Starting at the BEGINNING

Thread starter #161
Now that the "recreational line kit", sail rings, and the lower boom cap have been ordered, I have about five days to wait.

Know this about me - I love music. Love it! I often find myself daydreaming about listening to sailing songs as I sail around my little lake here in Texas.

Is there a way to do this that works well? Any of you veterns out there listen to toons in your sunfish, knowing that you are going to get wet?

Here is what Im thinking:
1) Turn on the blue tooth on my IPhone. Put my iPhone in a plastic bag. Put the plastic bag inside another plastic bag.
1) get one of these:


2). Get one of these: ECOXGEAR™ EcoPebble Lite Waterproof Bluetooth® Speaker : Cabela's
2) Get one of these: ECOXGEAR EcoPebble Bluetooth® Speaker : Cabela's

Turn on the music on the iphone, which is in the waterproof case or plastic bags, hook up the blue tooth to the speaker, stow the phone in the fat sack connected to the inspection port. Go sailing!

Anyone do something like this?

Help me make it happen! Christopher Cross is calling!

Almost on the water!
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Well-Known Member
Formerly, when I capsized, I retrieved my custom wood paddle, my natural sponge, sunscreen, encased camera, water bottle, chewing gum—made sure I still had my hat—and was still wearing my prescription Polaroid sunglasses. :(

Now that I have the Ultimate Inspection Port, most of those things are safely "un-loseable" :) and I can get back to the problem at hand! :confused: A Tide detergent container is stowed in the cubby, and, as it's a tight fit, retains its contents. :cool:

I wouldn't want another item to search for, and possibly watch as an electronic device floated away. :oops:
Thread starter #164
My 1968 sunfish has no cubby......... So, I be traveling way lighter than you. Anything I need, Ill sail back to the dock, and get from the house. (At least thats the plan -we'll see how that goes).

The natural sponge, will be already be in the aft inspection port fat sack, soaking up water. (I still need to a natural sponge - where is a good place to pick one up? Size?)

Any of you guys listen to music out there? If so, how are you doing it?

And, since you will be a beginner, I think, it makes sense to totally focus on the sailing.
I agree with Wavedancer. You will need all of your focus to keep your little boat sailing along. On Stars and Stripes I never permitted music on the trip to the race course or during practice, and of course not as I was defending the Cup. We needed all of our focus on our sailing. DC
Thread starter #168
And, since you will be a beginner, I think, it makes sense to totally focus on the sailing.
This makes a lot of sense to me.

Ok........ Agreed.

Much........ later on..... When Im comfortable sailing and competent.......... Does anyone else listen to music - besides Tag? If so, how are you doing it?

Good insight Wavedancer!

Thanks guys,

Ps- are all natural sponges the same? Anyone recommend one over another?
So I guess mounting a 64" plasma TV with surround sound would be a challenge on a sunfish??? ;) I agree with just sailing and enjoy the trip, leave the electronics at home. ;)
I hope everyone has a great labor day weekend.
Wow someone as excited as I am about my "new" boat. Love your list of things to do.
I need to take pictures. Noodles on the saw horses smart. Lead rope as slings.
Just used mr clean erasers on some yellowing on my boat, did a nice job.
Used rubbing compound on lower hull section, small area looks great.
Trying to find out about rigging now, got her sails up, but something looks wrong.
Want to figure it out so I can pack them away and just have the hull to work on.
Best of luck in your new adventure. Happy Sailing
Thread starter #173
Ok guys,
My first sailing season is under my belt. I decided to follow your collective advice - make the boat safe and dry, then get it out on the water for the rest of the season. Thats exactly what I did. Thanks to all of you, I spent about four days a week out on the water last season, and it has changed my life. Sailing, with its calming effect, its challenge, and its adventure have blown a new breeze of passion into my life.

In a few more weeks, here in Fort Worth, Texas will be warm enough to get back out on the lake. With all the daydreaming of the water, I thought I might get my boat off my dock slip and into my garage for some sailing season preparation.

I started by using Tag's plans (my2fish blogger) for a Sunfish dolly that will help get my boat from my shoreline and into my garage without any help. It looks like it turned out very well. Here is the Sunfish forum thread showing the pics:
El Cheapo Sunfish Dolly | Page 2 |

Now that the sunfish is back in the garage, I wanted to put in a hiking strap. I did some research on our website and used these links as my guide.:
Installing Hiking Strap on Old Sunfish |

Hiking strap |
Installing A Hiking Strap |

PARTS LIST: After reading those above links, I knew I would need a few things: (Bought all of these at intensity sails.)
1. A hiking strap.
Intensity Gription Hiking Strap for the Sunfish®
2. A hiking strap fastener kit.
Masthead Hiking Strap Fastener Kit for Sunfish
3. A backing plate (which I used to spread the line and bungie on the hiking strap - see pics below).
Stainless Steel Plate to attach Hiking Straps or Bouyancy bag straps in Opti
4. Two, Viking 5 inch inspection ports with fat bags. My old 1968 Sunfish has no cubby, so storage is most needed.
Viking 5" PolyPro Inspection Port with Fat Bag

Now lets get to work! Because I have no cubby, two inspection ports are going to be needed to do this job. I need the storage, so the plan is to put a bottleport (one that I used in my inspection port near the splashguard) in the forward cockpit inspection port, and a fat bag in the aft inspection port.

