What's new

Taking on the fleet

SuperC

New Member
Been a member of my club for a year, exclusively using club boats. They are 4 Sunfish, 2 Lasers, 1 Capri 14, and a gaggle of Optis. Boat repairs are usually on an as needed basis by whomever is willing and able. But since we'll be using these boats for the foreseeable future, my husband and I decided it would be in our best interest to help maintain them and there is at least one other family that feels the same. So I find myself, having been the one that presented the idea, as heading up the newly minted boat maintenance committee. The boats are not neglected, just suffering normal age- and use-related problems. We have a torn sail, broken bailers, a bent gooseneck (thanks to my daughter and HOW?!?!) and undiagnosed hull leaks - suspected from deck/cockpit joint in at least one boat, possibly hull/deck. I emptied probably 4-5 gallons from one of the boats last weekend.

Sunfish are the first order of business, since they are used most often. Optis are numerous enough for the youth classes, members that sail Lasers all have their own.

Getting the hulls waterproof is the biggest job, and fairly high priority, since they are used by beginners they capsize often! I plan to take an air compressor down this weekend to leak test them. My question about this---is there any down side to installing inspection ports in boats that get used regularly by people that don't know anything about boats?

Next question is about one of the sails. It has an L-shaped tear that goes through the foot. I would guess that each side of the tear is 4-6" long. Our sailing grounds are Galveston Bay, so 10 knot winds are normal, and 12-15 have been more the norm this summer. Is this repairable with sail tape? I was thinking one long piece that folds over the edge and covers both sides. It doesn't seem worthwhile to have it repaired by a pro when we can get a replacement from Intensity for under $150.

Third question: why would the plastic cap come off the bottom of the vertical spar? The bolt is still attached, the spar just seems to have slid out. We are hoping just loosening the bolt and reattaching will do the trick.

There will probably be more later, but that's all I have until I'm back out there this weekend.

Thanks, Ali
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
For your fleet, there's no downside to inspection ports. They (and a muffin fan) may be needed at present to dry the Sunfish hull interiors. Search "muffin" for directions.

Too much air pressure can cause leaks! :eek:

"Real" sail repair tape is very tough. Under severe stress, the sail will likely tear someplace else. :rolleyes:

If you're having breakages with your bailers, consider an automotive rubber "freeze-plug" ($6).

Under-hull side showing:

Fullscreen capture 7212021 75205 PM.bmp.jpg
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Personally I would try to avoid ports on a fleet of loaners. The caps are too easy to lose, and if they are not kept tight they will leak when the boat is flipped.

A guy who is on here often, SailcraftRI, has/had a huge stock of Phantom bailers that will work on a Sunfish, and he was selling them for a few dollars each. I'd see if you could get a bunch from him.
 

SuperC

New Member
I don't have any pics to post at the moment, but I will take some on Saturday. Here is the sailing club. Some people (including us until we were shown better) launch their boats from the dock there in front. OK for an Opti, no bueno for sunfish. Not surprising some of the bailers got taken out.

1626978259886.png
Beldar, that's kind of what I was thinking re: ports. We seem to have a higher level of personal responsibility than exists in the general population, but beginners will always be problematic, no matter the intent. So I think I will wait on the ports and see how dry we can get them, then address each boat according to its needs.

Being a centerboard sailing club, we naturally have a lot of expertise, but what is good for your own boat will not necessarily apply here. And of course, being relatively new, it's hard to know who to talk to.

L&VW, right now the cockpit drains on the boats with broken bailers are closed with threaded pvc plugs. Great for keeping water out, impossible to let water out. Would those plugs be an improvement?

I have read that using air to test for leaks you have to be very careful not to use too much pressure, for that reason. I'll be looking through the collected wisdom online for specifics before I do that. If I use the compressor it will be at very low pressure. I have read that a shop vac with the hose on the return can work, too, but our shop vac is well used and I don't fancy putting it in my car. X-p
 

SuperC

New Member
SuperC
You are to be highly commended for your contribution to the sport of sailing AND your club!
:)

PS: You deserve a Super trophy...
I appreciate the commendation, but the whole club is volunteers and so many make a huge contribution. I am in awe of the members that teach as their service assignment. I was originally on social, but there was a gap that needed to be filled, and it's in my best interest to make sure the boats get maintained!
 

