Help with Sunfish

Thread starter #1
Hi, I am new to this forum and to sailing, so sorry if I don't know all the terms. I bought a Sunfish but I will need some help with repairs. It has an inspection port on the back of the deck and I removed all the water I could through it, but it still weights 240 lbs, so I guess I'll be drying it for a while... Not sure how much it should weigh when dry (130 lbs ?). The first question is whether I'll need to open a second inspection port near the front of the deck. I feel I would not need it for drying as I could insert a piece of flexible tubing on the existing port, all the way to the front of the boat and force some air through, But perhaps there is another reason to open the second port, as the bow handle is broken (and badly corroded). The deck is fine there, with the holes for the screws, but I could not feel that there was a block in the back so I think I should install one. (I probed the screw holes with a paper clip, but all I could feel was the soft styrofoam block underneath). Is that correct ? If so, what material should I use for the block ?
The drain is metal, and I was not able to open the metal plug. I put some drops of liquid wrench but I could not loosen the plug. What should I do with that ? Leave it alone ? Replace ?
I don't know what is the other attachment near the drain and what I should do with it.
Somebody painted the deck yellow, but the paint comes off... very annoying. Can I fix that by just painting on top of the bad paint ?
Any advise and comments from the pictures (damage) are greatly appreciated !!

Ed
Sunfish hull bottom.jpg

Sunfish hull under cockpit.jpg Drain metal.jpg Appendage at bottom hull.jpg Hull bottom discoloration.jpg dings in hull.jpg Cockpit.jpg Cockpit back.jpg Cockpit drain.jpg Cockpit attachment.jpg brand decal.jpg Plate.jpg Missing bow handle.jpg Bow handle.jpg
 
Thread starter #2
Update.
I probed again for the backing block for the bow handle, using a straightened paper clip. There are currently 3 screws and an open screw hole. One of the screws is firm, I NEVER removed it. The rest of the screws are loose, can't be tightened, they will not grab into the material. With the paper clip I can feel now that there is a backing block, sort of in place but it is quite loose. It can be moved a bit by moving the clip. The holes are enlarged and the material is soft, my guess is it is partially rotten wet wood.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#3
Hola
Congrats, looks like you have a 1968 Alcort Sunfish.

You are going to need a new bow handle :)
First , leave in a fore and aft screw, You can try to put some epoxy putty and/or dowels into the old screw holes. Or drill right next to the old hole with a 1/8 inch bit and see if wood shavings come out. If so the block is there and you might be able to dry it a bit as the boat dries. Boat drying will take several months. Or you can do what the factory repair guys did, split the hull, pull out old expanding foam, dry out the blocks and reinstall: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/08/merci-hull-repair.html

I'd remove the metal plate and patch the hull, or see if new bailer will fit in hole. Then keep trying to work old drain loose.

You'll need to sand old paint smooth, but not necessarily remove all of it. Then prime and repaint
 
Thread starter #4
Thank you Signal Charlie for your answer.

Or you can do what the factory repair guys did, split the hull, pull out old expanding foam, dry out the blocks and reinstall: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/08/merci-hull-repair.html

I'd remove the metal plate and patch the hull, or see if new bailer will fit in hole. Then keep trying to work old drain loose.

You'll need to sand old paint smooth, but not necessarily remove all of it. Then prime and repaint
I shy away from splitting the hull... Thinking right now more along the lines of installing an inspection port on the bow to fix the bow handle (meaning install a new handle) and be able to get a glimpse of the state of the Styrofoam blocks and foam.
Some views from the inspection port on the back section of the deck shows rear blocks there and foam are OK:
Inspection port.jpg Through inspection port 1.jpg Through inspection port close up.jpg Through inspection port toward back.jpg Through inspection port toward front (cockpit).jpg
Figure above: Looking through inspection port toward cockpit tub.

Also I just "discovered" the two deck drains at the ends of the splash-guard, was able to open one, the other one is seized and the whole thing was starting to come out when trying to unscrew the plug so I left it alone (I guess I'll have to do something now toward sealing that). But I was able to remove significant amount of water through the one drain that did open.
Drain.jpg

As for the metal plate with attachment at the bottom of the cockpit, why is it there ? To hold some rope end ? It's a lousy job but perhaps useful somehow ? Maybe don't remove it for now if there is no leak ?
I am still trying to work the old bailer loose, not much success so far... might need to break it to remove it.

