What's new

Wooden Sailfish sailboat Restoration

So I picked up a wooden sailfish a few weeks ago that needs some work.There are 3 noticable holes one next to the mast step on the deck, one on the bottom and one little one on the side. I am also missing the keel strip but other than that it's mostly there. I started by sanding the whole deck, and then removing just enough to replace the damaged part of the deck. After doing that I realized I should probably just replace the whole deck. The next day I went out and bought okoume Marine plywood for the decking(they did not have Douglas fir in the right thickness). So I removed the whole deck and good thing too because one of the bulkheads was loose. A squirrel had also decided to make a home in it sometime in the last 60 years so I cleaned that out too. I believe the boat is a factory built(originally light blue) sailfish from 1952-1954 beacuse the rudder bracket says pat pending. I am planning on clear varnishing the whole boat after applying west systems epoxy. Hopefully she will be seaworthy by the 4th of July. That's the plan at least!
 

Attachments

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Nice find! What's her name?

That looks like an Alcort Standard Sailfish, the 11'7" model, based on the 2 loop handrail.

The squirrels ate the keel, that was helpful because most likely it was rotting and needed replacement before it took out the longeron beneath it. For the keel strip I'd use white oak, mahogany, cypress or southern yellow pine. It was usually white oak.

Okoume is a good choice, quality grade. Some of the boats were done in mahogany depending on supply.

You can tell if the boat is factory by the absence of markings on the frames. The kit boat frames had markings like Bow and Deck so they would be assembled properly.

Where is the mast step box?

And do you have the sail and spars?

You will find that the rudder is not bad, but you will want a longer daggerboard like the spoon tip that came with the fiberglass boats in the 60s or even a SHadow or Barrington. The 31 inch original board is really too small.

And if you plan to finish clear use West Systems with the 207 Special Clear Hardener. If you plan on keeping the boat inside then there is no need to varnish. We used 2 coats on ZIP and she still looks great 5 years later.

IMG_1116.jpg

That's WINNIE, our Standard Sailfish off the bow.

IMG_5285.JPG

IMG_1148.jpg

IMG_5322.JPG

FMI: WINNIE and ZIP
 
Don't have a name for her yet but I'm totally open to suggestions! As for the keel I think I will try to find some white oak if I can but I may end up going with locally available woods. This sailfish definitely didn't have a mahgony top so I don't feel too bad. I looked on the bulkheads and there are marking I will attach some photos. The mast step box did not make it there was one other little piece ratting around in there but most of it had rotted. The hull I got for free in all honesty and I bought the sail spars rudder and daggerbaord with a sunfish actually. The spars have a tapered mast and came with a sailfish sail. Looks like a wooden sunfish rudder but hey they also fit Sailfish 4 inches instead of 7. The daggerboard is plenty long because I'm pretty sure that is a sunfish daggerboard. I also already purchased that expoxy and still kinda wanna put a few layers of varnish on. Also it's hard to not know Zip and Winnie after doing the amount of internet research I've done before taking on the project. You're the guy when it comes to wooden sunfish! On that note I'd like to refinish the wooden handrails as well but not sure if I should use the varnish or epoxy.
 

Attachments

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Good Morning

Locally available woods are always good options, just think towards hardwood that is going to do okay in a marine environment. Check out Sam Rabl's Wood Selection Guide for some ideas. That small hole on the bottom, I'd scarf a dutchman into that, while the deck is open you can clean up the edges of the hole, epoxy in a backer plate and then epoxy in a new hunk of plywood. If there are thickness differences you could sand down the interior side of the ply.

The bulkheads appear to have the kit boat markings for a 12 foot boat, the Standard Sailfish.

It will be easy enough to rebuild the mast box from hardwood or plywood, using modern adhesives. I think you will find the thickened epoxy will become your new best friend, and want to lay a bead of that along the inside edge of the hull/side seam as well as all the daggerboard trunk seams and keel longeron seam. Our favorites are Jamestown Distributors' TotalBoat THIXO, comes in a mixing cartridge that fits in a caulk gun, good price and ships free. Our other go to and locally available favorite is Pettit Flexpoxy, West Marine. If anyone on the Forum is using TotalBoat, send me a message and we'll pass along our 10% TotalBoat Ambassador discount code.

You got lucky with the spars, are they the 13'9" spars or the shorter 11'9" spars? The Standard Sailfish had a 65 sf sail vs 75 and a 9 foot mast, but folks interchanged them frequently. The rudder system is interchangeable on all of the wooden boats but not with the old style vertical plate on the fiberglass hull. The daggerboard you have is the Shadow board, with that leading edge shaved, it came out around 1972ish and was on the Minifish as well as Sunfish. With the Minifish being shorter, the spars and sail were the same size as the Standard Sailfish.

For your handrails I'd go with a nice marine grade varnish, very easy to reapply.

What are you other Fish?

Cheers
Kent and Skipper
 
Ah good to know it was a kit still cool though! I will look into the Jamestown total boat thixo. I will measure the spars tomorrow when it's not miserable and rainy outside. I did check before I took the rudder bracket off that the rudder was the correct one. I can just tell the tiller is longer than the one that the boat originally had beacuse the deck had a scratch in it which totally is not surising. I have a laser and I've owned a few sunfish in the past. And of course my new project of love. Thanks for all the information I really appreciate it! Are you still writing that book on restoring fishes would love to buy it!
-Truman
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Good afternoon,

I say that it is a kit like I know for sure, my only logic is that the wooden Sunfish I have apart right now does not have markings on the frames, and the kits were shown to have markings. Maybe they marked them all at one point.

