What's new

Is this worth fixing, need some encouragement

kbanjo

New Member
New poster. 15 years after earning the sailing merit badge on a sunfish, I finally decided to buy one on a bit of a whim. I knew it had a hole in the hull, but didn’t realize the cockpit was also cracked. The boat also weighs 190 lbs, but I knew it was heavy when I bought it, and I didn’t pay much.

The thing I’m concerned about, is I don’t know the model year (no serial number), and I want to make sure I didn’t accidentally stumble on a Pearson or something not worth fixing.

I read somewhere on here that the Pearson cockpit was not flanged, and met the top price in a rough joint, is this what I have?

Also, is this how the mast step and dagger slot are supposed to look, or have they been repaired?

thanks, Ken
 

Attachments

kbanjo

New Member
Pictures of the tub to deck seam, mast step and dagger slot, and the fiberglass damage.
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
'Doubt the tub seams will ever be trouble.

'Mast step, you fill with water and wait a few hours. (See if the level lowers).

The fiberglass damage, if it's not structural, can be taped-over until the sailing season has ended. Heck, if it's structural, use two layers of tape, and go sailing. :)
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
No serial number indicates a build-date prior to 1971. (So, we haven't started to address the old-style rudder issues yet!)

'Course, it's going to take weeks of drying to get the weight off, and those up-north have only six more weeks of pleasant sailing weather remaining in the season! :confused:

Is that tub's midline crack located close to the leaking crack featured in the last photo? (Blotches of sunlight isn't helping in the crack's location).

Some of my boats have that appearance of unsaturated (white) fiberglass showing in the daggerboard trunk. I've tried smearing MarineTex in there as far as I could reach, but results were hard to come by. :confused:

That midline crack, so close to the keel and trailer roller(s) should be fixed. Refresh the edges (by chipping or grinding), clean, sand, and epoxy three layers of two-inch-wide fiberglass tape along the length of the tub. Or three layers of four-inch-wide tape for symmetry? Leave the last layer un-sanded, so it's not slippery when wet. The original red color will show through OK.

Depending on the location of the white crack (is it likely to be stressed again in the same place?), either a simple (grind/build-up) patch or a serious repair using the Shoreline Method (use "search") of cutting it out entirely, inserting a backing, and building it back up--flush and level. (Sand and paint).

Any fiberglass Sunfish can be restored to its former glory, so I think this boat shouldn't discourage--but you're gonna need gloves! ;)
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Post a pic or two of the entire deck and we can narrow down the year (looks pre-71). Don’t give up on it- it’s a project, for sure, but you knew that when you bought it. Restoring it will take some time and effort, but can be very rewarding. You’ve earned the sailing merit badge, you can do this!
It doesn’t look like the daggerboard or mast step have been worked on. That fiberglass will need some thickened epoxy brushed in to cover the open weave and chips, but that’s not the worst problem or the most pressing. At 190 I’d not go sailing, but would add a couple of inspection ports and start drying it out. There’s a ton of info on this forum as to how that’s done. As L&VW says, that cockpit crack is probably from a trailer. How does the under side look? Don’t fiberglass over it until you’ve dried it out.
 

kbanjo

New Member
Wow, thanks for the fast replies!

Here’s the best pictures I have at them moment, have to get better ones when I get home.

The odd thing I think is it has the new style rudder, but no serial number. That’s the other thing that made me think it’s a 1971 and a Pearson? IDK

it already has one inspection port, but at 190 lbs probably not going to get it dry to sail this year in northern Illinois.
 

Attachments

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
That’s nicer than it looks in your close-ups! I believe it’s a ‘72- the first year of the new-style rudder and before the stripe was added to the stern deck. Also the last year the ID plate was mounted on the deck- there’s probably a faint outline of where that aluminum plate was attached, centered just behind the splashguard. After ‘72 they were engraved on the starboard transom.
It’s a well-made Fish, don’t be discouraged. How’s the sail? Rudder and daggerboard need refinishing? I like that trailer, too, with the big solid fenders. Definitely worth fixing up your classic- and yes, this forum is great about responding to any questions you have along the way.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Haha, the close-ups were certainly ugly, though the crickets added a natural touch. Looks like the 'Nazca Lines' in your gelcoat... I'm thinking that at some point in time, aliens visited your boat. ;)

But as L&VW and Breeze Bender say, it can all be fixed, then you'll have a nice functional boat to take sailing. I also agree that drying out the hull is your first priority, figure out where you want the inspection ports (i.e. where they'll do the most good in effecting repairs) and cut the holes... :confused:

No need to install the actual ports until all work is done, just cut the holes and temporarily tape the edges (if necessary) to soften 'em and lessen abrasion & irritation to your arm(s) as you work through the holes. Ya get a little more elbow room that way... :rolleyes:

Even if you don't need the ports for hull work, you're gonna want 'em to help dry out the hull, and you can always place them where they'll be handy in the future, should you ever need to work on your mast step, daggerboard trunk, rudder area, etc. :D

Also, you can pull a better inspection of the hull from the inside, using a good flashlight and a compact mirror for the purpose. Sometimes, a rag comes in handy for propping up the light or the mirror as you look around inside. I'd definitely check the mast step and dagger well, as those are notorious problem areas... :eek:

Otherwise, don't sweat the project work, you can handle it... you still have your sailing merit badge, right? Offhand, looking at those pics of yours, I'd say that dagger well needs work, and it might very well be the primary leak location. Take a closer look at it, it appears that someone else tried to repair it in the past... :(

But no worries, every problem can be fixed, and you have some nautical heroes at this site to help ya, gratis!!! You know the old saw: "You get what you pay for..." But in this case, the advice is worth every penny... I might even go so far as to say it's GOLDEN. Of course, gold only enters the equation when ya have to pay for materials, LOL... welcome to the wonderful world of boat ownership!!! Good luck, and CHEERS!!! :cool:
 
Last edited:

kbanjo

New Member
The sail full of holes, but the seller had a newish, class legal sail so I'll be swapping that in.

I went ahead and bought an exhaust fan to start the drying process. Storage will be my next big concern, need to find a dry place out of the woods. I'll let it dry through fall, and maybe do the fiberglass repair in the spring.

I have no materials or experience with fiberglass, would this kit have everything I need? Fiberglass Boat Repair Kit - WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

I'm guessing the aluminum plate with the serial number was removed when the previous owner installed the inspection port. Good thing is I can start drying without delay, although I'll probably punch a hole once I can decide where to put the second port,
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I went ahead and bought an exhaust fan to start the drying process.

I have no materials or experience with fiberglass, would this kit have everything I need? Fiberglass Boat Repair Kit - WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

I'm guessing the aluminum plate with the serial number was removed when the previous owner installed the inspection port. Good thing is I can start drying without delay, although I'll probably punch a hole once I can decide where to put the second port,
I think the kit is designed to sell you LOTS of resin. (There's enough resin included to do only the smallest of repairs).

I had no luck trying to extend the meager resin supplied with the included thickeners.

Included gloves are good for one use, but you can try for more. A package of 100 are available at Dollar Tree stores ($1). :rolleyes:

A 3- or 4-inch "muffin fan" is what you want. Extremely long-lived, excellent exchange of air, scant use of electricity, quiet--and less than $10 from Amazon.

The drying can be done outdoors by turning the Sunfish over, and run an extension cord to the house. (Or, as it sits on the trailer, but cover the port/fan operation with a heavy--and well-secured--washbucket).

You don't need a second port. Illinois will be plenty-dry over the winter, even with snow. Secure the fan to the end of a 3- or 4-inch PVC pipe--placed in the port--angled towards the rear of the boat, and skewed to one side or the other. You can go "fancier". (Basically, drying air goes in through the pipe, and exhausts around it).

An experienced Sunfish friend lives near Smith River in the Chicago area, if you could use some fiberglass mentoring.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
That is a common crack, what does the keel under the tub look like? If you are
lucky/unlucky enough to have cracked or damaged keel it's easy to enough
to fiberglass the bottom of the tub when you cut out the damaged section of
the keel. I've not tried it but if you can put a inspection port in the front wall of
the tub you should be able to get at the bottom of the tub. I'm thinking this way because
of all the crappy band-aid patches I've seen put on the tub floor.
 

Tbagger

New Member
I stuck a heat lamp and fan in my current fish and left upside down on horses all last winter with a tarp over her, went from 185 to140 by spring, seriously, winning club races now, especially with that new white practice sail from intensity sails, cheap.
 

Tbagger

New Member
I have a port where yours is put another aft of the traveler for air flow through, they also had a red and white sail, like$120. with a window, so far it's held up good, with some strong wind days too.
 

kbanjo

New Member
Well, I just so happened to find a low cost ($100) mini fish and couldn’t resist. It is, I think, in decent shape but needs a little attention. I got it both because of the price, and wanting a boat I can very easily roof top on my suburban while pulling a camper, I should get much more sail time this way bringing the whole family to the campground. We have a 5 month, 3 yo, and 6 yo so wife has to have a basecamp.

Biggest problem now is the wife sees me turning the years into a “junkyard”, ha, so storage rack is first priority, but I need to get to repairs quick to.