Other pictures:
Front deck.jpg Back deck.jpg
 

sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
#5
The cockpit photo shows two different cockpit bailers. My guess is the original round brass bailer froze up so a different bailer was installed on the other side. This is an Elvstrom or Anderson type bailer that you would push down to allow water to drain while moving forward. But it looks from the underside photo that even this bailer was sealed up with caulk. I would remove both bailers, don't be afraid to cut the brass bailer with a grinder if need be. You can then replace with a new plastic nailer (or I have Phantom bailers at $5).

I would install the bow deck port and dry that way. Also will allow a better new bow handle install, even thru bolt the bow handle with an aluminum back up plate instead of the wood. Even if one screw holds, the wood is most likely rotted. For faster drying use a fan and a heat source.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#8
Thank you @sailcraftri, very useful info. What do the Phantom bailers look like ?

@signal charlie, I plan to paint it, as the current paint comes off and stains everything.
If you like the color, Pettit makes a very nice Sunflower yellow, Interlux as well. Of all the boats we restored, we got the most compliments on the yellow deck boat we called Buttercup. We had to sand off all of the old paint plus most of the gelcoat. Buttercup crunchy.JPG Buttercup sail.JPG
 
#9
I wouldn't know for sure, but I don't think letting the foam dry out (especially when keeping it with the deck closed) will decrease the weight all that much. It all depends on what you plan to do with it. If you're going to use it for everyday sailing on not-so-rough water, that should be a great little boat for the job after all the other problems have been ironed out. However, if you plan to use it for decent racing, you might want to look at a. drying out the foam by pulling it out, or, if you are willing to spend it, b. consider replacing the foam blocks. You can find an entry by Sunfish_Sailor here- http://kb.sunfishforum.com/images/Flotation_Blocks.pdf
You can find a good idea of the price of doing it within the document, as well as how to, if you decide to.
All in all, I'd say it'll still be a great boat whatever you decide, and a paint job would add some uniqueness to the boat.

P.S. It looks sort of dirty. You might want to consider washing it down with a powerwasher or soap and water to get off the flakes of paint and save yourself some time sanding it.:)
 
Thread starter #10
styro block from front port 1.jpg styro block from front port 2.jpg styro block from front port.jpg Thank you everybody for the great info and advice !

So I went ahead and cut a hole for installing a bow deck port and a new bow handle, and for drying the hull. I'll use an aluminum plate as the backplate for the bow handle.
The foam blocks (wet) looked fine through the new cut hole. Some sections of the blocks are detached from the hull, though, (but not from the deck) I should be able to add something to reattach them, reaching through the port. (see pictures). What should I use here ? Will polyurethane foam from a can do ?

I did some drying using a dehumidifier inside a plastic bag and recirculating the dried air (check pictures). A piece of rope attached vertically around the sides of the dehumidifier outside the bag insures that most of the air recirculates through the boat and not just through the dehumidifier and around the bag. I used low speed for the fan setting. I was able to remove 2.5 gallons of water this way.
The inside and foam blocks now feel dry to the touch. I stopped this procedure because of the low winter temperatures. I'll leave the boat outside through the winter as I have no space inside. When the weather is dry I leave both ports open hoping to achieve more drying.
I haven't been able to get an accurate weight of the boat, that will have to wait for now, I'll use a bathroom scale.
Any advice, comments, are greatly appreciated. I have no previous experience, this is my first boat.
 

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Thread starter #11
Ah, a couple more questions.
After reinforcing the attachement of the styrofoam blocks to hull if needed (?), I'll install the bow deckplate. The deckplate is from Beckson, and it specifically calls for silicone caulking or silicone sealant for attaching it. Is there any specific product in the market that anyone could recommend ?
By the way, the deckplate in the back of the deck is missing its gasket (o-ring ?), maybe that's the source of the leak. Since I don't know the make, I probably won't be able to get a gasket, so I might need to replace the whole deckplate ... (?)
I also will need to replace the bailer. Which one should I get, the one with the 13/16" threaded insert, or the one with the 5/16" insert ? (This is a 1968 Alcort Sunfish).
Thank you !
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#12
View attachment 16491 View attachment 16492 View attachment 16493 Thank you everybody for the great info and advice !

