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determine Sunfish age?

tag

my2fish
Hi,
I bought a Sunfish on Ebay a few years back - new son last year kept me completely off the water, and I'm excited to get back on the water with it, since I've only gotten to sail it a handful of times.

My question is suggestions to determine the age of it, and what implications that might have. The ebay ad mentioned it was an "AMF" sunfish, and the previous owner guessed it was built in the mid 1960's (I think his family bought it in 1971). The cockpit does NOT have the storage compartment - does that mean it is pre-1971? He also mentioned that the hull id was removed at some point, probably when they repainted the deck and hull.

Does this mean it probably has the old-style rudder? Does that mean I should change it to the new style? Also, it doesn't have a hiking strap. Would this be easy to install, particularly since there isn't the storage compartment?

I just brought it to my house - had been storing it outside at my folks. It is a bit dirty, but looks alright. I have (2) 5" inspection ports that I was planning to install. I have not weighed it yet.

I also have an old Super Porpoise, but it isn't in quite as good of shape. I'm trying to concentrate on fixing up the Sunfish for now, and maybe in the next few years, I can fix that one up as well, once my boys are older and ready to sail on their own!

Any other thoughts/suggestions?

tag
 

Bradley

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Tag,

Welcome to the forum. Take a look at our KB article on Age; it should help you narrow down the time line some. You can find it by [link=http://www.sunfishforum.com/content.php?pg=age]clicking here.[/link]
 

DanB

Crabber
The ebay ad mentioned it was an "AMF" sunfish, and the previous owner guessed it was built in the mid 1960's (I think his family bought it in 1971).

AMF bought Alcort in 1969. Got an AMF label on it anywhere? Post some views so everyone can look it over for telltale signs.



The cockpit does NOT have the storage compartment - does that mean it is pre-1971?

Yes



Does this mean it probably has the old-style rudder?

Good bet. The “new style” rudder was incorporated in 1972. Read the pdf file at the bottom of the Knowledge Base page Bradley pointed you to.



Does that mean I should change it to the new style?

Old style in good shape work. It’s not a mandatory upgrade.




Also, it doesn't have a hiking strap. Would this be easy to install, particularly since there isn't the storage compartment?

Yes



I just brought it to my house - had been storing it outside at my folks. It is a bit dirty, but looks alright. I have (2) 5" inspection ports that I was planning to install. I have not weighed it yet.

Put one between the splash deflector and daggerboard for generally keeping things ventilated in storage. From there you can also reach the mast tube, daggerboard tube, front wall of the foot tub, and underside of the splash deflector attachment so it’s a good central location if repair needs for those spots crop up. Save the other for when you have a need like rudder upgrade or if extra drying is called for. A 4” access in the back of the foot tub will do for the rear end of the hiking strap if your hand can sneak through a smaller access or use the other 5” there.



Any other thoughts/suggestions?

Weigh it, leak test it, if all is good you’re set for now in that dept. How are the two lines? Do the rudder and daggerboard need to be refinished to keep them in good shape?
 

tag

my2fish
My only inclination towards AMF is that's what the seller remembered from almost 40 years ago. I don't think there are any id numbers, mfr names, etc, but will double check. The sail has a Sunfish on it - that's about the only real identifying mark, for whatever that is worth.

The rudder and daggerboard seem to be decent, but I like to woodwork, so will probably refinish them this winter - I've seen some pretty nice blogs showing the end result, so would like to get that done.

I will try to get some photos taken and posted in the next few days.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
All good responses. But unless you are hard core (racer), a strap is not that useful, unless you often encounter big breeze. The old method of hooking your toes under the 'overhang' works (as long as you are wearing shoes, :)); easier if you have long(er) legs. Installing a strap means two inspection ports on your old boat. I gather you are planning to do that anyway.
 

tag

my2fish
I will try to get some photos taken and posted in the next few days.
Okay, so yesterday I was able to clean the Sunfish up (a bit), and took advantage of the nice day to snap some photos. I have posted them here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/tagsunfish/Sunfish?feat=directlink

A couple thoughts/comments from looking it over:

  1. It looks like the rudder has been updated, right? It also appears that I should fill in the crack just above the rudder bracket to avoid leaks.
  2. Overall, the deck appears to be in fairly decent shape. In the 3rd picture, there is a small crack (really hard to see in the picture, though) a couple inches behind the hole for the mast. I don't have pictures, but there are also some scratches in the finish from the sail being set to low, and the spars rubbing on the deck at the front. Also, it looks like there are some very small cracks or chips in the paint behind the cockpit.
  3. I didn't get a chance to flip it over and inspect the bottom of the boat. I did notice several places where the paint is flaking, though. Not sure if there is anything more severe than that.
  4. I didn't try to weigh it or leak test is yet either.
  5. The cockpit is a bit dirty - I stored it outside, tarped, at my folks all last summer, and a bit of water & debris got under the tarps. I haven't had a chance to clean it/scrub it more thoroughly. It doesn't appear to have any damaged areas, though.
  6. I'm pretty new to the sailing world, and haven't changed anything really from the way the previous owner rigged everything, so if I can improve anything there, I'd appreciate the tips.
  7. I looked it over again, and there are no hull id or any other markings to date it.
Has anyone bought one of the "Tune-a-Fish" kits? I was thinking about doing that to upgrade my lines, and also maybe buy a cheaper sail as well. I will probably redo the bunks on the trailer as well, maybe even trying to set it up to store and trailer the fish upside-down.

