Newly Acquired Sunfish

MarkP

Member
Hello,

I recently acquired a 1977 sunfish! Very excited about sailing it this summer.



Hull came in weighing about 160lb. That was before removing the drain plug and emptying it out. Once the weather got warmer, I decided to start looking into cutting an inspection port a few inches aft of the coaming (need to reattach the coaming/screws are rusted out/coaming is loose but attached) . As I moved the hull around I heard a few loose items inside. It was either going to be multiple backing blocks or ice. Thankfully, it was ice... so it shed a couple more pounds! (the boat only sat outdoors for a few weeks, not years. Hopefully the initial weight upon acquiring it (prior to draining it) means something positive .



While there are several patches inside the cockpit, thankfully the previous owner did not sand the gelcoat in order to create a good bonding surface. Those ugly patches can mostly be scraped off using a spatula. I will repair them properly.





Besides installing a port at the bow so that I can install a new bow-handle backing plate, refinish the rudder and center-board, and some repairs to the gel coat, I feel like a got a project which is just right for the couple of hundreds spent.

I understand the hull drying topic has been discussed many times on this forum, however, I have a few questions and would also appreciate some feedback from some of the more experienced members.

Would one port be enough to dry this sunfish? (Since all I need to loose is about 15lb (may be less due to the water/ice I took out), I believe it would be ok, even If it takes a few sessions/I'm about 140lb myself so maybe a bit heavier hull helps with the solo sailing a bit.

Would a 250w heat lamp be overkill or damage the hull?/I currently have a 60w shop light inside the hull with some air circulation. Any objections about leaving the 60W bulb on inside the hull for several weeks? Let the record show that the outside air temp here in MI is approximately 50 F.



I look forward to your feedback. I hope to document my progress so that other newcomers may benefit from my own experience as well.

Also, Anyone in the Detroit Metro area?? Lets go sailing this summer.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
The 65 watt bulb is fine, 250 watt is way too much. You might try filling in the
screw holes with dowels and epoxy then re-drilling.

I use two ports and a computer case fan to get airflow blowing out one of the ports. Winter
is the best time for this due to low humidity.
 

MarkP

Member
The 65 watt bulb is fine, 250 watt is way too much. You might try filling in the
screw holes with dowels and epoxy then re-drilling.

I use two ports and a computer case fan to get airflow blowing out one of the ports. Winter
is the best time for this due to low humidity.
I'll keep the 250W bulb just in case I want to work on any gelcoat/resin before it gets warm enough. I'll try with one port for now as I am a bit hesitant about cutting another inspection port in the stern (as well as the soon to be one in the bow)... although something inside me tells me I'll end up with three ports.

Regarding the screws, I plan to drill them out and evaluate the current holes. I may try to rivet the coaming in place with some 5200 sealant. If I can get a stainless steel machine screws in there backed by some nuts and washers, that would be ideal. However, the foam blocks seem to interfere with that plan. Can one drill a pilot hole into fiberglass and simply insert a screw? That would only cause delamination if the pilot hole is not sized correctly?
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
The fiberglass is too thin to simply drill and screw, you need some type of backing plate.
There is a alternative called "rivet-nuts" or "rivnuts." This is what they used to attach the
splash rail with before they simply riveted it on. With the addition of 5200 sealant this might be strong enough for the
bow handle. There is another alternative by popping the deck loose but this is tricky and
I'd exhaust other methods first.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Another 1976/1977 "Anniversary model" Sunfish —$700— sold at auction:
Auction Price on '76 Sunfish... | SailingForums.com

The splashguard/rail / combing had been previously knocked off my borrowed Sunfish. :eek: I sailed it without the splashguard in place, but it was clear that the splashguard added surprising strength after kneeling on the :oops: deck. As a favor to my loaner-benefactor-parent-to-boys, I sealed the existing holes in the hull, covered them by moving the splashguard 3/8-inches forward, caulking with a water-soluble caulk (i.e., soluble until dry), and drilling new screw holes for the S/S screws. (In case it got knocked off again). :confused: Caulking is really unnecessary, as the fit is tight against even "blue water" over the bow.

