New to forums, a few questions...

Thread starter #1
Hi all, been looking through the site for the last few days, very informative. I used to screw around on sunfish 20 years ago, but haven't done much since. Have a couple of kids and were hoping to get them into sailing, and picked up a new (very old) Sunfish for $450. At that price, I was ok with it as long as it sailed. I have no idea of the year. It appears to have the old style rudder, which I guess makes it pre '72. I see an aluminum tag aft of the mast that appears to have some numbers, but I can't make them out. I'm hoping I can if I clean it up a little. I'm looking at making this thing sailable and fun, so I'm fine getting workable solutions to problems rather than pricey official ones. I also don't know some of the terminology, so please correct me... I haven't had a chance to go through everything thoroughly yet, but here's what I have so far:
1. Sail is in great condition. Guy said it was a year or 2 old.
--It's held to the mast by zip ties. Looks functional at least.
2. Missing hardware:
a. Bow pull. Completely gone, screw holes filled with caulk. Ordered a new one, have been reading about the repair. I don't know if the backing plate is still there (I assume not). Any reason not to drill out the holes a bit, and fasten with some sort of toggle bolt a la a drywall anchor? An epoxy/screw/5200 repair seems like it would be less secure.
b. Halyard cleat. Gone, screws broken off. I ordered a composite 3" cleat. Screw holes will be different. This is one that should be fine with adhesive and screws I think.
c. Drain plug on deck. Nothing but a hole here. PO said he just used a cork in there. I'm sure it's effective, but I'm thinking the screw drains from a kayak or something would work. Anything specific appreciated...
d. Bailer. Guy said he lost the ball in the grass or something. The rest of the bailer (plastic) looks fine. Any replacement for the ball aside from the $25/5 official replacements I've seen? I might just run without it for a while.

I'll see what else is missing when I get it rigged up I guess. Although I don't know if I'd notice if something is missing...

3. Broken: Latch plate (?) on rudder. The screw connecting it to the bottom of the boat is missing. Looks like an easy fix, but I don't know how long it's been like that and am worried about water entry, but who knows. I've never seen the old style rudder though, so I don't know if it's functional or not. I don't think it's supposed to have a spring?
4. Waterlogged hull. No idea. I'll weigh it when I can. I'd be surprised if this thing were 50 years old and watertight. Luckily, that seems curable.

Overall, I don't think I bought a money pit disaster, and all the hardware that's on it looks cool old original brass.

Lastly, I couldn't find anything showing year-to-year changes or major design revisions by year or anything. Curious as to how my boat differs from a newer one.

Anything else I should look for/be aware of?

Thanks, I'm looking forward to capsizing on my first jibe :)
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#2
As normal, most of the wood backing plates are gone/deteriorated.
You can replace everything except the bow handle with screws, bolts
and fender washers using the standard location for two inspection
ports. The bottom rudder latch is going to need said bolt/locknut with fender washer
to repair. Wood screw will no longer work. Don't use toggle bolts
for anything as they are not designed for shear loads and will just
make a mess. You might try moving the bow handle back a bit and
re drilling. The backer block is usually a pretty thick chunk of wood.

The old rudder hardware should have a spring-plate on top. You
can make one from standard hardware store metal bar stock. Or,
they show up on Ebay often.

You can buy deck drain plugs, fitting-thing-a-ma-jig for Sunfish.
If you going to put in inspection ports you might as well fiberglass
over the hole since they cost $50 bones.

I think the Bailer Ball is a waist of time, now watch me get mobbed
by the opposing viewpoint.
 
#3
I have all the vintage hardware items you need at decent prices. E-mail me a list of what you need and I will reply with photos and prices.
Don't worry about the bailer ball. The bailer will work fine without it.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
aglos@colgate.edu
 
Thread starter #4
As normal, most of the wood backing plates are gone/deteriorated.
You can replace everything except the bow handle with screws, bolts
and fender washers using the standard location for two inspection
ports. The bottom rudder latch is going to need said bolt/locknut with fender washer
to repair. Wood screw will no longer work.
How do I get to the back of the fiberglass to install the nut? Or am I missing something? I was planning on just filling the hole with epoxy and rescrewing. Didn't look like there's too much tensile load there.

The old rudder hardware should have a spring-plate on top. You
can make one from standard hardware store metal bar stock. Or,
they show up on Ebay often.
hmm, nothing I've seen shows it. Do you have a pic?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#5
The bottom rudder latch is going to need said bolt/locknut with fender washer
to repair. Wood screw will no longer work.

