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Seeking advice for restoration

oregongirl

New Member
I’m so buoyed by the initial support I’ve received here I’m reaching out for more. . Ok no more lame puns but I couldn’t resist. I‘m attaching a bunch more close up photos. I haven’t done the air leak test but I plan to this weekend. I’m fully equipped with multiple grits of sandpaper, rubbing compounds, polish, and waxes. I’ve done a trial section on the hull with compound-polish-wax and it shines it up but doesn't take out the deeper scratches.

Overall I think the deck is in really great shape. There are no cracks and only a couple of surface scratches. I plan to wet sand it. After that I feel like it should be waxed but I’ve read on here not to wax the deck or you’ll slide off. How do you protect the gel coat? There are a couple of small chips out of the the fiberglass on the inside rim of the tub. Not sure if the terminology is correct it hopefully you get it. Do they have to be repaired or can I just leave them?

I also noticed the little ball is missing inside the bailer. Where can I find one of these? I’m guessing that’s an important piece?

Alright folks, bring it on. Best path to restoration? Will wet sanding actually take out those deeper scratches or should I fill them first? I’m going to pick up some marine Tex for the one small puncture that is currently filled with silicone.
 

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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Assuming the hull doesn't leak (a big IF), I agree with Sailflow to just forget about the scratches and go sailing.

BTW, the gelcoat doesn't need to be 'protected'. The gelcoat serves to protect the layer underneath.
The utility of wax is debatable; certainly don't use it on the deck. If you sail in really dirty water, wax will keep the hull cleaner longer. But a hose and a sponge will work wonders as well.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Hmm... special circumstances here, the boat is in good condition overall, she'll look better once ya finish cleaning her up, and you're probably gonna put a few more scratches in the hull during your learning phase. Learning to sail, and learning to cartop if that's the route you're taking---if you have a trailer, disregard the cartopping reference, it's just easy to ding up a hull (and car) when one first begins to cartop. :confused:

Ya might do this: pull a "partial restoration" by bagging a new sail, upgrading running rigging & hardware if necessary, cleaning & polishing the hull & deck, maybe waxing the hull as well just for an added layer of protection. Use some filler for those chips where the gelcoat is missing, having exposed cloth is not a good thing, and you can always cover those spots with some colored tape or whatever if the colors don't match (as they probably won't). ;)

Ideally, you'd find someone to mix pigment with a little gelcoat and get the color as close as possible, then repair those chips... but if you don't know anybody and you don't wanna tackle that minor task, then at least use some sort of filler just to cover the exposed cloth and smoothen out the trouble spots. If you don't, I guarantee that those spots with the rough edges will make contact with your skin at some point and start chafing... you want smoothness, not rough problem areas. :mad:

These steps would get you sailing pronto, and LATER, once you've added a few more scratches & dings to the hull (and possibly the deck), THEN you can pull a full restoration. Right now, I'm guessing you still have some sailing left in the "season"---if Oregon HAS a season, down south one sails year-round. This is the best compromise I can think of, but I still recommend covering the exposed cloth in those chips or dings, using filler and possibly tape if you don't mix pigment with gelcoat. I think I've seen dark blue electrical tape before, that would blend in somewhat, till ya get the boat done right. :D

My $.02, for what it's worth, I know you want to get out there and start learning to sail, but at the very least these steps should be taken, aye? And I hope you will read up on basic sailing, that's important too. Didja already post shots of the running rigging? Is your mainsheet in good shape? How about those blocks? You might be able to clean up blocks for temporary service until you upgrade to better ones (if necessary), but if the mainsheet looks cr@ppy I'd suggest buying new line, that can also be viewed as a marine safety issue. :)

I'll have to go back and look at the posted photos again, maybe you included more shots of gear. But since your boat looks to be in good condition, this compromise might get you on the water faster... did you already check the mast step and daggerboard trunk for damage or leaks? That's important too, but you may have already done this. Still, I say again, fix those chips or dings to protect the exposed glass cloth and reduce the odds of snagging line, flesh, etc., on the rough edges. It doesn't take much to break skin under force, and those rough edges ALMOST qualify as "meathooks" in the nautical world. :eek:

OKAY, NOW I'M DONE, TIME TO GO BACK AND CHECK THOSE PHOTOS... CARRY ON WITH THE GOOD WORK!!! CHEERS!!! :rolleyes:

Edit: Okay, I looked at those photos again, and I'd address those problem spots in the mast step and daggerboard trunk, including the compound curve where the step meets the deck... looks worn there, so to PREVENT further damage use some filler, catalyzed resin, whatever, to keep those areas from getting worse. Might have to take a file to the problem areas in the dagger well, then apply filler or resin. Closer pics would be good, with some illumination... ;)
 
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oregongirl

New Member
Hmm... special circumstances here, the boat is in good condition overall, she'll look better once ya finish cleaning her up, and you're probably gonna put a few more scratches in the hull during your learning phase. Learning to sail, and learning to cartop if that's the route you're taking---if you have a trailer, disregard the cartopping reference, it's just easy to ding up a hull (and car) when one first begins to cartop. :confused:

Ya might do this: pull a "partial restoration" by bagging a new sail, upgrading running rigging & hardware if necessary, cleaning & polishing the hull & deck, maybe waxing the hull as well just for an added layer of protection. Use some filler for those chips where the gelcoat is missing, having exposed cloth is not a good thing, and you can always cover those spots with some colored tape or whatever if the colors don't match (as they probably won't). ;)

Ideally, you'd find someone to mix pigment with a little gelcoat and get the color as close as possible, then repair those chips... but if you don't know anybody and you don't wanna tackle that minor task, then at least use some sort of filler just to cover the exposed cloth and smoothen out the trouble spots. If you don't, I guarantee that those spots with the rough edges will make contact with your skin at some point and start chafing... you want smoothness, not rough problem areas. :mad:

These steps would get you sailing pronto, and LATER, once you've added a few more scratches & dings to the hull (and possibly the deck), THEN you can pull a full restoration. Right now, I'm guessing you still have some sailing left in the "season"---if Oregon HAS a season, down south one sails year-round. This is the best compromise I can think of, but I still recommend covering the exposed cloth in those chips or dings, using filler and possibly tape if you don't mix pigment with gelcoat. I think I've seen dark blue electrical tape before, that would blend in somewhat, till ya get the boat done right. :D

My $.02, for what it's worth, I know you want to get out there and start learning to sail, but at the very least these steps should be taken, aye? And I hope you will read up on basic sailing, that's important too. Didja already post shots of the running rigging? Is your mainsheet in good shape? How about those blocks? You might be able to clean up blocks for temporary service until you upgrade to better ones (if necessary), but if the mainsheet looks cr@ppy I'd suggest buying new line, that can also be viewed as a marine safety issue. :)

I'll have to go back and look at the posted photos again, maybe you included more shots of gear. But since your boat looks to be in good condition, this compromise might get you on the water faster... did you already check the mast step and daggerboard trunk for damage or leaks? That's important too, but you may have already done this. Still, I say again, fix those chips or dings to protect the exposed glass cloth and reduce the odds of snagging line, flesh, etc., on the rough edges. It doesn't take much to break skin under force, and those rough edges ALMOST qualify as "meathooks" in the nautical world. :eek:

OKAY, NOW I'M DONE, TIME TO GO BACK AND CHECK THOSE PHOTOS... CARRY ON WITH THE GOOD WORK!!! CHEERS!!! :rolleyes:

Edit: Okay, I looked at those photos again, and I'd address those problem spots in the mast step and daggerboard trunk, including the compound curve where the step meets the deck... looks worn there, so to PREVENT further damage use some filler, catalyzed resin, whatever, to keep those areas from getting worse. Might have to take a file to the problem areas in the dagger well, then apply filler or resin. Closer pics would be good, with some illumination... ;)
Rest assured I won't be hitting the water without proper instruction. I actually joined my local yacht club a year ago in order to learn to sail. The club has a few of it's own Sunfish for newbies. I also will be assigned a mentor. Unfortunately, our club lake did not have enough water this year for anyone to sail. I am in Southern Oregon and most of our lakes are reservoirs and our snowpack was low last year. Getting in the water this year is not in the cards. But I have enjoyed some nice cocktails and entertaining stories during club meetings.

My original plan was to just do a nice rubbing and wax, get a new sail, and any missing pieces assuming I will be adding some scratches and dents as I learn. But then one of these threads pointed me to Sailfishllc.com and my "beautification" plan went into overdrive!!! Since I have all winter I figured why not? But yeah I'm probably going way overboard.

The friend that gave me the boat says it didn't leak the last time he had it out - but some time has passed. He even sailed it with the mouse holes in the sail :)
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Winter is the best time to pull an overhaul or restoration, I used to do it just about every winter due to excessive usage... doesn't hurt to closely inspect gear & hardware & whatnot either, though you should be casually inspecting the boat after every use. It all falls under the heading of 'Marine Safety'---even though some of it occurs on shore, LOL. :confused:

Edit: I always wanted to sail on Crater Lake in Oregon... dunno if it's allowed there, and there might not be much breeze, but the crater looks so cool! And what was that island? Wizard Island? What a cool place to have a cold beer or a picnic, maybe both, LOL. Doesn't get much more scenic... :rolleyes:
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Final observations before I go out and catch some sunshine in the yard... I see that you have a garage in which to pull boat repairs or overhauls, and that's a good thing. Even if that garage doesn't have any built-in climate controls, you can add space heaters, lamps, etc., and have a nice little workshop. No dust, no bugs, no bird cr@p, LOL... :eek:

For future reference, whenever you're applying catalyzed resin, primer, paint, etc., a curing temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal... you can go a bit lower or higher, but 70 is a good benchmark, aye? Not so important when doing prep work, just when curing resin or paint. That boat looks pretty nice, I think she'll clean up well, but eventually you'll get around to repainting her, and of course there are always glass repairs. :rolleyes:

You seem motivated to learn how to sail, and I reckon you'll do well on the water once you get a handle on the situation. Moi, I learned early on that if one takes care of his (or her) boat, that boat will take care of him (or her). Some site members here already know this, and they are dedicated to keeping their boats in Bristol condition... I know I am, whenever I own a boat, though I may be renting from now on, I don't really know at this point. :confused:

But let me also say that with a boat like yours, you can have some fine adventures... one look at AIR's videos (AIR=Adventures In Reach) should be enough for you to grasp that concept. Take care of your boat and she'll take care of you... that's how it works in the nautical world, though you still have to keep a weather eye open for objective hazards, LOL. I loved my Laser (and Minifish), still do, really, I had some of the best times of my life aboard those craft. :)

I'm just sayin', and I think you'll become a good mariner & skipper in due time... take care of that Sunfish and treat her well, and she'll take care of you. Oh, there'll be times when things don't go exactly your way, but know this: it's perfectly acceptable to curse your boat in fine seafaring tradition, LOL. Only when she gives you grief or lags in performance, the rest is on YOU for not knowing exactly what to do in any given situation, AYE??? :D

Alright, it's time for me to sling my Pawleys Island Hammock in the yard, this Arizona sunshine is too good to pass up now that the long hot summer has ended, LOL. Hammocks are great, and they've played a big part in nautical & naval history, I have the quilted 'Beach Stripe' model myself, thing was expensive but it's worth every penny. Same outlook works for boat ownership: buy the best gear & materials you can to keep your 'Fish in good shape. CHEERS!!! :cool:
 

Weston

Active Member
...
But let me also say that with a boat like yours, you can have some fine adventures... one look at AIR's videos (AIR=Adventures In Reach) should be enough for you to grasp that concept. Take care of your boat and she'll take care of you... that's how it works in the nautical world, though you still have to keep a weather eye open for objective hazards, LOL. I loved my Laser (and Minifish), still do, really, I had some of the best times of my life aboard those craft....
OregonGirl, here are some Youtube videos and other sites that have helped me.... a great place to start over the winter.
If you are looking to do some things over the winter to make your sailing more enjoyable next Spring, I recommend the following:
  • Get a fresh mainsheet and halyard. I've been happy with the 8mm and 5mm lines respectively from Intensity Sails
  • Get a bungee to attach to the daggerboard to prevent it from dropping down at an inopportune time (such as beaching or other shallow conditions)
  • Install 3 mainsheet hangers to keep the mainsheet out of your way when tacking or gybing. I like these from AeroSouth.
  • Buy a hand paddle to maneuver getting out from the dock, canal, or other place close to shore where you can't effectively use your sail to navigate. My Sunfishes are '71 and '77 so I store them in the cubby. I don't think you have a cubby, so you may have to attach them with velcro to your daggerboard handle. I like these hand paddles from Amazon
  • I recommend getting a new sail at some point as they are now cut with more draft and can give you more power.
Some more advanced updates:
  • Mount a cleat to the mast to attach the halyard to, taking the pressure off the deck fairlead. Of course, tie off the tail to the deck clean anyway to keep from losing the mast if you capsize. :)
  • Replace any loose rivets in the aluminum trim around the cockpit that might catch on your clothing or skin.
  • Add a Ratchet block to the front of the cockpit - much less tiring than holding on to the mainsheet without assistance.
FWIW, those are my tips. :) There is nothing like hiking out in a brisk breeze and feeling your fish pop out of the water on a plane and almost instantly double in speed. Fun stuff. Enjoy!
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
"Zee Plane, Boss, Zee Plane!!!" :rolleyes:

Weston, "YOU DA MAN!!!" :D

Just had an insane gourmet dinner, I'm headin' toward the ol' rack to crash here shortly, LOL... :eek:

But you're right, that planing aboard small craft doesn't exactly suck, and the adrenalin rush is awesome!!! ;)

Okay, I'm back quiet, got a happy tummy full o' gourmet grinds and the Sandman is standing on my eyelids, AYE?!?!?!? :confused:

CHEERS!!! G'NIGHT TO ALL, LOL... I'M NOT DRUNK EITHER, JUST LOADED TO THE GILLS WITH GOOD FOOD & READY TO CRASH! :)

Okay, maybe I'm a BIT inebriated, but I quit drinking beer over an hour ago, LOL. It's all good, "HASTA LUEGO!!!" :cool:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
The only early Sunfish I've sailed had a masthead failure at the block. (A stainless steel Wilcox-Crittendon). :eek:

Out in the middle of a big lake, miles from home base, I could'a been stuck! :confused: Fortunately, I found a sturdy cable-tie in my re-purposed Tide detergent cubby container--pulled the mast, re-secured the block, and set sail for home. The lessons here, were to buy the later Sunfish plastic cap, (which is foolproof), and to carry some "spares". :cool:
 
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