The Styrofoam™ flotation does interfere with any new outer fasteners. As my winter-damaged deck suffered 3/8-inch holes, I found long plastic mollies —$5 each— that carried a stainless steel attachment plate into which a ¼-20 S/S bolt will thread. (Glue the plate in place, and discard the plastic parts):
Bedding deck hardware | SailingForums.com

To replace the bow handle, I'd suggest using the bow handle as a template, and drilling a new aluminum backing plate. Installation by cutting a rectangle through the hull's side will eliminate the need for trying to match new deck gelcoat. :confused: It's tight in there, so cut 'way forward. For a bow handle replacement, I used S/S oval-head bolts, not screws.

.
 

tag

my2fish
Mark P, nice boat! You're on the right track - I'd probably stick with the lower wattage bulb and then add a small fan to get air flowing through the boat.

I'm in the metro Detroit area, and there is a club of Sunfish sailors as well. I haven't personally had a chance to sail with them yet, but they have several scheduled races on area lakes over the summer, and coordinate a couple longer camping weekends to sail together as well. I'd look into joining their Yahoo message group Yahoo! Groups to get more details where/when they sail.
 

MarkP

Member
Noted.
The fiberglass is too thin to simply drill and screw, you need some type of backing plate.
There is a alternative called "rivet-nuts" or "rivnuts." This is what they used to attach the
splash rail with before they simply riveted it on. With the addition of 5200 sealant this might be strong enough for the
bow handle...
Rivets seem like the simplest bet. However, the rivnuts would allow for simpler coaming removal in the future, it seems. I'll look into the rivnuts for the bow handle. However, does not sounds as sturdy as a 1/4" aluminum backing plate.

Another 1976/1977 "Anniversary model" Sunfish —$700— sold at auction:
Auction Price on '76 Sunfish... | SailingForums.com

The splashguard/rail / combing had been previously knocked off my borrowed Sunfish. :eek: I sailed it without the splashguard in place, but it was clear that the splashguard added surprising strength after kneeling on the :oops: deck. As a favor to my loaner-benefactor-parent-to-boys, I sealed the existing holes in the hull, covered them by moving the splashguard 3/8-inches forward, caulking with a water-soluble caulk (i.e., soluble until dry), and drilling new screw holes for the S/S screws. (In case it got knocked off again). :confused: Caulking is really unnecessary, as the fit is tight against even "blue water" over the bow.

The Styrofoam™ flotation does interfere with any new outer fasteners. As my winter-damaged deck suffered 3/8-inch holes, I found long plastic mollies —$5 each— that carried a stainless steel attachment plate into which a ¼-20 S/S bolt will thread. (Glue the plate in place, and discard the plastic parts):
Bedding deck hardware | SailingForums.com

To replace the bow handle, I'd suggest using the bow handle as a template, and drilling a new aluminum backing plate. Installation by cutting a rectangle through the hull's side will eliminate the need for trying to match new deck gelcoat. :confused: It's tight in there, so cut 'way forward. For a bow handle replacement, I used S/S oval-head bolts, not screws.

.
If that same boat sold for $700, it seems like I didn't do too badly myself.
I'll look into the mollies. Rivets seem so simple though. Doesn't laser performance simply rivet the coaming to the deck? Or did they change their procedure?

By cutting the side I'd then have to match gelcoat anyways I guess. Because of that, my plan was to install a 4" inspection port at the bow.

Now that you mention gelcoat...Does anyone have any experience repairing some gelcoat chips on their hull? Does anyone sell pre-mixed gelcoat in the right tone of white?

Mark P, nice boat! You're on the right track - I'd probably stick with the lower wattage bulb and then add a small fan to get air flowing through the boat.

I'm in the metro Detroit area, and there is a club of Sunfish sailors as well. I haven't personally had a chance to sail with them yet, but they have several scheduled races on area lakes over the summer, and coordinate a couple longer camping weekends to sail together as well. I'd look into joining their Yahoo message group Yahoo! Groups to get more details where/when they sail.

Thanks Tag, I'll look into the group. Maybe we could meet up once the weather is warm.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
If you haven't put a second inspection port into your boat, consider a fan and a long hose—like a dryer hose—to move air deeper inside the hull.

