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Upgrades made to an old Sunfish, so far

kebwi

Member
Here's the maintenance and upgrades I've made on my recently acquired ancient Sunfish so far. I revarnished the daggerboard and tiller (the rudder is fine). I built a dolly. I replaced the halyard fairlead block with a double-block. I didn't want to replace it with a bullseye because I am very averse to touching the deck hardware. Even if I use the one-screw-at-a-time method to save the backing from falling into the hull, it will still weaken the threads of the backing. So instead I installed a double-block. I also installed a mainsheet block. And I added some simple velcro straps to the lower boom as mainsheet retainers.

Next up, replace the rusted, tattered three-loop bridle and its browned, flaking, crumbling vinyl with a new two-loop bridle. Then strongly consider installing a mast cleat, although I'm still nervous about that one. I can't believe machine screws can "bite" such thin metal. I like the post saw that recommended putting a back plate inside the mast for the screws to dig into.

I'd also to replace the now useless mainsheet hook with a cam cleat at some point. And I might upgrade the tiller extension to a universal joint.

And at some point I might upgrade the original-style rudder, but I'm not keen on adding a deck plate. Maybe next year.

Then I need a sail with a window. It took only one trip out to realize how crucial that is (I'm spoiled from sailing Lasers and didn't realize how much I rely on the window). And while I'm at it, I'll probably get a race-cut sail anyway, since the off-brand sails are cheap, and have windows, and are race-cut anyway. Then, of course, I need to paint a gigantic insignia on the sail...somehow. :)

And then I need to add a jib (moooostly joking, although that video of the Sunfish with the bowsprit is very inspiring).

Oh, and of course, I need to convert the daggerboard to a foil so I can get the boat completely above the water (j/k...mostly). :D

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kebwi

Member
You don’t need a backing plate inside the mast for a cleat. Take it from hundreds of racers. There is a new way to use line on the mast instead of drilling holes, but I haven’t looked into it. I think a Lee Montes video on YouTube covers it but I’m not sure.
Thank you. I appreciate the point of confident in the standard installation method, and the indication that there is another method to look into.

The new bridle goes on later today.

Cheers!
 

kebwi

Member
The drain plug was a lost cause. Here's the replacement. It literally chipped apart as I wedged it up. The corrosion on the inside was abominable.
 

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kebwi

Member
I've also attached a mast cleat and replaced the unwindowed yellow/blue sail with an Intensity sail (windowed with greater draft, but boring white). No pics of that yet. And I have some V-cleats for the outhaul and cunningham but I haven't attached them yet. And I have the original style rudder, which is a nuisance.

...I need to leak test the hull and then very likely repair some cracking around the dagger board slot on the bottom. Given that water drips out from that location under the trailer, I suspect water is getting in at that point as well (on the plus side, the boat drains in an upright position HA! Seriously, that's not good).

...and I want to paint a picture on the sail and I'm teasing myself with the notion of the jib, about which I see a lot of information, but I suspect that may be taking things too far.
 

kebwi

Member
Here's my mast cleat addition and some plunky velcro straps for main sheet boom retainers, and the latest (perhaps final) incarnation of my dolly. It deploys with two screws/wingnuts to hold the three pieces together and with two unfoldings of the carpeted arms, but breaks/folds down small enough to toss in the back of the car. It has worked quite well so far.
 

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kebwi

Member
I've wanted to convert the old-style rudder to a modern spring-retained-rope-pulled-flip-up design, but I didn't want to perform the full rudder upgrade, primarily out of objection to the cost, but also because I'm not ready to do quite so much deconstruction to the boat. What I envisioned was reusing the old-rudder hardware to create a system that would flip up in the modern fashion. Here's the result.

Cheers!
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Very clever and nicely executed! :)

If you lift the tiller, tension the line through the clam cleat, and lower the tiller, you'll have leveraged the lifting motion to raise the rudder. Maybe twice will do it... ;)

No more getting out of the cockpit to protect the rudder from splitting.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
That really is a cool and very creative modification! I’d love to hear back after you’ve sailed with it. You’ve been pluggin’ along and doing all the right things- even got over your fear of mast cleats!
 

kebwi

Member
Here's another small tweak I made to the boat, a large-inner-diameter foam tube pad attached to the top end of the upper spar, just in case I ever topple the boat in an effort to alleviate the risk of turtling. I went with yellow to match the deck, but in hindsight, the deck is probably rarely visible at a distance, in which case I suppose white would have been a less glaring design option. Oh well, no harm done. The tube comes with a weakened seam lengthwise for the intentional purpose of splitting it to wrap around a tube. So I sliced that open and then cut two pairs of slits at either end, and passed velcro through the slits and around the spar. It works pretty well. The edge of the sail even sits tightly inside the lengthwise slot, as do the "shower-curtain rings" (the sail is flopping out of the slot in the picture because the outhaul is loosened during storage to avoid stretching the sail).
 

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