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Is anyone else frustrated with Sunfish parts supply houses?

po-man sailor

Active Member
Is it just me?
Am I just being a grumpy old man? Same guy that screems... HEY GET OFF MY LAWN!
I'm extreamily frustrated with these places because there is no way to speak to an actual human. Some dont even have a phone contact. Some dont return phone messages. I just ordered 8 or 10 parts and I couldnt ask questions about any of them before ordering. I need them so I just ordered them blindly. So I'm sure when they get here some will be the wrong size or not meet my expectations. I.e. drain plug...size? Bailer question? This could all be avoided if a real person could call me back or answer the phone. At this point I'll be glad when I've finished the restore just so I dont have to deal with any of these guys any more. I guess I'm just thick or lacking patience in my old age because I dont get it.
Maybe I should take my meds. They told me I was doing much better now.
Feel free to educate me or tell me what I'm missing.
Thanks guys and gals.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Lucky you. :) I see you're located a very short drive along Florida's Panhandle from one of our best information-sources (here at the forum), who can also recommend a local Sunfish dealer--and maybe dig up some old, but functioning, parts from his workshop.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
This forum is a great place to get your questions answered. It does seem that some have waited months for bailers and parts, though I had no problems with my recent order to Intensity Sails. The drain plug (if you’re referring to the deck drain) is a standard size. There should only be one choice. The bailer can be purchased complete or in parts if you don’t need to replace it entirely.
Send along a couple pics of your Sunfish and issues and we’ll be happy to help!
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Thanks guys!
I was being a little sarcastic which is part of my humor but it is genuinely frustrating. I really appreciate the tips on the contacts. One of the items I was looking for was a replacement drain plug for the top of the deck without spending a fortune. The only originals seem expensive. I would like it to be as true to original as possible because I have a good start but I can't justify that one. I see there are several listed but some folks use the larger ones and drill a hole in the stern. I dont want to do that. My boat is currently dry.
Another item I need is a bailer bottom w ball for 76.
Lastly, is there a better or readily available source for all the size nylon friction washers on the rudder?
Thanks again for a place to share information and experiences.
Po-man out...
 

Woodwind

Active Member
West Coast Sailing has been Super!
And yes you can get the wrong drain plug I did from another supplier when I finally received the order, but West Coast Sailing had the right one in stock for my era Sunfish and they talked with me about it so I got the right one.

Also they shipped really fast and use the cheapest shipping method available.

I too love the Dinghy Shop!!!
 

Eddie_E

Active Member
Intensity is excellent at answering questions by E-mail. The owner does NOT sit in his garage 24 hrs a day with phone in hand, in case somebody wants a $2.00 bailer ball.

The newer bailers are all plastic and by newer, I mean newer than the mid- 1970's. My experience on missing balls is that the 3mm pins keeping them from falling out get lose or fall out completely over time. Gluing the pins back in is a waste of time and a replacement ball might not seal in an old bailer. I replace the complete bailer every 4 years. Nylon friction washers are in the hardware isle of any Ace hardware. They can be home made from a coffee can as well.

The deck drain is a difficult one, as that size thread has been lost in time. I agree with your decision to avoid drilling into a dry hull. For those of us who use a dolly, it's our only real choice. Great care is needed to get a perfect seal in a transom drain and some do leak a little.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Thanks Eddie.
Great idea on the coffee can lid. I will use that idea.
On the bailer, I guess I need the whole bailer assembly even though my plug and top threaded half of the assembly is good. My understanding is there is a short thread version assembly and a long type...maybe also 2 different diameter holes. I got this idea from looking at the "sunfish direct" site. That's why I feel more comfortable talking to someone to verify my specific fit before order and spending 60 bucks only to have to try and return.
Regarding top deck drain plug...My top deck looks like it took the old brass type plug assembly with the 2 keeper pins (which I dont understand how they stayed in anyway)
The hole left is 5/8s I could just stick a plastic replacement with 5200 but I'm not sure which diameter the vendor is selling and no one to ask. Those are the core of my frustration. I ordered the one from infinity and I'll check my lottery ticket when it arrives. LOL
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
It's perplexing to me also, the number of businesses that work very hard to avoid human contact except for an order form. No phone number, no email, no text, no query form, comments, etc. The most frustrating is no returned calls or emails. My genetic makeup from my Mom and Grandma includes Librarians and Secretaries, they provided information and if they didn't know, they found out. One of the first things the Marine Corps taught us also was if this Private didn't know then this Private would find out. In their defense, you could burn up an employees work day and payroll answering the phone to chat with Old Salts for 30 minutes who want to tell them all about the crusty boat they're restoring, not that I've done that... :)

More musings. The webernet, eBay and Amazon killed local businesses having thousands of dollars of parts hanging on the wall waiting for an Old Salt to wander in and buy a bailer O ring or drain plug. My Dealer on Pensacola Beach used to have an entire 8 x 20 wall of goodies, probably over $10000 of inventory plus 3-4 new boats at all times. He'd usually order 10 at a time. So the business model changed as far as parts availability at the same time that Web 1.0 one way communication emerged, very simple online order form. Some places have grown to Web 2.0 and there are actually two way communications, and I try to give a lot of business to those places. Sailrite and Jamestown Distributors and West Systems are a few of those places. I called Sailrite recently, talked to a human and while I was on the phone they texted workers on the factory floor to get an answer to my question, amazing. But along the way we lost vendors Annapolis Performance Sailing and I'm afraid we've lost Yankee Boating Center as well, I used to be able to call them, talk to a person and order line kits that were color matched to our resto boats.