Will polyurethane foam from a can do?
You should use a marine grade foam. I use the 2 part expanding floatation foam from Fibreglast: http://www.fibreglast.com/product/2_Lb_Polyurethane_Mix_and_Pour_Foam_24_25/Foam
It also will secure the blocks


The inside and foam blocks now feel dry to the touch.
You can press on the foam block and expanding foam with a flat blade (like a putty knife) and see if water oozes out. If you can push it down and 1/4 inch or so and no water comes out then it is getting pretty dry.

I haven't been able to get an accurate weight of the boat, that will have to wait for now, I'll use a bathroom scale.
Your boat has great fiberglass mat, it will should weigh 139-145ish.

Any advice, comments, are greatly appreciated. I have no previous experience, this is my first boat.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Kent
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#13
Ah, a couple more questions.
.....The deckplate is from Beckson, and it specifically calls for silicone caulking or silicone sealant for attaching it. Is there any specific product in the market that anyone could recommend ?

Any marine grade SEALANT will do, we like 3M clear marine grade sealant. Avoid buying marine ADHESIVE (like 3M 5200) as it is very hard to remove.
Here is a link to our Chandlery: http://astore.amazon.com/smalboatrest-20/detail/B000H8W9V8



By the way, the deckplate in the back of the deck is missing its gasket (o-ring ?), maybe that's the source of the leak. Since I don't know the make, I probably won't be able to get a gasket, so I might need to replace the whole deckplate ... (?)
I also will need to replace the bailer. Which one should I get, the one with the 13/16" threaded insert, or the one with the 5/16" insert? (This is a 1968 Alcort Sunfish).

Call the parts dealer and ask them, or someone here will know, I am trying to picture which ones I used recently. I know I have trimmed the bigger ones to fit.

Kent


 
Thread starter #15
Hi everybody. Continuing with this project now that the weather starts to be slightly warmer (I am in CT)... I removed the non-sunfish extra bailer that the previous owner had installed (see first few pictures at the beginning of this thread). So I have now this 2.5 inch diameter hole in the hull/cockpit. What is the best way to cover/fix the hole ? Where can I buy the materials for this from the web ? Thanks !
 
#16
With the hole in the cockpit... I have no other suggestions than to fiberglass it. If you wait a little while others might have more creative suggestions that suit your needs better.

Concerning the hole in the hull, though... there wouldn't be any go-arounds to fiberglassing it over. That being said, fiberglass isn't bad... so much as it would be more of a pain than to put some kind of cover on, as the previous owner did. However, I think the best thing to fix a boat with is what she was built with (methods, hardware and deckware excluded, though). My only worry is that you would only be able to support the patch from one side, seeing as how you can't get to the other side, but you can probably just get a small dowel or something to position a patch on the inside into place from the top hole. Again, wait to see if there anyone has better methods before proceeding.:)

There's a good tutorial series from BoatworksToday on YouTube, appropriately titled, "There's a Hole in my Boat"(
). If you're new to fiberglass you should probably check it out. In the tutorial, I think he compares Epoxy-based Resin (West System) to Polyester-based Resin (almost everything else), as well as giving you some good styles (not brands) of fiberglass to buy. You can check out West System and their range of fiberglass, or you can buy from a store that stocks Poly-Based Resin. I would suggest US Composites, because they have lots of stuff for good prices, and their website is sorted well so it's easy to find what you need. I don't know for sure, but US Composites is probably cheaper, due to it not really being a specific brand. Apart from that, you can probably find stuff like fiberglass dust masks, Acetone, and such stuff at the websites above, your local home improvement or local hardware store (if you don't have them already, of course).

Good luck!
 
