What's new

Starting at the BEGINNING

fhhuber

Member
Standing it on the stern should be no problem.. put something down to pad it so you don't point load a corner. Like... set it on a pair of the seat cushion tossable life preservers, a discarded couch/chair cushion or even a cheap foam pillow.

Main thing is let the water out as fast as possible. Probably that is setting the boat so the drain plug or one of the inspection holes is the lowest point. Let it drip.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
My father is visiting is this weekend. He suggested standing the boat up vertically, with the bow leaning against the wall in the garage. He had the exact thoughts of "gravity assist"
The hull is plenty strong but, as above, rest the transom on some lumber, and secure the boat against wind gusts. :confused: As long as the hull can get as much "full sun" as possible, it will be gaining the maximum "solar gain" directly against most of the wet foam. (Well, indirectly :oops: but you know what I mean).

I think your Dad :cool: is right! :)
 

tag

my2fish
(while I don't mean to take anything away from LV&W as he has provided plenty of advice here on the forum, but I am the blogger at my2fish.)

the hull drying process - if the foam is truly saturated - will likely take longer than a couple weeks. airflow is most important for drawing that water back out of the foam, so I'd plan to just keep that fan running as much as possible, and the black bags to attract sun will help as well.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Noting the limited supply of epoxy [in the kit], I used a sturdy piece of handy plastic to support the "lost space" at the rear Styrofoam block. A foot-long plastic paint-stir stick would have been a better filler-piece. Wood placed in the keel area would have been a source of water absorption and weight. The fiberglass "spring" (bottom photo) being prepared adjacent to the keel repair helped to use up the limited epoxy supplied in the kit, so I've bought a pint more, with "slow" hardener, at my local hardware store.
The photo below shows the area being repaired. The damage seemed to go on and on! :( Even as I sanded, the bottom layer, which I'd intended to leave intact, just fell away, leaving a large hole.

The blue border is paint, so I cut the fiberglass cloth to cover that thin margin. Sanding down to this blue layer would make "final sanding" down to the gelcoat easier.


Bending a piece of ½" copper tubing over my other Sunfish hull, I approximated the curvature of the area. Building-up layers of fiberglass was needed to meet that curvature. With "slow" epoxy hardener, I could take my time, and use up fewer brushes. The "spring" turned out well, but it's 'way too strong. I'll have to cut it in half lengthwise. Later, I thought, "Why not simply use a batten from an old Tornado sail?" :confused: I'm still puzzling over what to bond to the ends, and perhaps bond to the Styrofoam blocks. There's a piece of Trex around here somewhere. :confused:


The "grocery bag trick" released in a previous epoxy repair, but stuck firmly to the new fiberglass "spring". :rolleyes:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
L&VWs,
1) What width works best for a sling set up frame? Any thoughts?
3) Where is a good place to look for those sling belts. What are they? Thoughts?
I just stumbled on my supply of 9-inch "retired" fire hose (measured flat).

That would be perfect! Try Craigslist.
 

Whitecap

Active Member
L&VWs,
Thanks for the insight. The boat is still sitting in my back yard (for now), baking in the hot Texas sun. The computer fan has been constantly going for about a week and a half now.

As recommended above, I am building my saw horses today, so I can get that boat in the garage. (Im going to try the non-sling route first. If saw horses do not give me what I need, Ill be looking for those fire hoses, as L&VWs suggests). I leave for a vacation at the end of the week and will be gone for close to a month. Im hoping that by the time I get back the boat will be dry. (It should be between 85-100 degrees in that garage until the middle of September.)

When I get back, Ill set for on the leak test, repairing leaks, then set forth to sand and paint.

Here is a question to you guys. I have rewired that computer fan as listed above in the video. I have wire nuts insulating those spliced wires. Would you guys be comfortable letting that computer fan run while you were away from your house for a month? The thought of that makes me nervous. What say you guys?

Thanks again to all who are contributing here,
Whitecap

PS- Tag,
I'm sorry to have confused your my2fish blog with L&VS. I mistakenly thought he was the author. I love your website. Your blogging (and this site) has given me the confidence to roll up my sleves, have some fun, and take pride in bringing a dead boat back to life. I think making those memories fixing and then sailing, with my two little kids will be more than worh all this effort. But as I said before - besides my family, Its nice to have some passion in my life again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tag

Whitecap

Active Member






Finished the sawhorses. The boat will be up on them and drying by mid-morning tomorrow. Made each horse for around 10 bucks. Lets see if they get the job done.