The old rudder hardware should have a spring-plate on top. You
can make one from standard hardware store metal bar stock. Or,
they show up on Ebay often.

You can buy deck drain plugs, fitting-thing-a-ma-jig for Sunfish..
The latch plate on the hull does NOT get a bolt, lock nut and washer. There is no place for all that. I think the repair you suggest should work.

The spring plate is a flat piece of brass, perhaps 1.5 inches x 6 inches. Alan can help you out with the right part.

New Sunfish have plastic deck plugs. They are just a few bucks at APS.

But get what you need from Alan. He is experienced, knowledgeable and sells at very fair prices.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#6
I thought by latch plate you mean the brass strap on the bottom
of the hull. It's held on by a single wood screw into a wood backing
block. You get access by installing a inspection port on the rear deck.
The other inspection port goes just behind the splash guard. If you
check EBay there is a picture of a complete hardware set.
 
Thread starter #7
Yes, I'm talking about the brass strap at the bottom. And ok, yeah, I have the spring plate. There's no standard coil spring like on the new style. Certainly don't want to deal with doing the inspection port this weekend if possible, so I'll at least give the epoxy a shot. If I need backing, another option might be to cut a smaller hole in the bottom, enough to get a long narrow piece of metal stock into, put a bolt through that and then seal the whole thing over with epoxy. Or something.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#8
I've never tried it but you may be able to use
a tri-fold pop rivet in place of the screw. If so
you'll need to use some marine sealer around
the hole.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
Howdy NOLA

The Forum is the place to be, great knowledge, excellent options for repair and lots of parts sources. We like to see repairs done using used or new factory parts and known good methods, but not everyone goes down that trail. Seems just as easy to keep the boat stock, and if you are going to put kids on a boat it needs to be right, that is why you see a lot of our restorations going overboard, we won't sell a boat without it being seaworthy.

1. Not sure what is being held by zip ties?
2.a. Drywall anchors will pull out. Metal molly bolts will rust and break. You can poke around the bow handle fastener holes with an awl and see if you feel a wood block in there. If so fill the old hole with toothpicks and gorilla glue or thickened epoxy (GG/TE). 2nd option is to drill a 1/8th inch exploratory hole about 1/4 inch away from old hole and see if wood shavings come out. If so then fill old holes with GG/TE and install bow handle in new spot.
2.b. The halyard cleat would work best if it is the factory cleat and factory spec size, otherwise the line might not grip properly. Cleats are very inexpensive and will match the rest of the hardware. Hopefully the wood backer is still there.
2.c You are correct that the basic nylon drain plugs from a kayak would work, just measure the hole to get the right size. Example Ronstan Plug from APS.

ronstan drain plug.jpg


2.d. As long as you have the bailer plug you are good to go.

3. The latch plate is easy to get, I have one if Alan doesn't. Once again hopefully the wood backer is intact. If not, put in an inspection port about 8 inches forward of the transom and replace it. Smaller 5 inch port works better on curved aft deck, just leave the port ring off while working through the hole. Here is the patent info for the old style rudder assembly, with the proper nomenclature.

Alcort Rudder Releasing Mechanism Patent page 1.png


Alcort Rudder Releasing Mechanism Patent page 2.png


Alcort Rudder Releasing Mechanism Patent page 3.png

Zip Gen 2 rudder.jpg

4. The weight of your hull should be 139, nice solid woven roving fiberglass. Usually show up here around 144 without raising an eyebrow.

Note:

The old hardware is bronze, and yes it is cool. Made by WIlcox and Crittenden.

You can put in inspection ports to access the inner hull, or split the seam in different areas. We do both. Factory repair for rudder hardware, backer bow handle and flotation blocks was a seam split. Other option is to cut the access hole, do the repair, then glass the hole shut.

For year to year changes on the Sunfish, look under the Resources tab, Sunfish Knowledge Base, Sunfish History and scroll to the bottom where there is a link to a pdf of the Sunfish Timeline. That document is the most comprehensive out there. The new boats have a rolled gunwale and different rudder, plus a lot of other small items. All the boats can be raced in high level Sunfish Class regattas if they have the original parts, our 1953 boat is "class legal" if we put a Class sail on it!

If you use our recreational rig, keep the boom a little higher, the chances of capsize will be minimized. Bit if you're looking forward to it...

Cheers
Clark and Skipper
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#11
I'd stay as close to factory-sized and fit as possible. (Or better).

Kids (or winds) will test your repairs to the "Nth" degree.

I bought my latest 6" inspection port for $12. (Bayonet mount). Easier for access, with little loss in deck strength. The bow handle backing block was OK on my Sunfish, but I bolted it on anyway.

