Deck drain plug question


New Member

I’m new to sailing and I recently purchased a 1976 Sunfish that needs some work. I have a lot of questions, but I am starting from the ground up.

So I can hear water splashing around when I move the hull and it feels like the hull alone weighs 250+ lbs. The drain plug on the deck will not come undone. I tried unscrewing it and with barely any pressure, stripped the screw. My question is whether I should just leave it and install a new one elsewhere or cut it out and put a new one and the same place? If you recommend cutting it out and installing a new one in the same spot, how do I ensure that the hole I make to get it out isn’t too large for a new drain plug to be installed properly? Or would I be able to just plug the hole without installing a new one?

Thank you!
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On my one, I got them too warm trying to get them out and the outside of the fittings become loose on the boat. I pulled them off and was able to work on them in a vise in the garage. Once I got the screw-in part out (drilled and then an Easy-out type removal tool, a little plumber's torch work too...) , I replaced them with a stainless Allen-key set screw and epoxied them back into the boat. Picture is after the red epoxy and before sanding. Starboard side is green.

The other boat I bought 100# over 140# nominal so way too 'heavy'. I drained the water, cut in some bigger holes, and left it dry out all summer with a solar-powered fan. I lost about 60 of 100 extra pounds last I checked, curious to see if Iost any more over winter.

Both boats will need a leak test and repairs to be watertight.

The typical solution is to get the entire old one out and replace it with this or something similar, which is what comes on new Sunfish Ronstan Hull Drain plug

I wish I could tell you how to remove the old one - maybe people pry them out?
When I tried drilling out the threaded plug, the fitting in the boat got warm enough to break the bond to the boat and they came right out.
Maybe a soldering iron or soldering gun would be a more controllable way to heat the fitting?
Close-up pic of a older drain plug system from @Alan S. Glos


I’m new to sailing and I recently purchased a 1976 Sunfish that needs some work...
I'm away from my '76 Sunfish, but my recollection is that the drain's body is prevented from twisting by two pins perpendicular to the deck's surface. They can be pushed in and the drain pried out.
New drain plug assemblies typically require a 1" diameter hole. Use a 1" hole saw to drill the old plug out and make the hole for the new plug all at the same time. The hole saw will cut the new hole outside of the existing plug body.