New Life for SCUD (1968 Sunfish)

Thread starter #21
I finished installing the last inspection port today, and wheeled the boat outside so I could wet sand the deck. I tried to remove the coaming. It was fastened with bronze machine screws into rivet nuts. All but one screw came out. I was able to move the coaming forward and then aft to sand just about the whole deck.

I started out with fine grit sand paper and it worked out ok. I went more aggressive and that bought out more of a shine--I know that doesn't make sense, but the sandpaper clogged up and the wet sanding turned the gelcoat into a polish. It worked out fine.

The coaming is not attached except by one machine screw outboard on the port side. Can you tell it is not attached?

The main purpose of sanding was to fine a uniform color to try to match the gelcoat. I still have several shades to chose from. I'm thinking I'll go lighter and hope it naturally darkens.

Notice the four holes. The previous owner relocated the cleat. YOu can see that it is much lighter around the outside area--the area with the holes is obviously a little lower and harder to sand.

This pictures give you a good idea of the various shade of gelcoat I'll be trying to match. I'll need a lot of luck to match the color.

Hiking strap is nearly done. I want to reinforce the backing on the front. The kit I bought was better suited to the new style Sunfish. I used the large washers normally used for the front, in the aft end. So I need something for the front. I located a 1/4 thick piece of fiberglass that I'll glue in place and drill out for extra support in front. You can see the front bracket fitted loosely in place here. The back one is firmly bedded and installed. I also noticed a hole I need to patch. Can you see it between the two inspection ports up high? I think I'll just put a patch on the other side.

I just flipped the boat over and spend a few hours with a helper sanding the bottom and sides, and the bottom of my keeboat. On SCUD I want to get rid of the stains-on the sides especially as I have vinyl lettering coming in this week. And I have to gelcoat the transom so I can install the gudgeon and then close up the last deck hole.

Also not the discoloration on the transom. I've been sanding the heck out of this area and it is not cleaning up. I'll try some more aggressive sandpaper next to prep it for gelcoat.

This project is a on the back burner, but I'm glad I have it, so when I run out of things to do on the keelboat, I can stay busy. It would be nice to have it done though, because the water is nearly 78 degrees now. I want to get out on the water with at least three of my boats soon. I'm hoping I can put two boats on my truck roof rack and another in the bed. If I have one strong guy to help I think I can do it.

"I also noticed a hole I need to patch. Can you see it between the two inspection ports up high? I think I'll just put a patch on the other side."

The hole between the two ports is suposed to be there. Im not sure whats its called but it acts like a vent hole. Think about it if the boat were completly sealed and sat in the sun on a hot day the air inside would expand causing pressure to build, the hole eliminates this from happening by letting the pressure escape.

Thread starter #23
"I also noticed a hole I need to patch. Can you see it between the two inspection ports up high? I think I'll just put a patch on the other side."

The hole between the two ports is suposed to be there. Im not sure whats its called but it acts like a vent hole. Think about it if the boat were completly sealed and sat in the sun on a hot day the air inside would expand causing pressure to build, the hole eliminates this from happening by letting the pressure escape.


OK thanks for the information. I'll leave it alone.
Thread starter #24
No more pictures for you. I did try to match the gelcoat today and practiced on the bottom and transom. I didn't get the tint right, but the shade is not bad--certainly better than plain white. I slapped a coat across the whole transom with a brush and it doesn't look bad from that side.

However, if I want the deck to look good, I will need to experiment some more. I plan to add a bit more gelcoat on the bottom to fix a couple of areas I sanded through and then I'll flip the boat back over and install the gudgeon.
Thread starter #25
Ok, I tried mixing up some gelcoat and applied it. The shade is close, and the tint is off. Off-white is hard to match. I'm not terribly worried about the bottom--who will see that when the boat is in the water. The deck will be a problem--to be address this week.

Here is the transom after painting (brushing) on some gelcoat.

I added a bit of gelcoat to some areas I'd already done in white gelcoat along the keel and elsewhere.

Here is the bow area before sanding the new gelcoat.

Now after sanding a bit, but before another coat of gelcoat was applied.

Transom. Rather than sand it smooth I gave it another coat. I do not want to sand through it--thicker is better.

Bow area.

Note this is very fair here. There is some discoloration of the old gelcoat which would not sand out without the risk of sanding through.

The danger is that too much sanding wears through--as in here below.

More Bow shots after further work on this area.

Color differences between old and new gelcoat.

Note you can see few spots where the gelcoat is too thin. I'm not sure if I care at this point. Better is the enemy of good enough. I may chose to come back and hit this again later. The lines that look like long scratches are actually reflections of power lines overhead.

