Finishing up my 1983 Sunfish

Thread starter #1
i got a 1983 boat last year thay needed a small bit of work and I’m finally getting around to finishing that work.

First off, there’s old repairs in the daggerboard trunk that need to be redone. Does anyone have any advice for sanding down repairs inside of the daggerboard trunk?

Also, i know this is cheap and not recommended, but if I’m going to be lightly sailing the boat maybe 4-5 times a year on some calm little lakes and ponds near me, am i fine using a few coats of flex seal rver

Second, if anyone knows what i mean when i say the little C ring thing that goes on the rudder with the pintle and spring, mine went missing when i had to take the rudder apart to refinish it. Do i need this?


The rest of these are wish list projects, but i was wondering if anyone has experience attempting these and could tell me how long and expensive you think they would be.

1- kinda simple, was thinking of possibly painting the bottom of the hill in a navy blue and the top in a light gray. Would i just have to lightly sand the whole boat then roll two coats of topside on?

2- removing the metal trim and having the edges covered in something else, just kind of looking for ideas here. Epoxy around the whole thing and smooth it out and paint it?

3-if i was to paint the boat, i had this idea of somehow finishing the foaming (splash guard) in the same like wood stain i have my daggerboard and rudder in. Would it be possible to buy an old wood sailfish or sunfish splash guard and attach that to my modern era sunfish? Would this be stupid
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#2
DON'T remove the metal trim, not only does it protect the fiberglass flange, it's cost is
worth as much as the boat. If you do remove it I must say, please send it my way cuz
I sure can use it.

Topsides needs the topside fiberglass primer first. Topsides is kind of a soft paint, I mixed
in some Valspar Hardner to try and get it a little more durable.

Need the C-ring. Should be easy to find at any Ace Hardware. I think that's what I did
with mine.

Don't change the splash guard, it's used to stiffen the hull and reduce flexing. Best to
use some faux paint simulation on existing splash guard.

If you are doing little ponds and lakes, make drying out the boat and getting it as light
as possible you're number one task. The weight affects how well it will turn around, if
you look at the hull bottom you're trying to get it to sit up on the water like a drift boat.
Normal weight is 135 lbs. If it comes out under that Super Duper except for earlier
Pearson built boats which were not so Super Duper, just Duper as in, "I've been
Duped!"
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#3
i got a 1983 boat last year thay needed a small bit of work and I’m finally getting around to finishing that work.

First off, there’s old repairs in the daggerboard trunk that need to be redone. Does anyone have any advice for sanding down repairs inside of the daggerboard trunk?


Second, if anyone knows what i mean when i say the little C ring thing that goes on the rudder with the pintle and spring, mine went missing when i had to take the rudder apart to refinish it. Do i need this?

The rest of these are wish list projects, but i was wondering if anyone has experience attempting these and could tell me how long and expensive you think they would be.

1- kinda simple, was thinking of possibly painting the bottom of the hill in a navy blue and the top in a light gray. Would i just have to lightly sand the whole boat then roll two coats of topside on?

2- removing the metal trim and having the edges covered in something else, just kind of looking for ideas here. Epoxy around the whole thing and smooth it out and paint it?

3-if i was to paint the boat, i had this idea of somehow finishing the foaming (splash guard) in the same like wood stain i have my daggerboard and rudder in. Would it be possible to buy an old wood sailfish or sunfish splash guard and attach that to my modern era sunfish? Would this be stupid
All good advice from Webfoot1. :)

The "C" (or "E") ring is a no-brainer. It's keeping your rudder and tiller from going "glub". :eek: (Although one of my boats' pintels arrived secured by a stainless-steel wire "kluge"—a temporary fix—using fishing "leader" wire).

As for sanding the old daggerboard trunk repair—are you viewing the trunk from the inside through an inspection port? If so, consider using a relatively expensive belt sander made by Bosch. It's about the size of a computer mouse :eek: , but very effective in restricted spaces. :cool: If the previous repair can be torn/peeled away, you'll be way-ahead in this task.

If being viewed from the outside, consider using MarineTex, which can be smeared by hand (and glove), then sanded to make sure the board passes through! :confused:

(I've advocated not discarding one's old and split daggerboard, as they can be used as a "sanding-block". A back-up piece of wood—when a sheet of coarse sandpaper is glued across one side—near the tip).

I haven't tried it (yet), but I'd be tempted to tape over the bottom of the trunk, and pour a quart of prepared resin in through the top. Rock the hull through every extreme axis, then drain the resin out—allow to cure, then sand. Preferably using the "daggerboard-sander" described above. With any luck, the hole, rip, or tear may be small enough for a single coating of resin to stop the leak(s). Using polyester resin would make this an economical fix—rather than epoxy resin, which is relatively expensive. :oops: Every time I think of having to sand-away a previous repair :( this option comes to mind.

