New Project Questions

Thread starter #1
I'm new to Sunfish and sailing in general. I just bought an old Sunfish last night. She doesn't have a HIN but a serial number instead. According to http://www.sunfishklasse.nl/documenten/Sunfish Timeline.pdf I think she was manufactured in 1966 and is among the last to have a halyard block. It looks like she still has all original hardware with very little corrosion. She is solid with a couple of small places that need a little fiberglass work and some small spider cracks here and there. The sail is in great shape for the age with some tiny holes here and there but no tears and minor fading. Shes missing the centerboard and rudder assembly but for $150 I don't think I can complain.
IMG_1547.jpg IMG_1548.jpg IMG_1550.jpg IMG_1559.jpg IMG_1560.jpg IMG_1565.jpg IMG_1566.jpg IMG_1558.jpg
I do have a few questions

Both lines are a little frayed and very ugly. The halyard is a lot stiffer then the sheet. I think they are both 5/16in. I Don't know their age or history and the rope used to lash the aft end of the sail to the spars disintegrated in my hands so for safety I want to replace them. What type of line should I get and does anyone know a good place to order it?
IMG_1567.jpg IMG_1568.jpg IMG_1569.jpg

There is some light mildew on the sail and a prior owner had put duct tape over some of the holes. The tape has since disintegrated but has left an ugly yellowish patch of tape residue. Will diluted bleach harm the color on my sail and does anyone have a suggestion as to how to remove the old tape residue?
IMG_1553.jpg IMG_1554.jpg

I'm comfortable working with wood so I intend to make the centerboard and rudder myself. Does anyone know where I can get plans?

She has the old style rudder mount. Should I look for the old rudder hardware or convert?
IMG_1552.jpg IMG_1561.jpg IMG_1562.jpg

The bottom looks like she might have been dragged over something its not deep but it is a little flatter there. Should I try to build It back up a little or just gel coat it? How would it effect performance?
IMG_1555.jpg IMG_1557.jpg
Thanks
Crimson Dawn
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#2
The sponsor of this site, APS, sells great line for the halyard, sheet and outhaul. Did you weigh the boat? A boat of that age should weigh 140 or so.

I’d expect bleach to do what bleach does, so I’d try acetone or Goo Gone on the tape residue on the red sections of the sail, or just tape it over with sail repair tape from APS.

Someone else will know about rudder and daggerboard plans as I don’t.
 
#3
As far as "plans" the I think The Sunfish Bible should have them if you wanted a hard copy of all kinds of info on hand, but there's loads of online resources too:

This thread has daggerboard info.

The resources section has specs for the daggerboard and rudder

Sunfish Class has a class rules pdf with specs for various styles across the years

There's probably more out there, but I'm in the process of restoring a 1972 Porpoise II (pretty popular clonefish) and those have been helpful on the woodwork.
 
#4
For removing residue like that tape I usually just reach for acetone or whatever goo remover like beldar mentioned, but I've never had to remove it from a sail (usually just those crappy little stickers dealers love to put on cars). I've also heard rubbing alcohol and WD-40 or even oil (e.g. vegetable oil) can help remove duct tape residue. They might be a little gentler on a sail.

If the sail is made of PET (Dacron being a name brand and 1966 looks like it's right after the introduction of Dacron) then acetone could degrade it. A little bit of low concentration stuff, e.g. nail polish remover, probably won't do much harm (just don't go soaking it in any industrial grade stuff).
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#5
"Goo-Gone" is an organic cleaner, and is less likely to damage the sail's fabric. Not as effective, but WD-40 will also work, especially if you want to start the task right away—and (normally) have some handy.

The "stripes" on a Sunfish bottom are likely a common sight. I just turned over one of my older Sunfish, and it has one stripe—perhaps because the "automatic bailer" is on the opposite side. If there are no defects to be seen, you can either do nothing, or give it a coat of spray paint. Next season, the paint may offer evidence as to what to do next—if anything.

Your old rudder parts may find a buyer on eBay, and I'd convert to the new type. :cool: Watch for wear on the replacement rudder, and that it has the pintel (pin) attached securely. The two-part tiller attachment area can cause the tiller to sag :confused: and scratch the rear deck. :mad: Search here for "Deck Rash", here: Search results for query: Tiller Rash

and here:
Wood tiller??