Today I flipped it over and started work on filling holes on the deck and gave the transom another layer of gelcoat. I drilled the mounting holes for the gudgeon, but I'm waiting to finish sanding the transom before mounting that part.
Thread starter #26
After sanding the deck last week, I used a chisel ti pry off the old drain plug that was frozen in place. I opened up up the hole with a dremel tool.

The Dremel tool with a sanding cylinder is amazingly fast to open a hole. It is a nice tight fit too.

I bedded the new plastic drain with 4200. Here it is before drilling two 3/16 holes for rivets.

Rivets installed and a bit of 4200 dabbed on top to seal out the water.

Thread starter #27
Time to wrap up the work on the transom.

I brushed on three coats of gelcoat. As I wrote before the color match is not that good, but I don't really care about the bottom as long as it looks halfway decent. I'm more concerned with making the boat functional than perfect. Better is the enemy of good enough.

Here is the transom after my final sanding. It could be better, but it is good enough for me.

I noticed on my other, newer boats there is still a channel in the back, even though the boats came with the new style rudder. At some point I think they changed over to a flat transom. I wonder what year that happened. I like the clean look of a flat transom.

Next I installed the gudgeon with 4200 and clamped it tight with the four screws and locknuts. Two of the screws were longer than the others. These, on top, were double nutted.

Inside the boat--backing plate and nuts.

Now that the gudgeon is attached I can focus on the access hole cut in the deck.

Thread starter #28
Time to work on glassing over the access hole for the rudder.

Here is my favorite grinder that won't remove too much material. It is not good for fast and heavy grinding but it works well for removing gelcoat and dressing up an area.

Here I have prepped the area for a layer of fiberglass.

I want to put a patch on this. On the last hole I had a plug I could use to support the patch. This time I don't have one. So I decided to make a support from a a piece of fiberglass that was cut out when I installed an access port. I saved all of these thinking they would come in handy at some point, and I had this particular hole in mind.

It was a bit too big. I marked where I wanted to cut it.

My RotoZip tool that I used to cut it.

A couple of spring clamps makes life easier.

Now this piece is too big to fit through the hole. I want to support it from underneath.
So I cut it in half and took a slice off one piece.

Inside, underneath, there was foam on the port side. I used my dremel tool to remove it so the port side piece would fit.

The starboard side needed a notch. Inside there was a support for a piece of wood that I ripped out. You can see it in the above picture. Rather than remove that, i simply notched the starboard piece.

I mixed up some epoxy with West Systems 403--which makes a great glue. This would not hold these in place firmly. So I used screws through the deck to hold each piece in place. The screws can be removed later.

I installed the port side piece first. I put a screw in the middle of the starboard piece as a temporary handle. I forgot to take a picture so you will see where I pulled up a piece of glass cloth to expose my work.

I wet most of the underlayment with glue because I wanted to lay a few pieces of glass here to seal off the crack in the middle.

Here I removed the middle screw I used for a handle to install the starboard piece. It was not needed any more and it was in the way.

One piece of cloth kept popping up. A layer of wax paper and a 4" disk of fiberglass left over from when I cut the aft cockpit inspection port fit the area perfectly. All I needed was a weight to hold it down.

I used a PWC battery that came out of my motorcycle for a weight to displace any air inside. I needed a battery in a hurry so I bought this and later replace my motorcycle battery with a full size one. Does anyone need a PWC battery?

Next up. removing the screws before the glue sets up completely, and once it all hardens up, I'll dress up the area with a grinder to prep for multiple layers of cloth in the patch. it will be similar to the patch I did on the area immediately in front of this one.

There is not much left to do on this project. I have the reinforcing for the front half of the hiking strap to so.

Matching the gelcoat will be the hardest part. I've already tried once and sanded it off.
Thread starter #29

Before the epoxy could set up completely I removed the screws.
It looks like the wax paper, my old 4" cutout, and battery for weight did a nice job. I don't see any bubbles.

Two minutes gentle work with a chisel removed much of the excess. Working with "green" (not fully cured epoxy) is easy. This avoids some grinding later. Doing it now reduces dust.

Finally, I filled the holes from the original access port and my recent screw holes. I filled in the lip with some extra epoxy mixed with 403 that I was using elsewhere. Once this drys I can apply a 6 or 7 layer patch and start the finish work.
Thread starter #30
Time to finish off the hiking strap. This boat has a green theme, so I purchased a green hiking strap. The aft end is install. I wanted more reinforcing in the front to distribute the load more.

