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Trying to date my new/old Sunfish

oregongirl

New Member
I was just gifted an all original Sunfish. I have read all the threads I could find regarding dating and I believe this is an early 60's model. There is not a hull ID number on the transom nor is there a silver data plate. There is a small black oval Alcort Inc metal tag on the deck. I need to register it in my state and I don't have a year or a serial number. I'm guessing one of you Sunfish experts out there will have some insight.
 

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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
It probably is mid or earlier ‘60s. It has three indicators it is pretty old:
- no metal edge around cockpit
- two deck drain plugs
- looks like it has asymmetrical halyard cleat

I know I’ve stumbled on info that indicates what dates those things changed, but can’t recall specific dates.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
That boat looks to be in amazing shape for 58 years old!! The only think I notice you need is a new plastic tube for the carriage bolt at the stern - the tube keeps the bolt from shifting, and if it shifts the rudder can pop up if it is breezy. Look at reply 6 here as to an easy option for a new tube. Old Style Rudder - Lower Plate Attachment
 

oregongirl

New Member
That boat looks to be in amazing shape for 58 years old!! The only think I notice you need is a new plastic tube for the carriage bolt at the stern - the tube keeps the bolt from shifting, and if it shifts the rudder can pop up if it is breezy. Look at reply 6 here as to an easy option for a new tube. Old Style Rudder - Lower Plate Attachment
Thank you - I just ordered it. Now where can I find that hinge pin that's supposed to be attached to the chain? I have the chain but no pin :(

Also since you have been so helpful and I am a brand new wanna be sailor perhaps you can help me out with the next thing - Can this sail be saved?? I like that it's original but unfortunately some mice got into it and there are several holes in one of the panels. I'm fairly handy with sewing but not sure about finding replacement dacron material or trying to patch that many small holes. If not, suggestions for replacement?

Yes the boat is in great shape. It was gifted to me by the original owner and it has always been stored indoors. I can't wait to start waxing and polishing it!!
 

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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
That boat looks to be in amazing shape for 58 years old!!
Wish I could say the same for myself... though I'm probably in better shape than most of my peers, vintage 1962. :eek:

Meh, still above ground... things could be worse. ;)

Cheers!!! :cool:

Edit: OP, ya might wanna address those spider cracks when ya clean up the hull, and check the usual problem areas... mast step, daggerboard trunk, etc. Or take close-up shots of 'em so folks here can check for damage. Camera flash or LED flashlight for the mast step pics... boat DOES look pretty good for its age. Thought ya might be able to tape up the sail, but after seeing the photo, I'd say just buy a new one... you can buy large adhesive sail repair patches at a sail loft, but I reckon you're better off with a new Intensity sail, that material looks tired. :rolleyes:
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Having a beer while dinner is in the oven, so I'll clarify that last remark. You don't want that tired old (and possibly taped or sewn-up) sail to blow out while you're under way, leaving you in a bad or potentially dangerous situation. Think of it as a MARINE SAFETY issue... looking at that tired old sail, chewed up as it is to boot, well, I'd rather have the peace of mind that a new sail would afford. :rolleyes:

One can almost draw an analogy with old tire rubber... it might LOOK okay and still have tread, but the AGE of it is enough to ramp up the likelihood of a blowout. In my "trucking daze" I saw dangerous tire blowouts at highway speed, just because some driver thought the tire(s) LOOKED okay. Moi, I prefer new tire rubber, same way I'd prefer a new sail in your situation. They don't cost that much, and the peace of mind & increased safety are totally worth the cost. ;)

JUST MY $.02 ON THE SUBJECT, MARINE SAFETY HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY TOP PRIORITY... EVEN IF I AM A GOOD SWIMMER, LOL. :confused:
 

oregongirl

New Member
Wish I could say the same for myself... though I'm probably in better shape than most of my peers, vintage 1962. :eek:

Meh, still above ground... things could be worse. ;)

Cheers!!! :cool:

Edit: OP, ya might wanna address those spider cracks when ya clean up the hull, and check the usual problem areas... mast step, daggerboard trunk, etc. Or take close-up shots of 'em so folks here can check for damage. Camera flash or LED flashlight for the mast step pics... boat DOES look pretty good for its age. Thought ya might be able to tape up the sail, but after seeing the photo, I'd say just buy a new one... you can buy large adhesive sail repair patches at a sail loft, but I reckon you're better off with a new Intensity sail, that material looks tired. :rolleyes:
i will definitely take you up on that offer and post pictures right after I google all those terms and figure out what I need to take pictures of What’s the remedy for spider cracks?
 

oregongirl

New Member
Having a beer while dinner is in the oven, so I'll clarify that last remark. You don't want that tired old (and possibly taped or sewn-up) sail to blow out while you're under way, leaving you in a bad or potentially dangerous situation. Think of it as a MARINE SAFETY issue... looking at that tired old sail, chewed up as it is to boot, well, I'd rather have the peace of mind that a new sail would afford. :rolleyes:

One can almost draw an analogy with old tire rubber... it might LOOK okay and still have tread, but the AGE of it is enough to ramp up the likelihood of a blowout. In my "trucking daze" I saw dangerous tire blowouts at highway speed, just because some driver thought the tire(s) LOOKED okay. Moi, I prefer new tire rubber, same way I'd prefer a new sail in your situation. They don't cost that much, and the peace of mind & increased safety are totally worth the cost. ;)

