Refurbishing my Sunfish - Lots of questions

Thread starter #1
Hey guys, I'm looking to refurbish my sunfish soon. I have a lot of questions for you, so let me summarize what I plan to do:

Re-gel coat entire hull and deck
Repair minor cracks on deck(will go into further detail later)
Install inspection port
Leak test(before and after gelcoat)
Replace cockpit trim(or re-install aluminum trim)
Replace some pulleys
Replace painted lines on deck after gel coat
Make tiller extension
Install bailer

So here are my questions:
What would be the best way to repair cracks in the deck? I'm thinking just rub some epoxy in there after sanding it down to glass, then gel coat the top.

What kind of gel coat do your recommend? Trying to keep it cheap.

Where should the inspection port be placed?

Would it be better to install the aluminum cockpit trim or replace it with the plastic trim?

Alot of the rivets in the trim were ripped out. What would be the best way to fix it to install new rivets?

The bailer is not only gone, but the hole in the cockpit and on the hull was glassed over completely. How should I go about re-drilling it and installing a new one?

My boom is very close to the deck when its raised. It makes it really difficult to me to get under the boom when it swings over without being hit. How would I make it sit higher on the boat?

How would I install a sort of homemade hiking strap?

Where can I find some references to brush up on my sailing technique? I haven't sailed my boat in years, and I could use a refresher.


Thanks guys in advance
 
#3
Hi PB, great questions all.. I too, have just picked up a 1980 Sunfish as teaching rig for our school here in WV. I will be sure to follow the responses you get. So far, I have found this to be an excellent site/forum for my immediate needs.

BTW, your location was not noted, but you are welcome to get up to speed at Sewell Mountain Sailing (It's Free)
 
#4
Where should the inspection port be placed?
for inspections ports, see this .pdf file: http://kb.sunfishforum.com/images/Inspection_Ports.pdf
You can find this, and a lot more good info at the Sunfish KB (knowledge base) & FAQ section - upper left hand side of the web page.

for location - I put a 5" one just behind the coaming (as shown on page 2 of the pdf file linked above, and in the picture below), and since I don't have a storage compartment in my Sunfish, I put a 2nd 5" port in the cockpit wall at the back of the cockpit (see picture below).




How would I install a sort of homemade hiking strap?
again, look at the Sunfish KB & FAQ (upper left), then click Sunfish FAQ, and find the question about hiking straps. I included the diagram from that page.


I also chose the back of the cockpit wall, so I can eventually install a hiking strap, similar to the diagram above, but using the inspection port for access (again, since I don't have the storage cubby).

If you don't want to make a hiking strap, Intensity Sails sells a hiking strap for about $13 - it looks pretty decent (http://www.intensitysails.com/ingrhistfors.html) that is probably the one I will be buying.


The bailer is not only gone, but the hole in the cockpit and on the hull was glassed over completely. How should I go about re-drilling it and installing a new one?
As for the bailer being removed and the hole fiberglassed over - there is another thread going on right now, and several people mention that you could probably live without a bailer, just bring along a bucket for scooping out water and a big sponge to mop up any extra water. If the fiberglass job was good enough and doesn't leak, I'd probably just leave it out.

that doesn't answer all of them, but should help with a couple. I haven't done any gelcoat work, so I'll leave that question to the experts.

cheers,
tag
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#5
I'm looking to refurbish my sunfish . . . I plan to do:

So here are my questions:

[ 1 ] What would be the best way to repair cracks in the deck? I'm thinking just rub some epoxy in there after sanding it down to glass, then gel coat the top.

[ 2 ] What kind of gel coat do your recommend? Trying to keep it cheap.

[ 3 ] Would it be better to install the aluminum cockpit trim or replace it with the plastic trim?

[ 4 ] Alot of the rivets in the trim were ripped out. What would be the best way to fix it to install new rivets?

[ 5 ] The bailer is not only gone, but the hole in the cockpit and on the hull was glassed over completely. How should I go about re-drilling it and installing a new one?

[ 6 ] My boom is very close to the deck when its raised. It makes it really difficult to me to get under the boom when it swings over without being hit. How would I make it sit higher on the boat?

[ 7 ] Where can I find some references to brush up on my sailing technique? I haven't sailed my boat in years, and I could use a refresher.
[ 1 ] It would be helpful if you could post some pictures of the cracks. Cracks can be a result of different causes and require differing repair approaches.

In general, surface crack repair is done with gelcoat paste. Gelcoat over epoxy has special preparation needs for successful top coating so epoxy would not be first choice as a crack filler.