New kids on the block include Shoreline Sailboats and Vela Sailing Supply. The Dinghy Shop and Intensity Sails have historically been good and Laser Performance ramped up their parts website a few years back, although their inventory is slime right now. At least the LP site seems to show current inventory. Everyone is suffering shortages from worldwide vendor issues during Pandemic, and LP is recommending folks start their part orders early so they can track down the bits from their ever changing supply of international vendors and have them available by Spring. Some agile businesses have also ramped up Chat functions and invested in social media platforms like facebook to communicate with customers.

As mentioned above the best place to start looking for new or used parts is here, there are many folks who have a bin full of parts in their Carriage House or know which businesses have been responsive to new part orders. Our parts stash is heading to Hampton Roads right now, should be passing your location son, just run up to I-10 and look for a PODS container with 75516BX on the side.

IMG_2397.JPG

So it's not just you. But the other thing the Marine Corps taught me was to be "Semper Gumby."

Kent B Lewis PFC MCRD San Diego Dec 1979.jpg
 

CaptainLarry

Active Member
I replace the complete bailer every 4 years.
I think I'm missing something. How do these sensitive bailers work that would require replacement every 4 years? I thought the water just sucks out at speed. It there more? A check ball that falls out easily? I don't know what I'm looking at.

It does seem that some have waited months for bailers and parts, though I had no problems with my recent order to Intensity Sails.
Intensity was very responsive for my recent sail order. USPS - now that was another problem.
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
Annapolis Performance Sailing (APSltd) was the gold standard for small sailboat parts and gear but they no longer sell hardware. I have had good luck with The Dinghy Shop on Long Island, Intensity and Sunfish Direct.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Annapolis Performance Sailing (APSltd) was the gold standard for small sailboat parts and gear but they no longer sell hardware. I have had good luck with The Dinghy Shop on Long Island, Intensity and Sunfish Direct.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Unfortunately, they went TOTALLY out of business :eek:
 

Eddie_E

Active Member
Look closely at the picture on Sunfish direct. The two pins keeping the ball from coming out are only pressed into one side, just like the brass unit they copied years ago. If the pins were long enough to seat in the other side of the plastic housing, you would never loose a ball. The other reason I buy the whole unit is I have seen 2 different plastic bailers with slightly different diameters on the black ball seat. I prefer the long thread on my 1974 Sunfish, but either will work on mine.

 

po-man sailor

Active Member
It's perplexing to me also, the number of businesses that work very hard to avoid human contact except for an order form. No phone number, no email, no text, no query form, comments, etc. The most frustrating is no returned calls or emails. My genetic makeup from my Mom and Grandma includes Librarians and Secretaries, they provided information and if they didn't know, they found out. One of the first things the Marine Corps taught us also was if this Private didn't know then this Private would find out. In their defense, you could burn up an employees work day and payroll answering the phone to chat with Old Salts for 30 minutes who want to tell them all about the crusty boat they're restoring, not that I've done that... :)

More musings. The webernet, eBay and Amazon killed local businesses having thousands of dollars of parts hanging on the wall waiting for an Old Salt to wander in and buy a bailer O ring or drain plug. My Dealer on Pensacola Beach used to have an entire 8 x 20 wall of goodies, probably over $10000 of inventory plus 3-4 new boats at all times. He'd usually order 10 at a time. So the business model changed as far as parts availability at the same time that Web 1.0 one way communication emerged, very simple online order form. Some places have grown to Web 2.0 and there are actually two way communications, and I try to give a lot of business to those places. Sailrite and Jamestown Distributors and West Systems are a few of those places. I called Sailrite recently, talked to a human and while I was on the phone they texted workers on the factory floor to get an answer to my question, amazing. But along the way we lost vendors Annapolis Performance Sailing and I'm afraid we've lost Yankee Boating Center as well, I used to be able to call them, talk to a person and order line kits that were color matched to our resto boats.

New kids on the block include Shoreline Sailboats and Vela Sailing Supply. The Dinghy Shop and Intensity Sails have historically been good and Laser Performance ramped up their parts website a few years back, although their inventory is slime right now. At least the LP site seems to show current inventory. Everyone is suffering shortages from worldwide vendor issues during Pandemic, and LP is recommending folks start their part orders early so they can track down the bits from their ever changing supply of international vendors and have them available by Spring. Some agile businesses have also ramped up Chat functions and invested in social media platforms like facebook to communicate with customers.

