Newbie's Free Sunfish...

Trueke

New Member
Thread starter #1
...well, almost free. I've just traded a $300 guitar for a Sunfish and I think I did pretty well considering the sail is new (not like new...I mean NEW!):D, the tiller and the daggerboard are complete and in really good shape, and most hardware is there and in working order. The hull however...:confused:

I am not an expert, and this is my first boat not counting my plastic canoe. And although the hull seems ok, I need some advise on what to do and how to do it. It leaks. Upon inspecting it I can see that big holes were repaired in both the right side (please excuse the lack of proper vocabulary) and the bow. The one on the side has two less than pin-size leaks. Looking from the inspection port inside I can see light coming in from the repair. On the top looks pretty opaque and has some deep scratces. I think re-finishing is called for. It is also missing rivets from the aluminum trim and I think water is also coming in from there. I vaccumed all the water out and it is sitting on a saw horse with a bulb atop of the inspection port and a small heater under it (not directly) to see if I get rid of the water inside. I am in no rush to get the Sunfish in the water , I am planning to do all repair myself, and I am on a budget, however, I am one of those who think anything doing is worth doing well.

OK, so if you' still reading this, here are the Qs:
1. In what order I shouls tackel this project?
2. The repair on the side has me a little worried. Not only is leaking, but looks kind of thin. Is the "looking-thin" part normal? can I just fix the leaks? How?:confused:
3. If I take the aluminum trim out, can I reuse it?
4. PAINT! What system or brand is recomended as an easy-good looking- durable finish?
5. Anything I've might had missed.
Thanks in advance and sorry for the lenght of this post. Fom now on I promise to keep them short.
 
#7
Those are two simple fiberglass repairs that were not done properly.

But they do give you a foundation to build on.

Pick up the West System book on fiberglass repair, it explains what you need to do.

For tools, you need a 4.5" or 5" grinder with a sanding disk, a 5" or 6" random orbital sander with 80, 150, and 220 grit disks, a long board with fine and medium grit paper, and the normal fiberglass stuff.

If you grind all the way through, you will need some spray foam like great stuff, or something to use for backing to support your fiberglass as it set up.

There are a bunch of thread on fiberglass repair in here. Unfortunately, the moderator, mixes them up with the other discussions, making it harder to find such information.
 
#8
The first step is to start removing gelcoat from around the damage. Keep going until you find good fiberglass.

To illustrate, the hole is obvious. The lighter "yellowish" color of the fiberglass is all damaged. The darker greyish color is good fiberglass.
 

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Trueke

New Member
Thread starter #9
Those are two simple fiberglass repairs that were not done properly.

But they do give you a foundation to build on.

Pick up the West System book on fiberglass repair, it explains what you need to do.

For tools, you need a 4.5" or 5" grinder with a sanding disk, a 5" or 6" random orbital sander with 80, 150, and 220 grit disks, a long board with fine and medium grit paper, and the normal fiberglass stuff.

If you grind all the way through, you will need some spray foam like great stuff, or something to use for backing to support your fiberglass as it set up.

There are a bunch of thread on fiberglass repair in here. Unfortunately, the moderator, mixes them up with the other discussions, making it harder to find such information.
Just checked out the West System instructionals. Looks do-able, Thanks
 
Thread starter #10
The first step is to start removing gelcoat from around the damage. Keep going until you find good fiberglass.

To illustrate, the hole is obvious. The lighter "yellowish" color of the fiberglass is all damaged. The darker greyish color is good fiberglass.
Now this si from the original fiberglass, right? The fiberglass I am talking are repiars and most look kind of yello-ish and kind of translusent. Is this normal? If not: Yikes! I got a lot of "fiberglassing" to do
 
#12
I wouldn't worry about replacing the aluminum trim. I would just purchase a new trim it is pretty cheap. The missing rivets i would not think would be causing any leaks. They are in an edge of the boat and dont really go into the hull. At least that it is how it was on mine when i pulled my trim off.
 
#13
Now this si from the original fiberglass, right? The fiberglass I am talking are repiars and most look kind of yello-ish and kind of translusent. Is this normal? If not: Yikes! I got a lot of "fiberglassing" to do
If it's not from the factory, it could be pink for all we care.

Here's a more close up pic of damaged glass. You see how it doesn't look nice and happy? The yellowish color isn't consistent like it would be if it was a good solid patch. There's the hole, yes but things started delaminating because the seal was compromised. And before I sanded off the gel coat, it looked like much less damage than what was really there.
 

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Thread starter #14
If it's not from the factory, it could be pink for all we care.

