I'm not going to give any details until I actually pick up my pending purchase on Saturday in order to avoid jinxing it - but deals are definitely out there, and that is a $1,000-$1,500 boat around me.
 

shorefun

Active Member
Old hull, crappy paint job and a bunch of new parts for the price of a much much newer boat. No never.

Are you in a hurry? Check on craigslist and facebook market place several times a day. Keep say $1500 cash on hand and find a friend with a trailer that will let you borrow it in moments notice.

So far I paid $50 for a 1988 with a dolly that just needed new lines. $200 for a 2006 that needed a more substantial fix with it got hit, but a like new sail. $300 for a 1996 with a dolly that needed some minor repairs to the hull and new lines.

Deals are out there. At my yacht club people are paying $$$ for older boats that have deck screws falling out.

Look at all the screws. They should be properly sized and not coming out. Had 2 where the previous owner just screwed in larger sheet metal screws which started pulling out.

Dont bother with older boats even if they put the new style rudder unless very cheap. An old crappy looking boat for $300 that is complete will do quite fine on the water if it is not water logged. Have enough of those in the club the kids are learning on.

My advice. Look at some boats people are sailing. Wait for a deal or even if you see one laying against a house, knock on the door- that is how I got one. When you get one spend the $28 for a new line set from shoreline sailboats. Spend money to get a window installed if one is not on the sail.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
That boat has a lot of new or almost new parts and the entire kit looks ready to go. I saw no signs of saltwater corrosion. For that market I think it is 400-500 over market. If you have the money and don't want a project, make an offer. FWIW we've restored about 30 Sunfish and that boat alone would pull $1800-2000 in the NW Florida market. The trailer, 600ish.
 

aborgman

Member
This is what I just picked up -

241011814_6040052389369621_6143567814518842836_n.jpg
240837837_3954901044615305_8433569117374879517_n.jpg

$200
1974 Sunfish on a trailer.
Complete, but sail is pretty trashed, needs new lines, needs a few minor fiberglass repairs, and weighs about 200 lbs...

The guy I bought it from bought it on a much nicer trailer for $75... just to get the trailer.
 
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