Help identifying model year of a Porpoise II

Thread starter #1
Could anyone help a newbie out on identifying the model year of a Porpoise II? I need the year number to register it, but I'm stumped.

I recently bought a cheap Porpoise II so I'd have something I could rough up while learning and not feel bad about. However, I don't exactly know the model year. The boat was not registered by the previous owner, so there's no registration to reference. There is no HIN, so my understanding is the boat needs to be made before November 1972. I've found a few Google Books references to the manufacturer (Molded Products Co out of Michigan). I found two catalogues listing the Porpoise and Super Porpoise in January of '71 and January of '70 without the Porpoise II, so it must not have been on the market yet. The earliest catalogue reference I could find was 1974. Plus the trailer I got with the boat provides no clues. When I went to register it the tag office said it was made 1978 (homemade trailers aren't titled here, just given a serial plate and it wasn't registered by the previous owner). I found a a post on here with a picture showing what I assume is the HIN on a Porpoise II, but mine's got nothing there. The closest thing I have is the plate with "P 174" (serial number?) and "P 248" on the rudder's metal assembly.

So does anyone know the production years of the Porpoise II? Mine's got to be pre-72 (or someone screwed up with the HIN) but it doesn't look like they were available before early 71. The company appears to be out of business and I couldn't find them in the Coastguard manufacturers list with any combination or name/city in Michigan.

I've attached some photos of the boat. I believe it's all original except the darker green paint and drain plug. The original color I can see under a few flakes seems to match the sail. Also, the mast doesn't have a cleat and has a block near the top instead of a fairlead on top of the mast (so it doesn't quite match my limited knowledge of rigging a Sunfish). So please pardon the ugly rope work, I just wanted the sail to stay still for the pictures.
 

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Thread starter #3
Can’t you just make it up? No one will know for sure.
I'm considering it and that's probably what I'll have to do. If anything it's curiosity compelling me now, like I can't just give up.

Google has found references to people owning '72s, but I haven't found a reference to a '71 yet. So 1972 is the most likely year, I just don't know if there's some detail someone way more knowledgeable than me will notice.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#4
Did you try "Shortypen"? Or a "search" (here) from the upper right icon? For more pix, try member "Porpoise II"—as that was me—when I'd first joined. :)

I had a '76, but can't find anything on your boat to give it a date. :confused:

Your drain plug in the transom is a replacement. Mine was some kind of one-way brass valve, which I kept from the $300 sale to figure it out. :oops:

Here's a right-side-up picture of the interior—looking aft towards the cockpit:
P6070014.JPG Speaking of cockpit, I have a long-standing question regarding Porpoise cockpit drains. If you put your eye up to the inside drain, do you see a black cup of about three inches in diameter—or do you see a straight tube to the [reversed, metal] exit scoop? If you have a digital camera, to hold up to the inside drain, a picture could help. :)

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Thread starter #5
Did you try "Shortypen"? Or a "search" (here) from the upper right icon? For more pix, try member "Porpoise II"—as that was me—when I'd first joined. :)


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All Shortypen had was some specs. I sifted through about 10 pages of search results here and didn't find much (seems like the Super Porpoise is more popular). I'll try to investigate and get you some pics of the drains this evening.

As an aside: the boat has rubber trim around the edge and it seems like the hull is made of a top and bottom piece. Does it disassemble easily or should it be left as is? I'm considering re-painting the top, smoothing out some patches, and doing a bit of a "restoration" in the near future.
 

leob1

New Member
#6
"As an aside: the boat has rubber trim around the edge and it seems like the hull is made of a top and bottom piece. Does it disassemble easily or should it be left as is? I'm considering re-painting the top, smoothing out some patches, and doing a bit of a "restoration" in the near future."
If it's like my Super Porpoise, the top and bottom half's are held together with big staples. I think getting them off would destroy either staples of the fiberglass making getting it back together difficult. Plus I think they interior structures are bonded to both the top and bottom. I'd leave it as is. But if you do decide to take it apart, let me know what you find.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#7
I meant to include "Sailing Texas" as a possible research site. Their offerings for sale change weekly, so every once in a while, a Porpoise will turn up surface. Some Porpoise that are sold will appear, but the information is still there.

"I'm considering re-painting the top, smoothing out some patches, and doing a bit of a "restoration" in the near future."
If it's like my Super Porpoise, the top and bottom halves are held together with big staples. I think getting them off would destroy either staples of the fiberglass making getting it back together difficult. Plus I think they interior structures are bonded to both the top and bottom. I'd leave it as is. But if you do decide to take it apart, let me know what you find.
The Porpoise II must be like your Super Porpoise, as my Porpoise II also had big staples. ;)

To NautiusMaximus...