[ 2 ] Gelcoat comes in a couple of styles (paste and a thinner consistency resin). Many resin manufacturers make a gelcoat product. The best price isn’t so much brand specific as it can be retailer pricing. For a fairly good look at the mid-range visit an outlet who moves product steadily, like Defender Marine or Jamestown Distributors.

[ 3 ] The trim you choose for the cockpit is more a personal preference, based some on how roughly you think you’ll be treating the cockpit lip.

[ 4 ] I assume we are still talking about the trim around the cockpit. Fill the old holes with fiberglass or epoxy and once it’s hardened and you've smoothed the broken out hole fill to match the surrounding surface, re-drill for the replacement trim (if you are going back with aluminum) or leave filled for installing vinyl trim.

[ 5 ] The bailer can be a convenience depending on your sailing style and awareness of how it works. The latest setup manual, free from the Laser Performance web site, describes the bailer operation. There’s a discussion on alternatives, posted just a couple of days ago, here . . . Self-Bailer Substitude [Substitute] http://www.sunfishforum.com/showthread.php?t=32652

[ 6 ] Boom height is a function of where you tie on the halyard to the upper spar (gaff). How you position the sail rig is up to your preference to suit your sailing style. This too is covered in the setup manual.

[ 7 ] In addition to the Sunfish guide already mentioned, you may also find a copy of Will White’s The Sunfish Bible a good reference to have. This book covers all the Sunfish (lateen specific) sailing skills from beginner to advanced. What you are introduced to at racing clinics is based on having a good handle on the advanced levels described in this book. The Sunfish Bible is available through the Sunfish Class office ( www.sunfishclass.org ) or any Sunfish dealer, for around $30.


I recommend prioritizing your To Do list this way. . .

  • Leak test … fix any leaks
  • Repair minor cracks on deck
  • Fix cockpit trim holes in fiberglass lip
  • Install inspection port … but save the final caulk and fastening for after gelcoating
  • Install bailer … also save the final caulk and fastening for after gelcoating
  • Re-gel coat entire hull and deck … Here’s a recent post:
  • Paint lines on deck
  • Replace cockpit trim
  • Replace some pulleys
  • Make tiller extension
 
Thread starter #6
I'm planning to take the boat out onto the coast of florida. There will likely be alot of water getting into the cockpit and whatnot from waves and if it flips. So what would be the best way to go about putting in a new bailer?

There are small cracks in the gelcoat (as far as I can tell) on the hull, and alot of gelcoat cracks on the top as well. Only one that may be a crack in the fiberglass. Its a hairline crack about 4 inches long in between the inside of the cockpit and the outer edge of the boat.

Also, I noticed that the hull of my sunfish is ridiculously heavy. Are the older models heavier than the newer ones? Because mine definitely weighs more than 150 pounds. And how would I go about weighing it? Probably going to air out the hull after drilling one or two inspection ports sometime soon.

Ill try go get some pics up soon. Thank you guys for taking the time to reply to this thread, I really appreciate it.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#7
So what would be the best way to go about putting in a new bailer?

I noticed that the hull of my sunfish is ridiculously heavy. . . how would I go about weighing it?
You can re-drill the bailer hole with anything that's suitable ... a hole saw, a Dremel, whatever works. Then put in a new bailer like you were assembling the boat for the first time?

For weighing and drying checkout the article in the KB area ... look at the top of this page...
  • Sunfish KB & FAQ
    • Repairs & Upgrades
      • How to Dry Out a Wet Hull
 
Thread starter #8
To gel coat the boat, ide need to remove the combing and hardware on the boat. How are those fastened on the back side? So if I removed the hardware, would I be able to put it back on? If not, how should I deal with it?

Thanks
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#9
To gel coat the boat, i'd need to remove the combing and hardware on the boat.
How are those fastened on the back side?
So if I removed the hardware, would I be able to put it back on?
The coaming ... depending on the year ... is screwed directly into the deck -or- screwed into expanding nuts set in the deck -or- pop-riveted to the deck. By installing an inspection port in the vicinity, access is taken care of.

All the other deck fittings are anchored into backing blocks or plates, again depending on the generation of the boat.
  • 1960 - 1986 - wood backing blocks
  • 1986 - present - metal backing plates

Either way, you just screw the hardware back in place, with one caveat...

...the wood backing blocks tend to rot if the innards of the hull are wet. And sometimes even dry blocks loose their daub of resin connection to the underside of the hull.

Re-attachment can require installing a couple of more inspection ports.
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Thread starter #11
I was originally looking at spraying gelcoat on my fish, and was told that wouldn't work too well, as gelcoat is designed to be sprayed into a mold, and would look bad if sprayed onto the boat, and maybe not stick too well.