Lines bought commercially tend to be the shortest length that will do the job. FWIW. A too-short halyard will have you reaching 'way-up for the end of a line waving high in the breeze. :confused: A too-short mainsheet, under certain conditions, can disappear from your hands. :oops: Your lines are either organic (natural fiber—manila hemp, hemp, linen, cotton, coir, jute, straw, and sisal) or may have what is called a "hard lay" in stretchy nylon. (Those hard lay lines are made intentionally stiff—I never found a good use for those lines, and I have hundreds of feet of them!) :(

.
 
Last edited:

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#6
A couple comments on the above replies - APS is an expert on sailboat rigging and will sell you the right lengths. And those old lines should go - technology has moved on since 1966

I know of at least one sailmaker that has recommended acetone on sailrs (and I know someone who has used lacquer thinner on sails) BUT those sails were NOT from 1966! So that recommended caution is appropriate!
 
Thread starter #7
The lines I have are definitely synthetic. I have some missing sail rings and a couple others that are broken. I saw where someone tied their sail onto the spars instead of using sail rings. What are the pros and cons of this.
 
Thread starter #8
The sponsor of this site, APS, sells great line for the halyard, sheet and outhaul. Did you weigh the boat? A boat of that age should weigh 140 or so.

I’d expect bleach to do what bleach does, so I’d try acetone or Goo Gone on the tape residue on the red sections of the sail, or just tape it over with sail repair tape from APS.

Someone else will know about rudder and daggerboard plans as I don’t.
I haven't weighed her yet but I did get around half a galleon out of her today and she is defiantly way over 140 so I'm pretty sure shes waterlogged. I think Ill eventually add a hiking strap so I'm debating between putting one inspection port in the middle of the aft deck and straining to reach the hardware for both the strap and a rudder conversion or have two in the aft deck one by the cockpit and one by the rudder but I'm afraid that might effect structural integrity.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#9
Adding two ports in the aft deck won’t have any impact on structural integrity. Boat will be fine! You will want the aftmost port right near the stern. Otherwise you will hit tons of foam that will need to be removed. Putting a port in the middle of the aft deck will most likely mean you won’t be able to reach the rudder or back of cockpit due to the large amounts of spray in foam used in that vintage of boat.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#10
The lines I have are definitely synthetic. I have some missing sail rings and a couple others that are broken. I saw where someone tied their sail onto the spars instead of using sail rings. What are the pros and cons of this.
For racing, lines for attaching the sails to the spars can be adjusted individually to "shape" the sail for adjusting power.

For recreational sailing—anything goes! :cool:

You can use new line, old line, cable-ties, "zip-ties", shower curtain rings, old rings—or new rings from APS. Old rings generally are "iffy" in being used a 2nd time, but I put a dab of E6000 cement to make them last through another sail change.

.
 
#11
If the boat is waterlogged you’ll want to add two ports. I’d buy Beckson or Viking 5” screw out ports. Watch Signal Charlie’s YouTube videos- search Small Boat Restoration- for directions on install. Don’t be afraid to cut two big holes in your boat, just make sure they’re in the right spots! One centered just aft of splashguard and one at stern about 2” from trim. You’ll need to reach mounting screws for new rudder if you go that route, and since you don’t have the old rudder and do have the skill to make one I’d definitely upgrade to the new style. The rudder cheek isn’t cheap, but someone here may have a used one they could sell to you. First, though, get those holes cut and look up how to dry out a waterlogged Sunfish. You may have a project for this summer, as drying will take time.
 
#12
you might consider a port on the back wall of the cockpit - I don't think yours should have the storage cubby back there anyway. I'm not sure if that's going to give you enough access for the rudder conversion... but I put one there and liked that location on my older Sunfish.

 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#13
Congratulations on your new 1966 Alcort Sunfish, she's a beauty! What's her name? Ser No. 30599, built in Waterbury, Connecticut back when they were pumping out dozens of Sunfish per day. She will have a very nice weight of woven roving in her hull, one of the years that we love to restore. WIth careful cleaning and wet sanding you might be able to restore that gelcoat!

