Old Alcort Inc. Sunfish - worth fixing up?


Sunfish newbie
Thread starter #1
I was just given an old Sunfish sailboat hull without any of the necessary rigging or accessories. The condition looks to be pretty bad as the hull is scratched up and the aluminum plate is so corroded that it is difficult to read.

This boat washed up on a beach on Martha's Vineyard a long time ago and the person who owns the beach tried to find out (to no avail) who it belonged to by making local inquiries. In any case, the hull is light blue aqua (very scratched up) and the corroded aluminum Alcort plate still shows the serial number.

I know that this is a stretch, but if you know of anybody who wants to reclaim this old boat, please contact me at uprightbassman@hotmail.com. If you can verify the serial number or somehow convince me that this is indeed your boat, then you can pick it up or I can arrange to have it delivered.

I was in the process of looking into fixing it up for my own use but when I started inspecting it, I noticed the serial number and thought I'd try again to get this back to its rightful owner.

Measurements: 13.5 ft. long. 48 inches wide.
Aluminum plate: Alcort Inc. Waterbury, Conn.


Sadly fixing up an old, pre-1971 Alcort Sunfish is usually not a financially viable undertaking as the gear (spars, sail, rudder/tiller, dagger board, lines etc.) will be rather expensive. If the hull is heavy (over 140 lbs) the value of the hull is even less. Hulls like this are common - the rest of the gear is harder to find. It may be time to get out the Sawsall and do a "Fargo" number on the hull. A sawed up Sunfish hull (minus the interior foam) will fit nicely in two 30 gallon trash cans - I have done it! Option #2 is the ever popular take-off-the-deck-fill-it-with-dirt-and-plant-marigolds-in- it option. In any event, you can strip the fittings and sell them on e-bay or this Forum.

Sorry for the gloomy reaction.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Finding parts is possible, and all depends on your time line and willingness to be patient.

Beat up, scratched up gel coat is not the end of the world. Deck polish with a proper orbital polisher will make fair work and decent outcome for something that looks poor now.

If the hull is very heavy, see links on FAQ and through the Yahoo Sunfish_sailor pages to learn how to evaporate water out of the styrofoam blocks inside which will get the hull back to approximately 130 lbs.

If the bottom isn't that beat up, and the styrofoam is still attached, you may have a good boat that just doesn't look that great.

You do have "old style" rudder mounting in all likelihood (brass plates on deck and hull bottom rather than a stainless bracket on the transom) and finding a tiller/rudder can be time consuming, but not impossible. Finding replacement hull parts isn't too hard (if I dig I have some, someplace ...). I have a couple old style boats that if I can get some stainless new style mounting brackets I'd sell off the old style rudder/tiller combos, but the hunt has been fairly fruitless so far.

I want to paint a picture that's not quite as gloomy as the first, but you are looking at a project. Folks like those old ones if the hull is stiff as they are stiffer than anything new today.

Good luck.


Sunfish newbie
Thread starter #4
Thanks to both Gail for the encouragement and Alan for providing some laughs.

Yes, the hull IS very heavy - three guys (two were young and strong) had to really work to move this hull off a truck and onto my porch! So, I guess it's time to get out a commercial scale and figure out where I stand. I'll dig in to the FAQs now.

I don't care what the boat looks like at all. I just want to take my 7 year old son sailing until he is old enough to handle it on his own.

Thanks again,

Well, if you're just going to sail it, you could likely do a lot of DIY with "non-dealer parts" and get a fully functioning boat for not a lot of $$.

If it's THAT heavy, you'll find on the starboard side by the splash rail there's a small brass screw fitting. Unscrew that, tip the boat on its side with the hole down, and I expect a LOT of water will drain out.

The heaviest I've ever had a "waterlogged styrofoam block" hull weigh is 180 pounds. We often weigh them by taking the bathroom scale outside, setting it on a solid surface, tipping the Sunfish hull up on its side (with the aluminum rub rail just off the edge of the scale so the flat part of the hull side rests on the scale), and balancing it as best as can be done with little weight bearing upon the person trying to weigh it, and then seeing what the scale reads. It's usually within a pound or so of true weight.

I've written at length on the Yahoo forum of my escapades drying hulls out. I have 3 that in 4 weeks I took 30-40 pounds of water out of, now 2 years later I'm curious to see what time simply sitting has done to them. I hope to find a weekend this summer to work on them some more.

Good luck
Gail, I have you beat. My 1972 hull, after draining, weighed just over 200 lbs! I cut an inspection port in it, left it to dry 5 years ago and bought a new boat. I got the old boat out last year and it had dropped to about 150lbs. Great for teaching the kids. I think Alan should buy Johnduey's boat and make a bar/cooler out of it for the deck at the CAZ club.
Well, now that I know my boats are "light," I'll keep at it!

Keep in mind, a super heavy hull got back to original weight. My buddy bought a wreck I pulled out of a dumpster. He separated the deck and hull (DON'T DO THIS, HE RECOMMENDS AGAINST IT, he did it to get the blocks out, planning to get new ones in the spring when he put it back together). He took the blocks down into the basement for the winter and left them on a workbench shelf. In the spring when he went to get them, to go to the store to purchase new foam, he was surprised to find them dry and LIGHT!

So, if you can find a heated in winter/air conditioned in summer location with a vent that you can position your inspection port hole over, I'm confident in 6 months to one year you will have a original weight hull. After one month in the sun with the black bag/fan/sun drying method I got 30-40 pounds out of hulls.

Another trick is to get those closet drying crystals, but I wouldn't do that until you have a few pounds to go.
Old hulls like this are a dime a dozen. Often you can find them for free. The cost to make it sail worthy would be more than looking for a nice old boat. Being so heavy will make it slow and dull to sail. If you are determined to try to dry it out put an inspection port in, Turn the boat over and stick a light bulb inside to help dry it out.

Good Luck.
if you want to teach your kid to sail before he is 8 or 9 find a good shape used outfit. i see them often for 500-700 range. you will end up with 300-400 in your project easy maybe more and you will most likely wish you had a newer rig after all your hard work. howies parts has the parts you need for the old style.

good luck
My 'Fish is a 1969. It's very heavy but still fun to sail just. I don't race, so who care if it is heavy. I have drilled an inspection port last summer. Hope it will slowly loose some weight.
See the FAQ and the Yahoo sunfish_sailor list for ways to improve upon just what the air will do in helping to dry out your boat. With only a little extra effort you should be able to hasten the lightening of your hull quite a bit. Check out links to further web sites for more ideas too. If you get the boat on a plane in a breeze you'll understand why it's good to keep it light. Easier to get planing and maintain on the plane!