What's new

Guide to renovation- Sailfish

elboat

New Member
Hello all. I’m new to the forum. I was gifted a wooden Super Sailfish (50’s ish) that appears to be in pretty good shape overall. Everything definitely needs sanding/refinishing. The wooden mast also needs replacing. It appears to have broken at some point and is several feet shorter than indicated in specs. My partner is a woodworker, thankfully, and hopes to find a 4x4 piece of Sitka spruce or Doug fir to make another. Any suggestions on a good general guide to restoring? I just want to be sure we don’t disassemble anything that we shouldn’t. This forum is obviously a great find and I’ll keep on scouring it for all the words of wisdom within. Thanks!
 

danpal

Active Member
Signal Charlie on this site is the best person to provide suggestion on how to restore a Super Sailfish.

Here's his site where he goes into detail on a restore he did a while back.

Small Boat Restoration
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Post some pictures when you can. One thing to do is an air leak test to find any leaks in seams, trunk, mast step etc...

Here is the link to our Super Sailfish restoration, it is technically a Sailfish Deluxe 14, has a Dri-Deck coaming, fancier bow handle and chrome keel strip, toe rail and rub rail. Came out at the same time the new patented rudder releasing mechanism was introduced, 1953ish.

Alcort Super Sailfish TRACKER

zsa zsa dogs.jpg

ZSA ZSA rails.jpg



ZSA ZSA Alcort.jpg

We also wrote an article for Small Boats Magazine that you might be interested in: Super Sailfish - Small Boats Magazine
 
Last edited:

elboat

New Member
Yes, found the link recent. Love it!
will try to get some pics up in the next few days. Thanks for the suggestion. Makes total sense to start there. Thank you!
 
Last edited:

elboat

New Member
Here are a few pics at present. The mast measures 9’5” and I gather it should be 10 ft. Thoughts about repair vs. making a new one? Finding one seems less likely.
 

Attachments

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'd make a new one. Or scarf 7 inches onto the bottom.

Great find, she's even got the rudder hinge pin.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Looks like you have the nice Alcort tag up by the bow handle too.

Another option for your mast is to put an aluminum section on the bottom, Alcort started making hybrid masts in the late 1950s, the bottom 4 feet or so was the aluminum tube like the masts are today, and the top section was wood, tapered at the top, with a sheave for the halyard. Wood plug in the bottom.

1957 Sunfish Ad.jpg

Standard Sailfish Pittsboro mast base.jpg
 

elboat

New Member
Haven't gotten going yet, sadly, and with all this wind, it's been torture! A basic question here- what's the preferred method for paint removal on the wooden hull? I've sanding brightwork in the past, but never this kind of finish.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Have you done an air leak test? We did one on a wooden Sunfish last week and were surprised to find air leaks through plywood deck. I suppose over 60 years the ply grains dried and split (checked) and the adhesive had a microfissure, so air found a way out. See the tiny bubbles on the deck? That's air coming out. Through 2 layers of primer and paint as well. I do believe though that we had more air pressure going out than we would have water pressure going in. We sealed up those spots with a skim coat of epoxy, and in the future I think we'll actually pull a vacuum on the hull and suck thinned epoxy into areas like that.

Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 6.41.33 AM.png


We sand with a random orbital sander. I'd start easy with 120 grit, then work down to 80 or 60 if the paint is tough. You can go all the way back to the fir plywood if you like for a bright finish, but care is required to avoid sanding through the top veneer. Or just get the deck smooth enough to take a wood sealer (or epoxy), fairing compound, paint and primer. We don't mind a little texture and wood grain showing through the finish. You need to decide now what final coating you want, a bright finish or a paint coating. Then what color, because that can drive which brand of paint. It is important to ensure that the paint is compatible with the primer which is compatible with fairing compound which is compatible with epoxy. Some brands can be mixed and matched, example Interlux Brightside will adhere to TotalBoat Topside Primer because the are both single part polyurethanes..

Bright finish on ZIP, 2 coats of West System 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear hardener.

6B5032AC-EA85-4F4B-ABC8-6B9A0853D0FA.jpeg

It's a lot of sanding, and a lot of discs, and 2 sanders :)

Zip sanding copy.jpg

We used Valspar Ultra 4000 alkyd enamel from Lowes, custom mix colors on WINNIE, Swiss Coffee and Whipped Apricot. Sealed the hull first with West System epoxy and injected thickened epoxy into deck edge seams and keel seam and applied skim coat of thickened epoxy into trunk and mast step seams. Luckily someone else had sanded WINNIE :)

Hmmm, seems we were working on 3 wooden boats at the time, a new Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES and an 1880s Mississippi River Skiff BARBASHELA. The colors were picked for the BARBASHELA and WINNIE "borrowed" a little for her hull

IMG_1177.jpg

Winnie first sail 23 may.jpg

And single part marine polyurethanes, TotalBoat Wet Edge here, Fire Red and Blue Glo White.

B951804C-BF9A-4BD2-8347-14DBFD9143BA.jpeg

So we'll wrap up by stressing that if you plan to paint, you don't have to go all the way to bare wood.
 
Top