Noted. Rivets seem like the simplest bet. However, the rivnuts would allow for simpler coaming removal in the future, it seems. I'll look into the rivnuts for the bow handle. However, does not sounds as sturdy as a 1/4" aluminum backing plate. If that same boat sold for $700, it seems like I didn't do too badly myself. I'll look into the mollies. Rivets seem so simple though. Doesn't laser performance simply rivet the coaming to the deck? Or did they change their procedure? By cutting the side I'd then have to match gelcoat anyways I guess. Because of that, my plan was to install a 4" inspection port at the bow. Now that you mention gelcoat...Does anyone have any experience repairing some gelcoat chips on their hull? Does anyone sell pre-mixed gelcoat in the right tone of white? Thanks Tag, I'll look into the group. Maybe we could meet up once the weather is warm.
Cutting access into the side means that bow handle repairs will be more difficult to detect: boat numbers can be strategically placed. :cool:

OTOH, a second vent to dry the hull is desirable. :)

Members Webfoot1 and mixmkr have some words on "matching" gelcoat color. ;)
 
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MarkP

Member
Noted. Sounds like a plan to me. I'll reach out and ask for some guidance then.

Also, found the reason why the coaming is stuck in place. Looks like the drill and rotary tool will be my friends this weekend. Look at the bright side, though... That backing block is dry and also where it should be.

 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Better yet, cut on the bottom of the hull to access... skip the side...you'll still see that repair, unless you do a professional job. The bottom not so much?? I then took some West epoxy and "glued" in some alum backing plates on the underside of the deck and tapped the holes and used machine screws for the hardware. Probably not a great salt water combo (alum and stainless), but you can patch the hole back up and still remove hardware...should you ever need/want to....not to mention I'd feel comfortable lifting my fish totally, using the traveler and bow handle now...or yank it on to a dock with just the bow handle. But...I sail on the lake, not the docks! ;-D

I had a thread about this awhile back
 

MarkP

Member
Definitely the first time I've seen someone take that approach. I'll look into it, however, I'm trying to a void doing any more fiberglass work like the plague. The easiest solution which will get me on the water ASAP would be the inspection port a few inches behind the handle.

Just ordered some hardware today. Will let you guys know if I there is any progress this weekend.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
If you don't want fiberglass work, consider popping the front of the deck from the hull. When it goes well
all you need is a strip of fiberglass mat in the seam when you clamp things back together. This method
was my last project choice as I think two inspection ports in the standard locations are enough. I just can't
handle the atheistics of a third port. I have a boat I might fix up this summer and it looks like
rivnuts for the Splash Rail. The bow handle will be rivnuts or popping the deck. Since someone
filled the deck seam with Silicon Sealer it will probably the latter. All other backing plates can
be reached with the two standard port locations. You could just skip the handle till fall but it's
kind of a pain to lift and transport without one. Notice how the old wooden Sunfish had handles
on the transom. I think I might install a couple on my boats as it would greatly help in lifting.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
"...You could just skip the handle till fall but it's
kind of a pain to lift and transport without one. Notice how the old wooden Sunfish had handles
on the transom
. I think I might install a couple on my boats as it would greatly help in lifting
.
My aging bow handle disintegrated in my hand, so as a temporary replacement, I used a length of plumber's strap, and short length of outboard starter cord and handle. (Seen on roto-molded kayaks, and actually worked pretty well on my Sunfish). :)

You're going to need something there. :confused:

With two handles on the transom, plus some epoxy-engineering, you could fashion a Walker Bay 8 "Wheel in a Keel". Mold the $30 kit into the bow. (Especially those who are replacing a broken-off bow). Reviewers say the wheel works well.

Could this $30 kit be the answer to building a Sunfish dolly?

Fullscreen capture 3252017 101256 AM.bmp.jpg

 

andyatos

Well-Known Member
Having recently refurbished a severely abused Sunfish, that appears to have been manufactured close to the same year as yours, here's some feedback. First, a summary of what I was faced with and had to do.

- The boat had 3 inspection ports when I got it. One in the stern, one just behind the splash guard and one behind the bow handle.
- I had to replace every single backing block on the boat, including the bow handle.
- To fix the pathetic repair to the mashed bow, I had to split the deck from the hull in the bow area.

I could have fitted a new backing block for the bow handle via the front inspection port but had to split the deck from the hull anyways so I did the bow handle backing block work via the big opening from the split.

I thought it would be a simple matter of just putting in a nice piece of hardwood for the bow handle backing block. But I discovered that the original bow handle backing block had been squished into some thickened adhesive when the boat was made. The result was that there wasn't a smooth surface on the underside of the deck for my new backing block but an undulation of "hills and valleys" of super hard adhesive that was going to need to be grinded flat... unless I made my new backing block in the exact same dimensions as the original, tiny, inadequate backing block.