-Whitecap
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I have rewired that computer fan as listed above in the video. I have wire nuts insulating those spliced wires. Would you guys be comfortable letting that computer fan run while you were away from your house for a month? The thought of that makes me nervous. What say you guys?
Whitecap
Indoors, I'd secure all the wires with tape, and keep combustibles away from the area. If it makes you nervous, you could move the whole works to the back yard. (Secured up-side down, tape the wires down, and assume the worst in possible winds). Yours is a low-current application, which is safer. (I'd be comfortable, regardless). :)

Tape the extension cord connection(s), if that also makes you nervous. :rolleyes: (But I don't think that's necessary, either). For years, rain or shine, I've had extension cords running all over this 200-foot-long lot outdoors. Never a problem, except that several extension cords connected together tend to reduce current to electric tools, and cause them to fail. :(

For fire hose, Craigslist turned up 75-foot hoses at $35 each length. Link:

Fire Hose assorted lengths
 

Whitecap

Active Member
Tag,
Thanks bro! Just placed my order. Delivery tomorrow. Plugged in before we leave for vacation. Excellent.

I know its prob a waste of money, but there is no price on peace of mind. I dont want to spend this vacation worrying about my DIY-electrician work, burning down my house in my absence.

Thanks guys,
Whitecap
 
  • Like
Reactions: tag

L&VW

Well-Known Member
The "spring" turned out well, but it's 'way too strong. I'll have to cut it in half lengthwise. Later, I thought, "Why not simply use a batten from an old Tornado sail?" :confused: I'm still puzzling over what to bond to the ends, and perhaps bond to the Styrofoam blocks. There's a piece of Trex around here somewhere. :confused:
It's now cut in half lengthwise, re-sanded, and re-coated with resin. There could have been more of a curve put into it. :oops:

I've decided what to put on the ends that's cheap, isn't heavy, prone to rotting, or soaking up water. (And readily available after about an hour ;) ). Sharp edges were ground onto the extended fiberglass spring tips. A cut-off wheel was used to make the ridges shown.

'Will wait for the rain to stop before installing it (to push the two forward foam blocks laterally—back firmly in place—no two-part foam required). :)

P6260017.JPG
 
Last edited:

L&VW

Well-Known Member
BUT, I could have simply modified a new or used sail batten. (Of which, I have ten or twelve 5-footers). :confused:

You don't need to spend the big bucks for West System's epoxy pumps. :cool:

The ratio of epoxy to hardener is 5:1, so you can measure it out from the cans. I found that with "slow" hardener, relatively small total amounts are needed. The larger "soup spoon" is actually too large. Small plastic spoons were sufficient measurers on a hot day, because even "slow" hardener becomes "fast" when outdoors in the sun! :eek:
 

Attachments

Whitecap

Active Member
In Alaska on the family vacation........... Cant help to think how my old Sunfish is doing, drying back home in the garage. Do you guys think there will be a noticable change in weight when we return home? It will have been about a month since I opened her up and got air moving through her. (About 100 degrees in the Texas Sun, and 110 degrees in the Texas garage!)

Why cant I stop thinking about getting home anf fixing up my old boat?

Cheers to you all,
Whitecap
 
  • Like
Reactions: tag

Whitecap

Active Member
Hey guys,

Back from vacation!

As of today my Sunfish is finally dry. It weighed in at 136 pounds this morning. Thanks to the hot Texas sun and a garage that is about 110 degrees, it went from 178 pounds to 136 pounds in five weeks. I used a fan in the stern inspection port and put another fan inside the boat, forward of the splashguard inspection port.

Thanks to all for insight to get started on this project.

I stuck the old cell phone inside her and took pics of the foam blocks. To my surprise, they seem to be held in place solidly. Looks like lots of supoort foam holding the blocks into place. I've tried to wiggle the foam blocks to inspect their stability - they seems to be held in place well. The thumping I heard when I rolled the boat over when I first got her, must have been all that water sloshing around inside of her hull.


(Above is an old pic of the blocks when I first cut the inspection ports)



Above is the same spot this morning. Nice and dry inside.