What was suggested to me was primer and an awlgrip topcoat. I began sanding this week, only to find out that it would cost $200+ for the paint, instead of the $80 or so I was told it would cost.

So, I need some paint that will work, for around the hundred dollar price range for the whole boat. What have you guys used? And what are my options?

Thanks
 
#12
I was originally looking at spraying gelcoat on my fish, and was told that wouldn't work too well, as gelcoat is designed to be sprayed into a mold, and would look bad if sprayed onto the boat, and maybe not stick too well.

What was suggested to me was primer and an awlgrip topcoat. I began sanding this week, only to find out that it would cost $200+ for the paint, instead of the $80 or so I was told it would cost.

So, I need some paint that will work, for around the hundred dollar price range for the whole boat. What have you guys used? And what are my options?

Thanks

Don't know much about gelcoat, but I believe there are other ways of applying other than spray. Anyhow, I am painting mine right now with Interlux Brightside and I have to say is looking better than what I expected using the tip and roll method. I just finished the third coat on the deck and sides and I think I have enough for three more coats on the bottom using just one quart ($30-40). I am not painting the footwell. I originally wanted to use Epifanes one part polyurethane but could not find it around. I have also heard good things about Petite's Easypoxy. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE PRIMER:eek:. I did not applied any and now I find myself using far more paint than originally ecxpected. Is relativeley cheap and it will give you a solid base to pain. Painting with any of the one parts should keep the cost well under the $100 mark including paint, primer, rollers, brushes and all.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#13
I was originally looking at spraying gelcoat on my fish, and was told that wouldn't work too well, as gelcoat is designed to be sprayed into a mold, and would look bad if sprayed onto the boat, and maybe not stick too well.
You can spray gelcoat. Boat repair shops do it all the time. The two issues for the home refinisher are, gelcoat makes Awlgrip look cheap and the spray equipment needed is different from paint spray equipment ... not super expensive, but still an additional expense for a probably one-time job. Secondarily, gelcoat takes practice to get right. You have a much higher chance of lucking out spray painting a good job the first time around than gelcoating. At the high material cost, that makes it a very steep learning curve.

Gelcoat can be applied by the roll & tip method. This works, but definitely needs sanding, compounding, and polishing to achieve satisfactory end results. It's for these reasons gelcoat is usually left to the shops with the equipment and experience and quality paint is used by the home refinisher.

On the other hand, spraying gelcoat for small patch work using a cartridge powered sprayer can be very successful and only a moderate cost.



Don't know much about gelcoat, but I believe there are other ways of applying other than spray. Anyhow, I am painting mine right now with Interlux Brightside and I have to say is looking better than what I expected using the tip and roll method. I just finished the third coat on the deck and sides and I think I have enough for three more coats on the bottom using just one quart ($30-40). I am not painting the footwell. I originally wanted to use Epifanes one part polyurethane but could not find it around. I have also heard good things about Petite's Easypoxy. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE PRIMER:eek:. I did not applied any and now I find myself using far more paint than originally ecxpected. Is relativeley cheap and it will give you a solid base to pain. Painting with any of the one parts should keep the cost well under the $100 mark including paint, primer, rollers, brushes and all.
I think what you say here covers the paint issue pretty well.

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#16
1973 Super Sunfish - how to rig

My boys just purchased a 1975 Super Sunfish. The mast and boom are different than the regular sunfish I see online. Does anyone have a rigging diagram for a super sunfish? Also, it needs a couple of parts. As I said, the mast, boom and sail are not the same as a regular sunfish. The only thing I can find online is the regular sunfish. Any information anyone has on a super sunfish is greatly appreciated.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#17
Re: 1973 Super Sunfish - how to rig

My boys just purchased a 1975 Super Sunfish. The mast and boom are different than the regular sunfish I see online. Does anyone have a rigging diagram for a super sunfish? Also, it needs a couple of parts. As I said, the mast, boom and sail are not the same as a regular sunfish. The only thing I can find online is the regular sunfish. Any information anyone has on a super sunfish is greatly appreciated.
Yes, the Super Sunfish uses a “conventional” Bermuda style rig rather than the typical Sunfish lateen rig. Super Sunfish was available from 1974 to 1984.



Parts specific to the “Super” characteristics of the boat can sometimes be found on the used parts market…, craigslist, ebay, here at The Sunfish Forum, or at Sunfish Sailor. Parts universal to all Sunfish can be purchased new from Sunfish dealers or found used. Some items are generic sailboat hardware and can be found at most any sailboat supplier.

The Sunfish Sailor owner’s support group has free downloads of the setup manual and parts diagram.


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