What's new

Inside 60s Sunfish vs AMFlite

emilikins

Maniac
This afternoon we finally did it: opened up our old 1960 Sunfish and pre-72 AMFlite 14. Prior to the cutting, we figured Old Blue (Sunfish) was damp and heavier, though she sailed fine (as far as we could tell). The AMF was significantly lighter, but had noticeable flex in the hull and some chips in the hull. We didn't know how much of the weight difference was water and how much was a difference in manufacturing. After the fact, we think it was a bit of both.



Blue is very damp, though we couldn't see any standing water. Her foam is damp all the way through, we can see waterlines in the foam, and it looks like the wood of her cleat backing is starting to rot. I think one source of water is near the daggerboard trunk. I had noticed some chipping there near the bottom (on the outside) and it looks to be damper there than elsewhere.



We've put a fan on the aft hole and can feel air coming up through the foreward port, so we're hoping she'll dry out nicely. Since she's old and one of our first boats, we figure that drying her out and puttying the daggerboard chip should suffice for awhile. We'll open the ports after every sail to keep her dry, though if we notice other major leaks or problems, we'll fix, but we don't want to pour a ton of money into an old boat that'll we'll probably bang up anyway. We think there might be some joint separation toward the bow, but it's a little difficult to tell with shadows and newbie eyes.

Flickr gallery here

The AMFLite was interesting after the Sunfish. Woody is significantly lighter, but she has some chips and crackles a bit when you push on her hull. The hull felt thicker by feel, but when the Hubby cut into her, we discovered that the fiberglass cut easier and the inside was "cleaner" in the sense that there seemed to be less manufacturing going on. Woody was dry as a bone, but we noticed some foam curling and separating from the hull. There might be a hint of an old waterline on a foam block or it could be a sign of age? I'm also trying to figure out what's up with the tape I see around some of the foam. There is no sign of prior opening, so I'm wondering why there appears to be tape around some of the foam.

Since all the hardware is firm and she's dry inside, we decided to stick with one port for now, putty the chips, and call it good. We are in the air about the foam. Any thoughts here? Should we cut off the separated stuff and try to install some new stuff? Or just let it be, since we are newbie rec sailors and will likely be the last owners unless someone wants a project boat?

We haven't screwed in the ports yet, because we are still a bit uncertain about the screws. Neither plates (Seachoice on Woody (right color of cream) and SeaDog on Blue) had info on what screws to use, and I looked on the websites and must be missing something. Might just take them to a hardware store and ask what will work for our purposes (including anti-rust). All are 4-inch plates (5 just looked huge and we have small hands).
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I'm of two minds, here. :confused:

• With a long winter ahead—and the enthusiasm to tackle these issues—I'd go ahead and fix them. :)

• I'd think it preferable to spend time building a balloon-tire dolly, until the exact problem is identified. :cool:
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
I am of a single mind; you are doing just fine drying out your 1960 Sunfish. Don't forget to do a leak test afterwards, and fix the leaks you may find. You really don't want to spoil the drying job you are currently doing.
Try to fix the bow handle since you are likely to pull or lift the boat at some point. Can you reach it from the port you currently have? You will find detailed recommendations when you search the Forum.

Regarding the AMFlite, the tape may have been used during the construction of the hull in an attempt to confine the expanding foam that was used to keep the styrofoam innards in place, but got pushed out anyway.
I would leave the foam alone; fixing that is a pretty major undertaking and not necessary IMHO. Just go sailing (next spring) :)

Regarding the ports, didn't they come with instructions about the screws to use? They (and the port itself) do need to be set in silicone sealant.
 

emilikins

Maniac
Wavedancer - Nope, no instruction on the packaging. And I even checked the manufacturers' websites and also couldn't figure out what the proper screws would be. We have Seachoice and Seadog (the former is a great cream match to the AMFlite, the other was ordered through the local boat shop, saves shipping). The store just told us to get screws at the hardware store and didn't really seem inclined to give us specifics (they are more into motorboats, and I don't think they have project customers). We have the sealant (4200).

I guess I don't understand what you mean about fixing the bow handle. It's fine on the Sunfish (the AMFlite doesn't have one, just a hole the previous owner slipped some line through, the deck curls over the edge of the hull, so there's actually grip leverage there).

Looking over the pictures, I realize I've been calling the mast step the daggerboard trunk. Oops! :oops:
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Wavedancer - Nope, no instruction on the packaging. And I even checked the manufacturers' websites and also couldn't figure out what the proper screws would be. We have Seachoice and Seadog (the former is a great cream match to the AMFlite, the other was ordered through the local boat shop, saves shipping). The store just told us to get screws at the hardware store and didn't really seem inclined to give us specifics (they are more into motorboats, and I don't think they have project customers). We have the sealant (4200).

