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 #11
This boat sat around for 3 months as I bought and sold and sailed others all summer (see pic in first post of this thread) At first I thought I’d go with touch-up- good ideas here, but now I’ve decided to feather out the paint chips, sand it down with 220 and put on some fresh paint. Alan, I think you’re right, I wouldn’t be happy with a patch job.
It passed the leak test, but I removed all the aluminum trim and the splashguard to make for a better (and easier) paint job. There were a couple of very dirty areas under the trim, and although the seam looks OK I think these spots would be potential future leakers. I’m going to seal around the whole seam with a thin coat of Flexpoxy.
Question: When I removed the splashguard I was left with 13 holes in the deck. I know the deck is thin and wonder if I should fill these holes with Flexpoxy or Marinetex... I can reach the back of six of the holes through the inspection port so can use washers as backers for those six- if necessary- I’d need longer screws- the rest are covered by the flotation blocks on both sides. I was planning to bed the screws in 4200 when I reinstall, then use the same for a bead around the edge of the splashguard. Or would simple marine silicone sealant be enough and maybe preferred?
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#12
Use some marine sealant, I'd avoid adhesive. The rivnuts do not need sealant unless they have been compromised, as they are closed end. If some of them came out then I'd either put in new rivnuts and screws or switch to closed end rivets like the later boats.

Cheers
Skipper and Clark Kent

Currently obsessing over a Grumman 17 canoe, avoiding work on the wooden Sunfish and Super Sailfish.

IMG_7022.JPG
 
Thread starter #13
Good, thanks, so no 4200. And no Flexpoxy to fill holes. So I just need rivnuts- those are the plastic backers, right? I’ll bring the broken one I have and a screw and hopefully the local Ace will stock them.
P.S. It’s good to have several boat projects going- so you’re not avoiding work, just working somewhere else for now :)
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#14
I like the canoe, got any special plans for her as far as paint scheme goes? And SC, your 'Foot Rule' is a good one, I use the same yardstick... most people can't tell factory gelcoat from good LP paint once the boat is offshore a short distance, unless of course the color is a wild one, LOL. Laser #2069 wore several different coats over the years: when DC unveiled his IACC boat "Stars & Stripes" (USA-11), I liked the color combo so much that I copied it, LOL. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, aye? Later Kiwi hulls looked bad@$$ in black, so that's what my boat had when she was a pirate ship. One time, many years ago, I chose a beautiful purple color which looked primo with a gleaming white deck... got a lot of compliments over that hull, even from women walking by my house as I was rinsing the boat, LOL. The best thing I like about using paint is the freedom it gives an owner to express himself (or herself). In latter years, I've toned down the glare on deck by using softer muted colors, rather than bright gloss white... one can pick very beautiful color combos while using this tactic. Anyway, I'm off to see what Norcalsail has to say in our conversation... slept in a bit after finally crashing this morning, LOL. This upcoming relocation has me excited & restless (slightly anxious) at the same time. Meh, I'll get over it, just gotta lot on my mind, that's all. :confused:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#15
Before painting, I fill scratches with red "body putty", an automotive product. :cool:

Scratches are easy to fill, pressing a credit card in the direction of the scratch. Pits might be a lot more challenging. Spider cracks definitely can't be hidden with body filler in my experience.

It makes no claim to be waterproof, but none of my paint jobs have shown "red".

Its very economical and durable: I suspect my 14 oz. metal tube of red body putty is 30 years old! :confused:

Even a relatively thin, one coat, of white spray paint covers it without bleed-through. (Even though it's tomato-red!) :eek:

White is available, but I didn't see any 30 years ago. :)
 