.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#4
You would need to sand with something thinner than the daggerboard. I've
had epoxy beads after a repair and the daggerboard got wedged. If you
do go that route run a cloth through the trunk and try to remove all the excess
epoxy while it is still wet.
 
Thread starter #5
You would need to sand with something thinner than the daggerboard. I've
had epoxy beads after a repair and the daggerboard got wedged. If you
do go that route run a cloth through the trunk and try to remove all the excess
epoxy while it is still wet.
just a slab of plywood with some sandpaper glued to the side sounds like it’ll work, thanks
 
#6
When sanding inside a dagger board trunk, I sometimes use a small sanding drum chucked into a bit extension shaft and a variable speed electric drill, see phots. It makes for quick work sanding inside the confined space of the trunk. Harbor Freight sells the drum sanders and the extension shaft for cheap.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

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norcalsail

Active Member
#7
In his "Sunfish Tuning Guide", Scott Kyle suggests adding 1"x13" strips to the inside of the daggerboard well to reduce vibration. I am tentatively planning on doing this. I think using 1/8th inch thick pieces of carpet will work for this purpose as the daggerboard is 3/4 inch and the well is about an inch wide. It would reduce the play of the board. Has anyone done this modification?
 
#8
Yes, this is a common retrofit for racers. Cut strips 9" long and 1" wide and glue them into the top of the inside of the trunk about an inch below deck level. Contact cement works well. If the fit it too tight, sand the carpet with 60 grit sandpaper until the board fits snugly but can still be moved up and down with ease,

Alan Glos
Cazenovia NY
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
Half oval diamond file for the inside of the daggerboard trunk or a 4 in 1 file is what we have used.

Try out the flex seal, who knows?

1 - 120 grit to give the surface enough tooth for primer to stick to. The very light 120 between coats. Each coating system has instructions, read them. Stick with the same family of primer, thinner, fairing compound and paint for best result.

2- Leave the trim on to protect the seam. I have sanded it when it gets too chunky and I like the "brushed" finish.

3- Sure, paint it or maybe vinyl wrap it. I have thought that retro kits for Sunfish would be fun, wood coaming and spars. Go crazy and glue on some thin veneer planks to the deck or get a wood grain vinyl wrap!
 
Thread starter #11
Try out the flex seal, who knows?
The 2 coats of liquid flex seal dried, and it turned out better than expected. My daggerboard trunk is sealed with minimal effort and mess.

Also, the wood grain vinyl sounds like a great idea, thanks. I’m tempted between restoring it to make it look like a new boat or a retro one, both look good in my mind
 
Thread starter #12
Here’s the boat, after just litterally washing it with some car soap and using a high grit sanding block to get some marks off it, i definitely don’t think it NEEDS a new paint coat at all, if i did it then it would purely be to give it a retro boat look. A few more afternoons of wet sanding, scrubbing, and waxing then this boat should be good to go. Shoutout to everyone here who’s given he advice on the boat, i can now say she is watertight and looking not too bad
 

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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#14
Boat looks great. I wouldn’t recommend painting it. From the factory they are covered with gelcoat, a fairly durable low maintainance finish. Paint is not as durable Or as low maintenance.

Plus it looks fairly retro as it is - it’s 36 years old!! They only started making glass Fish about 25 years before yours was made.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#16
Can't tell with just a picture. There should be plastic fender washers
between the grudgen and wood rudder at the pivot bolt. Same with the tiller strap
bolt which I see not. Pull the bolts and go get some plastic washers at the
hardware. While you're at it get 2 brass bushing to install in the pivot bolt
holes. You'll prevent the rudder from splitting out at the boat holes.
 
Thread starter #17
Can't tell with just a picture. There should be plastic fender washers
between the grudgen and wood rudder at the pivot bolt. Same with the tiller strap
bolt which I see not. Pull the bolts and go get some plastic washers at the
hardware. While you're at it get 2 brass bushing to install in the pivot bolt
holes. You'll prevent the rudder from splitting out at the boat holes.
It’s hard to see in the picture, but there are plastic washers there. Is it possible that the pivot bolt is too tight?
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#18
That or the wrong springs. Ever take a spring to the hardware
store and try to match it? I don't think it happens often. Like any
project ya gotta take it apart before you can put it back together in
working order. I used Stainless Steel bolts, between the aluminum
rudder cheeks and the other stuff I mentioned the unit is pretty
much bullet proof. And it floats, guess why there are so many
Butterfly Sailboats on Craigslist without the rudder unit.
 
Thread starter #19
Alright so this is an odd issue i had, but I’ll post about it in case anyone could find this useful.

I had refinished my rudder and there was varnish stuck on the rudder head which is why it wouldn’t move. I removed the springs, and got the rusted bolt out with lots of pain and wd 40.
I then managed to fit a hand saw between the rudder head and rudder and saw out the chunks of varnish stuck there.
I pulled the rudder head off and sanded the area it rotates on down then put everything back together.
 
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