Here's a more close up pic of damaged glass. You see how it doesn't look nice and happy? The yellowish color isn't consistent like it would be if it was a good solid patch. There's the hole, yes but things started delaminating because the seal was compromised. And before I sanded off the gel coat, it looked like much less damage than what was really there.

Got it! Very helphul thanks.:)
 

Oceanfish

sailing addict
#15
I have repaired several sunfish with similar damage. Where your problems are a parts of the boat that take a lot of stress. If you grind out the hole to make a one or two inch flange around the edge of the patch area it will give your new repair enough suface area so that the new patch will not just crack around the edge. The other thing you need to do is make sure your patch is thick enough. When you actually make the patch you have to put fiberglass mat in it or it will just crack. You should use fiberglass resin to do the patch not epoxy. To want to make the patch a little thick. After the patch hardens you can sand it down to be even with the hull. When you finish the patch will not be perfect. I was always mad when icould see the imperfections in the patches. But a couple years ago I was recommended by my neighbor to use a final coat called evercoat everylass. This is a little expensive but it gives you a flawless patch and the gallon of it lasts forever.





I was also just wondering if that is a 1983?
 
Thread starter #16
I have repaired several sunfish with similar damage. Where your problems are a parts of the boat that take a lot of stress. If you grind out the hole to make a one or two inch flange around the edge of the patch area it will give your new repair enough suface area so that the new patch will not just crack around the edge. The other thing you need to do is make sure your patch is thick enough. When you actually make the patch you have to put fiberglass mat in it or it will just crack. You should use fiberglass resin to do the patch not epoxy. To want to make the patch a little thick. After the patch hardens you can sand it down to be even with the hull. When you finish the patch will not be perfect. I was always mad when icould see the imperfections in the patches. But a couple years ago I was recommended by my neighbor to use a final coat called evercoat everylass. This is a little expensive but it gives you a flawless patch and the gallon of it lasts forever.



I was also just wondering if that is a 1983?


Thanks for the great advise. Right now I'm collecting all the data on the different types of fiberglas/epoxys and brands to beging messing up...I mean, fixing up the hull. Anyone have anything to say in terms fiberglass/epoxy brands? I am looking at the West System. Any thoughts on quality v. price of this ans others?

And Ocean; it is a 77' according to the serial #
 
Thread starter #17
http://sites.google.com/site/picturesofsunfishproject/

Here are some pictures of what I have been doing. This is my first attempt and I had no idea I would be able to handle it. I would say that the key is to be patient and make sure you do all the prep work.

http://minifish-restoration.blogspot.com/

And this is minifish's blog, that was helpful for me in doing some of my repairs.

Wow! these are almost identical to my repairs. Great help. I've always like that Great Stuff, and now it looks like I will be loving it even more.

Questions:
Are you planing to keep the three inspection holes or patching them back?
Do you have more pics. of the the finished boat or on a later stage repairs?
Just curiosity...
 

Oceanfish

sailing addict
#18
I have found that resin is stronger and stiffer than epoxy which is what is required in this application. When it comes to the brand of resin I have found there to be little difference in the resins except their name. The only thing you really need to look at what the label says about water resistance. If the label states waterRESISTANT Do not buy that resin. You want a resin that says waterproof. I personally use a cheap resin from home depot.
 
#19
Right now what I have done is up on my site. I have not decided on putting in all inspection ports or recovering them. I have thought about just doing inspection ports as of now only because these are the first repairs I have done, and I am wanting to paint before I put all the hardware back on and it will be helpful to get to the backing of hardware I add. The inpection port look on top doesnt bother me too much. Plus I am still needing to get the weight down, so having the ports will help me out with that.

Just make sure you do plenty of research before you dive in. I have to say I have a bit of an advantage to my patience because I have a boat I can sail already :)

This is another source I used.

http://www.fiberglass-repair.com/

It was a pretty good explanation on repairs and some demonstrations as well. I am more of a visual person though so it worked better for me to see someone do some repairs. I can say that doing the repairs were a bit overwhelming at first, but once I got going it went pretty well. I am by no means an expert. But I have to say I have had as much fun working on this boat as I do sailing my other one :)
 
#20
You want to make the patch a little thick. After the patch hardens you can sand it down to be even with the hull. When you finish the patch will not be perfect. I was always mad when icould see the imperfections in the patches. But a couple years ago I was recommended by my neighbor to use a final coat called evercoat everylass. This is a little expensive but it gives you a flawless patch and the gallon of it lasts forever.

I had good luck covering my patches with a mixture of micro balloons and epoxy. Sands really smooth and fills dings and grooves well.
 
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