Purchasing Sunfish from the 70's

Thread starter #1
I am hoping some of you can give me some advice on a possible new purchase. So I purchase a Catalina 22 a few years back and I owned it for 2 years without seeing the water once. Mainly because it was so difficult to transport, setup and get into the water. I then purchased a hobie 16 that I had to sell because of a move. I now reside in NM which has a few small lakes. So I have been leaning towards a laser or sunfish that is easy to transport and setup. There aren't too many options in this area, but I found a sunfish 6 1/2 hours away in decent condition for its age. I never owned a sunfish and don't know too much about them. I will proly end up picking this one up this weekend. Here are some pictures tell me what you guys think.
 

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#2
Except for the ugly repair (?) shown in the cockpit tub photo, the boat looks ok. It is a pre-1972 based on the rudder hardware and the red deck has been sun bleached. The bow handle is not original but no biggie. The real question is the weight of the boat. If the weight of the bare hull is over 150 lbs, I would pass as the boat has leaked and the interior foam is probably waterlogged. Take a bathroom scale with you and balance the edge of the hull on the scale to get a fairy accurate weight. Also, is the rest of the rig (sail, mast, booms, rudder/tiller/tiller extension and daggerboard) included and in good shape? A Sunfish missing parts of the rig should be very cheap as you may have to spend up to $500 for all the parts you need. You can clean up the dull deck with 3M Fiberglass Restorer, a rubbing compound with wax. It comes in "lightly oxidized" or "heavily oxidized" - get the "heavily oxidized."

How much is the seller asking? Is a trailer included in the asking price?

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 
Thread starter #3
Yes, it looks like it comes with the rest of the rig. Thanks for the bathroom scale recommendation - water logged is proly the only reason I would pass if I make the 6 1/2 hour drive. Asking is $800 with trailer which is aged but functional. Do you think the fiberglass restorer will do a decent job? Is it a big task to repaint the boat? Any suggestions on how I can clean up the ugly repair to the tub?
 

mixmkr

Active Member
#6
If you haven't splashed the Cat 22 or anything else, the Sunfish is what you are looking for. From trailer to sailing in 5 minutes if you're not drinking a rootbeer at the same time. Skip the Laser, unless you're sailing with another one or fleet racing. More involved...but not much to set up. The sunfish without question, is the quickest boat for day sailing, to get ready. After a couple of times and a routine, it's REALLY fast to hit the water.
If you have no other choices...it makes it hard to decide, but again $800 is going to make the seller happy....not to mention you're going to have some distance driving as well. If the seller is motivated, have THEM weigh the boat and maybe meet you half way. That way, you know the seller believes the boat is road worthy.
Lastly about the weight....even if it is water logged.... they can be dried out, but unfortunately, that's almost best during off season, which we're coming off of. For a kick around boat, it isn't an issue if it weighs 150 lbs in my opinion. I got a FREE 69 boat, that had been almost submerged for 2 years, sitting unused at a dock. It's a restored wave jumper now... weight within specs and looks great for older gent.
The red gelcoat...expect to paint down the line...or just wax it up and use it as is. A good buff and wax will only last a couple months with that gelcoat...even if wet sanded to some degree first. But don't let cosmetics on such a small boat be an issue. The old style rudder almost bugs me the most... and if the trailer is old and useless as well.
 
Thread starter #7
What do you guys think its worth? Its proly the wrong time of the season to be looking, but I have been looking for a month and nothing within distance popped up. I am trying to get one ready as the spring weather rolls in. Seller doesn't appear to be motived to go out of his way. Can you guys tell me about the old rudder style? Does the new one flip up?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#8
Pricing is hard to judge and supply and demand need to be considered. In New Mexico my guess is there isn’t a lot of supply, meaning the price of a boat might be higher than elsewhere. I wouldn’t classify $800 as outrageous, just at the high end (and I am assuming the trailer and boat are in decent shape.).

Yes, the new rudder flips up. It relies on springs and is better at staying down when it is windy among other benefits.
 
Thread starter #9
So a fair price of this boat with trailer would be...$600? How much would it cost to upgrade the rudder to the spring loaded?