'Sounds like you'll need a brass "gooseneck" fitting. Check eBay.

Timely and exhaustive Sunfish links can be accessed using the magnifying icon at the upper right corner of this page.
 
Thread starter #12
Ok, continuing to learn a lot. I plan on fixing everything safely. However, if the mfg did it right the first time, they wouldn't have changed anything all these years. Looking through everything, looks like I have a '69 or '70--It says AMF, and i have no storage compartment. My phone's broken, I'll take some pics in a few days. Cool links. Love the patent. My boat doesn't have an aft bottom hull drain, which I've seen on some of them?
1. I have the latch plate, and the gooseneck (original, cool). The pulley and chock for the main sheet looks newer. There's an old hook and a u-shaped bracket at the front of the cockpit that look original, but certainly that bracket doesn't look used/missing something. Not sure what it's for. I *think* at this point that the only pieces that I'm missing are the bow pull, halyard cleat, deck drain plug, and there's some sort of ball chain on the rudder assembly that I assume is just to keep something from falling in the drink. Once I get straight exactly what I need, I'll hit you guys up for parts.
2. The zip ties are holding the sail to the spars, instead of proper sail rings.
3. Took a closer look at the bottom. There's a split/small hole/beach rash along the centerline on the bottom. I epoxied it for short term, but it's going to likely need some proper mat and resin.
4. Looks like someone has already tried to repair that screw hole with epoxy to no avail. I probed up in the hole and got brown mush instead of wood.
5. Weighed the hull, and it came in at a hefty 155#.

With 4+5, it looks like I'll need some access ports. Not too difficult, would allow a bulletproof repair of the rudder, and let me dry things out. Going to research this a bit more. Doesn't look like there's a standard access port fitting--if anybody has some specific examples of what they're using, I'd appreciate it.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#15
As far as I know, the transom drains were not factory. The chain used to be attached to the horizontal pivot pin, most likely it is on the side of the road somewhere now.

Brown mush does not sound promising, most likely the entire strip of wood it rotten.

deck plate backer block.JPG

CheersClark and Skipper
 
#16
I have all the vintage hardware items you need at decent prices. E-mail me a list of what you need and I will reply with photos and prices.
Don't worry about the bailer ball. The bailer will work fine without it.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
aglos@colgate.edu
Hello, someone left an old Sunfish hull in my yard a few years ago. It floats and is not particularly heavy. The serial number is 72577. If we were to purchase rigging, we would need just about everything but the traveler. Do you have parts for really old Sunfish?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#17
c. Drain plug on deck. Nothing but a hole here. PO said he just used a cork in there. I'm sure it's effective, but I'm thinking the screw drains from a kayak or something would work. Anything specific appreciated...
d. Bailer. Guy said he lost the ball in the grass or something. The rest of the bailer (plastic) looks fine. Any replacement for the ball aside from the $25/5 official replacements I've seen? I might just run without it for a w
4. Waterlogged hull. No idea. I'll weigh it when I can. I'd be surprised if this thing were 50 years old and watertight. Luckily, that seems curable.

Overall, I don't think I bought a money pit disaster, and all the hardware that's on it looks cool old original brass.

Lastly, I couldn't find anything showing year-to-year changes or major design revisions by year or anything. Curious as to how my boat differs from a newer one.
• 1971 was the last of the bronze rudder fittings. An upgrade to the later rudder style is encouraged. :)
• About this time, the (slow) metal De Persia bailer was replaced by the (faster, but fragile) plastic bailer.
• Later Sunfish eliminated the aluminum trim going to a "rolled" fiberglass edge. Masts got an internal reinforcement.
• Backing plates went to metal rather than wood.
A rudder upgrade will necessitate a third inspection port; however one member (Mixmkr) has cut access holes through the bottom, then repaired the holes. This technique coincidentally reinforces the bottom.
• Rudders and daggerboards were changed to white plastic.
• The newest hulls (this year's) have a few changes that we're still learning about—rumors abound: e.g., Sails are a brighter white than former new sails.


