Sunfish Pickin Pensacola

signal charlie

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I bought a mast, sails and spars on craigslist from a guy last year, he offered hull gratis but it was in SAD shape. It scared me so I backed away. Fast forward to 2013 and I feel ready to tackle it as a project, so we called and he still had it. Picked it up and brought it home for restoration. It has been over sanded, painted, transom is ugly and hull is really crunchy, lots of gel coat missing and a crack on keel.

Good news is boat has a hole in bow, inspection port in stern and crack in keel, so there is now way water cloud be trapped in the boat and saturate the foam :) it is a pre 1972 hull and the weight is not too bad at 144.5

The boat told my wife "Merci beaucoup" when we hauled her out of the yard, so her name is "Merci."
 

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signal charlie

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Headed to the car wash with Merci for a little bath and exfoliation. A lot of the old blue paint came off, boat was originally white over white with blue bow stripe. The funky blob on the stern deck did not come off, but I found later it sanded off, yay. And the mast step holds water, double yay. Foam is in decent shape, inside transom a few screw holes but not damage, and hull is going tramsluscent.
No one has flagged me down and offered to buy the boat form me yet.
 

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signal charlie

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Boat is a pre 1972 with a new style gudgeon screwed on to a plate, plate glued and screwed to the transom with 10 screws. there is an inspection port on the aft deck so why there is not an internal backer and machine screws, i am puzzled. Couldn't stand to look at the "custom" rudder fitting so we took it off. Hoped screws would come right out, nope, they were frozen. So grinded screw heads off, still stuck. Discovered custom plate was aluminum. Drilled screws out, still stuck. Gently pried. Finally came off. Cleaned it up and applied a salve of rustoleum

Also sanded half the deck, blob came off! And started sanding paint off of trim. Test sanded the chine, it has a lot of gouges through the gelcoat, maybe someone used a finder on it? It will need fairing compound vs a few dabs of marine tex. sprayed a light coat of blue to see how boat will look After, also will help me find peaks and valleys during old paint removal.

And moved Merci onto her trailer. Bella's buyer didn't need trailer so voila! We flipped her over and threw a blue cover on her, let her warm in the Florida sun for a few days and dry out a bit.
 

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signal charlie

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Thanks! Courageous? Very kind, Sir. Maybe more like obstinate...difficult to cure... :)

She might end up Navy biplane trainer colors, light grey hull, yellow deck, red and blue stripes. Custom sail with Stars and Bars insignia..

Fair winds,
Kent
 

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danpal

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I'm sure one of the things that was said after they attached that gudgeon was "it might not be pretty but it's never going to come off!". Little did they know....
 

signal charlie

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danpal that made me chuckle, thanks!

....and overnight I found that I can summon and dismiss rain by placing the tarp on or off of the boat. Tarp off, rain starts; Tarp on, rain stops. O dark thirty fun!

K
 

signal charlie

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Merci got a little red paint on her during Zip's roll and tip. I did a test patch to see what the paint would cover, and now when I sand I can see peaks and valleys....lots of them. We have picked out Merci's colors, WWII Army Air Corps Stearman trainer markings in honor of Alex "Red" Bryant's service. She's going to have one cool rudder!. Also got a used coaming off ebay, gave it a base coat of yellow. Sand, putty, paint down the road
 

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signal charlie

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Trimmed out damaged parts of hull. Found 2 pounds of dirt inside so far, a loose foam block on the port bow side and the backer blocks are missing for the halyard block and cleat. Next we'll make some backer plates and rebuild the keel and hull. Evaluating whether foam needs to be replaced or not, the extra weight may have been dirt!
 

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signal charlie

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Fast forward, took the trim off, because I am going into the hull to reset a block. The first few feet came off ok with me pulling by hand, but when I got close to a rivet hole the metal started to tear a little, so I looked for something to nudge it off. Found a 2x4 nearby and used its flat surface to tap off the trim..and filmed at the same time :)


Kent
 

signal charlie

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The first hurdle on Merci was the chewed up bottom. I sprayed an area, rolled an area then puttied an area with the intention of sanding and seeing how smooth I could get the hull. About 1/3 of the hull has significant gelcoat damage that needs to be smoothed. By painting with a contrasting color first I was able to sand through the paint with 120 grit on a random orbital sander and see the peaks and valleys. My concern was that I would get into raw fiberglass, but luckily I didn't. I thought that an epoxy putty might smooth out the gouges, but it only added a layer to sand off. Anyway I found I could sand down to the epoxy as needed and get a smooth surface, if not we would have been done and Merci would have become a bench.