Um, any thoughts and/or questions?

Thanks,
tag
 

fbjru

Member
From what I can tell the boat was made between 1960, when they began using fiberglass, and 1966 when the halyard block was replaced with the mast cap.

The rudder has been upgraded

Assuming the mast is the original the boat was not made by AMF.

The boat looks very clean and in decent condition for that age.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Okay, so yesterday I was able to clean the Sunfish up (a bit), and took advantage of the nice day to snap some photos. I have posted them here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/tagsunfish/Sunfish?feat=directlink

A couple thoughts/comments from looking it over:

  1. It looks like the rudder has been updated, right? It also appears that I should fill in the crack just above the rudder bracket to avoid leaks.
  2. Overall, the deck appears to be in fairly decent shape. In the 3rd picture, there is a small crack (really hard to see in the picture, though) a couple inches behind the hole for the mast. I don't have pictures, but there are also some scratches in the finish from the sail being set to low, and the spars rubbing on the deck at the front. Also, it looks like there are some very small cracks or chips in the paint behind the cockpit.
  3. I didn't get a chance to flip it over and inspect the bottom of the boat. I did notice several places where the paint is flaking, though. Not sure if there is anything more severe than that.
  4. I didn't try to weigh it or leak test is yet either.
  5. The cockpit is a bit dirty - I stored it outside, tarped, at my folks all last summer, and a bit of water & debris got under the tarps. I haven't had a chance to clean it/scrub it more thoroughly. It doesn't appear to have any damaged areas, though.
  6. I'm pretty new to the sailing world, and haven't changed anything really from the way the previous owner rigged everything, so if I can improve anything there, I'd appreciate the tips.
  7. I looked it over again, and there are no hull id or any other markings to date it.
Has anyone bought one of the "Tune-a-Fish" kits? I was thinking about doing that to upgrade my lines, and also maybe buy a cheaper sail as well. I will probably redo the bunks on the trailer as well, maybe even trying to set it up to store and trailer the fish upside-down.

Um, any thoughts and/or questions?

Thanks,
tag
Can confirm that the rudder has been updated. And yes, that open space above the rudder bracket looks suspicious, to say the least.
Regarding the rigging, you need a ring (or a piece of line) to tie the sail to the boom at the aft grommet.
I also agree that the boat looks pretty good, consider its age. I hope that a leak test will show no major problems.

The Tune-a-Fish kit may be more than you need. You can just buy what you really need.

PS: Remove the (mainsheet) hook; your knees will thank you.
 

Alcort59224

Member
The open space above the rudder bracket is where the old style bronze rudder deck plate was removed when the boat was converted to the new style rudder. As long as the deck hull joint is good it shouldent leak there, but a leak test is the only way to know for sure.

-Eric
 

Alcort59224

Member
"Anybody notice anything missing for a boat that's undergone a rudder upgrade?"

Are you talking about the inspection port? I assume that a hole was cut for the job and then patched with fiberglass, the patch job isnt visible through the green paint on the deck.
 

Webfoot

New Member
Ya, the screw holes in the deck from the top strap.:confused: Would like to see a picture of where the bottom strap was.
 

Monk17

New Member
The brass fitting that connects to the traveler caused me a problem in my boat. About every 3rd time I changed directions with the rudder it would clip the fitting and open it up. Which would free the line enabling the boom to do what it wanted. I replaced mine but perhaps someone on this forum can suggest another fix.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
. . . this should really be a new thread.

The brass fitting that connects to the traveler caused me a problem in my boat.
I loved those brass snap clips on the old three twist mainsheets. The mainsheet wasn't the most hand friendly line though.

You can simply tie in with a bowline knot or you can pickup a new snap clip and install it. Most just tie on the clip, but if you want to be slick about it, the rope manufacturer web sites have pages showing how to splice their various rope braids. That way you can have a snap clip integral to a new style line in the same way the original mainsheet use to come.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Are you talking about the inspection port? I assume that a hole was cut for the job and then patched with fiberglass, the patch job isnt visible through the green paint on the deck.
That's what I was thinking, no inspection port.

