Sunfish Projects

Thread starter #1
Hello guys:
I just bought a used sunfish that needs a little bit more tlc than expected. As i work on different issues, others pop up, and at this point, i wanted to ask some questions and advice.

-Gelcoat Spider Cracks:
The topic of spider cracks and radial cracks has been discussed at length in the forum, from what i see. I have both:
-Radial Cracks from the glue disks
-Spider cracks from impacts.



The boat has been leak tested already, so i know most of them don't go through. I started carving the cracks until i get to the fiber, and to my inexperienced eye, there is no fiber damage (Pictures a Below)



Questions are:
- Filler vs Gel coat? I was thinking of filling the gaps with gel coat (Since a have a can already) with a little bit of wax, and then sand it. I see a lot of people uses fillers, and i was wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of both. For filler i have Evercoat formula 27 and something called ez-tex marine, which is a 50 50 Mix.
Filler would be fairly straightforward to use, anyone has any tips on applying gelcoat to the cracks?, or even what is the best tool to use, to insure as little air is trapped as possible?

-While grinding down the cracks, even though it is unintended, sometimes a little bit of the fiber gets grind too. How much will this weak the structure? This is specially concerning with spider cracks that have long cracks. Examples of the cracks are below, the one on the angle of the hull is one of the long ones.

20181023_062627.jpg
20181023_062627.jpg
20181023_062722.jpg
20181023_062540.jpg

Hull and Foam:

I have installed two inspection ports, one aft, almost where the tiller is, and another one between the splashguard and the cockpit (Standard locations).
Now, as i mentioned, i have radial cracks from the glue disks (This boat look like it fell at one point). I can see them on both sides and even on the inside of the cockpit.
At the same tame, the hull flexes between the cockpit and the bow. I imagine this is due to the foam blocks getting detached from the hull. I was expecting to have to foam the blocks again, but what concerned me is that when i flex the hull in the mentioned place, next to the keel, i hear cracking. The gel coat is not cracking so i wonder if it is the fiber layer? Is this normal? picture below:

20181023_063245.jpg


Bump in hull:

Anyone knows what that bump in the picture could be? The weird thing is that it looks textured. Like it was pressed to something with a texture, or like its letting a texture from the core material through. I don't think that shows much in the picture:

20181023_063049.jpg

Scratch guard holes:
I took out the scratch guard from the boat, as some cracks were extending under it. I am going to have to fill the holes/fix the fiber cracks on the sandwiched deck and hull, was wondering if anyone has recommendations on this. Picture of an example:


20181023_062917.jpg


Thanks for your help and comments!
Regards

Thanks a lot!
Regards
 

Attachments

Webfoot1

Active Member
#2
If you mean you removed the 'Splash Guard' from the deck, this keep the hull
from flexing as you mentioned.

Pretty much looks like your standard fiberglass filler for the cracks then then
sand with 200 grit and apply your choice of paint be it 'Roll and Tip' or 'Spray
Gun' for the entire bottom hull. You could Marine-Tex the cracks if you don't mind
the color mismatch. Would be a bit quicker. I use West Epoxy and Micro-balloons
as filler, seems to sand easy although it takes a bit longer then just applying one
coat of fiberglass filler.
 

mixmkr

Active Member
#3
Fill them with F27 or Marine tex...your choice. Skip the color matching with gelcoat, as they are both waterproof. If the cosmetics bug you, then paint with a good marine paint. Honestly, I think you're obsessing too much with the spider cracks and just live with them. I say that because your repair isn't adding strength back and certainly isn't more "invisable" unless you paint the entire hull to the edges.
What I see with gel repairs on these forums are people realizing, quality gelwork (back to factory specs) isn't achieved, since it is as much a skill to do cosmetically as painting a car. That's why on these inexpensive boats, people use them to learn and then realize the limitations of their abilities to make a repair totally not seen. Plus the hulls aren't huge to paint the entire hull. Follow your instinct and repair how you think best, if you've read and gone over instructions for the materials used.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#4
The hull is not cracking from you pushing on it. You’d see if it was cracked. That said I never push on my hull without reason - although unlikely to hurt anything, it isn’t going to help anything.

Agree on the idea of leaving cracks alone unless you cannot stand looking at them. They just don’t make a difference aside from the cosmetics.

Don’t know what that bump is. This is an old boat so who knows what has happened to it over the years.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#5
Hello guys:
I just bought a used sunfish that needs a little bit more tlc than expected. As i work on different issues, others pop up, and at this point, i wanted to ask some questions and advice.
Bump in hull:
Anyone knows what that bump in the picture could be? The weird thing is that it looks textured. Like it was pressed to something with a texture, or like its letting a texture from the core material through. I don't think that shows much in the picture:

Scratch guard holes:
I took out the scratch guard from the boat, as some cracks were extending under it. I am going to have to fill the holes/fix the fiber cracks on the sandwiched deck and hull, was wondering if anyone has recommendations on this. Picture of an example:

Thanks for your help and comments!
Regards

Thanks a lot!
Regards
The bump may be a previous repair. Is the texture consistent with the "even" weave of fiberglass material? (Mat, roving, cloth, tape?)

