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Wooden Super Sailfish Restore

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I wanted to sand the painted top of this old Super Sailfish down to the wood and finish it bright, but as I sanded I noticed no grain in the wood. On closer inspection along the seam I see the entire top is well covered with what seems like a thin hard cardboard? See close-up photo. Anyone else have this?
I’m wondering now if I should seal the whole boat with the West System resin/hardener before painting it? The boat has been dry stored for many years.
Lastly, I know I’lI have to remove the mast step and the rails to paint (and seal mast hole). I’m afraid to remove the now very secure rails, thinking I won’t be able to reattach them. There must be backer blocks? Can I remove the rails entirely? Then fill holes with epoxy and redrill?
 

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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I have both the ‘Elephant ear’ (original, I believe) and the “newer” spoon tip rudder. I know the spoon tip is preferable, as is the longer daggerboard. Looks like some extra rudder hardware, too, since brackets are also attached to the gudgeon on the boat.
the sail is a classic blue/ yellow Ratsey & Lapthorn on Sitka spruce spars. I hate to sell it. Might have to keep this one around for a season and make sure it’s water tight.
 

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Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
BB,

In the 1960s, some boats were made out of 1/4" plywood with a plastic like surface on one side called Harborite (sp?) I had a 14' wood Rhodes Bantam
sloop that was made from this wood. The idea was that the plywood would not check like most plywood. Maybe this is what you have (or some varient.)
That said, I have never heard of this hybrid plywood being used on a Sailfish or Sunfish.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia,NY
 

MrXC

Member
I have no idea what it is, but the wood on my super sailfish looked the same. To me it seemed like an old top coat of a penetrating substance since the depth was uneven and it didn't hold stain well. I sanded through as best I could, stained the top and then coated the whole hull in penetrating epoxy. The color variations in the attached pictures are where I didn't want to sand further to get rid of the topcoat
 

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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Nice work, MrXC! My ‘topcoat’ isn’t painted on or uneven and I think it would be very difficult to remove. I’m hoping that sealing it all with epoxy, then primer, then paint is the way to go. I’m considering a toe rail and a splashguard but might just keep it simple.
Did you remove your rails and mast step prior to staining and sealing?
 

MrXC

Member
Nice work, MrXC! My ‘topcoat’ isn’t painted on or uneven and I think it would be very difficult to remove. I’m hoping that sealing it all with epoxy, then primer, then paint is the way to go. I’m considering a toe rail and a splashguard but might just keep it simple.
Did you remove your rails and mast step prior to staining and sealing?
Thanks! I did remove my rails and mast step prior to refinishing. The rails were not a problem, but the mast step was glued and screwed and tore off some of the top later of plywood. I used some filler to level it off before epoxying.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Thanks! I did remove my rails and mast step prior to refinishing. The rails were not a problem, but the mast step was glued and screwed and tore off some of the top later of plywood. I used some filler to level it off before epoxying.
Good to know the rails weren’t a problem. The mast step might be, but it has to come off for a proper epoxy and paint job. Thanks for the warning!
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I have the tapered aluminum mast and wooden spars, so based on sailcraftri’s brochure my Super Sailfish dates from the late 50’s or early 60’s. Not sure if it’s kit or factory built, since the Harborite was with both options. It has held up amazingly well. Here’s a pic of the tapered mast next to a newer style. Note the mast pully. Any masts out there with the old school pully that aren’t tapered?
 

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sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
I’ve had plenty of masts non tapered with attached block. My 1960 wood Sunfish built from a kit is the first I’ve seen the tapered aluminum mast.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Be wary of those halyard blocks at the top of the mast, some batches were chrome plated brass and the eye could pull open under a lot of load. And the nut could vibrate loose during road trips, dropping the block onto the shoulder of the highway next to the rudder pins.
 
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