Grinding this old adhesive away wasn't that big a deal because I had the bow area split open but I can't imagine how this would have been if I had tried to do it through the bow inspection port. So, you may want to consider this before you cut a bow inspection port.

The other thing was every time I looked at that bow inspection port, particularly when I was sailing, it really bugged me. Plus, the dude who had cut it out didn't even cut it out along the centerline of the boat! It was slightly off the centerline, which bugged me even more.

So, if I was in your situation, here's what I'd do. The loads on the bow handle... when used properly... are almost always in shear. Meaning, pulling the bowline horizontally for example. Also, I never pick up the boat or move it around by using the bow handle, ie, lifting vertically on the handle. That's because the material those bow handles are made of aren't that strong and I've witnessed older ones just break off in a person's hand when they tried to lift the bow using the handle.

So, I'd consider doing your bow handle work in two phases. First, install rivnuts for the handle and mount the handle. Then baby your bow handle for this season. If you make sure you only apply shear forces to the handle, the deck glass only should be able to handle it and you should be fine.

Then, next winter remove the forward section of your aluminum rub rail along the gunnel, carefully split the hull from the deck in the bow area, grind smooth the undersurface of the deck if need be, install a nice, large, robust backing block and mount your bow handle. Then close up the deck and hull seem. This way, you'll preserve the finish of your nice deck up forward and won't have to look at an inspection port when you sail.

Also, I would not use bolts to anchor your handle to the backing block. I would use screws and a hardwood backing block. Why? Because those handles corrode and wear out faster than you think. And they aren't as strong as you think. So, if (when) the handle fails, it's a simple matter of backing out the screws and replacing the handle with a new one. I did this with a very old Sunfish I have back east where the corroded handle... yup... broke off in my friend's hand when he tried to lift the bow with the handle. But it was a quick and simple replacement because there were screws, not bolts and nuts.

But if you have used bolts, with nuts on the inside of the deck, you've got problems. Unless you permanently mount those nuts inside somehow. Also, by using a wood backing block and screws, you can just move the handle a bit forward or aft and have access to fresh wood to anchor in when you swap out the handle.

Cheers,

- Andy
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Also, I would not use bolts to anchor your handle to the backing block. I would use screws and a hardwood backing block. Why? Because those handles corrode and wear out faster than you think. And they aren't as strong as you think. So, if (when) the handle fails, it's a simple matter of backing out the screws and replacing the handle with a new one. I did this with a very old Sunfish I have back east where the corroded handle... yup... broke off in my friend's hand when he tried to lift the bow with the handle. But it was a quick and simple replacement because there were screws, not bolts and nuts.
Now ya tell me.... I used stainless steel screws and lock nuts before I sealed it back up. I figured the
new handle would last longer than me. How about bedding a stainless steel plate in 3M 5100 and
putting a layer of fiberglass over the plate.
 

andyatos

Well-Known Member
How about bedding a stainless steel plate in 3M 5100 and putting a layer of fiberglass over the plate.
I think a stainless steel plate with 5100 would be just fine as a backing device. So long as you can permanently anchor the nuts for your bolts into position. Then if you bust the handle, swapping out a new one is no big deal.

Speaking of bolts vs screws, I have my halyard fairlead through bolted with stainless steel bolts and nuts. I did this because of the vertical forces involved when I tighten down my vang using that fairlead. But if I had to replace that fairlead, I can still get to those nuts because of the inspection port that I installed in the forward wall of the cockpit.

It would take some creativity to get a wrench or ratchet the 45 inch distance to those nuts but it can be done. And I can see that backing block and hardware from the cockpit when I have a light inside the hull. But reaching 4 nuts and bolts at the bow handle from the cockpit? That would be pretty hard.

- Andy
 

MarkP

Member
I'm liking the idea of popping the deck open... That would keep the deck looking nice plus doesn't seem like it will take more than an afternoon, assuming I have everything ready.

I'd most likely install a stainless steel plate that has been tapped for some stainless steel screws. It will never rot and I wont have to worry about it becoming lose (I'll put some thread locker on the machine screws).

