New (to me) sunfish!

Thread starter #1
Hello All! As of this afternoon I have purchased my first sunfish, and am taking delivery in a few days. It is a mid 1970's boat, white with blue and red stripe. The boat was owned by a man in his 80's who has not used it in many many years. It was stored in his basement, and seems to be very dry and light. It comes with two centerboards, both different shapes (I assume one is a newer style). The sail has been replaced but seems very wrinkled because of the way it was stored.

Being new to a sunfish I have a few questions.
1. The top deck needs a good compound and wax. The bottom has had some fiberglass work done on the keel (very well done if I can say so) but is in need of a paint. What is the best way to go about this?
2. There is a drain plug on the bottom of the cockpit, and then a small hole on the starboard side of the deck. What is this for?
3. Has anyone used the west coast sailing sunfish line kit? I'm considering ordering one for my boat.
4. Even if the boat was stored in a basement and seems light and dry, should I still install an inspection port?

Thanks in advance for all of the help.


Active Member
Hi NJboater,

1. There are multiple posts about paint in this forum, but personally I painted on gelcoat from Jamestown Distributors to "paint" over where I patched a whole in the keel. I then wet-sanded it smooth.

2. The drain plug on the floor should drain the cockpit while underway. The drain on the starboard side is to let out water. I have heard that they can corrode and become difficult to remove, but mine unscrewed easily

3. I have not used the line kit you mention.

4. I would install an inspection port with "cat bag" in front of the dagger board slot. I use mine to
a. Inspect for water in the boat
b. let the humid air out of the boat. I routinely pull the bag out and leave the port open when covered.
c. keep stuff while sailing. Thinking for a moment, I usually keep my mobile phone, keys, a line for the bow, sunscreen goop, and a bungee cord that I use to keep the sail and booms from sliding off the deck when launching and hauling
d. I also have used the port for interior access when making repairs (e.g. keel repair mentioned)

Hope that helps.
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Well-Known Member
I can understand not cutting an inspection port into a seemingly original Sunfish. I have two sunfish I'm leaving as original.

Check out my "Ultimate Inspection Port" post, using the forum's search box--or Google it. This $50 port went into my heavily-used Sunfish. This kind of inspection port allows storage of long paddles--including the wider kayak paddles. Sponging out the interior of the hull is easier, and watching the sealed integrity of the daggerboard trunk is possible--while sailing! Seeing how much the hull flexes while hitting waves is instructive. :oops:

An alternative to inspection port storage is to select a large size of empty detergent bottle, take slices off one side until it's a "jam-fit" into the aft cubby.

A wrinkled sail makes for reduced performance, but it secures easier and tighter on the spars. Anyone tried spray-starch and a warm iron (the dacron setting) on their wrinkled sail?

I sold a good, but wrinkled, sail at this forum @ $40. It got snatched up--quick! Allow about $8 for postage.
Thread starter #4
Thanks for all of the help! I had the boat out on the water today and she sailed great. I plan on installing a new style drain plug on the transom for easier drainage after sailing and buying the intensity racing sail. I used my dual action buffer to compound, polish and wax the boat. It didn't come out as smooth as I was expecting but that can be good in the sense it is less slippery. The last thing I am going to install is a block for the mainsheet, I assume some type of backing is necessary for this so it doesn't rip through the deck.