New to Sailing and Sunfish - Boat age confirmation

Thread starter #1
Hey good people. I just acquired a Sunfish from the original owner. I think I have the birthdate narrowed to an early 1973 but would like opinions of anyone who knows more about them than I. He told me it was from 1960 but that can’t be right. Unfortunately I think he may be slipping into some dementia as he repeated the same story a dozen times in the 45 minutes I was with him as if each time was the first.

I took a sailing lesson a month ago and have now succumbed to the disease. Looking forward to learning a lot over the winter while cleaning up the boat and learning how to rig it.

The boat has not been in water since the late 90s. From my inexperienced eye the boat looks to be in good condition. It is missing a few rivets in the aluminum molding and some light spider cracking in the gel coat on the bottom, and some stains. There are a couple small dings on the underside that might need a little patch, but nothing through the hull. The original mast is bent. Can that be straightened? He told me it was bent while on a lake in Texas during Hurricane Diane. I checked and that hurricane was in 1955.

The boat came with the original sail and is complete. It also came with a mast, sail, gaff, boom, dagger board, rudder and tiller from a Sailfish. It is pretty dirty as you can see.

I will be asking questions here if I am unable to find the answers via the Search.

I am open to all comments and advice any of you may have for a newbie.

I would appreciate any comments on the age of the boat as well.

Thanks
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
#2
The search feature isn't particularly intuitive. Remember to click on the "This Forum" box, or you'll be all over the place.

"Resources" has the real dope on Sunfish year determinations.
Sunfish Age and Hull Identification

A 1973 would've had a serial number ("HIN") on the upper right transom (Required from 1971). Yours, with the halyard pulley, appears to be a "transition" model. It has the storage cubby and new rudder (not bronze of early 1971). The bow stripes indicate another year—which I've forgotten. :confused: 1972? BB will know.

The rudder and daggerboard at the top and bottom of your picture belong to your boat. The others are to an old Sailfish. You can recoup some of your purchase price by selling Sailfish parts at this forum ("Sunfish for Sale"). Sunfish For Sale

Missing rivets on my ex-racer Sunfish are usually accompanied with curved spider cracks. (Indicating a "hit") Since the fiberglass holes below the missing rivets are often intact, I'm thinking the rivets are sheared off by impacts. (Which speaks well of the Sunfish fiberglass build).

The mast can be straightened. Proceed with 5 or 6 good tugs a few inches apart when you've found two sturdy trees growing close together. Keep in mind that making aluminum straight again will compromise its original strength—but once straightened, you should be good-to-go for years.

BTW: There's nothing wrong with dementia.

BTW: There's nothing wrong with dementia.
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#3
I think this is a 1972. As L and VW said, a 1973 would have the HIN on the stern. 1971s had triple stripes only on the bow and the old rudder. That sticker had the hull number (just 5 digits at this time.). The boat looks shiny and the fact the sticker isn’t totally gone seems to indicate fairly light use. How is the sail?
 
Thread starter #6
I think this is a 1972. As L and VW said, a 1973 would have the HIN on the stern. 1971s had triple stripes only on the bow and the old rudder. That sticker had the hull number (just 5 digits at this time.). The boat looks shiny and the fact the sticker isn’t totally gone seems to indicate fairly light use. How is the sail?
I have not had a chance to open up the sails. I will do that later next week. I will report back with what I find.
 
Thread starter #7
The search feature isn't particularly intuitive. Remember to click on the "This Forum" box, or you'll be all over the place.

"Resources" has the real dope on Sunfish year determinations.
Sunfish Age and Hull Identification

A 1973 would've had a serial number ("HIN") on the upper right transom (Required from 1971). Yours, with the halyard pulley, appears to be a "transition" model. It has the storage cubby and new rudder (not bronze of early 1971). The bow stripes indicate another year—which I've forgotten. :confused: 1972? BB will know.

The rudder and daggerboard at the top and bottom of your picture belong to your boat. The others are to an old Sailfish. You can recoup some of your purchase price by selling Sailfish parts at this forum ("Sunfish for Sale"). Sunfish For Sale

Missing rivets on my ex-racer Sunfish are usually accompanied with curved spider cracks. (Indicating a "hit") Since the fiberglass holes below the missing rivets are often intact, I'm thinking the rivets are sheared off by impacts. (Which speaks well of the Sunfish fiberglass build).

The mast can be straightened. Proceed with 5 or 6 good tugs a few inches apart when you've found two sturdy trees growing close together. Keep in mind that making aluminum straight again will compromise its original strength—but once straightened, you should be good-to-go for years.

BTW: There's nothing wrong with dementia.

BTW: There's nothing wrong with dementia.
Great info. Thank you.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#8
Thanks guys. Here is a link to a guide I found about the evolution of the Sunfish. Based on this the stripe on the aft end did not come about till 73. But since there is no Hull# on the transom I was thinking early 73.

http://www.sunfishklasse.nl/documenten/Sunfish Timeline.pdf

I’m pretty sure this is not one of the leaker boats I heard about in 71 or 72. At least I hope it isn’t.