So I've read here that one should not do hull repair until the boat is dry. Now mine is. So Im guessing that I need to do a leak test, to find how the water is getting inside the hull over time?

Which method do you guys use?
How to find that leak!

Or this one?
Sunfish Sailboat Repar Notes

Or do you have a technique I should use.

1). Am I right to think that a leak test is next step on my way to a boat rehab?
2). Do the foam blocks look secure? because they feel like they are.
3). What is the best leak test method?
4) got any tips for a rookie on his journey?

Cheers to all,
Whitecap
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I think both methods are fairly similar. I do the same thing in MUCH larger boats, with a squirrel cage mounted in the companionway. You can do a house as well on a larger scale. For smaller stuff, like the fish, stick your soap solution in a spray bottle, but the paint brush should work well too. Like one method said, watch TOO much pressure inside the hull. It only takes a LITTLE to find leaks and create bubbles where they are.

Yes...you can see the difference in color in the foam with the 2nd pic looking MUCH dryer. Congrats! Keep posting results!
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
The mast tube looks 'odd'. Do see if it holds water; the level shouldn't drop for several hours.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Your mast tube looks fractured at the bottom and the polyester resin coaating is missing from a section of it. You need to saturate the cloth on the tube with thickened epoxy resin (or polyester) rand apply another strip of fiberglass cloth/epoxy to that white area.

The wooden backer block for the halyard cleat screws is missing, probably what was rattling in the hull and it also appears that you are also missing the halyard fairlead backer block. You can use cypress or several other types of wood to replace, or use machine screws/washer/stop nut with a metal backer plate. If you use wood coat it with resin before installing as well.
 

Whitecap

Active Member
I just completed the mast tube leak test. I filled the tube completely to the rim and started the clock. After my two hour timer went off, I went to the garage to check it out; expecting to see no water in the mast tube. After two hours not a drop of water leaked out. The tube is not leaking at all.

My questions are now:

1) could that second pic above, show extra remaining pieces of glass from the hull of the boat that were wrapped around the bottommof my mast tube?
2) is the mast tube structurally sound the way it is?
3) do i need to put on those reinforcing layers of glass on the tube even though its not leaking?
4) where is the best place to get cypress wood or a metal backing block? Home depot/Lowes?
5). Do you think I need to make another inspection port forward of the mast tube to put in the halyard fair lead and halyard cleat backing block?
6) is it possible to get the backing blocks in their correct place using the inspection port from the splashguard? (Ive got long arms, but not that long, methinks).

Thanks again for all the help. Im grateful, truly.

Warm regards to Wavedancer, Signal Charlie, & Mixmkr,
Whaitecap
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
If you can reach that area, I would take 1/4" aluminum plates and epoxy/glue them to the underside of the deck. After the epoxy has set, then you can drill and tap for machine screws to mount your deck hardware. No leaks, won't pull out, won't ever loose a backing black and much stronger (the bigger the alum piece you use). Should be able to find aluminum plates at the hardware store or online. Don't need much. I easily get "backing plates" from my local recycling center. You can even "gob" epoxy on the plate and stick it in with a long rod, etc...if you can't reach it. What I did was cut out the hull bottom, epoxied my aluminum plates and then glassed up the hull bottom. No ports needed on the deck , etc.

Check this thread...
New Backing Plates | SailingForums.com
 

Whitecap

Active Member
Hey guys,

1) could that second pic above, show extra remaining pieces of glass from the hull of the boat that were wrapped around the bottom of my mast tube (the white area)?
2) is the mast tube structurally sound the way it is?
3) do i need to put on those reinforcing layers of glass on the tube even though its not leaking?

Looking for my next step in my rehab,
Whitecap
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Personally, I think to do a proper fiberglass job on the tube, you would need to remove the foam that runs up to it, so you have enough area surrounding the tube for the new fiberglass cloth and resin. Just fiberglassing the existing exposed area isn't really accomplishing a complete job. That said, I'd find any hull leaks (via the pressure test/soapy water)...fix those if possible and move on and just enjoy and sail the boat. If you see cracking around the tube, looking down into it from the deck, then maybe yes...some reinforcement. Otherwise it can be too easy just to obsess with stuff that isn't worth it. Figure the tube has lasted this long anyway?? My $.02

last thought... preventative maintenance is always a good thing, but maybe in this case...if it aint broke, don't fix it. Sail it until it breaks (if it ever does...), then do a proper job removing the adjacent foam for a good "tabbing" of fiberglass cloth and resin.
 

