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Restoring a Sunfish?


New Member
I'm new to sailing and boats in general and don't know that much about repairing boats. I recently came into possession of a sunfish sailboat and I would like to restore it if possible. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I believe the boat is from the 1980s. There is a sticker that says AMF Alcort Sunfish on it if that helps. I attached a photo of it so you can see the shape it's in.



Active Member
Looks like a good wash and wax and you will be ready to go.

Do you have the mast, spars, sail, rudder and dagger board?


Welcome! I'm also pretty new to this whole boat thing! :)
Is that some damage at the front? Also, is the aluminum trim that goes around the perimeter missing (unless yours is the newer style hull)? Maybe someone split it in preparation to fix the damage. More detailed pix of any damage might help.
I like the paint job!


Someone already pulled off all the hardware... Its almost guaranteed the backing plates/blocks are now rattling around loose in the hull.

that means you'll have to cut in "inspection holes" to access the parts and hold them in place when you reinstall the hardware.

Its pretty common to see Sunfish with multiple 4 inch to 6 inch inspection covers strategically placed. The inspection cover for accessing the backing plate for the bow handle would allow the access needed for patching the cracked bow. This really isn't your big problem.

The big problem is: What happened to the hardware? You can probably buy a hull without the fiberglass damage, with the hardware still installed, for less than it will cost to replace the hardware on that hull.

You pretty much NEVER want to think of splitting the deck from the hull on a Sunfish. They never go back together straight.


Well-Known Member
Check back with that neighbor—he may have forgotten the sails, spars and mast in his attic.

When you consider that all you have is a damaged hull, and all the expensive parts are missing—this is a project that has little financially to recommend it—sorry to say. If you want to go sailing this season, place an ad "looking for a Sunfish, complete", and offer $300 cash. You'll save hundreds, and might do very well, indeed. :)

Meanwhile, that crack across the keel looks :oops: familiar. I have similar damage that I've "fixed"—last season—with duct tape! :cool: (It'll get fixed—maybe this season! :rolleyes: )



The deck is separating from the main hull. I suspect a heavy putty knife will separate the top from the bottom... possibly all the way around... with little effort.


3 to 5 layers of paint on the hull with the last looking like latex house paint.


Cracked keel. Probably from hull flex due to the deck separating from the hull.
(actually one of the more repairable issues)


Corner scraped almost through the fiberglass.

Full strip of all the added paint.
Repair lots of fiberglass isssues.

Then buy all the missing hardware, mast, sail, "lines" (ropes), dagger-board, rudder....
Just the sail will be about $450 new... might be lucky and get a used one for $100.
Maybe $1800 plus the couple of hundred hours labor to fix the hull right by the time its ready for water.

Or watch Craigslist for one ready to sail at about $500. (with a trailer) Might get 3 or 4 years non-race sailing before replacing the sail.

To make one race ready... add a lot or buy a race ready one for about $2000.

Stick a fork in it.