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Sunfish Deck repair

steven904911

New Member
I have a circa 1965 Alcort Sunfish still sailing and in pretty good shape. But I'd like to make it as close to "like new" as I can; as I get ready to pass it on to the next generation. Unfortunately I loaned it to an in-law and it came back with a long but narrow gouge in the bow deck area. It looks bad but did not break through the deck in any area. I'm considering using the Six10 west system thickened epoxy adhesvive to fill the gouge. Is that the right material to use and will it allow it to be invisible after painting? Thanks a bunch.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hi Steven,

Without a picture it’s hard to tell, but I would think you would want to use gel coat for a gouge thus avoiding the need to paint. Gel coat is much more durable than paint and will look more original. Gel coat is also fairly easy to work with. You can paint, but one scratch and you will see the old gel coat, and it will look less than optimal. There are many posts here on rejuvenating gel coat through wet sanding and buffing, and I would definitely use that option if possible. I have a 71 boat and went the wet sanding and buffing route, and it looks fine.

Just my two cents above of course. Best of luck to you.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Agree with Wjejr. Painting the deck will make it not look much like new - to look as close to new as possible gelcoat is the way to go. But matching colors of gelcoat is not easy. You may decide to paint it, but it is not a question of if the paint will scratch - it’s how often and how much.
 
Having used gelcoat for the first time earlier this year, I would agree that gelcoat is not hard to apply…but it is hard to get a nice, smooth finish without a lot of work and removing most of what you apply in the process. Unless you have some disposable spraying supplies, you’ll be rolling or brushing - which means you’ll wind up removing ~70% of what you apply to smooth out the ridges or nap ripples.
Still, when you are done, you’ll have a much more durable finish as others have noted. Paint requires more touch up, but is easier to touch up…it’s a trade off.
There are some great vids out there about color matching gel coat with a tinting kit, but there are also companies that can produce pre-tinted gelcoat…it just costs more.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Saltydog, I was suggesting, and I think Wjejr was too, to simply fill the gouge with gelcoat, not gelcoat the whole deck. It’s a simple repair, but you do have the color matching issue.
 
Saltydog, I was suggesting, and I think Wjejr was too, to simply fill the gouge with gelcoat, not gelcoat the whole deck. It’s a simple repair, but you do have the color matching issue.
True - doing a small fill-in job won’t be nearly as bad as putting a whole new coat on. If it is indeed a small/shallow gouge, this would also be a reason to consider gelcoat over paint, because using paint could result in priming and painting the whole deck. I’m not sure how effective it would be to prime and paint just one area and get it to look consistent with the rest, especially as gelcoat has more color fading than paint, you’d see it stand out more and more over time.
 
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