Power Washer damage

Thread starter #1
I picked up this ‘73 Sunfish and it’s in pretty good shape- minor repairs that I can do (will post pics) but the previous owner wanted to clean it up before selling it and he used a power washer- which took paint right off the deck- mostly between the coaming and the front/side of the cockpit. It is a red deck with about 50 gray chicken pox. I think the boat has been repainted because there is no deck stripe and I believe the 73 had a stripe at the stern. There is also paint chipped around the mast hole. My question: Should I sand down the whole boat and repaint it? Should I try to fill in the small pock marks with something and leave the rest alone? I can’t decide and have been hovering around the boat with a sander but unable to take the plunge. 746C16FF-73A8-47E2-8738-A83F44FE2D02.jpeg
 
#2
I don't think you can patch the little dings and be happy with the results, so if you want to make the deck look pretty, you will probably want to repaint. Signal Charlie (Kent Lewis) is the resident expert on repainting Sunfish decks and hulls and even has videos you can view on the surface prep and roll and tip technique to get a good paint job. I think these videos are all on You Tube - just search You Tube for "Kent Lewis, Sunfish" and they should pop up. Consider taking the splash rail off before painting - it makes the job a lot easier and it is easy to reattach with the stainless pan head screws shown in your photo.

Kent - if you see this, chime in.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
Thread starter #3
Thanks, Alan, I have painted a few boats with the help of this forum and Sunfish sailor and I know you’re right, I wouldn’t be happy with a short term patch job. Guess I just didn't want to do all the work involved in repainting so was hoping someone would tell me I’m crazy to paint it! The boat was a little heavy so I cut the deck port and installed a perfect fit fan. I know it would be faster to cut another port at the stern but the air is moving through the deck drain opening so I think that’s enough to do the job. I did a leak test (after duct taping the port and deck drain holes) and found only one small spot along the side trim. I think two people are really needed for a proper test, though. I’ll do one more when I have a helper (I like Kent’s video) I may be better off removing all the aluminum trim and sealing all around before painting.

I don't think you can patch the little dings and be happy with the results, so if you want to make the deck look pretty, you will probably want to repaint. Signal Charlie (Kent Lewis) is the resident expert on repainting Sunfish decks and hulls and even has videos you can view on the surface prep and roll and tip technique to get a good paint job. I think these videos are all on You Tube - just search You Tube for "Kent Lewis, Sunfish" and they should pop up. Consider taking the splash rail off before painting - it makes the job a lot easier and it is easy to reattach with the stainless pan head screws shown in your photo.

Kent - if you see this, chime in.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
You're crazy to paint it! Sail it and have fun!

Go through this Decision Making Matrix from our blog and decide if you WANT to paint it.

So we have tips that will help you get over a some boat builder questions, like, 1) Staring at the part that you are working on and trying to decide if it meets someone's arbitrary universal standard, and/or 2) Making a mistake and trying to decide if it needs to be fixed (or painted in your case).

Here are the criteria we use.

Gallopping Horse (GH) Criteria:
The Skipper's criteria is "Would you notice it from a galloping horse?" She got this valuable tip from her Grandma. It may be self explanatory, but imagine if you rode by the boat on a galloping horse, would the piece in question be noticeable? If not, then continue on. If so, review the following additional criteria before making a decision.

Great Spirit (GS) Criteria:
So maybe you did notice it when you galloped by. My Native American criteria is that only the Great Spirit can make something perfect, so it is best to leave small mistakes in the work as tribute. Plus if your boat gets stolen and recovered by the authorities, you'll be able to point out all the mistakes to them as proof of buildership. That is of course, unless they point all of them out to you first, which is what the "pros" on facebook do.

Which leads to our last, final and "ultimate authority" criteria, which shall be the tie breaker if you are stuck after applying the Galloping Horse and/or Great Spirit decision criteria...

If They Don't Like It... (ITDLI):
Capn Jack always says that if someone looks at your finished boat and says they don't like it, then they don't get to go on the boat :)

The ITDLI criteria is helpful for decisions for items that you may not even have had a hand in, for example, the design of our Drascombe Lugger jib furler. We were rigging the Lugger on the ramp on day and some landlubber walked up and said "Roller reefing on that boat is asinine." Skipper abandoned her duties as PIO and walked away. I ignored him. We assigned the ITDLI criteria to the Ramp Ranger and from that point there was no concern about offering to take them sailing.

So we hope these tips become helpful tools in your tool box, they have saved us hours of moaning chair time.

Fair Winds
Skipper and Clark

Gratuitous boat picture



Our youtube channel Small Boat Restoration
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#5
You're crazy to paint it! Sail it and have fun!
Go through this Decision Making Matrix from our blog and decide if you WANT to paint it.
So we have tips that will help you get over a some boat builder questions, like, 1) Staring at the part that you are working on and trying to decide if it meets someone's arbitrary universal standard, and/or 2) Making a mistake and trying to decide if it needs to be fixed (or painted in your case).
Here are the criteria we use.

Galloping Horse (GH) Criteria:
The "GH Criterion" is what we used to call "The 50-Foot Rule". ;)

The existing paint surface looks well-done and shiny. :cool: I suspect the dots, which are all about the same size, were caused by tree sap. The sap blistered the paint internally, weakening it, and allowed the pressure-washer to extract them. (The gray color remaining is the primer-coat)

T'wer me, I'd take that section of deck (removed for the fan) and take it to your nearby car dealership—or maybe NAPA. Match the color with one of their touch-up paints that use a small brush. (Don't go to a Mercedes-Benz dealership!!) :eek:

Another touch-up trick would be to spray the matching "rattle-can" color into the cap, and use a small brush to cover the gray spots. (A small brush like that found in "White-Out" products, or trim-down the bristles on a "flux brush"). Compound the new spots by hand.

Fifty-feet can remove a lot of anxiety. ;)
 
Thread starter #6
Great advice all around! I thank you Alan, Kent and L&V for jumping right in with the helpful tips. So... If I was galloping by I’d notice the spots. Some might be distracted by the colorful sail but I’d notice. If it wasn’t my boat I’d keep quiet about it, though! I also have great respect for the Great Spirit. It’s not perfect but I can live with that. I’ve seen much worse and most of the paint looks good.
As a compromise I think I’ll go with L&V’s good advice and try the touch up paint. If I’m not satisfied with the results I haven’t lost much and the option to paint remains. Remember: Don’t park your Sunfish under a sappy tree, even for a day, and use a power washer carefully, if at all, on your Sunfish!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#7
I like the touch up paint idea as well, we use a paint cup to spray out a bit of paint into a puddle, then use a cheapo art brush like the ones that came with the kiddos watercolor sets. We grade our paint jobs on the Foot Rule as well, like how close can you get before you can tell it is painted. MERCI was about a "3" other than the fact that Sunfish never came in this Army Air Corps paint scheme.







Another idea is to give a constellation name to each grouping of spots, add a few points of light if needed, one of them is almost Ursa Major.

Last idea, name the boat SPOT. And if you decide to paint, lots of knowledge here in the group about tips and tactics to get a nice finish.

She's a beautiful boat and we are glad to see you restoring her!

Cheers
Kent and Audrey

PS Pressure washing can peel off gelcoat as well, so be careful out there sports fans, unless you are already planning a complete sand/fair/prime/paint on a derelict hull (insert MERCI car wash photo here...)

MERCI's Log

 
Thread starter #9
Seeing Merci’s transformation is inspiring! I like the name ‘Spot’ and I know you feel it’s important to name your boat, so Spot it shall be. Once I’ve touched up the deck maybe I’ll call her ‘Spot On’
 
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