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Why you should weigh a sunfish...

gzblack2

Active Member
Brought home my newest acquisition, ‘72 with trailer.
Hull is in great shape, no dings, dents, holes or repairs. The sail looks original, has the infamous shadow board with a repair but the rudder is in great shape. Trailer could use some modifications but I felt it was a bargain for $175.
Anyhow I spent more time then I had fusing with the trailer and the heat and humidity got the best of me. I never took the boat off the trailer...
so I get her home and this beast was heavy!!!
So full of water you could barely hear it slosh around. I was so amazed at the amount of water coming out after a few minutes I put a bucket under to measure the amount. I counted 20 gallons!!!
Not including the first few minutes of the last bit I let drain while leaned against the fence.
Like I said no obvious damage so I’m guessing the water came in through the mast step, as it was filled with funk and chestnuts
The sail has stripes on the top that were fading off,were these original or did the po paint them on?
 

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gzblack2

Active Member
Another tell tale is that the water in the boat didn’t seem to be salt water and the boat was used in the Great South Bay.
The po did say it sat on the trailer for years unused.
 

gzblack2

Active Member
So I’m thinking 2x6 bunks laying flat on a swivel in the back of the trailer, lose the rollers and I have the bow of an old hull I’m thinking about installing by the crank to cradle the bow.
Any thoughts?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Those stripes came on white sails back in the day. If 20 plus gallons came in thru the mast step that would be quite an “accomplishment.”
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Congratulations on your new boat. The sail dates late 60s - early 70s, the stripes are original and in the early-we-don't-really-know-how-t0-do-stripes-on-sails days.

Fill the mast step and see if water goes in. If so that needs to be fixed.

Sometimes water gets in through the cockpit bulkhead vent hole if rainwater is allowed to fill the cockpit.

Weigh her ASAP and do an air leak test.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I like your trailer plan. Never liked rollers. Bunks laying flat with swivel cradles the hull nicely, and repurposing the bow of an old hull is a great idea! Keep the pics of your progress coming.
Looking at the bright side, with 20+ gallons of water removed the boat has already lost over 160 lbs!
 

gzblack2

Active Member
Yes a leak test is definitely in order, I’ll be weighing the 3 boats this weekend if the weather and time permit.

She lost 160 lbs easily!!! It was a shock when I first tried to steady the boat on it side. Being in construction over 30 years I’m pretty experienced in using leverage to move heavy and awkward objects, wow did this boat catch me off guard when I couldn’t right her as she started to tip over coming off the trailer.
I’ll try to remember to take photos of my progress.

As for today I’m going to take the littles out for their first sail.
 

gzblack2

Active Member
Well spent too much time on the water for weighing the boats this weekend, but I did a quick water and leak test today. So my suspicion has been confirmed. The mast step is leaking. When filled with water it instantly (3-4 seconds) empties to about the halfway mark. The air test shows no other leaks. After spending more time going over the boat I realized I did more damage in a 15 minute drive then the previous owners did in close to 50 years.
Trailering the boat full of water did some superficial damage to the chine. I say superficial because the air test showed no leaking there. It will need to be fixed before going into the water, I’ll address this after deciding how and where to dry her out.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Your keel scuffs look normal, as long as the spots don't feel soft, the keel is pretty thick. It is possible to damage a boat from keel rollers, they offer an area for point impact loading, stress can be concentrated there by a LOT of water in a boat and wind or some other force pushing the hull down, like wind. It is important to not strap boats down too tight with ratchet straps too, they can generate 2000 pounds of force in the click or two of a ratchet. If the keel is soft, that indicates that the fiberglass has been crushed and there will be a leak there. Easy repair though.

This boat was stored upside down on a trailer keel roller, see the roller marks? Good news though, no water got trapped inside! :)

Bud deck crack.jpg

The trailer didn't fair too well either, between time and Gulf Coast hurricanes.

BUD Trailer before.JPG

We got ROSE"BUD" and her trailer all fixed up.

BUD on restored trailer.jpg

We like a long board under the keel vs rollers, and or 3-4 foot bunks placed under the outside edges of the cockpit, a small support (not a roller) under the mast step, and last a roller at the aft end of the trailer to guide the keel loading and unloading.