Thoughts?
I have been in this class since my cone was small and have never heard of 71 or 72 boats having leak problems. And as they are almost 50 years old they have had time to develop many other problems anyway.

Also that color scheme document shows the red white and blue boats had stripes on the aft deck in 1972. Given there is no HIN I am pretty sure your boat is a 1972.
 
Thread starter #9
I have been in this class since my cone was small and have never heard of 71 or 72 boats having leak problems. And as they are almost 50 years old they have had time to develop many other problems anyway.

Also that color scheme document shows the red white and blue boats had stripes on the aft deck in 1972. Given there is no HIN I am pretty sure your boat is a 1972.
Beldar the link posted above by L&VW describes the leaky boats I referenced. I’m really glad to hear what you said about not seeing leaking boats.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
Congrats on your new boat. I'm on board with Beldar.

1972 Sunfish.png

Shadow board, cast aluminum rudder cheek. Note the deck stripes on the Red White Blue boat. Must have been looking ahead to the Bicentennial, that scheme was popular for a long time.

I have a gent looking for that bronze hardware, let me know if you are interested in selling it.

Cheers, Kent
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#12
In those transitions, and as product lines came and went, there were still bins of parts. The bronze rudder assemblies showed up on the Windflite, along with a molded coaming and rolled edge gunwale, 15+ years before the "new" hull design appeared in 1988.
 
Thread starter #13
Thanks for the help guys. I overlooked the last boat in the picture with the stripes for 72. Makes perfect sense now.

As for the bailer, I assume those work on suction? The piece on the bottom of the boat is backwards I think. I don’t have a picture to share at the moment but the opening is forward. Shouldn’t it be aft? Or is it that I don’t understand how that works? Do you suggest I replace the bailer?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#14
Yes they work on suction. You should be able to turn it 180 degrees although it may take some effort.

The way it is set up now offers the “geyser” feature in windy conditions.
 
#15
Thanks guys. Here is a link to a guide I found about the evolution of the Sunfish. Based on this the stripe on the aft end did not come about till 73. But since there is no Hull# on the transom I was thinking early 73.

http://www.sunfishklasse.nl/documenten/Sunfish Timeline.pdf

I’m pretty sure this is not one of the leaker boats I heard about in 71 or 72. At least I hope it isn’t.

Thoughts?
It is my understanding that the leakers were early 71 models. I have a late 71 model and it is solid! It has to do with how the cubby was mounted to the deck.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#16
I think it was the way the cockpit was attached. Warrantees were acknowledged by Sunfish back then.

Your De [space] Persia bailer is backwards, but it is unlikely to be functional anyway, especially if it's seen saltwater use.

Another way to get a geyser is to tow a Sunfish behind a powerboat. Close off the daggerboard trunk when towing across water.

The De [space] Persia bailer is nearly indestructible. The upper part can bring $45 at eBay, so it's been recommended to try to salvage it.

Dowse with PB Blaster and WD40, and give it a couple of days to loosen. Push a hammer handle into the scoop for leverage. If stubborn, a hammer and chisel can employed to get that nut loosened.
 
#17
Here is an interesting online comparison of 5 penetrating oils. I was surprised by number two. In this case, the most expensive wasn’t the best.
 
Thread starter #19
I think it was the way the cockpit was attached. Warrantees were acknowledged by Sunfish back then.

Your De [space] Persia bailer is backwards, but it is unlikely to be functional anyway, especially if it's seen saltwater use.

Another way to get a geyser is to tow a Sunfish behind a powerboat. Close off the daggerboard trunk when towing across water.

The De [space] Persia bailer is nearly indestructible. The upper part can bring $45 at eBay, so it's been recommended to try to salvage it.

Dowse with PB Blaster and WD40, and give it a couple of days to loosen. Push a hammer handle into the scoop for leverage. If stubborn, a hammer and chisel can employed to get that nut loosened.
How does one go about closing the daggerboard trunk?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#20
In the past, I've suggested using a broken daggerboard--cut to 14 inches. However, duct tape (top and/or bottom) should suffice.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#21
Here is an interesting online comparison of 5 penetrating oils. I was surprised by number two. In this case, the most e2xpensive wasn’t the best.
I skipped ahead to immediately see the results, :confused: so I don't know if the tester had used any of the products on aluminum; for which, the results would be skewed differently. :(

The US Navy should know about corrosion. One Navy buddy swears by Kroil. Another conducted his own tests and found that ATF (automatic transmission fluid) mixed with equal parts of kerosene, worked best with a low cost factor. If a minty odor is desirable, use MMM (Marvel Mystery Oil). Both are high in "detergent action".

At this late date, I don't know what metals the Navy was testing it on, but can only suspect it was on various alloys of iron.

For aluminum, I like PB Blaster. Liquid Wrench seems to penetrate my skin :( so I don't buy it for that reason.
 
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