Every major surface of a Sunfish is composed of a single layer of fiberglass roving. As a texture, roving appears like lots of ¼-inch squares, and is spectacularly thin! :eek: I found that a simple sanding through the gelcoat can cause it to fall apart. :oops:

This is only my opinion, but I do own and maintain five Sunfish. :confused: Through your repairs, I believe you have weakened a Sunfish that was already structurally compromised—as you had guessed. Consider this hull a training exercise in fiberglass repair, sell it, and seek out a newer or better-appearing hull.

As stated above, don't obsess with the spider cracks. While they are mute evidence of "hull trauma", these older boats are going to have them. Two of my Sunfish have cockpits that are ringed with cracks. One, especially, needs attention, as the crack surrounds a corner of the cockpit that will flex alarmingly. :eek: I'll get to it in Spring. :rolleyes:

.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#6
This is only my opinion, but I do own and maintain five Sunfish. :confused: Through your repairs, I believe you have weakened a Sunfish that was already structurally compromised—as you had guessed.

.
With all due respect, I don’t see how it is possible to conclude the boat is structurally compromised. Secondly, removing the splash rail, adding two ports, and gouging away some gelcoat is not going to weaken the boat as long as the splash rail is properly reinstalled.

I suggest carrying on with repairs. This boat looks a heck of a lot better than other boats on this forum that have been repaired and sailed. That said, before gouging away at anymore cracks, I’d try repairing the ones yiu have gouged out to see how they look. My guess is you’ll decide to leave the rest alone.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#7
Well, "selling it" was only my opinion. A lot of work has already been done, so insert the phrase, "sailing it" in front of "selling it". ;)

Member Ricardol has included a lot of photographs—a good thing :)—and has voiced legitimate concern over multiple hull "issues". None of my six (now five) Sunfish made "creaking sounds". This concern—and those of "long gelcoat cracks" have me asking myself, "Was this Sunfish a post-hurricane purchase"? :eek:

I also can't explain the damage in Ricardol's photograph. (enlarged for viewing here).

Interpreting the layers, what are we looking at? :confused:

Fullscreen capture 10242018 34955 AM.bmp.jpg
 
#8
I can’t tell where that hole is on the keel. If it’s under the cockpit tub you may be able to inject thickened epoxy into the hole. I have a hull in similar shape. The ‘cracking’ sound may be that the cockpit has separated from the hull. The splashguard also adds structural support. Spider cracks are normal on an older boat and are most likely cosmetic only.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#9
Ok, I see the l and vw point about the hole. Based on the condition of the “keel” which appears to have no gelcoat at all, I’d be fixing that before spider cracks.

I don’t think anything the new owner has done has made things worse but a few heavy repairs are needed.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#10
I can’t tell where that hole is on the keel.
Upon further review, that hole is NOT on the "keel". It is on the deck where the splashrail was. The ridge that we were interpreting as the keel is old silicone or something from where the splashrail was.

I go back to my original position - this boat looks to have pretty much typical cracking, spiderwebbing, etc for an old boat. Who knows what the bump is - it could be from manufacturing back in the day. Based on what has been shown, this boat should be easily repairable. As I have said before, I would not gouge out any more cracks in the gelcoat until you know you can repair them to your satisfaction. They are only a cosmetic issue if they passed a leak test.
 

mixmkr

Active Member
#11
I've honestly not seen pictures in these forums of high quality gelcoat repairs, that mimic what someone might do on a $300,000 yacht. However, they are the same repairs generally, no matter the cost of the boat, but with the Sunfish, final appearances typically aren't as important. Generally the best repairs I've seen on a Sunfish have been finished with a total paint job, but still that paint job not replicating what you might see on the hull of said $300,000 yacht, or even a car. I've never heard of a Sunfish professionally "Awlgripped" or using Imron paint, etc. Generally it is the "do-it-yourselfer" paint...like an Interlux product you can roll and tip and get very good results...but NOT pro. You certainly wouldn't "roll and tip" a car paint job.
Back to gelcoat repairs...after getting the fairing done perfectly, gelcoat color matching can be extremely difficult to make completely invisable, but even a new repair on a new boat, will still leave a gelcoat "halo" around the repair. I'm sure many Sunfish have had "repairs" done after popping out of the mold, and you can see them with a CLOSE looking, at the right angles. Also consider, new gelcoat applied on a boat over 5 years old, may have a close match today...but next year as they gel ages, could be a different story. Even with factory supplied gelcoat. Expecting a new Sunfish owner to replicate the gelcoat repairs of someone who has repaired Corvettes and the like, over the years, is not realistic. But on a <$1000 used Sunfish hull, not much is lost in depreciation with an average to poor looking repair. Your Hinkley owner will scream bloody death, if you can see the repair standing at the dock.
Lastly, I think we all can be happy that Sunfishes aren't "metal flake" and the like with a clear coat over them....like many of the "bass boats" you see on the water. Although maybe nice looking...that's another level of repair. (however...I DID see one member here who had a "metal flake" splash guard....some previous owner must have worked at a body shop, etc)
 
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