Now that I know Merci will sail again I can save that part for later and move on to splitting the hull. We need to split the hull and reset the port bow foam block. I was worried all of the foam would need to be replaced but it is in decent shape, except for several pounds of dirt trapped inside from a hurricane submersion. Before I got to that I rehabbed some old saw horses and built a cradle for them to roll around in, that way I can move the boat from driveway to shed to garage as desired. I also cut out some removable bunks for the sawhorses so the boat will be stable when resting on the hull.
 

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signal charlie

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I drilled out trim rivets with a 1/8 inch bit and nudged the trim off with a 2x4. Then took an exacto knife, found the hull/deck seam at the bow and opened a slit. Got the seam open and then used a putty knife with hammer taps to go down the side. I wandered off seam a few times and used the xacto knife to get lined back up. SPlit the port side all the way down to front of cockpit and the starboard side just past the stripe. The bow block was ugly, bow handle backer block is gone and the port block was loose. Removed the bow block and port block IOT to clean out dirt and prep hull for new expanding foam. While hull is open I will repair two areas of the hull from inside that originally were going to get blind patches. I had intended to repair all the hull punctures from outside, but when I cut one repair hole I saw that the port bow foam block was loose.
 

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signal charlie

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Taped cutout keel section back into place, cut out fiberglass patch for the inside and epoxied into place. Figured out I need more than one layer for stiffness, I'll add that later. Also cut out a backer strip for the bow patch and made a backer patch for the damaged keel section under the cockpit.
 

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signal charlie

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Inserted the keel backer patch under the cockpit, used a cardboard backer patch, epoxied into place and held it in place with strings and paint sticks. Did the first round of sanding on the other patches, I'll have to add some fiberglass and epoxy putty and fair out the patched area.
 

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signal charlie

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Added 3 additional layers of fiberglass inside for the keel patch just ahead of daggerboard trunk. To reach this area I needed a paint stick to position the cloth, a cup on a stick to pour the epoxy resin and a long handled brush to embed the resin. I used one of the foam blocks to prop open the deck. Also put 4 layers of cloth under the bow handle hole and then let Merci get a little sun.
 

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signal charlie

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Danpal was worried about Merci, so we did a little work on her the last few days and here is an update. FYI we are shooting for an early Spring launch.
ALL the backer blocks are gone, here are some shots of the underside of the deck where they were attached. I cut new blocks from cypress and glued them in place wi 3M 5200 marine adhesive sealant. I also put in a screw from the tp tp hold the in place while the sealant dries.
Actually I did find a bridle eyestrap backer block, but cut 2 new ones anyway as it is pretty rotten.
After it got dark I went to Ace to get some 10-32 x 3/4 pan head stainless screws for the coaming, and mixing cups.
 

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signal charlie

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Checked out the coaming rivnuts, one of them is spinning so I put some 5200 around it. Threw in a picture of the closed end of the rivnut. Then I stated playing in expanding foam. I ordered some from Fibreglast, it took about a week to ship. Poured part a and part b into separate cups, 4 oz each to start. mixed it in a separate cup, stirred til it started to rise then poured it on forward end of starboard bow block. It was a little too expanded so the Skipper took a paint stick and shoved some under the block, that worked okay but made it lumpy :)
Then I taped in the port bow block and made 2 pours along the bottom, bumped it up to 150ml each part for those pours, Also poured around the center bow block top and bottom. Last I had to improvise to get foam on top of the port block as the deck would not raise high enough to get a cup in there. So I mixed up a batch, poured it into a ziploc, closed the. Ziploc, cut off a corner of the bag and used it like a cake decorator. A practice run would have helped, but it worked pretty good.
Overall the foam is tricky, some batches ran a bit and some expanded too early. It is messy but it is holding the blocks great, both from expansion and being pretty sticky.
Last, I quickly clamped the deck so the foam didn't push it out of alignment. And of course later I had to show the kids my foam art, they were impressed by the blob that ate the cup and split it.

 

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signal charlie

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Since the foam went so quick I decided to epoxy the deck and hull back together. First I sanded the inside of the deck and the hull. Then I cut thin strips of fiberglass cloth, saturated them withWest System epoxy and hardener, laid them on the lip of the hull and started clamping. Where I couldn't get cloth back in I used a syringe to inject epoxy into the crevice. It went pretty quick and I used paint sticks to spread out the clamp load. I got the clamps from a friend Howie Picard, he worked at Alcort from 1960-78 then did warranty work for AMF for another 10. Those clamps have seen a lot of foam replacements and rudder conversions and I am honored to have them!