A few notes. First, that little hole in the Ser No. plate is supposed to be there, it is a vent hole for the hull, to keep pressure equalized and prevent an overpressurized hull from popping seams. And I always liked how the Ser No. plate has both a Sunfish and a Sailfish on there. Take a closer look, there are little daggerboards and rudders depicted on there, you could trace them and scale them up to make a pattern :)

1966 data plate Alcort.jpg

You'll want new lines, for our setup we prefer:

Mainsheet - 5/16th inch New England Rope Sta Set with the color flecks in it to match the boat, 25 feet.

Halyard - 3/16th inch Sta Set, matching color. 25 feet for the halyard plus we buy an extra 25 feet to be used for a bow line, bridle and sail ties.

Sail lashing - 1/8th inch New England Rope nylon line, sold in a 50 foot package from West Marine, usually hiding in a basket on the floor back by their other line. We like to connect the tack with the S hook, cut 2 short pieces on line for the outhauls, then bend on the sail with a marlin hitch. That's how Alcort used to do it before they discovered plastic sail rings. It looks nice and we have yet to have any line come loose. As for the sail rings, we lose 3-4 a year from brittleness or they just never closed correctly. Quality Control varied. As for using line, I did read on gaff rigs where if the line got cut then the sail could start to work loose at the rings. A Sunfish lateen would still be connected by outhauls and tack.

zip marlin hitch sail.jpg

You can find old style rudder hardware here or on eBay. It works fine when set up properly. Looks like you need the vertical hinge plate with straps for a fiberglass Sunfish and the hinge pin. We need to look around to see if we have the nylon tube that goes over the carriage bolt, it helps keep the bolt aligned in the transom slot. And check the latch plate on the keel, the detent needs to look new, not worn. Judging the condition of your boat, I don't think she got abused or used too much.

If you plan to really tear it up out there in winds over 15 knots, I'd suggest swapping over to the new style rudder. And plan on spending 300 or so for used parts, available from sellers here or on ebay.

For your daggerboard, you can go period correct Spoon Tip or choose a newer version, we recommend the Barringto. Several available on ebay right now and I think they are good prices for a piece of marine grade mahogany, already shaped and with the proper hardware and hand grip.

Before I forget, I'd change over the halyard block to the mast cap with built in fairlead. Those block eyebolts can be chrome plated brass and they can pull the eye out easily under load. The nut can also come off during a trailer ride and the bolt fall outs, sailing day is over.

And where is your new ship homeported? Curious why you referenced sunfish klasse?

IMG_1139.jpg
 
#14
others mentioned APS for new line - they have a nice "kit" with all the lines you'll need, already pre-cut to length and the appropriate line diameter and type.
Recreational Line Package For Sunfish

the only additional line to consider getting (that doesn't come with the kit) is the 1/8" line to tie the sail on to the booms as signal charlie mentioned above. he likes the marlin hitch, I just used short lengths of line for each sail tie like so:

 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#15
Although harder to make yourself, the newest Sunfish daggerboard is by far the best. It’s longer than previous, but most importantly its cross-section is foil shaped. It points much better than the old slab-side designs and comes out of a tack much better. Intensity makes them in wood and glass Replica FRP Daggerboard for the Sunfish. Laser Performance makes class legal ones for racing but they cost more.
 
Thread starter #16
Congratulations on your new 1966 Alcort Sunfish, she's a beauty! What's her name? Ser No. 30599, built in Waterbury, Connecticut back when they were pumping out dozens of Sunfish per day. She will have a very nice weight of woven roving in her hull, one of the years that we love to restore. WIth careful cleaning and wet sanding you might be able to restore that gelcoat!

A few notes. First, that little hole in the Ser No. plate is supposed to be there, it is a vent hole for the hull, to keep pressure equalized and prevent an overpressurized hull from popping seams. And I always liked how the Ser No. plate has both a Sunfish and a Sailfish on there. Take a closer look, there are little daggerboards and rudders depicted on there, you could trace them and scale them up to make a pattern :)

View attachment 32315

You'll want new lines, for our setup we prefer:

Mainsheet - 5/16th inch New England Rope Sta Set with the color flecks in it to match the boat, 25 feet.