I removed the coaming... I truly dislike corroded rivnuts haha. Had to use a rotary tool to grind the screw heads flat so I could then drill the screw heads out. Once the coaming was off I was able to remove what was left of the corroded rivnuts. I only have one enlarged hole which I will repair with some resin today. I will most likely install it using some rivets today. Rivnuts are way over the budget. Any recommendations on sealant? I'm thinking of using some silicone for the coaming and rivets. I have read some objections to this but the "marine" silicone is sometimes the same exact thing as the silicone that costs $10 less per tube. I'd also use this silicone to seal the deck plate behind the coaming.
 

MarkP

Member
Update time.

Here we can see the aftermath of the deck coaming removal. All of the holes, except for one of ones you see in the picture, are within spec and were not damaged by the corroding rivnuts.



Are these cracks below the rub rail anything to be concerned about (found in several spots) ? *I've yet to perform a full on leak test. I.m considering removing the rub rail so that I can inspect the seams and do a good job at doing some gelcoat (also, some rivets are loose)

 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
You could just skip the handle till fall but it's
kind of a pain to lift and transport without one.
Thanks for your progress report, and the great pictures. :)

On my lake, there's a seasonal drawdown, and too many oversized powerboat wakes. The late-summer drawdown means lifting the Sunfish nearly three feet off the water to pull it onto the dock. :eek:

So as not to renew a back injury, my solution was a long lever, which put the bow handle "in-tension". (And not "in-shear").

While screws had worked for decades, the old original bow handle eventually broke. :( A new one is bolted now, but wish I'd thought to "pop the deck" instead of cutting into the side. (That became a very tight space in which to bolt the bow handle).
"Arthrosopic Surgery" on Sunfish | SailingForums.com

GEDC0051-001.JPG

This picture below shows the interim "kayak" bow handle, temporary plumber's strap "fix"—and two different inspection port lids. One shows a container for O-ring seal grease, and the other is a bayonet mount with an old CD pop-riveted to it—for use as a signaling mirror.

SunfishPort_CD_Lube.jpg

Any recommendations on sealant? I'm thinking of using some silicone for the coaming and rivets. I have read some objections to this but the "marine" silicone is sometimes the same exact thing as the silicone that costs $10 less per tube. I'd also use this silicone to seal the deck plate behind the coaming.
On my borrowed Sunfish, I moved the coaming slightly, remounted it, using S/S screws. (No sealant, as with "the boys" around, it was likely to be knocked off again). :rolleyes:

Even a trace of silicone resists adhesives, resin, and new paint. I'd use a sealer without silicone—something else—or nothing at all.
:)
.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
The reason the outside screw holes on the splash rail crack is that the hull flexes
when sailing. The splash rail stiffens up the hull however the same location is
where the hull seam usually comes apart due to the flexing. Perhaps turning
the hull upside-down and adding a extra layer of fiberglass to the inside of the deck
might help. Anyway, the hull in going to flex and there is really no way to get
around that. Someone posted a video a while back the showed what happens
when sailing and the two outside screws of the splash-rail are missing. You
can see the hull in full flex-o-matic mode.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member

Based on my 3 'Fish, this is a fairly common area of damage in "veteran" Sunfish. Since they (and I) aren't taking on stressful sailing conditions, I treat them as "cosmetic". (Sand and paint—go sailing). ;)

Had to use a rotary tool to grind the screw heads flat so I could then drill the screw heads out.
Consider buying drill bits that are "left-hand-twist". As you drill (in :oops: reverse) the heat of drilling helps to loosen the rusty bond, and the damaged threads can back out automatically. (And most-often will). :cool:

Harbor Freight sells a kit of 13 different sizes—'don't remember where I got my one 1/8th-inch LHT drill bit, :confused: but it works very satisfactorily. (Maybe the Snap-On™ tool truck?)

Maybe you can trade your incomplete set of "Easy-Outs" for the 13 LHT drill-bits kit. ;)

.
 

Gail

24186
Skip the 3rd port on the front deck. There isn't enough room to get your hand in there and get to the bow handle area with the foam block that is in place (just did one last August). While splitting deck and hull is ill-advised, this area might be a good choice, but don't do the whole thing. Your side blocks are well in place.

The aft deck port is very helpful. You may find some dark yellow 2-part expanding foam (the "glue" that holds the Styrofoam in place), that can be carefully cut away and removed, but not where it is gluing. White Styrofoam must remain as it is structural. Do your best to avoid cutting where the Styrofoam block is if you can, but keep the port centered so you can reach things. You'll want to add a hiking strap at some point ...