There is no inventory around me. This is my 2nd option also 6 hours away and I thought this one is 2x what it is worth Sunfish Alcort sailboat 1983

I also have one more option, but it seems like too much of a project for me considering I don't know anything about repairing boats. Check out the pictures below
 

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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#10
The greenish/grey boat doesn't quite look like a 'real' Sunfish... The other boat (with the stripes) in that picture does look like the real thing.
 
Thread starter #11
The greenish/grey boat doesn't quite look like a 'real' Sunfish... The other boat (with the stripes) in that picture does look like the real thing.
Yes, i think its a sunfish and it is in pretty rough shape. Seller is local and asking $250, but it is too much of a project. I think i would rather spend more time sailing and less time projecting
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#14
So a fair price of this boat with trailer would be...$600? How much would it cost to upgrade the rudder to the spring loaded?
There is no inventory around me. This is my 2nd option also 6 hours away and I thought this one is 2x what it is worth Sunfish Alcort sailboat 1983 I also have one more option, but it seems like too much of a project for me considering I don't know anything about repairing boats. Check out the pictures below
I'm betting there is :) and this is still the off-season!

Put in a Craigslist ad for "Boat Wanted":
Sunfish sailboat wanted, condition not important, $250 offered.

This is how I ended-up with five (5) great Sunfish! :confused:
 
#15
that Sunfish in Denver is definitely not a 1983 - it has the old-style rudder, so would be pre-1972 or so.
there is no way it would be worth paying $2000 for that boat.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#16
Don't buy that gray/green thing. Not a Sunfish and it will be hard to find parts for.

A: On the red boat, you could sand off any old patches and redo them, or if the patch is in good shape, sand them and paint them with Rustoleum. I'd also sail with the original rudder assembly until you figure out if you like the Sunfish, are using it etc...Keep your investment low. If after a few seasons you are hooked and ready for changes to the original design, then start gathering the parts for a rudder swap.
A: I expect that it would cost $300-500.

A: I think you can wet sand that hull and have a rare red top Sunfish and use the 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax that Alan mentioned. I would guess that is around a 1965. Painting is easy enough as well, but there is a lot to be said for the classic colors other than white.

A: I'm with Beldar, $800 is reasonable if the trailer rolls and the boat has the factory spars, blades and a Sunfish sail that is sail shaped. As far as price and availability, you'll be the first person I know in New Mexico to own a Sunfish, so you'll probably pay a bit more, but the flip side is there isn't much of a market either buying or selling. What major cities are closest.

If you do buy the boat, make sure to tape down that rudder assembly hardware so it survives the trip home. Once you get it home, you can check it over and make sure the internal backer blocks are still good. I'd guess that they are, with the dry air out there. And if the boat is heavy, you can add an inspection port on the aft deck and by the coaming to get your dry NM air moving through there, it would dry out over a few months. How much wet foam is too much? If two people can't lift it up off the trailer, time to regroup.

Here are the spar specs, you want to make sure they are the right length and diameter.

Mast -
Length: 10' (3.05 m)
OD: 2-1/4" (57.15 mm)

Gaff and Boom
Length: 13' 8" (4.17 m)
OD 1-1/2" (38.1 mm)

Cheers
Kent and Audrey
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#17
If you click on Sunfish Forum, one of the link options is Sunfish Knowledge Base. There are lots of good tips in there. Enter at your own risk, you could spend hours in there!

Here is a link to our picker list, helpful when you're excited and loading up a "new" boat. It only works if you use it. I have sent people down the road with their new boat and I still had the halyard, forgotten the registration, and recently picked up a boat and forgot to get the sails :)

Small Boat Restoration: Picker Checklist

Cheers
Kent and Audrey
 
#19
What do you guys think its worth? Its proly the wrong time of the season to be looking, but I have been looking for a month and nothing within distance popped up. I am trying to get one ready as the spring weather rolls in. Seller doesn't appear to be motived to go out of his way. Can you guys tell me about the old rudder style? Does the new one flip up?
Old style rudder snaps down, and was replaced by a spring operated (which is the only one you can get parts new for) easier to operate many replace the old style with new
 
#20
I have a few sunfish with zero repairs. Done or needed. I have a very similar one to the red one. It has a great rudder and dagger , and a brand new never used intensity sail. In denver call me if you like, 303 250 9107. I can get you some pictures today Kent and Alan are leading authorities in sunfish. Kent has authored a book on buying and restoration.
 
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