Halyard - 3/16th inch Sta Set, matching color. 25 feet for the halyard plus we buy an extra 25 feet to be used for a bow line, bridle and sail ties.

Sail lashing - 1/8th inch New England Rope nylon line, sold in a 50 foot package from West Marine, usually hiding in a basket on the floor back by their other line. We like to connect the tack with the S hook, cut 2 short pieces on line for the outhauls, then bend on the sail with a marlin hitch. That's how Alcort used to do it before they discovered plastic sail rings. It looks nice and we have yet to have any line come loose. As for the sail rings, we lose 3-4 a year from brittleness or they just never closed correctly. Quality Control varied. As for using line, I did read on gaff rigs where if the line got cut then the sail could start to work loose at the rings. A Sunfish lateen would still be connected by outhauls and tack.

View attachment 32316

You can find old style rudder hardware here or on eBay. It works fine when set up properly. Looks like you need the vertical hinge plate with straps for a fiberglass Sunfish and the hinge pin. We need to look around to see if we have the nylon tube that goes over the carriage bolt, it helps keep the bolt aligned in the transom slot. And check the latch plate on the keel, the detent needs to look new, not worn. Judging the condition of your boat, I don't think she got abused or used too much.

If you plan to really tear it up out there in winds over 15 knots, I'd suggest swapping over to the new style rudder. And plan on spending 300 or so for used parts, available from sellers here or on ebay.

For your daggerboard, you can go period correct Spoon Tip or choose a newer version, we recommend the Barringto. Several available on ebay right now and I think they are good prices for a piece of marine grade mahogany, already shaped and with the proper hardware and hand grip.

Before I forget, I'd change over the halyard block to the mast cap with built in fairlead. Those block eyebolts can be chrome plated brass and they can pull the eye out easily under load. The nut can also come off during a trailer ride and the bolt fall outs, sailing day is over.

And where is your new ship homeported? Curious why you referenced sunfish klasse?

View attachment 32317
Wow, I didn’t even notice that hole until you pointed it out. I’m thinking since I’m going to have to cut holes in her to dry her out I might as well convert to the new rudder style. I’m going to call her Crimson Dawn. I’m in the Knoxville TN aria and as for sunfish klasse that’s just the resource I found when trying to figure out her age.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#17
Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.

With that name, it looks like you are looking for some wild sailing conditions!
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#21
Signal Charlie is right. If you remove all the screws at once, the backing blocks may well fall into the hull, and then, you are, well, screwed! I’d be very concerned about this happening ina bit of this age.

Not sure what happens if you unscrew the splashrail, but the above holds true for all the other hardware.
 
Last edited:

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#23
The coaming should have machine screws with rivnuts, no danger of them falling off but you might have to soak with penetrating oil.

Bow handle - wooden backer block
Halyard block - wooden backer block
Halyard cleat - wooden backer block
Bridle eyestraps - wooden backer blocks
Horizontal hinge plate - wooden backer block
Latch plate - wooden backer block

They are glued in and have a fiberglass strap across them also. But everything dries up and/or rots over time. We have done so many boats now that when we hear a ratlle inside as the boat is turned over, we can identify which block it is :)

Jack wet rotten backer block.JPG

IMG_2676.jpg

IMG_2559.jpg

Hoops dry backer block.jpg
 

Attachments

#26
Wow, that boat cleaned up really nicely, looking forward to seeing more. Saw three Lasers at the "used stuff" section of the landfill this morning. Two of them had daggerboard, rudder and mast pieces. Sure got me thinking but I have too many projects already. Have you tried CLR for the stains? Worked really well on some rust stains at our old place in Wisconsin last summer. Your boat looks really good Crimson Dawn!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#28
Iron Out spray, found at Lowes. Don't breathe it. And avoid the powder version, it is dusty and hard to mix. Then you might want to try wet sanding a spot with 1600 grit.