Sailflow

Active Member
Super c beautiful club. One place had a launch like one section like yours. It had a hidged wood frame waterproof plywood covered in outdoor grass carpet with one end below the water surface. You could bring your boat on a dolly and slide in on the carpet and could put the dolly away. You would raise the sail slide the boat in and go. Coming in you could slide up the carpet under sail power,,get out, give the boat a pull so it was solid and get the dolly. They ran big sunfish races off that setup.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
...You would raise the sail slide the boat in and go. Coming in you could slide up the carpet under sail power,,get out, give the boat a pull so it was solid and get the dolly. They ran big sunfish races off that setup.
Sounds ideal for a Le Mans start! :)


As for the $6 automotive rubber "freeze plug", they're pretty solid (for rubber). Still, it'd be difficult to damage the bailer opening through misuse. Give it some testing first.
 

SuperC

New Member
Pics, as promised. On the boat with the yellow hull, should I be worried about those cracks either side of the daggerboard? On the white boat they just look like gelcoat cracks.
The adhesive between deck and cockpit on all the boats seems to be in varying stages of dissolving.

The boat with the yellow deck lost its handle on Saturday. Fill with epoxy and reattach 1/2 down, or cut an inspection port and put in a new backing plate?

And finally, the most serious issue:
Cracked fiberglass in the deck along the cockpit line. It glazes badly with any pressure at all. Would it be a bad idea to add a sort of bulkhead to hold it up? I’m thinking 1”x2”, glassed in perpendicular to the side of the cockpit.

41C14433-C514-49CF-B054-48E9F5508A93.jpegC14A7502-FD51-4185-AE86-FF3BD45D130F.jpegC35077ED-695A-400D-87AF-5D32916C6567.jpeg

BAEF17B7-5BF7-46B7-94B2-1AF79EE6F7B9.jpegA86DB5CD-A57C-499C-8CB6-C709A4C98B9E.jpeg3B41BC77-AEE3-485E-9C76-756C8E41B032.jpegDCB31AD3-CCE3-4828-AC07-B8BCCA5B8BBA.jpeg
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Cracked fiberglass in the deck along the cockpit line. It glazes badly with any pressure at all. Would it be a bad idea to add a sort of bulkhead to hold it up? I’m thinking 1”x2”, glassed in perpendicular to the side of the cockpit.
I don't think "perpendicular" is ideal. :confused:

They're using Styrofoam in place of wood. How about a 1"x4" of Styrofoam bonded underneath the deck, covered with a few layers of cloth?

Although my ex-racer Sunfish isn't as "far along" as your yellow Sunfish, it has the same circumstance and I plan to do just that. :)

To your question of ease of draining with the automotive freeze plug, here's an overhead view of the plug. The picture shows a handy handle, with 5/16" thread. Being rounded, it's less likely to hurt a sailor, and no tools are needed to drain the cockpit. :cool:
 

Attachments

SuperC

New Member
Oooh I do like that. The pvc plugs we have are hard to get out once they’re screwed in too tight, and it’s almost impossible not to screw them in too tight.
I don’t think I was explaining myself very well re bulkhead. I meant a 1x2 (but actually thinking 2x2 would be better) something* cut to length and put in from floor to bottom of deck like a pillar for support. 2” coming out from the side of the cockpit so it supports the full depth of the unsupported lip. Styrofoam would be best for cost, weight and ease of matching the curves.
Are you suggesting something more like a ledger board? I think we’re too far gone for that.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I’ve seen this issue before. Multiple layers of fiberglass under the deck should so the job. I’ve never seen a beam or bulkhead needed.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Oooh I do like that. The pvc plugs we have are hard to get out once they’re screwed in too tight, and it’s almost impossible not to screw them in too tight.
I don’t think I was explaining myself very well re bulkhead. I meant a 1x2 (but actually thinking 2x2 would be better) something* cut to length and put in from floor to bottom of deck like a pillar for support. 2” coming out from the side of the cockpit so it supports the full depth of the unsupported lip. Styrofoam would be best for cost, weight and ease of matching the curves.
Are you suggesting something more like a ledger board? I think we’re too far gone for that.
Wood is trouble--because: water. :rolleyes: Got a pile of unused battens?

I'll take another look today. But we're probably not the only "Sunfish Guardians" facing this flexing-deck-lip problem.

Having such a small cockpit, vertical supports would hamper sponging, paddles, and feet--and transfer stress to still another weak point. :confused:

Maybe diagonal 1"x1"s?
 
Last edited:
I have a 1973 with the same deck cracking. I noticed a strip of fiberglass under the deck that had a small piece of rotted wood attached. I assume it was a factory block to stiffen the deck. I planned to cut a 3" x 6" poly cutting board for the replacement block and glass over it. I think the same method could help with the corner stress cracking.
 
Top