4. Waterlogged hull.
• "Muffin fan" comes to mind. You'll need an inspection port, but even better would be a pair of ports. With a single port, you can still direct the air flow deep into the hull using metal hose, plastic hose, or PVC pipe. If you're replacing the bow handle, that's the place for cutting the first port—to add s/s bolts and a new "backing-plate" (wood or s/s). Importantly, consider that this Sunfish is likely to be lifted/dragged hither-and-yon by the bow handle. :confused:

• The second, and the most important port, is a six-incher aft of the splash guard. Handy for bolting the (replacement) halyard cleat down. Five-inch port, $10:
https://smile.amazon.com/MARINE-PLASTIC-WATERPROOF-INSPECTION-BAYONET/dp/B0080IMQKG/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g1405964225?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&ie=UTF8


• Where to install ports without damaging the internal Styrofoam support blocks:
http://kb.sunfishforum.com/images/Inspection_Ports.pdf


Bailer: Plastic bailer: two small pins keep the ball in—check that the pins are still there. When they're missing, oftentimes, a hairline crack can be seen running through the body of the bailer. Even then, keep the bailer. Pins can be fabricated from the "mandrel" that pop-rivets have—grind or cut to length. (Super-glue in place, then press in).

.
 
Last edited:
Thread starter #19
Ok, got impatient and went for a sail yesterday, and have some pics. The sail was...interesting. The rudder kept popping off. That made things challenging. Water poured in through the bailer, ended up with a solid 8" of water (at least) in the cockpit, which made things interesting as well (that was just due to it not being screwed down enough).

1. No halyard cleat. I just tied it off to the mast for now, which worked fine in the light wind I was in. I had seen a few posts about putting the cleat on the mast. Any downsides to that? In the pic it looks like there's something else that used to be around the mast as well. Any ideas what that was?

2. RUDDER: I kind of need this to work. I see why the new style upgrade is recommended. I'll get this working, and just keep my eyes open for a new one I guess. I filled the bottom latch plate with epoxy and screwed it in. Holding fine for now, but I'm guessing it won't last. The vertical pin was bent at the threads and had goobered threads. I straightened it up and rethreaded it with a die, and it's nice and smooth now. Turned out I'm missing the horizontal pin, as well as the chain that holds it. Used a little bolt for now, but am going to find a pin that fits and attach to the hull. Losing that on a sail wouldn't be fun.
The main issue I'm having now is that with the screw cranked until there isn't any flex left in the spring plate, the rudder is still loose and pops out. I screwed the latch plate in at the site of the old hole, but am wondering if that's in the right place.
--The vertical pin isn't vertical, it angles towards the bow at the bottom of the boat. There appears to be a bend in the latch plate; I would think that that should rest at the very rear of the boat. Basically, I need the deck plate and the latch plate to be closer together to secure the vertical plate.

Here's the vertical plate. Not vertical:

20180824_173845.jpg


Looking down at the latch plate from above. I think that notch needs to be more towards the stern
20180824_173621.jpg

Here's a shot of the bend in the latch plate:
20180824_173458_HDR.jpg

Whole assembly
20180824_172233.jpg

2 fittings appear to be missing:

20180824_172257.jpg

Not sure what that thing on the coaming is for. That pulley and cam don't appear original.
20180824_172245.jpg

Full shot in all her glory.
20180824_172222.jpg
 
#20
Glad you got the old girl on the water. Now you know what needs to be done before the second sail.

In no order:

The metal bail on the inside of the coaming probably housed a compass in the past. You can remove it without worry.

I think (?) your rudder problems stem from the keel plate. I am guessing that at some point the flat head attachment screw stripped the threads in the keel and somebody moved it forward into a new hole. Remove the flat head screw and see if I am right. If so, put the plate on a solid surface, flat side down, and gently hammer it smooth. It is bronze so you won't damage it if you are careful. Then epoxy the holes in the keel, let the epoxy cure, position the plate over the original hole and drill a new pilot hole and reattach the plate in the correct position.

As for the spring plate, make sure it is flat, and hammer flat if not. Consider turning it over if it has lost some spring. Make sure the forward round head attchment screw is snug as any play will reduce he spring tension.

Finally reattach the rudder assembly, tighten the wing nut on the bronze carriage bolt and see if the rudder is snug in the "down" position. As for the horrizontal pin, any 1/4" dia, hex bolt with a nylon nut will work fine. You should also get a length of plastic hose to fit around the carriage bolt to reduce the wobble in the fiberglass channel. If the bolt wobbles side to side, this also contributes to unwanted kick-up.

Bailer: Post photos. Is it metal or white plastic? Where does it appear to be leaking?

Halyard cleat: A mast cleat is good, and an easy install, but you still need the deck eye and a deck cleat to secure the loose end of the halyard to the deck - if you don't you risk losing the entire rig if you capsize the boat.

If you need parts (horn cleats, deck halyard eye, new bailer etc.) let me know. I can sell you a box full for pretty cheap.

Good luck with the project.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
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