Clamping went so fast I had time to work on the stern. I had considered splitting the stern to replace the bridle eyestrap backer blocks, closing in the inspection hole and reinstalling the old style rudder backer blocks. But the Skipper brought me to my senses and said to put back on the hardware for a new style rudder. Remember someone had converted it and I had to chisel off an aluminum plate? Anyway, I eemoved the tiny inspection port, tunneled through the port and starboard foam and put in 2 cypress blocks for the eyestraps, held them in place with screws while they dry. Of course the keel latch plate backer block is still intact, they only one not needed! Next I need to put some fiberglass on the inside of the transom and get to work filling the multiple screw holes on the transom, and finish hull repairs...then sand, fair, paint, get a sail, find a rudder, daggerboard, install trim. Good news is that I have the mast and spars that went with the boat!
 

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signal charlie

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Took off the clamps and finished sanding the deck. Then flipped her and finished sanding the hull. All the old blue paint, 2 coats, is gone. Also sanded down the gouges in the gelcoat. Then replaced the keel section with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin where I had blind patched earlier. Last job for today was to remove broken fiberglass on the chine crack, make a blind patch with 3 layers of fiberglass cloth, cardboard and wire, then install it with epoxy.
 

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signal charlie

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Bought used rudder, tiller and hiking stick, might go on one of our boats :) put them together with a cheek, need rudder pin and springs now.
Sanded first layer of marine tex and sprayed with rustoleum to see how it is going to look. . Next I am going to try our 3M Marine filler on some areas, then Pettit EZFair, sand, primer, sand, then EZPoxy.

Seasons Greetings!
Kent and Audrey
 

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signal charlie

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Rolled and tipped a coat of Pettit EZ Primer so I could see where I need to fair an fill in some pinholes. It covered pretty good for just one coat, I'll try out some EZ Fair and then put on a second primer coat. I'm real happy with the keel patch under the cockpit and the chine patch.


 

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signal charlie

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Faired out the damaged areas and filled in some pinholes with Pettit EZ Fair. It mixed great and I like how it dispenses in equal amounts. You can also reseal it. Sanded it the next day, it comes off pretty easy compared to Marine Tex, and put on a second coat of Pettit EZ Prime. I had the can shaken at my Ace Hardware ( West Marine shaker was broken), last time I tried to stir it and made a mess. The second coat went on smooth in 68 degree weather. A little more fairing and I'll be ready to paint the hull!
And along the way we won a Pettit Paint sweatshirt in their fb photo contest, I put up a picture of the Skipper sailing Zip and it got the most likes :)
 

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signal charlie

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Started cleaning up a Barrington board that we bought on ebay, the tip was pretty chewed up, a little rot. Used a chisel rasp to get the big chunks smooth, then 80 grit to smooth it out. 120 grit is next to get the old varnish off.

Checked out the length/width difference between the 1960s oval tip board and the Barrington. Is the Barrington shorter by design or has it been filed before?

Multi tasking, also building a Penobscot 14, it will be the race committee boat: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2013/12/penobscot-14-new-build-st-jacques.html
 

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signal charlie

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Float test! Dropped Merci in the water for an hour, Skipper paddled her around, no leaks! Still waiting for paint/warm temp/no rain, maybe this weekend. Also decided to fill transom drain hole, that got added long ago and has been superseded by an inspection port.

K
 

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signal charlie

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Got our paint and put on the first hull coat today. Pettit Easypoxy Ocean Blue rolled with seafit 3/16 inch nap roller and tipped with 3 inch tapered trim brush. First time I used Pettit (it was a free sample) and it is my new favorite paint. It covered well, self leveled great and has a super gloss.

 

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signal charlie

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Sanded an eBay daggerboard and put on a base coat of Minwax Polycrylic. It didn't cover well enough, so I'll sand again and try a varnish, OR this daggerboard may be painted yellow to fit into my Army Air Corps Stearman colors theme, it could be the yellow vertical stabilizer and the rudder will have the red and white stripes.

K
 

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signal charlie

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Sanded with 120 and put on second coat. It was 70 degrees out so I tried adding 10 percent thinner. That made the paint a bit runny but it rolled on well in a thin coat. Also used a 1/8 inch nap roller, found out I prefer the 3/16.

 

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