I guess I don't understand what you mean about fixing the bow handle. It's fine on the Sunfish (the AMFlite doesn't have one, just a hole the previous owner slipped some line through, the deck curls over the edge of the hull, so there's actually grip leverage there).
Sorry; I misread the sentence about the wood backing; it does relate to the halyard cleat. One thing to consider is installing a cleat on the mast to take the load of the cleat on the hull. Replacing the rotted wood wouldn't hurt, obviously. These days a metal plate is used as the backing that is glassed in.

With respect to the screws; just take your ports to the store and find screws (STAINLESS) that fit nicely. There's no load on the ports, so that's not an issue.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Regarding the ports, didn't they come with instructions about the screws to use? They (and the port itself) do need to be set in silicone sealant..."
Just a caution about silicone sealants: there is a wide variety of silicone sealers. With any larger port, I'd suggest using much firmer sealants than the run-of-the-mill silicone.

"...Try to fix the bow handle since you are likely to pull or lift the boat at some point..."

When my new-to-me saltwater Sunfish's bow handle disintegrated in my hand, I jury-rigged a handle that worked very well for years. I was reminded of this "repair" when having stumbled across this photo of a kayak bow handle. I can't tell you how easy on the fingers it is, to manuver a Sunfish with a kayak handle!
 

Attachments

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
For the port I use small stainless oval head machine screws with stop nuts. I believe they are number 8 size with a 32 thread ( fine thread) get them long enough (1 1/2?) to go through port, deck and have threads left for nut. The photo shown is just an example of the type of screw and oval head.

Its interesting on the AMFlite, does the halyard attach directly to the cleat with no fairlead to run the line parallel to the deck?
 

Attachments

cookwithgas

New Member
This afternoon we finally did it: opened up our old 1960 Sunfish and pre-72 AMFlite 14.
Since all the hardware is firm and she's dry inside, we decided to stick with one port for now, putty the chips, and call it good. We are in the air about the foam. Any thoughts here? Should we cut off the separated stuff and try to install some new stuff? Or just let it be, since we are newbie rec sailors and will likely be the last owners unless someone wants a project boat?.
Leaving just one port is smart - the fewer the better. I have three sunfish and only one of them has ports. Over the years the ports will deteriorate and tend to leak. One other suggestion - When cutting round holes use a fly cutter. It is a device that is adjustable you can use on your drill. It makes a perfectly round hole. Some have two blades and some have one. It looks like you are doing some good work there - keep it up! Here is a pic. of the one-blade fly cutter:

http://www.osborneatelier.com/images/T004_fly_cutter.JPG
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
1. Rec sailor like me? Leave the foam alone!

2. Im with you, as small of a port as possible. Another factor for port size is whether it is big enough to get not just you hand but also your arm inside, maybe even past your elbow. That will depend on what part of the boat you need a port. It is good for a port between the splashguard and daggerboard trunk to be big enough so you can get inside to maintain the daggerboard, mast step and backer blocks/plates.
 

emilikins

Maniac
Its interesting on the AMFlite, does the halyard attach directly to the cleat with no fairlead to run the line parallel to the deck?
Yep, it just attaches to the cleat. It threw us a bit, too, and we haven't decided if it's really worth putting in the fair lead or not. We also couldn't put the port behind the splashguard, because there isn't enough room between the daggerboard trunk and the rise of the deck into the slashguard (it's molded, not riveted).

Right now Old Blue seems to be drying nicely. We still have the fan running through one of the ports. She seems dry, but we're playing it safe. Seems a bit lighter, too. We haven't put the ports in yet, though with the help with three dudes at Menards, my husband was able to find some screws to fit. But we need to make the backing for them, since there aren't any washers to fit that particular size. It amazes me that everyone else is amazed that the plates didn't come with screws, because everywhere I looked online, it would say "screws not included," but even on Sea Dog's main site, searching for the corresponding screws yielded few results. I did come across a site or two that would have links to order the screws, but I ordered through our local place to avoid shipping charges. We bought two boats, we're on a budget. :rolleyes: Of course, we've probably spent more time and money hunting down some screws to fit, so maybe I should've gone the online route. The ones I did get on the Internet also did not come with screws, and that was from Jamestown.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I had a Windflite so I am familiar with the coaming. Is that teak on top? It looks nice. I also liked the molded on holes for the bow line and bridle, and rolled edges.
Might consider putting a cleat at the base of the mast then running the remaining halyard to the deck cleat to keep mast tied to boat.

The inspections plates I bought didn't come with hardware either, but I am lucky to live close to the water and both Ace Hardware and Lowes have great stainless sections. If you need another port, email me and I'll make up a kit with the port, screws, washers and stop nuts.
 

Attachments

Top