I misplaced the piece I wanted to use for reinforcing. So I cut a 5 inch piece off this 3/8" thick piece of laminated fiberglass. It was tough cutting and I knew I'd ruin my RotoZip bit. It was on it's last legs anyway.

I place it in position after drilling one hole. I used the existing holes as guides to drill the second hole. I had a tiny bit of epoxy left over from a patch on my keelboat. I used this as glue and scrambled to dab 4200 on the hole, and bolt everything together.

I used Acetone to clean up the excess 4200 and tightened the nuts. I debated putting a second nut, a locknut this time on the bolts. I was worried that the epoxy might make it impossible to get it off. I think the trace amounts of epoxy that got on the nuts should hold. I can always tighten it down more later if needed.

The final result.

This reminds me I need a swivel base and a cam cleat. I have an older one but it is not a ratchet type. I will probably buy another 205 base with a stand up ratchet block like my other boat.
Thread starter #31
Moving right along. I decided to install my new bailer.

Only it will not fit unless I cut the screw portion. Torresen shipped me the wrong part. Which is not surprising since Chris told me there were many different types.

This one was designed for a gap of over an inch. My hull and cockpit need only 1/4" or so. So the threaded part is way too long.

So I'll need to return this and wait for another one.

If you chose to replace your bailer. Be sure you know the thickness of the gap!
Thread starter #32
Here is the build up of the patch I'm putting on near the transom.

I thought I'd show more details on how I do it.

I thought I'd get one more job done before turning in. So I'd backed SCUD on it's dolly facing my work bench, right under my work light. I masked off the area to protect the surrounding area. I used 3" blue painters tape and wax paper.

I spent about 3 minutes dressing up the area to be patched. I went over the whole area once with the grinder--lightly. Just enough to take the top layer off. Epoxy can leave a waxy surface that will hinder bonding. I typically sand it off.

Next I laid a piece of wax paper down to work on. I cut three pieces of stitched matt in concentric circles. This is very strong multi-layer cloth sewn into one easy to use material. Three layers of stitched mat is equivalent to 9 layers of mixed random mat and cloth. This is serious fiberglass cloth. I cut this out of some 6" stitched mat tape I bought for my big boat. This is what I plan to use to tab in bulkhead on my 46' sloop. Like I said serious stuff, but a little hard to work with because it is so thick, although it is easy to cut.

Like last time, I want the largest piece on the bottom. Since I'll be flipping over the wax paper with my wetted out three layer patch, I started with the smallest piece first, then middle, and then largest piece of cloth.

Here is my wax paper with a little dab of fast setting epoxy.
The margin around the outside of the bevel I sanded should be 12:1. So the glass looked to be 1/8" thick. 12/8=1.5" margin. I usually go bigger but I don't want to ruin too much gelcoat given it means more for me to finish later. This part of the boat is stronger also, being close to the edge and supported underneath.

Here is the first layer wetted out. The white part means it is not entirely wet. I worked at it a long time with the brush. Thinner epoxy works better with this material, but I find that sometimes parts never seem to get dark no matter how hard I try--it is the nature of the material.

In this picture I've already finished the first and second layer and I've just applied the third layer. It is still a little white in spots. I worked the heck out of it with my brush, and dumped even more resin on there. It doesn't seem to want to get any darker--so it is ready. I think it will be ok once some pressure is applied.

My battery died at this point. So no more pictures. All I did was flip the patch over on the area I prepared, after wetting the surface of the area. You might have notices the largest (bottom) layer was not totally round. This was on purpose and I put that pointy end over the area closest to the transom--which I ground out.

After this, I squeegeed out and rolled as much excess resin out as I could. Resin doesn't make it stronger, it just holds it together. You want to get rid of it. It is excess weight that adds no value. A tighter bond with the different layers with less epoxy is strongest.

I cleaned up the areas where the resin squirted out, and applied another layer of wax paper before putting a huge heavy bag of grass seed on top for weight and pressure.

Tomorrow, I'll peel off the wax paper, or sand it off if any sticks, and prep the area for some fairing material--the next step. I'll also clean up any drips by sanding off any epoxy that found it's way where I don't want it.
Thread starter #34
It is official. SCUD now has a name on her bow!

Ok she is not new looking. Which would have been difficult without a full gelcoat renewal, or a full repaint, still I'm happy that she looks decent, respectable, and is highly functional.

I have four things left to do.

1. Finish gelcoat repairs to the deck. (I am still dreading this. Perhaps a big vinyl graphic of a missile will cover up this part--my back up option.