#17
I patched a hole near the keel using a bondo brand kit from walmart or auto parts store can't remember which. Just check to be sure you have polyester based resin. Are you planning to paint gelcoat or just sail this boat?
If you are going to gelcoat the entire boat, I would just buy everything at once from US Composites. I had very good luck with their products. Shipping entails some extra expense due to hazardous materials fees, so if you are just going to paint or sail this boat I would do local purchase for your supplies. The Bondo brand kit had fiberglass fabric and you can buy extra woven or non woven glass to supplement as needed. One kit was way more than enough to fix my 1 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch hole (after sanding the broken glass out) Still have 1/2 a can of resin left over.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#18
IJust check to be sure you have polyester based resin.
Why do you say that? Epoxy resin forms a stronger bond than polyester resin. For this repair it probably doesn't make much difference, but I always err on the side of strength and use epoxy resin (unfortunately epoxy does cost more.) Sunfish are made with polyester resin, but epoxy makes for a stronger repair. I always seem to have something during the season that ends up needing repair, like the tip of my daggerboard or similar, so I like having West epoxy and some of their microballoons and thickener on hand.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#20
P1010046.JPG P8160002.JPG
Epoxy resin forms a stronger bond than polyester resin. For this repair it probably doesn't make much difference, but I always err on the side of strength and use epoxy resin (unfortunately epoxy does cost more.)
Having used both polyester and epoxy, a 2nd vote for epoxy. There's no mention of your budget, but you don't have to use the expensive West-System pumps—just measure it out. (After their first use, the pumps don't work all that well anyway). There's no odor—plus you can extend your "working-time" with the available slow-set catalyst. Also, wrap your wet brush with plastic, and put it in the freezer to extend the life of the brush for any repair later in the day—or the next. (Brushes have gotten expensive).

As for repairing the bailer holes, I'd start with the inside of the cockpit to make a "sandwich" top-and-bottom of the rectangular hole. As for the round (original) hole, I'd install a new original Sunfish bailer. One exception being if the exterior of the bailer is subjected to hard surfaces, as the exterior of the original bailer is the most fragile part. (Having broken two of them!)

From another thread on the subject:
http://sailingforums.com/threads/need-help-advice-on-how-to-repair-fiberglass.30833/#post-141401


I (L&VW) have a similar problem (winter wind damage—a two-inch break across the keel).

A friend who is very knowledgeable with epoxy resin advises to grind the fiberglass down to paper-thin about 6-inches all around. (using a mask designed for such "operations".) Then, using West® Epoxy, build up layers. In your case, you can get by with making it a bit "fatter" than necessary. The fiberglass is made in different thicknesses, so you may want the thinnest kind. Oh wait, I just found the instructions he gave me:

WEAR A GOOD RESPIRATOR, not just a dust mask FOR ALL GRINDING AND SANDING OPERATIONS!!!! Wear nitrile gloves to keep the epoxy off your skin. Clean hands with vinegar as it is kinder to your system than alcohol.

Grind away the fiberglass at least 4 inches on either side of the repair would be better so that the glass is paper thin at the crack and tapers evenly to the original thickness at the outer perimeter of the ground area. Cut a piece of fiberglass to cover the ground area. Cut additional pieces of glass each successively smaller than the previous one. The number of layers and amount each one decreases in size will depend on the weight of cloth (use cloth or biaxial not mat or woven roven) used. Orient the fibers so that they cross the crack at 45 degrees so as both the warp and fill contribute to the strength of the repair.

It is for this reason that biaxial tape is best for this type of repair as there is no crimp to the fibers. Clean the ground area with alcohol, not rubbing alcohol as it has glycerin. Apply mixed epoxy to the ground area and lay down the fiberglass using the largest piece first and working to the smallest piece. Make sure each layer is completely saturated before applying the next.

If you do not complete the lamination in one go you will have to wash the area with soap and water sand and alcohol wipe before continuing. Mix in a coloring agent for the last 2 layers.

Sand smooth and paint and go sailing.
Yes, epoxy has gotten expensive, but it won't be long before you have the repair down pat, and want to fix everything around you!
:)

If your budget is on the "thin" side, consider sealing-in a repair plastic plate such as this one found for gas-storage containers. Seal in something else on inside of the cockpit to protect it from pushing it out with your foot.

See above photos.
 
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