DO NOT USE 5200!!!! 4200 is OK. If you ever need to repair again, 5200 is truly permanent. You ain't gettin' it off. Most of us use silicone sealer for bedding. Nothing on a boat is forever. Maintenance is part of the game. That said, Sunfish repairs are usually good for 20 years ...

Your dry out and getting down to 130 lbs. will go faster with two ports. Unless you smell fiberglass cooking, the stronger bulb may be ok. I've used a hairdryer, but that ran up the electric bill pretty quick. When it gets up to 90 degrees, covering half the deck with black trash bags and blowing air through the deck hole works well, too.

Greater Detroit Sunfish Club would love to have you come sail! They will give all kinds of help, too. Even, visit the first time to see all their boats, pick brains, and figure out what's next. I'm hoping to make their camping weekends this summer and maybe one more outing. A great group of people, family oriented, camping, bring your own lunch/dinner, etc., fleet.

As to your fiberglass repairs, visit www.westsystem.com and read their how to. Their product is terrific and they lay out simple instructions. I took their class at a conference in October. Four layers, sized up in overlap, are what you want for each. Also visit Yahoo!Groups and find the Sunfish_Sailor group; there are all kinds of examples of fixing holes on the flat and on the edge, how to make a form, etc. If that's not enough, visit www.windline.net, scroll to the bottom to find the Sunfish fixing guide ...

Good luck! Hope to meet you this summer.
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Those fasteners you pulled out are not factory. Check with a Sunfish parts dealer to get the appropriate size rivets.

Lots of info on splitting a deck on our blog: Small Boat Restoration: Sunfish Pickin Columbus GA Hoops and Yoyo

As Gail said, don't split the whole deck. For a bow handle block you only need to go back 18 inches or so. Use rot resistant wood like cypress for the new backer, and consider coating it with epoxy. To put a new block in I would use 3M 5200 or thickened epoxy.

Cheers
Kent
 

MarkP

Member
Skip the 3rd port on the front deck. There isn't enough room to get your hand in there and get to the bow handle area with the foam block that is in place (just did one last August). While splitting deck and hull is ill-advised, this area might be a good choice, but don't do the whole thing. Your side blocks are well in place.

The aft deck port is very helpful. You may find some dark yellow 2-part expanding foam (the "glue" that holds the Styrofoam in place), that can be carefully cut away and removed, but not where it is gluing. White Styrofoam must remain as it is structural. Do your best to avoid cutting where the Styrofoam block is if you can, but keep the port centered so you can reach things. You'll want to add a hiking strap at some point ...

DO NOT USE 5200!!!! 4200 is OK. If you ever need to repair again, 5200 is truly permanent. You ain't gettin' it off. Most of us use silicone sealer for bedding. Nothing on a boat is forever. Maintenance is part of the game. That said, Sunfish repairs are usually good for 20 years ...

Your dry out and getting down to 130 lbs. will go faster with two ports. Unless you smell fiberglass cooking, the stronger bulb may be ok. I've used a hairdryer, but that ran up the electric bill pretty quick. When it gets up to 90 degrees, covering half the deck with black trash bags and blowing air through the deck hole works well, too.

Greater Detroit Sunfish Club would love to have you come sail! They will give all kinds of help, too. Even, visit the first time to see all their boats, pick brains, and figure out what's next. I'm hoping to make their camping weekends this summer and maybe one more outing. A great group of people, family oriented, camping, bring your own lunch/dinner, etc., fleet.

As to your fiberglass repairs, visit www.westsystem.com and read their how to. Their product is terrific and they lay out simple instructions. I took their class at a conference in October. Four layers, sized up in overlap, are what you want for each. Also visit Yahoo!Groups and find the Sunfish_Sailor group; there are all kinds of examples of fixing holes on the flat and on the edge, how to make a form, etc. If that's not enough, visit www.windline.net, scroll to the bottom to find the Sunfish fixing guide ...

Good luck! Hope to meet you this summer.
Hi Gail,

Thanks for the feedback. Hope to meet you as well.
 

MarkP

Member
Those fasteners you pulled out are not factory. Check with a Sunfish parts dealer to get the appropriate size rivets.

Lots of info on splitting a deck on our blog: Small Boat Restoration: Sunfish Pickin Columbus GA Hoops and Yoyo

As Gail said, don't split the whole deck. For a bow handle block you only need to go back 18 inches or so. Use rot resistant wood like cypress for the new backer, and consider coating it with epoxy. To put a new block in I would use 3M 5200 or thickened epoxy.