Our good friend Howie Picard worked at Alcort 1960-1978, then did warranty repairs for another 10 years, he shared a lot of tips. For trailering or storage he liked to put support under areas where the internal structure of the boat was doubled up or thicker, where fiberglass met fiberglass, so under the keel, around edges of cockpit and under/over the mast step. Avoid the areas of hull/deck where there is no support inside. We also avoid the daggerboard trunk, it gets enough abuse in normal use.

You did everything right gzblack, spend that time on the water and sweat the small stuff later. For you mast step we'd recommend chipping off any loose resin bits and then some Marine Tex Epoxy Putty on the end of a narrow paint stir stick or chip brush, applied over any resin voids that you see. Smooth it down to reduce sanding and ensure that the mast will fit later.

TRACKER had a few mast step leaks.

mast step wood leak.jpeg

Here's how we fixed the leaks, the same method works on the fiberglass steps. We like using thickened epoxy dispensed from a caulk cartridge, easy to dispense a small amount and put the cp back on the cartridge, it saves for quite a while.

 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Signal Charlie,
After reading your advice above I took a look at my trailer. This one had a roller just slightly forward of the centerboard trunk. I think you saved me from damaging my latest Sunfish!
I put fenders under the boat behind where the roller sat to support the boat temporarily while I moved the roller forward. Now I wonder if I’ll need additional support (like two more short bunks?) under the mast step? I’m afraid to move the fenders until I can get some help, as I’m not sure how the Sunfish will sit. Are the rear 6’ bunks and the front roller enough support?
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If I had that trailer I'd put the roller under the mast step, and adjust the bunks so they sat under the outer edges of the cockpit, angled so there was as much hull contact as possible. 4 feet straight bunk is plenty, some folks like to build curved bunks, but we haven't. She'll be supported at the bow a little and the three other places, just remember to not crank down on ratchet straps. If there is a way to put a pad under the low part of the keel, that is a bonus.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
If I had that trailer I'd put the roller under the mast step, and adjust the bunks so they sat under the outer edges of the cockpit, angled so there was as much hull contact as possible. 4 feet straight bunk is plenty, some folks like to build curved bunks, but we haven't. She'll be supported at the bow a little and the three other places, just remember to not crank down on ratchet straps. If there is a way to put a pad under the low part of the keel, that is a bonus.
I sure do appreciate your advice and good counsel, SC! I moved the roller this morning. As soon as I can get the boat off the trailer I’ll move the bunks forward. Thank you- Pic to follow when done! (so you know it happened) ;)
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Well, I got the boat off the trailer. I erred, the bunks are 4’, not 6. If I move them forward to support the cockpit sides there will be 20” at the end of the trailer with no bunk, which would make loading difficult and offer no support at the stern. My options, as I see them, are to replace the bunks with 6’ lengths, so I’d have to buy new 6x4 boards, bunk carpet and two new brackets. Or move the front mounting pillar back, but I don’t have much room to move it, that would increase distance from tongue (throwing off balance) and that would mean the stern would hang further off the end of the trailer. Or add some other support forward on the trailer (photo 3) for the cockpit sides somehow... I’m stumped. I’m leaning toward option 1, but before I run to Lowe’s I wanted to check with the brilliant minds here to see if there’s an option I’m completely missing?
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
A pic with the boat on the trailer might have helped, or a pic from the side so we can see where the bunks/axle are, maybe put the trailer next to the boat. The front 7 feet of the boat minimum needs to be ahead of the axle for balance.

Can your bow stop be moved forward to help you out? As far as having 20 inches of stern not supported, we don't normally have that, my memory serves me that the bunks were mostly under the cockpit, and not too far forward or too far aft of that. Stern was usually hanging off the end of the trailer by a foot or so.

It's hard to say with those picture angles, but your idea of a 6 foot bunk with the extra 2 feet on the forward end may work.

Here's a close approximation.

Highlander trailer.JPG

IMG_0993.jpg

IMG_2445.jpg



Magic Tilt 2.jpg
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I can't tell where the axle is with relation to the rest of the boat. It also looks like the boat is popping wheelie, so I would lower the mast step roller as mich as possible and possibly raise the bunks to get the boat flat. ANd what is the length from the axle to the bow roller, the photos are making it look very long, like 14 foot Jon Boat trailer long.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Okay, your boar is really far forward from how we would set ours. We'd put the aft edge of the daggerboard trunk 6-12 inches ahead of the axle and see how the tongue weight felt, adjust from there. But your trailer seems to be all tongue with very little real estate aft of the axle, those are usually for powerboats with a heavy outboard on the stern......thinking...thinking...