How bad is your Porpoise II deck that you'd want to paint it? Even if it's
"1970's-faded-maroon", I'd try to restore it. Paint, being relatively fragile, is a "forever" maintenance item. :(

A note on your bow handle...my Porpoise II bow handle was attached by bolts—NOT screws. If you paint the deck, I'd use masking tape on the bow handle. (Which I think is NOT made of cheap zinc, but durable brass).
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Thread starter #8
Speaking of cockpit, I have a long-standing question regarding Porpoise cockpit drains. If you put your eye up to the inside drain, do you see a black cup of about three inches in diameter—or do you see a straight tube to the [reversed, metal] exit scoop? If you have a digital camera, to hold up to the inside drain, a picture could help. :)

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So I examined the holes and it seems like there's nothing. It just goes straight down to the metal. I can stick my finger between the hull and the scoop and see the tip. I couldn't really get a picture, but it just seems like a straight drop to the drain with the scoop opening aftward. Almost as if the point is just to get the water below the cockpit. So either mine is missing an apparatus (cause I don't really see a cup or tube) or it's just dumping into a bilge that drains when you take it out of the water. But I suppose there's not much worry about a styrofoam filled hull sinking if there's a bit of water making its way into the bottom.

How bad is your Porpoise II deck that you'd want to paint it? Even if it's
"1970's-faded-maroon", I'd try to restore it. Paint, being relatively fragile, is a "forever" maintenance item. :(
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It has already been repainted and has a few flakes and dings. Plus there's at least one noticeable patch they didn't smooth out very well. It'll be a while until I repaint it. Don't want to ruin a paint-job while learning.
 
#9
Hear ye, hear ye:

By the power invested in me by Neptune and all the other nautical gods, I hereby declare and affirm (wink, wink) that your Porpoise II fiberglass sailboat was born in Dowgiac, Michigan in the year 1972 just prior to the dawn of th H.I.N. requirements.

If your local DMV office gives you a hard time, challenge them to come up with a better date. At the end of the day, why should anybody quibble over the birth date of a 40 year old boat?

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#10
The cockpit drain must be closed off somehow—that's why it's stayed a mystery. :confused: Otherwise, the hull's interior would flood in a few minutes, which is fatal for the Styrofoam gluing material.

I thought I saw a black "Big Gulp" cup bonded to the bottom interior that fills on one tack, and empties on the other, but that could have been an optical illusion. Another opinion here was that the drain is a very uncomplicated straight tube to the bottom. Back when I owned my Porpoise II, I didn't know what I was looking at from the cockpit, :oops: removed the bottom scoop to check, so I had looked at it from both sides now. :( (Apologies to Judy Collins ;)).

If the re-patching area is small, you could install an inspection port (five inches or greater) which older boats benefit from—drying-out after a summer of boating. (And losing weight in the process). :cool:

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Thread starter #11
I thought I saw a black "Big Gulp" cup bonded to the bottom interior that fills on one tack, and empties on the other, but that could have been an optical illusion. Another opinion here was that the drain is a very uncomplicated straight tube to the bottom.
So I think your "big gulp" hypothesis is right. It's dark and hard to see inside, but we had some heavy rain here and I was able to get a better look mid-day with more light. When I looked into the self-bailers after draining out some rain water I could see might reflecting off the water inside the chamber. I saw what appeared to be a meniscus of water curving along the edge of an interior wall. So it looks like there's a circular chamber, probably not too far off from the size of a "big gulp". The self-bailer holes have some kind of bushing about an inch or so deep, so the best I could do was get a pinky in there and feel around the end of the bushing (maybe that's why the said there's a tube?). I definitely could not reach out far enough and feel the wall of the "big gulp" (should we call it a bilge cup or something?). So even if the bottom of this cup is above the water line and some flows in, water can't make it's way into the cockpit. So long as the floor of the cockpit is above the waterline the cup is like a little holding tank. If it were a straight tube "back-flow" into the cockpit seems like it'd be way easier and/or the cockpit couldn't drain as fast.

If the re-patching area is small, you could install an inspection port (five inches or greater) which older boats benefit from—drying-out after a summer of boating. (And losing weight in the process).
Something like this? Cause that seems like a pretty good idea. Is there a preferred place to put one or anything in particular to look for when picking one out?

If it's like my Super Porpoise, the top and bottom half's are held together with big staples. I think getting them off would destroy either staples of the fiberglass making getting it back together difficult.
I took the rubber trim off to sneak a peek and there are staples. No idea if there's any bonding on the inside, but the trim will cover any paint lines so there's no need to pull it apart and find out. Since it looks like the Porpoise II came after the Super Porpoise they're probably constructed very similarly.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#12
I've reminded myself that I drilled a hole edgewise through that seam. The reason being, is that the transom drain was in the wrong place to allow condensation to drain out. The Porpoise II was always stored "on-edge", and whatever moisture condensed inside would drip out during cooler overnight temperatures.

P6070019.JPG
 
Thread starter #13
I drilled a hole edgewise through that seam
Hopefully I don't need to do that. I've got basically no fiberglass experience and I'd be afraid of messing up the seams.