IMG_2448.jpg

IMG_3083.jpg

LADY scrubbed up real nice, check out her blog

Lady stern.jpg

Lady starboard.jpg

3M Adhesive Remover would work on the decal remnants, then a little more wet sanding. You'll have shadow of the digits there for a while where the vinyl protected the gelcoat, it will fade eventually.
 
Thread starter #29
Iron Out spray, found at Lowes. Don't breathe it. And avoid the powder version, it is dusty and hard to mix. Then you might want to try wet sanding a spot with 1600 grit.

View attachment 32331

View attachment 32332

LADY scrubbed up real nice, check out her blog

View attachment 32334

View attachment 32333

3M Adhesive Remover would work on the decal remnants, then a little more wet sanding. You'll have shadow of the digits there for a while where the vinyl protected the gelcoat, it will fade eventually.
I love that sail
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#30
Beldar, you are correct about a lot of expanding foam being back there, Howie told me that the early 70s is when they got a foam gun at the factory, so foam went everywhere! But we can reach the rudder or cockpit, just have to dig a while through a small hole....or pop the seam. The white blocks are the structural foam blocks that provide structural support and flotation, made of extruded polystyrene (XPS) closed cell foam vs the easier to find expanded polystyrene foam (EPS). XPS is hard to find, so folks out there, hold on to it, dry it out if needed.

hoops stern foam blob.jpg

hoops foam.jpg

Tips for working inside the boat through a new inspection port hole, 1) don't put the ring in until after the work is done, more room to reach 2) 5 inch port hard to work through, 6 inch best, 4 inch near impossible 3) tape the edge of the hole with blue tape to reduce sharp edges and fibers, remove tape before installing port and 4) wear long sleeves reaching through the port.

Here's a shot showing where the white blocks are located, look for the dew on the deck. 3 blocks forward, one just behind the bow handle. 3 blocks aft, one behind and under cockpit cubby.

Sunfish foam block location.jpg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#33
Breeze Bender you are right about the 5 inch ports being better for the stern, given the crown of the deck back aft. It is important to not tighten the ring too tight, we add extra sealant around the port and starboard edges, build the sealant up a bit, vs cranking the ring all the way down to the deck and warping it. We tape around the port to reduce wayward blobs of sealant finding their way onto the deck, and lately we make sure all painting is done before grabbing the goo, it is hard to clean off and paint beads on it.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#34
60th Anniversary sail, hard to find.
Some photo-enhancement to show the locations of the Styrofoam blocks—seen with Signal Charlie's morning dew:

Fullscreen capture 6132019 101707 AM.bmp.jpg

In case it's not clear yet, removing the hardware can cause the factory's block of wood ("backing-block") to fall inside the hull. (and become lost—And the reason to leave at least one screw in all the time). The hardware can be removed with the hull upside-down. Oftentimes, physically moving the hardware one-half-inch will hide the old holes, and pull the screw into a stronger part of the original "backing-block". Suggest using longer screws as replacements. When replacing "backing blocks", suggest sawing oval portions of white plastic cutting blocks—found in kitchens or at Dollar Tree. ("Where everything is not a dollar" any longer!) :eek:

:oops: Get those $1 ear protectors, $1 eye protectors, $1 disposable 100 gloves, $1 Barilla 1# spaghetti, $1 Dutch mushrooms, $1 Clorox, $1 travel items—NOW! :(

I’d like to remove the hardware to make it easier to restore her or is that a bad idea.
This is the start of the sailing season :) "if'n you get my drift...;)

.
 
#36
I like Signal Charlie's explanations, they are usually accompanied by good concise photos, LOL. And OP, your boat looks very nice since you've cleaned her up, it's always easier to stay on top of the routine maintenance once you've brought the boat up to speed, aye? Good job, she'll soon look beautiful once those ugly stains are removed. If all else fails, you could try polishing compound or even rubbing compound, though I would save the latter as a last resort... or (gasp!) PAINT the cockpit if all else fails. Dunno how deep the stains run, but if they are merely surface stains you should have no problem getting rid of 'em, same way you'd drop-kick unwanted house guests from your property like you're STARRIN' in the NFL, LOL. :rolleyes:
 
Top