The JMS project

Most of the rudder assembly fittings look original except for the part in your hand that screws to the wooden blade. Maybe they oly had a few of the U shaped straps that day? As for the metal, I was told that Alcort ordered bronze parts by the pound from Wilcox Crittenden & Co Inc. But WC also made other metals, brass, galvaniized, chrome plated brass...

Love the Anchor nails!
My Porpoise II had a WC mast-top block (pulley) made of stainless steel. I was miles from shore when it failed, dropping the entire rig with a bang! I looked into my "rescue bag" (intended for others) but there was no equivalent part. However, there was a plastic "cable tie" (zip-tie) with which I jury-rigged a replacement. Although there was nobody watching, it must have been a sight, as the mast had to come down to re-attach the makeshift repair. (But a few grams of plastic got me back home!)

Y'know, an anchor character could be etched into the tip of a "nail-set" and, with the final strike, pounded into the head of a bronze or brass ringed nail. ⚓
Found the perfect pin retention chain. A toilet tank flapper valve chain saves the day.


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With the hull all but completed, it’s time to move onto the mast build. I had presumed that the single piece aluminum mast was from a later boat, but to my surprise it appears that this was what it originally came with. Pictures of the boat from the early 50’s show the single aluminum mast, and the owners family remembers nothing but this setup. In my quest for authentic preservation I could call it a day and move on, but I’ve had it in my head to build up a mast from the plans, so here we are.
Play around with Fishes long enough, and you’re bound to wind up with more than a couple masts on hand. The left most one in the picture is the one that came with the 14/super with a surprisingly modern looking fairlead at the top. A couple of my salvage masts have improvised fixtures; a pulley bolted on, and a clever fix of a fairlead screwed to a bottom cap.


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The bolted on pulley could fail under heavy load - the integrated fairlead in the modern mast cap is less prone to failure and works quite well.

Seems like every couple weeks someone is posting on here asking about masts - apparently you and @Alan S. Glos are hoarding them all. :)
And then the mast and spars are complete. Just need lace on a sail. Time is coming to pull her out of the basement boatwerks and put all the parts together. I left a few extra inches at the top to add a footmans loop to fly a pennant. Now I need a pennant…


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So what do you do when your project boat is almost done?
Start building a fleet.
Couldn’t help but pick up this kit super sailfish from the fellow who built it himself with his brother in 1964. Mahogany sides and Masonite top and bottom. Yep, masonite! Seams leak all around, but the material is all surprisingly solid.
I have ideas…


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And she’s back on topside. A few pics of all the parts having come together.
So where to next…
I had in mind a goal that when I got her all put back right, that I would see if I could put her on display at Mystic Seaport at the Wooden Boat show. Well, I got the good news that yes, they would have a place for this little girl at the big show. I always thought of it as a bit of an audacious notion, to see this overly modest little craft in the midst of such utterly fantastic and historic boats, but the realization of the Sailfishes importance is something that I have had a growing respect for. To state it with a knowing sense of being only slightly over the top ; the Sailfish represents a democratization of sailing. This is the Model T of wooden boats. This is where the everyday person could get out on the water and into the wind, and with the added pride of having built it yourself being a reachable dream. Yes, the humble Sailfish is a boat deserving of a place of respect, and for many people holds a place in their heart. The first time I sailed was on my Grandfathers Sunfish, and that lead to many a grand sailing adventure on much more elaborate boats, but it started with the fish. These boats were the beginning of many happy sailing memories for many people, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the folks at Wooden Boat magazine seeing fit to allow her a spot.
And I see this as the beginning. I would love to see the story of the Sailfishes told with a live display at a fitting museum. I wonder what might be the possibility of putting together an exhibit with the input of some of the collective knowledge from some of the wise experts out there…


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I believe that Mystic does have a wooden Sailfish in their collection. Lake Champlain has the first production wooden Sunfish in their collection.

Sunfish One.jpg

And The Mariners' Museum has a wooden Sunfish and wooden Super Sailfish. We are going to get a close look at those two boats eventually, right now they are in a warehouse, up high on a rack and all we see are hulls, no spars or blades.

2025 will be the 80th Anniversary for Sailfish. Perhaps a rendezvous should be planned...
That’s an absolutely fantastic idea. I’d love to meet up and just shoot the breeze about everyone’s experience having at these little boats.

Thanks for the info on the museum boats. I can only imagine what a great display could be put together of the Alcort evolution. While SC has probably one of the most complete collections around already, I’d really like to see side by side an Alcort ice sailer with the rescue paddleboard, and then the Sailfish that it became, and then the Super as it became an even better boat, and then into the wooden Sunfish, and onto today’s Sunfish. Hopefully, I’ll find someone’s ear to bend at Mystic Seaport.
Sea Trials! Huzzah! We'd love to see more pictures of her back in her natural element. Does she have a name?

You can send some photos and a short write up on the restoration to WoodenBoat, and if they publish the story in their Launchings/Relaunchings section you'll get a copy of the article and a free hat with the the Issue No. stitched onto it. The email can be found in each issue, let us know if you need help finding it, and I imagine they'd be very interested in highlighting boats from the show.