Whitecap

Active Member
Makes sense...... Completely.

Moving on to the leak test...... Ill do that tomorrow morning.

Thanks Mixmkr
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
As many leak test procedures will tell you...watch the amount of pressure you put into the tiny Sunfish hull. Not much is needed. A ShopVac into a sealed hull could exert more pressure than desired, easily. The smallest amount in the small fish hull, will easily make bubbles, where the hull is leaking.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Pressure washer works best but you need to be careful. I used a electric pressure washer
that's not strong enough to do any damage. A gas washer can cut the boat in half, in fact
I splintered a hole in a 2x6 using one.

As long as you can remove the splash guard working with the boat on the trailer seems to present
no problems.

Takes about 4 month after cutting holes to get the boat dried out enough to do fiberglass work. I
kind of pushed faster on the one I'm completing now. I started in the spring and am mostly done,
smashed keel, broken bow and all that. I only worked on it on weekends so that's about how long
the hull takes. Probably another 2 months of winter weekends to make a rudder/centerboard from
scratch and find the parts on e-bay.
 

Whitecap

Active Member
Hey guys, just wanted to give feedback on the leak test. I started the process by using some old packing tape I had lying around. In order to pump air into the hull, I used an old air matrice pump we had in the closet. It seemed to do a very nice job pushing air through the boat.




As you see above, I started by slowly taping off the stern inspection port (which was used to dry the hull).




The above pic shows the stern inspection port sealed off with the matrice pump in place.



Above is a close up in case you wanted a better look.




Above, you can see that there is another inspection port near the splashguard. With the pump on, and the forward inspection port open, there was not enough air pressure in the hull to to force air through the vent hole in the forward wall of the cockpit. I sprayed a mixture of water and dish soap on vent hole to look for any bubbles. No luck.




So above, it made sense to start covering up the forward inspection port one strip of tape at a time. Knowing, from our member's guidance, that too much air being forced into the hull can cause major damage to the boat, I was very careful here. Each time I put on a strip of tape to cover that splashguard inspection port, I would leak test the vent hole in the cockpit. My thoughts were if air pressure was enough to make it push out that vent hole, there should be sufficient pressure for air to push out any holes that may exist in the hull, or around any fixtures attached to the boat. The forward inspection port was almost completely covered before enough air pressure was available for the test. (Just anout 1/2 a strip's with of tape was left open on that forward inspection port).



Above you can see how much of the forward inspection port was taped off in order to get enough air pressure to leak test the air vent in the forward cockpit wall.

Once I could see bubbles forming around the air vent, I knew I was ready to leak test the entire boat. I used a solution of water and dishwashing liquid soap and put it in a spray bottle (as was suggested by our members). I then set forth to spray down every inch of the boat, paying special attention to any nicks, cuts, scrapes, trim, rivets, screws, or fixtures on the boat that could be causing a leak. I did this process TWICE........... And could not find any bubbles (except for the vent hole.

My questions are:
1). Does this process look right to you all? No leaks, right?
2). Im thinking that my next step is to fare over the big gouges in her hull. Does this seem like the next step to be taken?

Cheers to you all,
Whitecap
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I think you should have taped over the vent hole. That left a path of least resistance for air to escape the hull. Since that hole is hopefully larger than the hole in the hull, the air would choose to escape from there rather than work its way out in a meaningful way from a small crack or fissure.
 

fhhuber

Member
Well... the mattress pump is a pretty low volume pump and low pressure. But I'd be careful completely closing the forward port anyway.

It sounds like you did a pretty good leak check. Getting bubbles at a known leak location and no bubbles anywhere else sounds like a pass.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Did you draw a bubble over the mast tube? The best way to do that is to partially tape the tube.
I mention this because the hull was very wet initially. The water must have entered somewhere...
 

Whitecap

Active Member
Thanks guys.......

Beldar.....do you think I should do the test again? It only took 20-40 minutes to do the entire thing. I could easily tape up the air vent, leaving a bit of pressure to escape the forward inspection port. If you think that would give me a better gauge of this boat, Ill do it. Id hate to fare, sand and paint.....only to have to do it all over again later.