For your trailer I'd get a 2x6 bunk and put those extra 2 feet on the forward end. Also I'd move the forward bunk support brackets to the front side of the crossbeam. Then slide your boat back 1-2 feet. Check the bunks at that point, the forward bunk brackets might sit just a little lower than the aft brackets
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I think it looks like it’s popping a wheelie because I had fenders/bumpers under the boat while I adjusted the roller to under the mast step. The length from axle to bow roller is 10’ 4”. I pulled the trailer up alongside another Sunfish. The tape measure and the sponges on the boat’s hull represent the fore and aft cockpit walls, but you can see that they don’t line up with the bunks. I think 6’ bunks and new brackets are my only option.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Did you see Post #22? Slide the boat aft a bit? You have 2+ feet aft to play with. From that camera angle it looks like the cockpit would be right over the bunks and the daggerboard trunk forward of the axle.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
All tongue, very little real estate. Well put! I think you’re right, it’s a bigger trailer than I’m used to (my other is a nice light Trailex) This one has a 2” ball. Probably better for a motorboat, as you say. It’s in excellent shape though, and is registered in my name. That alone makes it a keeper in CT, where it’s damn near impossible to get a trailer registered without a lot of hassle.
So it’s off to buy new bunks, and Amazon for the brackets and carpeting. No marine supply anywhere around me or I’d definitely support the little guy.
Thanks again, SC!
Here’s one last pic- a different project. Freshly painted and almost ready for sale, a Mini II pared down for Mini I use. I’ve used your “galloping horse” criteria!
 

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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Yes, Post 22. To slide the boat aft 2’ I’d have to move the bow stop back 2’. That would give me 5’ 6” forward of the bow roller (distance from tongue to roller) and I thought that would be too much?
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
How far from the bow to the ball? And tongue weight should be heavy, but not impossible to lift. Too light is bad.

The good news with that good looking trailer is it should be heavy enough by itself that it rides smooth even without a boat, so it won't be too bouncy and your Sunfish will get a smooth ride.

The ball on SMEDLEY's trailer sits 4 feet in front of the bow(s), in fact it used to be about a 16 inches longer but I had it cut so the boat and trailer would fit in a Pods container. It rides great, the important thing on trailers is weight placement for good balance, and axle placement. We asked for the tongue to be longer so we could launch SMEDLEY easier, she runs about 170 pounds and sits higher on the trailer just because of the way catamarans are. We didn't want to stress her vintage hull rolling all of the weight over a roller, plus stress our 1960s vintage backs, we wanted her to float on and off.

SMEDLEY TRAILER.JPG

For bunk carpet we go to Lowes and get them to cut a 1 foot wide strip off of their big roll of outdoor carpet, they usually have a nice blue color. That 1 foot wide chunk wraps over a 2x4 bunk nicely, and there will be carpet left over.

The Mini II looks awesome!

I wonder how gzblack is doing :)
 

gzblack2

Active Member
All good here, the littles keeping me busy.
Actually some good info here for me to digest as I come up with a plan for the trailer.
As much as I want to work on the trailer and new boat, Cap’n Eliza wants the Jolly Roger hung on the mast tomorrow...‍☠
 

gzblack2

Active Member
Took some time today to start drying out the “new” boat ( I should really start naming these).
First things first, weighing. Well I came up with another idea being this boat was so cumbersome last time I moved her around.
Sheet of plywood both under and over the scale to protect it and a board long enough for the dolly to fit. Was actually a lot easier then I thought it be. I just rolled the dolly onto the board and balanced her there, easy peasy.
She weighed in about 205 but that with the boards and dolly. I’ll weigh her the same way after to see how well she’s drying out.

I had this 6” port so I grabbed a fart fan and some 4” flex hose from Home Depot for $25.
A 4” port in the rear may help, may order one on Amazon later. I know plastic sheets are used to heat the deck but she’s out of the sun, maybe I’ll go with a small light for heat when I do the port.
 

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