2. Install a bailer. I think I can modify the bailer I have to make that work.

3. Install a mainsheet system--on order.

4. Install the main halyard deck cleat--which I suppose I don't really need with the cleat on the mast. I'll put it on anyway in case a rig gets changed in the future it will still be usable.

WASP my newest and best Sunfish is getting new vinyl name graphic in 3" red letters like SCUD. I have a cool logo I'm going to put next to the name--mirror image on each side. WASP is also has a new sail alternating Black and Yellow stripes, that I had custom made. I'm looking for a new rig to carry it, as I want to use WASP's rig for my racing sail.

Thread starter #35
As my camera batteries wore out I was unable to show the complete series of pictures I intended. After patching the aft hole, I lightly ground it clean with my less abrasive grinder, and then hit it with a 6" random orbital sander.

Rigid 6" Random Orbital Sander. This my second of these. My first I broke years ago. I need to send it back in case this one dies. I need a hot spare, or even having two is nice. I've also got a Ridgid 5" sander that I think I killed it turns over pretty slowly. I think it got wet while wet sanding. I'm letting it dry out before testing it.

So anyway, I dressed up the patch with a light grinding, and then sanding. Following this I wiped it down with Acetone. Then I mixed up some West Systems epoxy, 2 pumps of each along with some 410 fairing compound. I love 410 because it is so easy to sand.

I was slightly tacky so I waited until this morning to sand it down. It took just a couple of minutes. I literally could hold my breath while sanding--it was that fast and save donning a breathing mask. This was outdoors of course. The dolly makes it easy to move the boat around, in and out of the garage and easy to reverse it in the the garage also. I used that dolly so many times it save me hours of work being about to move it in and about.

This morning I hit it with the 6" Random Orbital and it looks like this right now.

Both patches are ready for gelcoat. I think I'll try for a color match right now. I might run over to West Marine--1 mile from my house fortunately and buy some yellow tint.

Thread starter #36

The day I have been dreading!

Since things have been going so well, and I have a helper working on my keelboat, I decided to run out to West Marine and buy some yellow tint. My last attempt using brown tint did not look so good. I thought the white tended to a blue tint while everyone I asked denied that. The fact remains, that yellow is the opposite end of the spectrum. So I thought I'd use yellow and add some brown to it.

Well unlike the last tube of tint, the yellow squirted out--more than I wanted actually. But wait! When I mixed it up, it started to look like almost exactly what I wanted. I mixed it some more and it seemed to get a little darker. Oh well, it was closer than I thought I'd ever get so I decided to add some hardener and apply it. Here are the results.

Here is the important area--the Patches!

Another View: I put a lot of gelcoat on here, I don't want to sand through. I will take this very slowly tomorrow when I sand it.

Ok, now here, this will be covered up. The 205 swivel base I ordered came in. It will cover this area almost completely. There might be a hole on each side peaking out though. I thought it would be nice to do this part anyway, as I had extra material and it would only be tossed out otherwise.
I forgot to pick up screws to mount the swivel base. Another job for tomorrow. I might actually be finished tomorrow! Certainly the end is in sight and coming up fast. I hope the gelcoat matches well when I sand it. Tomorrow will tell.

These small areas are somewhat important to me, because they cover up what I really hate--deck cleats. Deck cleats are ugly! I took off one on each side and each was a different type. One was a cam cleat the other a sideways mounted clam cleat like on the Superfish. Anything would be an improvement here. This shows the port side scars from two deck cleats. The other side was the same.

I also touched up the coaming in a few spots. The bare spot in this picture was just touched up.

My only worry is the gelcoat won't set up. I've had a few batches that seemed to set up very slowly--despite my most careful measurements. In any event it is dry today, albeit a little cool. More tomorrow.

Thread starter #37
I mentioned earlier that my bailer for SCUD was the wrong type. It was the old type, I should have had the new type, which is out of stock at my supplier. The complete assembly is $47. Ouch! My other boats, have problems with the bailers. There appears to be some sort of foam inside each! Not sure what that is, so I will take those apart soon.

Rather than wait forever to get another one I decided to modify the one I had.

The problem was the length. I measured it somewhat crudely. And cut a chunk of it off.

I used a simple coping saw to do the job.

I test fit it and the gap looked about right.

Wrong I had to cut a bit more off. This time I made sure I cut enough off and made a nicer cut too!

The finished job:

Three jobs left.

1) Install the mainsheet system. Need bolts and carbo ratchet block.

2) Wet sand the gelcoat repair--hopefully I won't sand through and have to do this again.

3) Wax the boat--which is hardly critical.

The water was 68 degrees yesterday a little colder than the last time I checked. In any event it is prime Sunfish sailing weather coming up!