Thread starter #16
I’ve got fairing putty and will hit a couple of spots. Confession: I am NOT priming, just painting with Easypoxy Fire Red. I know many will say “do it right” with primer but it has been my experience that the primer is expensive, time consuming, most is sanded off and the paint sticks just fine without it, especially if I let it ‘bake’ for a couple weeks in the sun afterwards.
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#22
I hail from a large military family (seven brothers, one sister, eldest brother deceased), and back in the day we all built models of ships, tanks, planes, you name it. Maybe not my sis, but all my brothers... I probably built a model of that very plane at some point or other, I know I built P-51s, Stukas, Spitfires, Ju-88s, Catalina seaplanes, and a bunch of others I'm not remembering at this moment, LOL. We also built castles, fought wars with soldiers of every stripe including those from the Napoleonic Era, built flying models, launched ships, all that good stuff... models that outlived their usefulness were selected for target practice or explosives training, maybe set on fire as well, LOL. How we all survived the '60s & '70s is still a mystery to me... no eyes put out either, but plenty of scorched fingers & ringing eardrums, AYE??? Meh, live & learn, those were the good old days when messing with this stuff, building tree forts, exploring in the field, etc., were more important than video games, which didn't even exist yet. Sure was fun, and we never missed what had not been invented yet, LOL. Good luck with the canoe, I'm sure you'll make a good job of it, judging by your past work... CHEERS!!! :cool:
 
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norcalsail

Active Member
#23
Well, hopefully we'll see pictures and I have to say that Air Corps Sunfish looks amazing. Would love to see photos of that sailing with your Navy, Signal Charlie. Pretty sure I'm not the only one...
 
Thread starter #24
The rivet nuts (rivnuts) are metal and require a special rivet gun tool. Rivnuts

If most of your rivets are good you could go with a plastic anchor for a few of them, field expedient repair. Don't tell anyone :)

As for the canoe, she'll get a Flying Tigers paint job.
View attachment 28243
I think I should have left the splashguard on! Mine doesn’t have rivets, but stainless pan head screws. There was no evidence of metal rivnuts behind them when I removed the screws, just 2 plastic anchors.
I do have a rivet gun (but not a riv-nut gun) and the proper rivets for reattaching the aluminum trim, but the holes that held the stainless screws to the splashguard are big- too big for the same rivet size, I’m sure.
In another thread it said the rivnut tool plus rivets was $100. I think I’ll skip the tool and try plastic mollies similar to what was there.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#25
I think I should have left the splashguard on! Mine doesn’t have rivets, but stainless pan head screws. There was no evidence of metal rivnuts behind them when I removed the screws, just 2 plastic anchors.
In another thread it said the rivnut tool plus rivets was $100. I think I’ll skip the tool and try plastic mollies similar to what was there.
That "loaner-Sunfish" that became a gift to me from a neighbor? Their boys had knocked the splashguard off—not once, but twice! :eek:

Later, mostly abandoned, I went back to sailing it by reattaching the splashguard with sheet metal screws—after moving the splashguard back
-inch—and drilling new holes. The old holes remained covered by the splashguard. :cool: (Although, with this Sunfish having no inspection ports, I probably should have taped them over).

Seeing that it might get knocked a third time, I didn't caulk the splashguard—and don't think it needs caulking anyway. Even if one should raise the splashguard with washers :confused: very little water gets through, and might even assist in taking "the punch" out of bigger wakes enough to avoid flooding the cockpit.

Here it is, being launched while having to look over a long mound of cured Liquid Nails—some very tough stuff that had to be sanded off. :mad:

How much abuse the sheet metal screws could take is unknown, but my quick-and-dirty splashguard repair survived Hurricane Irma, while the rest of the boat got smooshed!
 

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#26
The ratchet block on my Laser is mounted with 2 of those #8 stainless wood screws and it hasn't pulled out in 36 years and that has 10 times the load of a splash guard.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#27
I’ve got fairing putty and will hit a couple of spots. Confession: I am NOT priming, just painting with Easypoxy Fire Red. I know many will say “do it right” with primer but it has been my experience that the primer is expensive, time consuming, most is sanded off and the paint sticks just fine without it, especially if I let it ‘bake’ for a couple weeks in the sun afterwards.
I've just stumbled on two types of automotive "glazing putty" I wouldn't hesitate to use today—although both tubes are over 25 years old! :oops: After several years of sailing, it's only where the Sunfish keel has been dragged across a wooden dock that the putty's red coloring was exposed. :cool: As Beldar has stated, it's probably best to leave scratches (or use compound on them), as painting is a maintenance item; whereas, actual sailing should always take precedence.