It may have been a cutout patched back in. Rare approach for most owners. I'd look carefully for telltale signs to be sure there's evidence a backing plate was installed.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
What are the tell-tale signs?
Good question. The job may have been done well enough so there's nothing visible. If access was cut in the deck and not re-glassed well, there may be a slight shadow of where the cut out was made.

We've seen other upgrades done purely from the outside that used drywall mollys ... or that just screwed the gudgeon bracket straight into the fiberglass with sheet metal style screws. Both those methods are often accompanied by a layer of epoxy or gobs of caulk because of the large holes needed for butterfly mollys or the chronic loosening of sheet metal screws that have no backing to anchor into.

A bead of caulk isn't always a sign of a missing backing plate, the installer could have been judicious about sealing the job. But a lot of sealant could be a warning sign and warrant a watchful eye on the work.
 

tag

my2fish
So, I was digging through all of my old paperwork for my 2 sailboats, and dug up the original ebay listing - I thought I'd post if for you all to see. The previous owner listed a lot of the things he had done to it, including the paint brands and colors - might be helpful for repairing cracks, etc down the road.
l960’s era AMF Sunfish Sailboat
Length – 14′Width – 4′- 10″
Complete with mast, sail/spars, sail bag, dagger board, rudder, trailer, and trailer mast/boom brackets. This boat was made in the mid 1960’s and purchased by my parents in 1971. I bought the boat from my parents 1980 when I moved out on my own.


  • The deck has been repainted (Dupont Imron – Kelly Green) and the hull with Marine Epoxy – White (both via spray gun, not brush). The boat originally had a turquoise green color deck and White hull.
  • The deck is in good shape – a few minor scratches and one 6″ length crack in the gel coat in front of splash shield. This hasn’t changed since we bought the boat.
  • I added a cleat just behind the dagger board for the mainsheet (line which controls sail).
  • Rudder and Dagger board in excellent shape. The original rudder (old Sunfish style) was replaced with the current style design in the 1970’s.
  • The aluminum trim surrounding the boat is intact/not broken – no missing rivets.
  • The paint on the keel is scratched up from taking in and out of the water. There are a few scratches or either side of the keel. The bottom surface overall is in good shape – scratch free. The trailer pads and bumpers have left some discoloration on the paint.
  • The sail is in outstanding shape – always dried out after each use and rolled up when stored – no creases that can cut down the life of a sail. No missing/damaged nylon sail clips. Sail and spars were purchased new in the 1970’s. Lines are all in excellent shape.
  • The cotton sail bag was made by my mom in the late 70’s and has a few holes/tears in it. If you’re good, a sewing machine you could make another one or bid for one on ebay!
  • The boat has been garage stored until 6 years ago and since then has been stored outside covered. The sail/spars/mast/rudder/daggerboard have always been garage stored.
  • The trailer was made by Midwest Trailer and has the “Shore Landr” brand label on it. The trailer was “painted”, not galvanized. A good bit of the paint has come off and I have never repainted. A wire brush and a can of rustoleum, would resolve if the appearance matters to you.
  • The trailer includes wooden sail brackets to make for quick setup and tear down. Trailer lights all function as I’ve maintained/updated wiring as required. Tires both have a lot of tread left on them.
This is a great boat for both adults and kids to learn to sail – relatively stable but fast enough to have a lot of fun. This is a one or two person boat. If you capsize, it’s easy to get back up quickly. Controls are simple – just mainsheet and a rudder – no jib to fuss with! Two people can easily pick up the boat when you’re not using the trailer.
This boat is going unused and my wife wants the space so I’m hoping to find a buyer who will start using this again and enjoy it as much as my family has. Pictures are included but if you’ve questions, please contact me.
The winning bidder is required to pick the boat and trailer – I am not offering shipping. I am not supplying a temporary license plate for the trailer. The boat will be available for pickup to occur between 5/31 and 6/10 – beyond that requires discussion as I may be unavailable due to professional commitments. If you bid and have “negative feedback”, unless you contact me with an explanation. I will reserve the right to not accept your bid.
Looking back, I think he probably was a little over praise-worthy (sail is not exactly "outstanding shape"), but then again, for being as old as it is, I do think overall the boat is pretty decent.

Also, if any of you are curious - I've set up a blog to start keeping track of the history of my 2 boats (this Sunfish and a Super Porpoise), the days that I sail it and how the sailing goes, and eventually to track the repairs. I'm not sure it will ever compare to Minifish's restoration blog - his is amazing! I'm trying to catch up with the past several years, so it might take a while to get current, but with my 3 young boys, I haven't been able to sail a ton over the last several years, so it might not take that long after all....

Either way, here is a link to my post about the above ebay listing:
http://my2fish.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/buying-a-sunfish-on-ebay/

And, the main link (see signature line below):
 
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