The Standard Sailfish tiller is shorter, based off what we have on WINNIE and a few spare tillers we have, there was definitely 2 different lengths.

You're welcome for the information, and we are still working on "The Wooden Alcort Restoration Manual." Maybe you'd like some of your photos to go in the book! We are currently gathering measurements and will create a Table of Offsets, and make some patterns for replacement parts. Big market for that :) We are distracted by a 1978 AMF boat right now, wait, what, we have ANOTHER project?

IMG_5801.JPG

Make note of where the backer blocks go for your handrails, or did they go into the side?

Thanks for the feedback on the information, we enjoy gathering it up and spreading it back out.

Cheers
Kent and Audrey
 
Well the only reason I thought it was factory was because the paint was different under where I took the rudder bracket off. But that doesn't really mean it's factory it could have been repainted. But again I appreciate the information. And if youd like to include some of my photos go right ahead I think there's such a neat history to the wooden alcot boats. I even bought the famous Life magazine from 1949 to go with the boat as a display item. And good luck on your project! I know there's always something to work on. And the handrails just screwed into the sides of the boat no backer blocks. I can take pictures of the hole line up tomorrow.
 
It's the august 15 1945 to be exact I got mine on eBay for like 10 bucks with shipping? I may have made a bet with someone to get it done by July 4th haha. Also after reading some forums on wooden boats people say they sail differently. I'd love to experience that. I may eventually try to get some wooden spars made in the far future for the wood "thunk" when tacking.
 
Was just doing some more searching and stumled on these. Aweomse history with these boats. I guess these were taken in 1953 on there honeymoon. img_5220-0.jpgf80addbdcde2924cb4bb77360bed26fc.jpg36934109047853a92d046bbfc2a1dead.jpg
 
Today's work.
IMG_20180607_202924.jpg
Not much but one coat of varnish on the handrails and the side of the daggerboard that had been sanded. More varnishing tomorrow afternoon hopefully and some actual progress this weekend! Sail and spars are for the larger super sailfish it seems, still works for me!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Before you get too far along on the daggerboard, check to see if it fits in the slot (thickness). On WINNIE we have a few that do and a few that don't
 
Definitely checked when I got the boad to make sure it would work and was very happy with how it looked and fit thanks for the concern though!
 
Got busy the last few weeks with other things but finally made some real progress on the boat. I have this week off so it should be done by the end of the week hopefully if things don't come up.
 

Attachments

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Beautiful boat, I believe we saw her on ebay.

How did the float test go?

And thank you for keeping us updated on the work on the first boat. Any names for them yet?

Cheers
Kent and Audrey
 
I'm not sure she was on eBay but the test sail went well. I hit a couple 3 footers on lake Ontario bow first and she survived. When I got her back on the beach I noticed there was a little water leaking from the port side lower seem not a ton but a little bit. For now I'd say she's in sailable condition for the summer but this winter will need a new paint job. And I'm terrible with names but I might name the red one "Coop" after where I got her from.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yep, she was on ebay, Mt Vision NY. Did you get the new sail with her? They advertises her as a 1963 but the data tag dates her to 1971 or so. There may have been a few factory built boats or kits at dealers still floating around in the late 60s. If so she'd be one of the last.

Looks like you lucked out with your previous purchase and got a Super Sailfish sail, nice. Do you have the smaller spars and sail for the Standard Sailfish?

COOP! We like COOP. Maybe WHOOP for the little one, you will have a blast sailing the Standard.

Cheers
Kent and Skipper
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Hmmmm wow I just found it by browsing nearby Craigslists but that doesn't surprise me. I would love to see a link to the eBay post out of curiosity. I didn't get the sail with it because I had a sunfish one laying around and I knocked the price down 50 bucks. I got the spars and everything else though. I ued the minifish daggerboard I have instead of the sailfish one I got with the boat and it worked awesome. It definitely looks more like a factory boat than the other one I have just judgeing from the fact it has a serial number. Also the other boats rudder bracket says pat pending where "coop" does not it has the pat number. And unfortunately I don't have the smaller spars for the standard sailfish. I do however have a tapered mast with a pulley from the previous purchase. I had owned a fiberglass sailfish from the 70s that I no longer have and it had a mast with a pulley but it wasn't tapered.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
ebay listing

Post a picture of COOP's rudder bracket

Tapered wooden mast is pre 1957ish. The early non tapered aluminum masts had a block (pulley) on an eyebolt at the top of the mast. Those went away when the plastic cap came in, or they vibrated off during road trips and can be found alongside the road with all the first gen rudder pins. The chrome plated brass eyebolts could also pull open under high load and SURPRISE, rig is in your lap.

k
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Well cool, that's got to be early then, patent was granted applied for Dec 1952 and granted Apr 1954.

You'll be wanting a wingnut for that carriage bolt, that will make it easier to adjust.

And another factory rudder pin on a chain! Tape that puppy down when you are hauling the boat around, they can get loose. Or move it over to the rudder like we did.

kent
 
I know this is super late but I wanted to post how the bottom repair turned out on the standard sailfish. I really didn't have much left to do but put the top deck back on it(had one cut out and ready) ,make a keel strip and paint. However I had run out of time and just couldn't store the boat any longer so I passed her on for someone else to finnish restoring this spring. Still have the standard sailfish and sunfish to keep me plenty busy.
 

Attachments

Dsoc

New Member
I have everything but the wooden hull. I haven't come across one yet. I even have the wood spars, sail bent on. Also the correct gooseneck. Hopefully one will turn up near the Baltimore Washington region soon.
 
Top