Surprising to me, "spider-cracks" won't fill in (and do show through). :(

Two of my former Sunfish-racers had gouges and deep "cross-scratches", so taking the time to putty and paint them seemed advisable. The putty has held up well. :)
 

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Thread starter #30
Sheeza looking good! Roll and tip application? Temp applied and any thinner?
Thanks! Temps were in the low 70’s, low humidity and no rain in the forecast. I started with roll and tip but the first coat had lots a little fibers on the deck from the roller. I used just a good quality brush (no roller) for 2nd and 3rd coats. No thinner. The paint leveled out really well. Still need to attach splashguard, add stripes and put aluminum trim back on, then she’s ready for spring sailing! Tucked in the garage now, next to two other Sunfish, a Sailfish and a Minifish (several others must be left outside, unfortunately)
 
Thread starter #32
Thanks, Norcalsail! It’s far from perfect, but I’m very happy with the Pettit paint- it was very forgiving. I don’t think I’ll ever use a roller again, just the brush worked well for me and was much less stressful. I put some good tunes on and got into it!
 
Thread starter #33
I decided it was better to glass over the holes where the splashguard was removed. Originally attached with machine screws, but I’m reattaching with the 3/16 rivets. Thanks to search forum and good advice here I also got proper washers for backing the rivets. Next I will drill out the 3/16th holes. But then, how to hold a tiny washer with your arm in the inspection port under the 3/16” hole while carefully squeezing a rivet gun? Nope, this is a two person job!
Also, I can only reach about 6 of the 13 holes, with flotation blocks under the rest. I will use a dab of TotalBoat Seal under each rivet head and run a bead or two under the splashguard. Am I missing something? Is it OK that outer rivets don’t have backing washers? I know there are other methods.. riv-nuts and my original machine screws, but I thought this method was best, and is advised on sunfishsailor files. Any advise or reassurance before I proceed would be welcome! This is my freshly painted Sunfish, I don’t want to screw this up!
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
#35
This wasn't sprayed but brushed? It looks amazing, like brand new... love the red!
I prefer brushing over spraying, as it attracts and removes more mosquitoes from the area. :(

I decided it was better to glass over the holes where the splashguard was removed. Originally attached with machine screws, but I’m reattaching with the 3/16 rivets. Thanks to search forum and good advice here I also got proper washers for backing the rivets. Next I will drill out the 3/16th holes. But then, how to hold a tiny washer with your arm in the inspection port under the 3/16” hole while carefully squeezing a rivet gun? Nope, this is a two person job!

Also, I can only reach about 6 of the 13 holes, with flotation blocks under the rest. I will use a dab of TotalBoat Seal under each rivet head and run a bead or two under the splashguard. Am I missing something? Is it OK that outer rivets don’t have backing washers? I know there are other methods.. riv-nuts and my original machine screws, but I thought this method was best, and is advised on sunfishsailor files. Any advise or reassurance before I proceed would be welcome! This is my freshly painted Sunfish, I don’t want to screw this up!
Ironically, the outer fasteners take most of the strain of heavy-water sailing; worse, the outer fasteners are the first to snag on lines (or lawns during Hurricane Irma).

Where my "borrowed" Sunfish lost its splashguard twice before, I replaced the fasteners with stainless sheet-metal screws—anticipating the splashguard would be ripped-off again: but even Hurricane Irma didn't budge it. :) A few years pass, the boys "graduate" to a Jet-Ski, so my neighbor gave the Sunfish to me. :cool: Especially remarkable, as that hurricane tore at the "rear corners" and knocked them off! :confused: Now that the holes prevent sailing (or even floating), I've since decided to save that Sunfish, rather than part it out. Probably why I've got four spare Sunfish. ;)

One of my ex-racer Sunfish splashguards has pulled out to leave five postage-stamp size holes. :eek: I plan to cut "recovered" fiberglass fragments to shapes that can slide behind those holes then epoxy them under the holes (later, to drill new holes when cured). Because it appears to be a very vulnerable—but important—accessory, metal backers could cause less comfort and more grief! (Unless metal backers was my earlier suggestion! :confused: )

Open question:
Pop-rivets / sheet metal screws: How about nylon, fiberglass, or fiber washers for backers?

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