As mentioned above the best place to start looking for new or used parts is here, there are many folks who have a bin full of parts in their Carriage House or know which businesses have been responsive to new part orders. Our parts stash is heading to Hampton Roads right now, should be passing your location son, just run up to I-10 and look for a PODS container with 75516BX on the side.

View attachment 44097

So it's not just you. But the other thing the Marine Corps taught me was to be "Semper Gumby."

View attachment 44096
Wow. Thanks for all the info. I'm in Panama city are you in pensacola? Are you moving all your stuff and yourself somewhere else. If your in this area of NW Fla. You know sunfish are at a premium and like looking for a pair of chicken lips to find. You never find whole rigs.
 

Eddie_E

Active Member
That is good to know. My wife and I are planning on moving to Florida in June and I wasn't sure if bringing my Sunfish down was worth the trouble versus buying a used one down in Florida.

I'm already bummed out that I will have to sell my Flying Scot, only a year after painting it with $200 a gallon paint. (If anybody in the Boston area needs a reasonably prices Scot, let me know).

Now I just have to decide whether we are moving to the lower Keys around Big Pine Key at the top of our budget or the West coast near Venice or FT Meyers where it will be easy on the budget.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
That is good to know. My wife and I are planning on moving to Florida in June and I wasn't sure if bringing my Sunfish down was worth the trouble versus buying a used one down in Florida.

I'm already bummed out that I will have to sell my Flying Scot, only a year after painting it with $200 a gallon paint. (If anybody in the Boston area needs a reasonably prices Scot, let me know).

Now I just have to decide whether we are moving to the lower Keys around Big Pine Key at the top of our budget or the West coast near Venice or FT Meyers where it will be easy on the budget.
I know of a 1-acre property with an interesting 3-story house on Big Pine Key. Not on the water. Old lady wants to move, asking 750K, has bargaining room, and hates realtors. :eek:

She's got til June to sell. I'll send contact info by PM.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Stealing Po-Man's thread for a minute. We are East of Pensacola in Navarre, on East Bay, wonderful spot for Sunfish sailing, shoal water for 100 yards off shore or so. Warm enough to sail year round. Family ties to Florida have disappeared, so we are moving up to the Hampton Roads area in the Spring, to chase the new grandkid. Water everywhere up there and more fun spots to take out Skipper's Drascombe Lugger.

Loading another Sunfish for transport as we speak. It will ride under a 5x8 craft table that I am building, and then we can use the craft table at the new place. In the previous 2 PODS I just built a platform and most of that lumber will be useless after I unload the POD. In this photo I have the table frame roughed out and lifted it to get the dolly underneath, once the frame is lowered I'll make it heavy with more pressure treated 2x4s for the table top. When we get there I'll get help to lift one end and get the dolly out. Skipper no help this morning, too cold outside :)

5762F51F-7FEF-4A54-A1B3-285A8A939E88.jpeg

The Sunfish, 1981 AMF MADISON, needs to ride level under the table, so I made a "shim" for the front of the dolly out of some scrap cypress, looks amazingly similar to the John Gardner Boat Shop Stools that we make.

B2E2FF76-65B4-4B29-8EFA-09F147433A23.jpeg

Anyone traveling to Florida should bring Sunfish with them, they are impossible to find, esp new, clean boats with all the right parts and no saltwater damage. In fact, bring several.

Back to Po-Man's thread.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Dang SC!. I was hoping I would have company down here. Have lived here all my life and 2 days after I get on sunfish talk you bail on me. LOL
I guess I have that effect on some people.
Feel free to dump off any extra weight sunfish material as you pass Panama.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Dang Po-Man, If you had popped up about a week ago I would have gladly given you about 6 dusty daggerboards, 4 old rudders, 5 or 6 old tillers, 40 pounds of bronze, mangled deck edge trim, etc...3 sets of pristine spars are now in Hampton VA storage, they're still wrapped up from when Alan, our parts importer, brought them down. Bonus parts would have included Grumman sailing canoe extra bits. Saddest part is you didn't get to see our amazing Catfish SMEDLEY.

IMG_2397.JPG
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
If I were to move to Florida, I would like to settle within 1 h (driving time) of an active Sunfish fleet.
Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be in my future. :(
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
The guy who was to buy my last two fixer-upper Sunfish was going to add them to a Sunfish fleet near Fort Lauderdale. (On Florida's SE coast).

They're out there! ;)
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Put some coatings on the boat shop stool. My plan is to make one for everyone in the family, this is number 4. I painted the tops with signal flags to indicate the first letter in the first name of the family member whose stool it is.

F6AEBB7C-FC00-4403-A7BD-BDD1F548E3E0.jpeg

Except mine, mine is covered in paint splatters...

IMG_2314.JPG
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Thanks dingy shop. I did touch base with you and you were the only shop that actually called me back or answered the phone. Unfortunately you did not have a bottom bailer available for me to purchase. I understand that's not your fault. No one seems to have them.
Thanks for your contact info and input. I like shops that do that for the customer and will pass your info along.
 
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