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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.
 

steven904911

New Member
Sorry for the delay in getting this pic posted and I appreciate the advice already given. After seeing the damage can you suggest the best way to go? The deck is very sun faded and never repainted since the 60's so I plan to do that as well.
Many many thanks,
Steven
 

shorefun

Active Member
You need to feather the gel coat back and lay in a new coat.

The gel coat appears to be tinted. If you have a fiberglass supply shop nearby you can take over the fish and maybe get something close in color. I think you would also want to thicking the gel coat some before applying.

Or you can order some tints and figure out how to get close.

The rest of the deck would likey shine up but you need to start with like 220 or 320 paper and work your way up to 1000 then compound and polish.

Or you can just feather and lay in new gel coat. Then prep properly and paint the deck.

Not really hard to do, just look up how to gel coat.
 

shorefun

Active Member
There are marine grade polyester fillers. Automotive ones will absorb moisture.

The fillers are softer than the gel coat. I have worked with both, so I tend towards the gel coat for repairs because I see it holding up better over time. I am more of a do it once and forget about it. I think the difference in cost is $10 to $20.

The prep work is the same. If you want it to stick and look nice for a long time it must have feathered edges and a level surface. For gel coat it wants 80 grit from what I have read. You would need to find out what the filler you might use would need as there are different requirements. Always check the tech sheets.
 

steven904911

New Member
Okay. All that is super helpful. By feathering I assume you mean feather sanding the edges of the gouged area so the edges are smoothed out a bit. You've convinced me that gel coat is the way to go so I'll do that. I just want to make sure the entire took looks the same when finished. I'll check you tube for gel coating instruction. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a ton.
 

steven904911

New Member
An angry marina operator. Let my sister and brother in law take it out on a windy day in Currituck Sound (OBX). From previous experience I knew he couldn't sail except in calm/mild conditions but hard to say no to a sister. They flipped it over while coming about and could not right the boat. Marina sent a boat out with an angry operator (hard to blame him I suppose) and he just latched on to the bow handle and jerked it around. Where the two booms connect got jammed into the bow and scraped it up as you see. Mast must have been stuck in the shallow water (4-5') because it came back in two parts as well. But I'm a Bob Ross fan so you might have an idea there.
 

Woodwind

Active Member
An angry marina operator. Let my sister and brother in law take it out on a windy day in Currituck Sound (OBX). From previous experience I knew he couldn't sail except in calm/mild conditions but hard to say no to a sister. They flipped it over while coming about and could not right the boat. Marina sent a boat out with an angry operator (hard to blame him I suppose) and he just latched on to the bow handle and jerked it around. Where the two booms connect got jammed into the bow and scraped it up as you see. Mast must have been stuck in the shallow water (4-5') because it came back in two parts as well. But I'm a Bob Ross fan so you might have an idea there.
Well that was quite the experience… I always hesitate to loan my Sunfish out…
I’ve now learned not to stress my handle unless I have a backing plate the size of the forward deck :cool:
 
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