Sunfish Repairs on a budget

Thread starter #1
Hi Guys,

I just purchased a used sunfish, I'm not sure of the year I think a '73, '74. I took her out a few times and noticed she was taking on some water. I dock the boat and heard it was going to be raining the next few days and figured I wouldn't let her fight a two front war of water so dragged her off the dock.

Now there was some water in there before, but by the time I got the boat out there must have been 5 gallons or more! There is a crack in the back inspection port cap so I'm hoping most of that came in when the back cap was submerged from lifting the boat out .

The boats out and the water has been dumped so now it was time to fix the problem. I noticed my foam blocks were a little loose and I had some spider cracks on the bottom of the hull. I had previously sprayed the bottom with flex seal and treated it with a crack cure on the bad spider cracks, but now I covered every little crack and ding with marine Goop. I have to say the Goop is phenomenal it goes on like gel and dries like plastic. I sealed the area around both sides of my drain plug and all cracks. I then bought a waterproof sealing/caulking foam spray. I used that to support my foam blocks and line the underside of my footwell because I noticed some separation.

I'm putting her back in the water today. Does anyone have any other suggestions on places I could plug up/ where that much water could be coming in? If this works I'd have to suggest this method, my total cost for repairs was $40. Although i definitely overpaid for the boat :/
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#2
What you have done makes sense. But trying to fix a leak by randomly plugging things isn’t likely to solve the problem. You should do an air test - using the search box on this site should help you find instructions. You can also fill the mast step with water and be sure the water level doesn’t drop due to a leak in the step. BB
 
Thread starter #3
What you have done makes sense. But trying to fix a leak by randomly plugging things isn’t likely to solve the problem. You should do an air test - using the search box on this site should help you find instructions. You can also fill the mast step with water and be sure the water level doesn’t drop due to a leak in the step. BB
Great tip on the mast steps, thanks. I didn't perform a leak test because I was unsure of the procedure even after reading the directions. Do I have to create air pressure in the boat first? If so, how would I do that?
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#4
Reduce your air hose pressure to about 2 psi. and stick the air hose nozzle in the deck drain hole. Also put a piece of tape over the vent hole in the front cockpit wall.
 
#7
Does anyone have any other suggestions on places I could plug up/ where that much water could be coming in? If this works I'd have to suggest this method, my total cost for repairs was $40. Although i definitely overpaid for the boat :/
The construction (and condition) of the daggerboard trunk varies among my six 1970's Sunfish :confused:. I suspect water enters through the trunk—but is ignored, as a repair is difficult.

Now I'm wondering if anyone's cut the deck and hull to "totally" remove the daggerboard trunk :eek: for repair.

If you don't have a compressor, you could put the boat in the lake upside-down. Use soapy water on a long-handled brush, and inspect for slightly-compressed leaking air bubbles on the trunk's margins and as far inside the trunk as possible. You can tilt the boat in the water to bubble-test the gudgeon and rub rails.

.
 
#8
If the dagger board trunk was badly damaged you would peel up the front deck
to do repairs from the inside. You could use the Shore Line method to remove
the whole trunk but that's making twice, nay three times the work for no real gain. Once the
deck is popped you get to fix other things as well and remove 20 lbs, of wet
expanding foam.
 
#9
If the dagger board trunk was badly damaged you would peel up the front deck to do repairs from the inside. You could use the Shore Line method to remove the whole trunk but that's making twice, nay three times the work for no real gain. Once the deck is popped you get to fix other things as well and remove 20 lbs, of wet expanding foam.
Verily, I'm suggesting that the daggerboard trunk is the source of mysterious :oops: leaks. Removing the trunk allows one to examine and completely reinforce a weak area in design—or of sailing misadventures.

Through my "Ultimate Inspection Port", I can see that the hull flexes while under way. :( Epoxying another layer of cloth (or roving) circumjacent with the trunk would reduce flexing in the widest—and most important—part of the Sunfish hull. :cool: IMHO.

Maybe I'll actually try that repair. ;)

.
 
Thread starter #10
Thanks for the suggestion, I will have to check my daggerboard trunk. I put some marine GOOP on the parts I could reach but I was actually thinking of using a painter's stick or a ruler to spread something stronger on the inside
 
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