Soft Hull? Fiber glass repair assessment? One-woman car topping tricks?


New Member
I was just given a 70s goldfish (SF clone). I haven't sailed since I was a child and THAT was only on a sea snark on a small pond. So, I have three basic, beginner questions.
1) I have read about buying a new sunfish at Windline, and I also understand that the internal structure of the goldfish is somewhat different than a sunfish. What I haven't been able to figure out is why it matters if the hull gives some to the touch. Does it matter if you're not racing--as long as it doesn't take on water?
2) The hull has a couple of fiberglass repairs. These are ugly mucous-colored things. Is a leak test sufficient for determining whether these repairs are adequate? They are not loose on the edges and seem sturdy to the uninitiated. Must I need to put some sort of gel coat or paint on these patches and what happens if I don't (I won't be racing)?
3) Finally, Although I will get someone to help me learn how to right the boat when I capsize it (and will put an empty bleach bottle on the top of the mast so it won't turtle), once I can right it, I will be sailing alone most of the time--or at least would like to be able to do so, so I get to go sailing. I'll be car topping the boat using a Thule 300 system on a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon (w/138K!), I've been imagining all sorts of tripod-winch based ways to lift the thing on top of the car by myself. Has anyone come up with a cleaver way to car top solo? I'm 50 & 5'7" so I won't be able to muscle the thing myself.
Thank you for your time.
storz & bickel volcano vaporizer

Sounds like you are on your way to sailing again!

For your use, a soft hull is no big deal. A dry hull is much more important. Shipping a little water is OK if you have some way of getting the water back out of the hull. Inspection ports are great for this. Drain holes work but the inside never gets really bone dry.

The goobers on your boat are likely epoxy or bondo type resin. As long as the patch seems firm (you can't poke your finger through it) you will probably be fine. The patches can be sanded smooth with some aggressive sandpaper, then fair it out with finer sandpaper and then buy the closest color spray paint (rust-oleum or krylon is fine) and spray over the patch. They will be far less noticable and you won't be as embarrased as you would be sailing the booger barge.

As far as loading the boat on top of your car, you'd be wise to flirt with the local boys and sweet talk them into loading it for you! Really, I don't know what else to say about this one, unless you launch where there is a jib hoist crane. Someone else here can probably give you a better answer.

Good luck,


Single handed loading has got to be the least desirable way to heft you boat. Take it from one who has done canoes, rowboats, and sunfish. I have hated every one. My vehicle is also worse for the wear.

There seem to be those who cartop out of necessity and those who cartop because it gives them an excuse to build one more contraption. The former usually move to something less demanding while the latter are enamored of their Rube Goldberg devices.

My input is to be sure you have help or get a trailer.

Enjoy these bits of machismo.

The basic technique – watch out for your splash guard

Thoughts from our friends at Laser

More from the Laser folks

Shows car-topping a boat like a Laser

Tricks & Gimmicks
Thanks Tim, Dan,
I appreciate your responses. As far as car topping devices, I would really rather spend my time sailing than coming up with trickes, given the option--I just don't have the money for a trailer at this point...
Tim wrote:
<<As far as loading the boat on top of your car, you'd be wise to flirt with the local boys and sweet talk them into loading it for you!>>
OK then, assuming you didn?t miss the ?I?m 50? part, let's start here (said like a May West or a Marilyn or whomever works for you): Hey Sailor! Any of you strong, handsome, Western Wisconsin boys want to help a girl put her fish in the wind? ;^)
(Note: Females please replace gender-specific words as needed.)
Thanks again,
buy vaporizer

As much as I'd like to think the sexes are as equal as the times can make them you still have the advantage. Imagine me, a grizzled old fart, rolling into the parking lot and saying hey beach baby give an old man a hand with his fish. You will get help, I will get arrested. I don't even want to imagine what I'd get with 'Hello Sailor'.:eek:

Clearly your best shot will be to enlist help until you can get a trailer.