Sunfish in UK/Bailer Question

Thread starter #1
Hello! I recently bought an old sunfish (I think 1976) and have been sailing it in Hasting, East Sussex. The main reason I am posting here is to say hi ...and thanks to the people of this forum. Various threads here have already invaluable to me in getting to grips with the boat and getting it on the water. Sunfishes are very rare in the UK and as far as I can tell this one hadn't been sailed in decades.
So far I have cleaned it up re-rigged it and made a new rudder (The old one was rotten and broke on my second sail.) As far as I can tell there is not much else wrong with it. It doesn't leak much and weighs around 150lb, which I guess is acceptable in an old boat like this. My next plan is to put in an inspection port, fit a decent hiking strap and upgrade the block.

One slight issue is that the bailer is missing both it's ball and the two metal pins that stop the ball from coming out. Can anyone tell me the diameter of the bailer ball? I bet I can find a suitable replacement somewhere.




The Sunfish bailer ball is part# 91031. I measured the ball in a bailer I have to be 5/8" in diameter (15.875 mm). I think the ball may be PMP (polymethylpentene plastic). The specific gravity of PMP is 0.83--a good choice for a floaty plastic ball.

Good luck with your fleet!
Thread starter #4
In case anyone is interested this is how I fixed the bailer. I couldn't source a suitably sized plastic ball so used cork instead. I replaced the metal pins with a small cable tie. It seems to work well. The advantage of the cable tie is that if I do loose or damage the ball I can bend the tie back and pop a new one in without taking the bailer off (I have a bag of 20 now!)



Well-Known Member
Funny, just yesterday, I'd replaced a ball and pin.

I found a new ball rolling around on my workbench. That's strange, I thought, what's that doing there? I keep my three broken bailers together with a string: even with that gentle handling, one pin had fallen out, releasing the ball. :confused:

You'll notice, if there's a crack running through the bailer (as in your photograph) the pins are likely to depart. :oops:

The cable tie repair is ingenious! :cool: Adding another "Like"...:)
Thread starter #6
Cheers L&VW! Don't think I have ever been called ingenious before. :^)
I guessed the crack might be the reason the pins had gone. I had to file the holes out a bit to fit the cable tie and did it very carefully. To be honest, this bailer is going to take a beating on our shingle beach and I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing breaks at some point. If it lasts the summer I will be happy.


Well-Known Member
It might be worthwhile for other Sunfish sailors to check for those cracks. Here's a photo I took yesterday of my two out-of-service bailers:

Fullscreen capture 642017 70731 PM.bmp.jpg

Check them now: you don't want to lose your pins!