A couple of quests to clarify my research here.
The mini fish weighs 89 lbs, so I plan on drying it out some same as the sunfish, but at 90 lbs it should be ok to sail as is too? Can I do this repair work before drying?

On the mini fish, there doesn’t appear to be any holes, but the fiberglass is exposed in a few places (mostly fiberglass is hard) and there is a good deal of cracking in the gel coat. There is one place with cracking that is just a bit softer than the other side, not terrible but soft, and it looks like the gel coat is cracking off. Can all of this be repaired by removing the loose gel coat/sanding the fiberglass lightly until solid and then filling with Marine Tex?


Also the gooseneck screw is broken off and the gooseneck is a little loose on the boom. Does a replacement need to be brass and any tips on how to get the broken part out?
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
WTR to the gooseneck part: If it's a broken screw, there's no tension on it now, so it can be easily screwed out.

Possibly, it may be necessary to file or grind the ragged edges.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Does a replacement need to be brass and any tips on how to get the broken part out?
I'd stay with brass or bronze. At 1/4"-20, it's a very common size. (License-plate attachment size.)

Stainless wouldn't hurt, but don't overtighten.
 

Alan Stewart

New Member
If one half of the bronze gooseneck screw is stuck in the threaded portion of the gooseneck, simply drill it out and use a 1/4” SS bolt and locknut instead - 1-1/2” or 1-1/4” should do it. Marine Tex is great for many small hull repairs as the white blends nicely with white gelcoat (you can also tint Marine Tex with pigment). Do make sure you remove any loose gelcoat or fractured fiberglass first, then rough-sand and wipe with acetone before applying the Marine Tex. If you let it begin to set up and then wipe it smooth with a wet finger (soapy water works great!), you can achieve a near perfect shiny finish. Or tape a piece of acetate or wax paper over the repair and smooth it out with a squeegee to get a repair that requires little or no sanding - very small repairs are best done using a razor blade as the application tool.
A sister product of Marine Tex is a liquid epoxy sealer called Gluvit that has the consistency of honey and is great for sealing cracks, chips and exposed fiberglass mat anywhere on the hull, especially the inside of the daggerboard trunk and mast step. It retains a bit of flexibility so won’t fracture and break like polyester resin is prone to doing.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
If one half of the bronze gooseneck screw is stuck in the threaded portion of the gooseneck, simply drill it out and use a 1/4” SS bolt and locknut instead - 1-1/2” or 1-1/4” should do it.
If SS is used, take care in tightening the locknut. Through normal gooseneck adjustments, the spar (boom) can "shrink" in diameter. Overtightening a SS bolt could result in a terminal gooseneck fracture. :(

Marine Tex is great for many small hull repairs as the white blends nicely with white gelcoat (you can also tint Marine Tex with pigment). Do make sure you remove any loose gelcoat or fractured fiberglass first, then rough-sand and wipe with acetone before applying the Marine Tex. If you let it begin to set up and then wipe it smooth with a wet finger (soapy water works great!), you can achieve a near perfect shiny finish. Or tape a piece of acetate or wax paper over the repair and smooth it out with a squeegee to get a repair that requires little or no sanding - very small repairs are best done using a razor blade as the application tool.
'Wish I'd known of this. :confused:

When it comes to cockpit floor repairs, a donor Sunfish could provide a section of slip-resistant flooring. When pressed against curing Marine Tex, would make a mirror image in texture. (And easily overlooked as a repair). ;)

Any Sunfish floor-section vendors out there? ;)

A sister product of Marine Tex is a liquid epoxy sealer called Gluvit that has the consistency of honey and is great for sealing cracks, chips and exposed fiberglass mat anywhere on the hull, especially the inside of the daggerboard trunk and mast step. It retains a bit of flexibility so won’t fracture and break like polyester resin is prone to doing.
Gluvit = Good to know. :)
 

Alan Stewart

New Member
Hey, that’s a clever idea to use a piece of old cockpit sole as a stamp to imprint the pattern on soft epoxy... I have an old beat-up hull I might sacrifice and I’ll be sure to save a couple pieces here and there as a result of suggestions from this forum - thanks!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You boat is 1971-72, one of the first with the "new style" rudder, not a Pearson. Pearsons were 1988ish.

You should see smooth resin and fiberglass in your mast step and trunk. In your photos there are several areas where the polyester resin has chipped away, that is a common issue. Those should be sanded to remove loose chunks and to prep the area to receive more thickened polyester resin or thickened epoxy resin. If you don't then the fiberglass cloth will fail next and the boat will explode into 1,438 pieces.
 
Top