Wavedancer......... crap.....I forgot to do a leak test over the mast tube......... Lol......I did it over the daggerboard by mistake ....... My bad.......... So it may be prudent to re-do this test?

Fhhuber........thanks buddy. I hope you are right!

Let me know what you guys think.

Thaks for all the input guys.

Warm regards,
Whitecap
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
Beldar is correct you have several paths of least resistance for air to escape the hull. I would tape over all port holes, bottom of centerboard trunk and just blow a couple of lung fulls of air in the drain plug and tape over. You only need a slight pressure increase. You might have to replenish the air if you have a leak. I would soap the mast, centerboard, around the bailer, top and bottom and along the trim, top and bottom, along the splash rail. Work each area slowly with the soap. The suggestion of taping over part of the mast and centerboard is good as it would make drawing the soap over easier.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I have no experience :oops: in finding Sunfish leaks—using a pressure test, ;) anyway.

But, yeah, I'd try again. :(

Located where water pressure is the greatest while sailing, daggerboard-trunk leaks would be my first concern. The daggerboard is the first part of the Sunfish to find boulders! :eek:

But I would expect an "experienced" Sunfish to have enough "natural" leaks to permit greater- and longer-lasting- air pressures. How about placing a Tupperware bowl into each inspection port? If the pressure gets too high, they'll pop out.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
It all depends on how much air you're shoving into the fish. if you're using a powerful shopvac, you could leave a inspection port off and still create enough interjor pressure. A small little pump you could probably seal the entire hull up and not worry about "exploding" the hull. The idea is to create a slight difference enough to push a small amount of air out a crack. In a sealed small hull a compressor will do damage. A hair dryer would be about right
 

Whitecap

Active Member
Hey guys,

Ive been thinking the last few days on what to do here. Im thinking this - having air squirt out the vent hole, probably negated the effectiveness of the leak test. So, I should probably redo it. No sweat.

The trouble is exactly how to do it now. Knowing that I am using a pump for an air matrice, do you think it can produce enough pressure to destroy the hull of a Sunfish? If the pump was powerful, it would destroy the air mattrice as well, right? Is an air matrice more structurally sound than a Sunfish?

Do you guys think I can seal up all the inspection ports and the vent hole in the cockpit, then turn on the matrice pump to presurize the hull? Its got to be less pressure than a hair dryer, right?

Gonna' need some perspective on this one.

Still thinking this one over,
Whitecap
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
If you have an aquarium air pump, that would probably be a safe bet. The air mattress pump may be too powerful. :oops:

Try the hair dryer with your soaped-up brush at a bow handle screw-removed. My guess is, you'll be spewing a fountain of air bubbles around your head! :confused:

But your dog might have a good time! :p
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Hey guys,

Ive been thinking the last few days on what to do here. Im thinking this - having air squirt out the vent hole, probably negated the effectiveness of the leak test. So, I should probably redo it. No sweat.

Whitecap
Like I mentioned above...air coming out a vent hole isn't a deal breaker. You just need to have a SLIGHTLY higher pressure internally and if air is coming out vent holes, no biggie. I was able to hook a powerful shopvac up to a transom drain, leave a cockpit inspection port open and STILL see I had a couple leaks up by the bow at the hull/deck joint. Air was POURING out the cockpit vent, but there was enough internal pressure to still do a leak test. Had I sealed up the vent, my shopvac probably would have exploded my little fish hull.
I do this kind of test A LOT on larger boats. I seal up the companionway and stick a large fan blowing down below decks. There are locker lids, etc that let out air for sure, but it provides enough internal pressure to spray soapy water over closed or sealed windows/ports, hardware and such, to see if anything is leaking. On even a larger scale, you do this with a house on the front door typically. That way you can go around your other doors, windows, etc and see if there is excessive leakage (for keeping AC in and Mr. Winter out!!!)
The Sunfish hull is SO small in comparison, that you can easily "overpower" it with something too strong.
Just start easy and you should have a sense on if you're putting too much internal pressure. Just don't be impatient and slam a 220V compressor into a "sealed hull" :-O A hair dryer might be a little bit on the "light" side, but the idea is to give a reference. Many ShopVacs can really put out the air, so you might be careful. A mattress pump may be somewhat less, but then again, it depends. Use good judgement.
 
Top