JUST MY $.02 ON THE SUBJECT, MARINE SAFETY HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY TOP PRIORITY... EVEN IF I AM A GOOD SWIMMER, LOL. :confused:
And a great excuse to buy a really cool looking sail. I’m in!
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Had to check the lasagna, LOL... but let me suggest that you read up on basic sailing, whether you check out a book or two from the library or simply find the material online. You should know the basics BEFORE you ever leave shore, especially the nomenclature, points of sail, relative bearing of other craft, sequences involved in maneuvering (diagrams are helpful here), and most importantly the "Rules of the Road"---that knowledge will improve your skills & safety, and keep you outta trouble in most situations. Particularly "crossing situations" with other boats in close or relatively close proximity. :confused:

Also, NEVER assume that the other skipper knows all of these things... he or she might be totally clueless. However, by knowing these things YOURSELF, you can make your nautical life a little easier, LOL. Oh, yeah, and don't stand on your "right of way" with commercial vessels & working craft, particularly those larger ships limited in their maneuverability... be courteous as well as safe at sea. Hailing from San Diego as I do, I always gave consideration to merchant marine vessels, warships, tugboats, passenger ferries & excursion craft, larger fishing boats, etc., it just makes more sense and it's easy enough to do. :rolleyes:

As far as those spider cracks go, you have options, and I'm sure that topic has been addressed at this site multiple times. Moi, I used catalyzed resin to fill small spider cracks prior to priming & painting, but judging from the photos you posted, you won't need to paint, you'll just need to buff the hull & deck with some polish. However, before you do that, you might fill those cracks with one of several products, just pick white to match the hull. I didn't see any cracks in the deck, just those spider cracks on the stern. Others may chime in here, so pay attention to their suggestions... for your own good, I mean. :cool:

I THINK THAT BOAT WILL CLEAN UP QUITE NICELY, SO WELCOME TO THE FORUM... ANY QUESTIONS, JUST TOSS 'EM OUT HERE, SOME OF THESE NAUTICAL HEROES WILL BE ABLE TO HELP YA, LOL. ;)

Edit: Forgot to mention that you can buy buffing pads for a regular drill at any Home Depot or similar store. Pads for grinders too, if that's what you have... my best friend Tommy from the old surf shop in Coronado used buffing pads fitted to his Milwaukee grinder, and they worked great. But even a smaller wired or cordless drill will work, I preferred wired drills for this task just to avoid running down batteries. Meh, you'll figure it out... I have faith in ya, LOL. :eek:
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Personally I would not worry about spider cracks - I have had boats with them and they haven't leaked through those little cracks. I'd sail it and see if it leaks - if so, then look for the leak(s). But hopefully your boat will be dry!!

Regarding that pin you need, try emailing Alan Glos at aglos@colgate.edu . He sells a lot of used parts on this site. Sailcraftri, also on this site, sells lots of parts but I don't have his email handy. They will also know what to use as a substitute - those old parts are hard to find, as those rudders were discontinued in 1971, although the manufacturer sold spare parts for them for quite a few years afterwards.

As an aside, it is interesting that the old style rudders were only used from the "invention" of the Sunfish/Sailfish in 1955 or so up to 1971, but there are still seemingly countless boats around with the old style rudder. These boats sure were popular!!!!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I'm fairly handy with sewing but not sure about finding replacement dacron material or trying to patch that many small holes. If not, suggestions for replacement? Yes the boat is in great shape. It was gifted to me by the original owner and it has always been stored indoors. I can't wait to start waxing and polishing it!!
Because the sail is white, it is more readily repaired. A standard sewing machine will handle it.

But it appears minor enough to use "sail repair tape", which arrives in a roll. Put "sail repair tape white, 3-inch, 2-mil" into Google.

White tape will show the repair, but using two strips of 3-inch dacron sail tape may cover all the damage! Careful application may allow you to repair only one side. And you have to be careful, as this tape is hard to remove!

Clear tape is also available, and could be the better choice. Use a curved metal surface to put a nice trim to the end of the tape.

P1010001-001.JPG

As to the year, your boat appears to have aluminum cockpit trim.

Fullscreen capture 10142020 70459 PM.bmp.jpg
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Sail repair tape is sold in huge rolls at sail lofts... well, ya gotta walk in and make an offer to buy some of the material, but I saw a roll about 4' long at one loft in San Diego, and I bought a large "panel' of the adhesive repair tape for a project at the time. I don't know if you've ever seen the 4' rolls of glass cloth & whatnot, but it's the same principle: industrial-sized quantities, not skinnier rolls. Of course, as L&VW says, you'll have to be careful with the application, as it's easy to mess up the tape if ya don't lay it on right... it'll get wrinkled to the point that you become frustrated dealing with it, and you might even damage the sail further, LOL. Just my $.02, and you may be far from sail lofts, but there's more than one way to skin a cat... LOL. :eek:

P.S. Oh, yeah, I still think you're better off buying a new sail, just for the peace of mind... :rolleyes:
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Save the sail! I’ve got a soft spot for those old soft Ratsey & Lapthorns. The rest of the sail looks to be in clean condition and the Fish is sharp. Get some good rip-stop Dacron sail repair. Always round the corners, as L&VW mentions. I would tape both sides. If you want the project of sewing on patches I can send you some white sail material, free of charge. Then hang that classic sail on the wall. It’s art and history, in my eyes. Cactus Cowboy gives good advice. Be safe and treat yourself and your classic Sunfish to a crispy new sail. You can’t beat Intensity Sails for the money. It won’t have the Sunfish logo but that can be remedied.
2. If you ordered the 1’ tubing from McMaster Carr you will find the tube diameter to be tight. I widened the hole in the tube slightly with a drill then had no problems.
The original rudder pin is currently on ebay. Not my listing, just passing it on.
Enjoy your classic ‘62 Sunfish!
Sunfish Sailboat Horizontal Rudder Pin | eBay
 
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