1. I started at the front of the cockpit and held the LID of the inspection port in place with my finger. Got my pencil, and traced its outline on the desired spot for my inspection port. (use the LID of the inspection port to make your hole size, not the base of it. If you use the base, your hole will be too big.)

2. Cut on the inside of the pencil line and save the circle for future material. Make your initial puncture of the boat on the inside edge of the circle, so more area of the circle can be used in a future repair. (Pro tip from my research: tape over the edge of the hole you cut, so the fiberglass wont cut your arm as you reach through the hole, when you work the washers, nuts, and bolts. Also, wear a long sleeve shirt.) You should now look like this:

3. About 3 inches from the bottom of the cockpit floor draw a horizontal line, using a level. Grab a hiking strap bracket that come in your fastener kit, and place it on the horizontal line. Drill through each eye hole in the bracket.

4. Grab the bracket again and place the bracket through the front of the hiking strap. Now use the bolts, washers and nuts and attach the bracket and the front of the hiking strap to the forward cockpit. (I also used some old locking washers I had laying around to keep the nuts in place). You should now look like this:

5. Now repeat steps 1-3 on the aft wall of the cockpit. Use the bolts, nuts, and washers to fasten the bracket to the wall.

6. You will see now that the hiking strap does not reach clear across the cockpit. My research shows that line and bungie cord are used to keep it fastened to the aft hiking strap bracket.

7. All the pics of hiking straps that I could find, show a disorganized, squished strap, as the aft hiking strap line bunched up on the bracket and on the strap itself. I thought I might improvise, adapt, and overcome (Marine Corps). As you can see above, I used the backing plate near the bracket and in the strap itself to keep the lines separated (you can see it stiking out just a but in the pic above) . Here is a close up pic below:

8. Now that I can see this might work, I drilled out all the backing plate holes a bit bigger, so I could fit the line and the bungie cord through each hole. It ended up looking like this below:

The goal for me is to have a hiking strap that if I stepped on by mistake, would lay flat on the floor of the cockpit, without snapping the line of the hiking strap, or breaking any hardware of the hiking strap. The bungie chord keeps pressure on the strap, keeping it off the floor of the cockpit at all times. Now I can easily get my feet under the strap.

Here is the final product below. See the strap laying flat on the cockpit. Look at left side of the pic, see how the line is now extended?

Below is the strap with bungie tension it. Look at left side of the pic, see how the line is slack, but the hiking strap is still taut?

9. Now that the hiking strap is complete., I need to fasten the inspection ports in place. Ill coat the backs of the inspection port bases in calk, place the port bases over the holes that I cut. Ill then drill through and bolt one hole at a time, on the edge of the inspection ports. Then Ill run a bolt, washer, and nut through the hole, fastening the port in place one hole at a time, with bolts and nuts that I will buy at home depot. (Pro tip from my research: keep the lid on the port when you are fastening the inspection port to the boat, this will keep the opening from being misshapen, and will allow you easily screw the lid on and off the port.)

Here is what the front of the cockpit now looks like below - a nice hiking strap, and a bottle port that is now in reach.

Here is what the aft of the cockpit looks like below - a nice hiking strap and a fat bag storage area behind my new inspection port.

Hope this helps someone grab the courage to cut into their boat and make it better. Pretty simple project, really.

You can do this too! Thanks to all that helped me figure this out.

Warm regards,
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Well-Known Member


I'm always impressed with the naturally built-in strength of the Sunfish "tub", when viewing the very thin and flexible portions of fiberglass that I cut out of it.

Really nice job, both in doing it and showing us how to do it. Thanks so much. Here waiting for warmer weather so I can get our "new " boat out on the water.
Thread starter #178
Thanks for the kind words guys. What's really funny is that I wasn't terrified to cut into my boat this time! I must be getting used to this, fix-it yourself stuff. Fear and anxiety seem to be the only real obstacle out there - with all your help, I have the confidence to tackle any of these projects now. I have certainly come a long way - Thank you!

Next fix - my daggerboard.

It has a major crack that goes half way up the board. (crack Does not describe it - it is more like a gaping fissure 1/32 wide. The sides of the crack do not even touch each other). When sailing her last year, anytime I got in a broad reach, the dagger board what vibrate terribly, causing the whole boat to shake. Each side of the split dagger board was moving independantly from the other side. (Almost like I had two small daggerboards connected together by the base of the daggerboard.) Don't know if I can save here, but will try.

Time to do some research on the fix.
It will be fun to give it a shot.

- Whitecap


Active Member
Flawless victory! Thats the cool thing about old Sunfish, you can find-em cheep
and not worry about goofing up learning how to do repairs.

I'd say head down to your big-box store, get some White-Oak or Mahogany planks
and make a new daggerboard. Wood cost is about $18 or so and then a can of
Spar Varnish and bottle of glue. Lots more fun to be done.

If you don't have a fragile heart condition and cost is no object you could use your boat
to practice spraying gel-coat. Crazy stuff the only has a 30 minute working time and is hazardous
to work with. Many a spray gun has been lost in the attempt.
Thread starter #180
Thanks webfoot!

Thats definately an option...... i may end up making a new daggerboard if I cant fix my broken one. Ive got lots of filler, resin, and hardner....... lets see if I can fuse both sides together and then fill and reshape some of the major gouges on both sides of the dagger board. My initial research says it can be done pretty easily - we'll see.

I wont make it beautiful (because I have no experience and small mistakes are certain to be made), but I think I can make it functional.

Keep you posted,