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New Life for SCUD (1968 Sunfish)


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!




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.


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.