Soon I will be testing SCUD out with it's new sail! Yippie!

Thread starter #38

Boat: Free

Gelcoat: $30
Epoxy: $0 Left overs from work on another boat Estimated value about $10-20.
Fiberglass cloth: $0 Scraps laying around.
Tint: $11 with lots left over
Throw away paint brushes: $16
Bailer: $52

Total to bring it up to typical standards: $109

Fancy options:
Custom Sail: $150
Halyard: $20
Mainsheet: $25
Harken 205 Swivel Base: $74
Carbo Ratchet Block: $38
Nuts and bolts: $2
New Sail Rings: $15
Sandpaper: $10
Vinyl Name Graphics: $22
Halyard Clam Cleat: $14
Carbo Boom Blocks $44
Hiking Stick: $75
Mainsheet eye-splice: $0 (I did it myself)

Total Cost: ~ $600

I probably estimated a bit high on some items.

I could have done the job a lot cheaper by using the old halyard and mainsheet, and sail rings, and leaving off the fancy hardware and hiking stick, but I like all my Sunfishes to be equally nice. I could also have put a very nice used sail on the boat for nothing. So I could have brought this boat up to typical Sunfish standards for ~ $100, or $200 including the used sail.

But now I have a pretty nice boat, nearly done, that I would like to sail as much as my other boats.

Time spent. I acutally spent very little time working on the boat. I estimate less than 10 hours total--probably more like 8 hours. Most work was very fast. It was 20 minutes here and 10 minutes there, added up for many weeks. The most time consuming job was the eye-splice for the mainsheet.
Thread starter #39
My last post was wishful thinking. I'm not totally happy with the color match. Here I was thinking I got lucky. Instead of being too dark, it is too light.

This shows it a little better, taken in the shade.

I'm going to leave it as it for now. I have two other boats to work on, so I'll wait and see if the gelcoat darkens a bit with use. If it bothers me I can try to match it again later when I have more time.

Next up was my mainsheet. I bought a Harken Carbo Standup Ratchet Block. But I'm not putting it on SCUD. I put that one on PATRIOT and took the standard ratchet block off that boat and put it on SCUD. Here you can see I've removed all the ringy dings, which are notorious for coming apart if located near a spring like a standup block. I replaced the Ringy-Dings with cotter pins, cut short and bent back. It will take pliers to get this apart--another benefit is they will be harder to steal.

Foreground has PATRIOT's new Carbo block.
I was originally going to use a cheaper block, but it was not a ratchet. I'll donate that to my cousin's Sunfish if she wants it, or resell it.

I had a little difficulty getting one nut on. It turns out there was a nut and the remnants of a bolt stuck to the underside of the lip. I twisted it off with a vise-grip.

I've long since purchased a new halyard, and mainsheet, and put an eye-splice in the mainsheet, so the rig is ready to go. The last chore was to reattach the metal rub rail with two rivets in the stern--two minutes work.

So, I may investigate designing a graphic of a missile to cover up the slight difference in color aft, or perhaps I'll try to match the gelcoat later on, or perhaps, I'll leave it alone.

SCUD is fully mission capable.

Bailers again: During all this I notice my other two Sunfishes have bits of styrofoam stuffed in the bailer. I think it was added on purpose to hold the float ball more captive. Does anyone know anything about this? I took one of these bailers apart (PATRIOT's) and cleaned it, removing the foam. I'm not sure it will seal all that well. There was not rubber seal for the ball to bear on in PATRIOT's bailer. I'll take apart THREAT's bailer next and see what is going on there. THREAT needs a new plug too.

Example of foam in bailer.
Ok, so I have two boats I purchased, both of this crap stuffed in there. It must be on purpose. Won't the bailers work without this foam in there?

PATRIOT's Bailer. Pretty crudy looking: Notice the ball can float up until it is inside of the bailer. Is there supposed to be a rubber plug here, like the new one I have on SCUD?

The rest of my Sunfish work consists of repairing spare rudders and some touch up varnishing I'm doing while touching up my keelboat's varnish. I'll try to post a picture of SCUD in the water soon.

I have one more little project for all my Sunfishes. I designed a tiller stabilizer. There is only one sheet and one tiller. I have two hands but can't seem to hold onto either at times. In particular when climbing aboard at the beach, I want to boat to point away from shore and it has an uncanny ability to turn around. So a couple of bails, pop rivets, and a shock cord will keep the tiller centered when I want to let go of it for a few seconds.

At some point I'd like to put stainless steel bow handles on all my boats. Perhaps next year.