But I was thinking of putting the inspection port in a similar place as your photo. It seems like trying to get more center-line (like between the splash guard and dagger board well) would be difficult since that's where the foam appears to be (less flex on the deck). Would there be a more optimal place to put it? Aft of the cockpit seems like a blank canvas, but that doesn't give access to any of the hardware. Would between the splash guard and cockpit (like beside the dagger board) be a good location?

Plus what's the best way to put one of these things in? Just a hole saw drill bit of corresponding size? Would just the gasket do or would you recommend silicone/epoxy as well? I've never drilled in to fiberglass before so is there anything in particular I should do to reinforce the hole/cut? Pilot holes and chamfering for the screws?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#14
I found two catalogues listing the Porpoise and Super Porpoise in January of '71 and January of '70 without the Porpoise II, so it must not have been on the market yet. The earliest catalogue reference I could find was 1974. Plus the trailer I got with the boat provides no clues. When I went to register it the tag office said it was made 1978 (homemade trailers aren't titled here, just given a serial plate and it wasn't registered by the previous owner). I found a a post on here with a picture showing what I assume is the HIN on a Porpoise II, but mine's got nothing there. The closest thing I have is the plate with "P 174" (serial number?) and "P 248" on the rudder's metal assembly.
My "right-side-up" picture above is actually upside-down. :oops:

Returning to your original post:
The P 248 is a casting number for the foundry that cast the Porpoise II rudder cheeks. (My evening/adult metal-shop class used to cast aluminum—"fun" :cool: but hazardous :oops: pouring molten aluminum :eek:).

The plate with P 174 does appear to be the serial number. A similar system was used by Sunfish prior to US' HIN requirements.

Hopefully I don't need to do that. I've got basically no fiberglass experience and I'd be afraid of messing up the seams.
But I was thinking of putting the inspection port in a similar place as your photo. It seems like trying to get more center-line (like between the splash guard and dagger board well) would be difficult since that's where the foam appears to be (less flex on the deck). Would there be a more optimal place to put it? Aft of the cockpit seems like a blank canvas, but that doesn't give access to any of the hardware. Would between the splash guard and cockpit (like beside the dagger board) be a good location? Plus what's the best way to put one of these things in? Just a hole saw drill bit of corresponding size? Would just the gasket do or would you recommend silicone/epoxy as well? I've never drilled in to fiberglass before so is there anything in particular I should do to reinforce the hole/cut? Pilot holes and chamfering for the screws?
Since inspection ports are now coming out of China, the exact size can vary. (The "correct" diameter hole saw may make a hole that has exposed rough fiberglass edges, which is tough on skin). I'd use the removed screw-in cover as a template, and drill a ¼-inch start-hole for a saber-saw blade—which has fine teeth (for cutting metal). The saber-saws themselves are around $23 from Harbor Freight. Others have used alternative tools, but I wouldn't use a reciprocating saw, as the blades are too wide to cut 6-inch circles. It's just "too much tool" for this job.

If all you have is a drill, one of these will work:

Fullscreen capture 4252019 44310 AM.bmp.jpg

One advantage of a metal-cutting saber saw blade, is that they produce very little in the way of "sawdust" when cutting fiberglass: one blade can cut many large holes in fiberglass before becoming dulled to uselessness. I'd wear gloves and long sleeves, and some here recommend a serious air filter. Wood-cutting blades wear out too fast and make chips—which are also a skin irritant.

The inspection port body will hide your deviations from a perfect circle. I'd use stainless sheet metal screws, and match the size to the holes provided in the port. I think oval-head screws look better, but flat- and "pan-head" screws are equally functional. Pop-rivets can also be used. A chamfer will minimize spider cracks. A sealant is desirable, but first examine its affinity for the paint you plan to use.

I staggered the inspection ports in my Porpoise II, not realizing that the bow was still in perfect condition, and it was only the aft Styrofoam "glue" that was soggy (and affected its overall weight). Perhaps if you balance the Porpoise on a 2x2 board at the daggerboard trunk, one end will indicate it needs your attention, and not the other. Two ports will dry out the hull more readily when and if it should need it.

As for a location aft, the extreme rear corner is best, as there's a wide strengthening fiberglass "rib" molded underneath the aft deck that one should avoid. The rib is tapered, and I've forgotten which end is narrower. :confused: Maybe it'll appear "ghosted" when sprayed with cold water. :oops: I was able to remove all the soggy foam from the aft port, which was 6-inches in diameter. The forward port was smaller, IIRC. More reading on this—searching "liter":
Search results for query: liter

If you save the cut out sections, they can come in handy for other repairs—such as when I'd ripped the previous owner's amateur gudgeon repair off the boat. :confused: (Friends pushed me in the boat off a dock, forgetting that the gudgeon would "take a hit".)

A big plus: it was already the correct color! :)

GEDC0200.JPG
 
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