Cheers
Kent
Any idea what the dimensions are for the coaming rivets?

I'll consider the deck split. Does not seem like it would take more than an hour to split. When it comes to the deck split, epoxy is preferred over polyester resin? I know epoxy is a no no when it comes to adhesion with polyester (gelcoat).
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Time needed to split depends of if the seam gets hung up on one side. Both another member
and I ran into this on the same spot on the right side. Whatever they did at the factory
bonded the seam so that the fiberglass tries to separate upward or downward. Maybe
just a coincidence, with 300,000 Sunfish made two boats are a really small sample.

Epoxy gives maximum pull strength, I'm sure polyester would work fine. Manufactures
use polyester to reduce costs. People who use silicon sealer really don't understand
how a Sunfish hull works.
 

MarkP

Member
Silicon sealer is definitely a no go. Had the salesman at west marine recommend that I use 5200 as the sealer for the split deck:rolleyes:...

Bought some 3m gelcoat restoring compound... Results of 30 seconds of buffing using an old rag (before and after):



Did a nose job using some filler purchased at the local mom and pop fiberglass shop (Eastpointe Fiberglass here in the metro Detroit area). Highly recommend you give this type of shop your business, rather than a large commercial outfit.





Proceeded to do some gelcoat repairs:


Upon applying the gelcoat, I realized I did not add enough pigment and ended up with a somewhat transparent coat. May have to sand that down and reapply... Hopefully not, though. I got pretty good at matching colors so I am happy. Realized that unless you redo the entire gelcoat it is impractical to try to fix every single scratch on a 40 year old boat. I'd be happy enough once I lower the weight a bit more and polish the hull up.

Coming soon: More gelcoat/small fiberglass repairs. Daggerboard/rudder refinish. Coaming install. Bow handle repair (leaning towards the access port for simplicity; wouldn't perform this on a newer hull, though).

Appreciate all the support.

Will provide another update soon.
 
Not clear from the thread to date if your bow handle backing block is reasonably intact; if it is, you might consider my solution...

I used EZ-Lok threaded inserts and new bolts all in stainless. They also have brass which are more affordable and perhaps more easily sourced. Search EZ-Lok on Amazon.

I did need to drill, (grind), out the replacement handle a bit to accommodate the large bolt size I opted for. Fix seems VERY strong.

Here's the fix in progress...

Bow_Handle_Fix.JPG
 
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MarkP

Member
Hello,

So I went ahead and cut an inspection port at the bow. Thankfully I was able to slide a mahogany backing block in with no issues. There was no goop in the way where they would have glued the backing block in place so I got lucky. Total time to cut the port and install a new block: 25 minutes. Decided to go ahead and do this due to the simplicity. Yes, I could haveday to spit the deck seam and glue it back together but that was more work than I'd like to perform.

The gelcoat I mixed was too light and I now have some translucent repairs where you can faintly see the scratches below. May just wet sand and buff the hull and look the other way. At the end of the day, it is a 40 year old hull that will be a ton of fun. I'd rather spend my time sailing it than doing gelcoat repairs to maybe get it looking perfect. As long as there are no leaks I'll be happy.

Can anyone provide me with a size for the coaming rivets? Planning on reattaching it and sealing it with 3M 4200 this weekend.



 

Webfoot1

Active Member
I think I remember using stainless steel screws, locknuts and fender washers
to fix the splash rail on one boat. If you use pop-rivets the existing holes may be
too big and you will have to fill and redrill the holes in the hull.
 

MarkP

Member
Measured the hole diameter to be a bit larger than 1/4". The 1/4" diameter rivets should do the job. I guess the real question is what length I'd need.
 

Roller

Member
I like folded leg rivets for use with thinner fiberglass structures. They draw tight and are good for slightly oversize holes or in places where you want to spread the stress. One size of longish folded leg rivet can accommodate materials of different thicknesses:

Tri-Fold Blind Rivets - Bolt Products Inc.
Rivets | Blind Rivets | Bulbex - Tribex - Trifold Blind Rivets | Buy Rivets | Rivet tools - Rivet Nuts & Other Specialty Fasteners

Lots of sizes and sources available... google "tri-fold rivets".
 
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