Your Opinion Is Wanted

Thread starter #1
I currently an restoring a 1960 Lone Star 16. It is a great boat but I cannot raise the mast or comfortably sail her alone. Have been keeping my eyes opened for a Sunfish, Dolphin, Butterfly, etc. for single sailing.

While out walking the neighborhood I have noticed a Fish in a neighbors side yard that hasn't moved in years. Stopped to talk to the owner on Sunday and asked him if he would be wiling to sell. Found out that the boat is a 66 by Alcort and visually appears to be in fair condition for its age.

My assessment:

Negatives - the cockpit was full of water (don't know if the drain cock was open, clogged, or frozen). some of the hardware (blocks) would need replacement, the lower metal rudder bracket (underside the hull) was loose. I did not get to see the rudder or dagger board.

Positives - the sail and spars are stored indoors and I was told that they are in good shape. The galvanized trailer should OK after replacng the bunks. The has replaced the bow handle and combing.

I may be buying an albatross or a piece of gold and have absolutely no idea as to how much to offer. Sunfish prices in the Dallas area are all over the board. I would appreciate any opinions as to what would be a reasonable first offer. Does $150-$200 seem too low?

If it's been sitting for a long time, the owner ususally is just interested in having it gone. I'd offer $100 and see what happens.

Lower rudder strap is held in by a brass wood screw with a wooden backing plate. Since you're going to need to put in some inspection plates to dry the boat out, this is not a problem. I tapped a metal plate to replace the wooden backing plate and used a brass machine screw.

Look the hull over for more than the normal spider web cracks in the gel coat. Some cracks may go into the fiberglass, then you'll be doing some fiberglass repair.

Stick the mast in and see if the mast tube in the hull is loose. If it is it will still have some degree of fixibility. Will not know extent until inspection hole is made.

Look around daggerboard will for cracks.

Flip hull over and listen for loose blocks or backing plates. Hard to tell which is which by sound. Usually a backing plate has come loose.

If you consider the boat a project boat from the start, you will probably not go wrong. A newer used model ready to rock is going to set you back $600+.
Hi Mike,

The two drawbacks of a 1966 model (in my opinion) are: 1) the boat has the "old style" rudder which has an annoying habit of "popping up" at inopportune times, and 2) there is no handy storage cuddy. Personally, I hated the "old style" rudder and upgraded to a post-1972 model years ago. However, thousands of Sunfish sailors have lived with these drawbacks so it's up to you to decide if they are important.

You should check out the sail to see if it is in good condition. If you have to buy a replacement sail, it will cost you $140 for a new recreational sail (not class legal) or a class legal recreational sail costs $300.

The condition of the rudder and daggerboard are also very important. If these items need to be replaced it can be quite costly (i.e. $200-$300) and the "old style" rudder for a 1966 Sunfish can be hard to find.

If the cockpit leaks then you may have a repair issue. How handy are you with repairing fiberglass? I would check the hull very carefully for any major damage. Obviously, a boat of this age will show some wear and tear, but if they are only cosmetic defects then you are OK. If the drain is frozen you can buy a new one for about $30.

Assuming the sail, rudder, daggarboard and trailer are OK and there is no major damage to the boat, I would say a price of $150 to $200 is a bargain. You could probably re-sell the trailer for $100-$150 if the boat turns out to be a disaster.

As you say, prices are all over the board for a Sunfish, but I wouldn't pay more than $450 for a boat (including the trailer) of this age regardless of condition.

Hope this helps.

Reno, NV
If the cockpit is truly "full" of water then there is water in the hull as well. Underneath the front cockpit lip on the front wall there is a breather hole designed to relieve pressure when the hull heats up or contracts do to temperature.
Tip the boat on edge and open the small drain plug located near the edge to see how much water comes out. A full hull can mean damaged blocks and a long drawn out process drying the inside.

As for the rudder while the older paddle style is no longer available the the newer wooden blade rudder can be retrofitted to the existing hardware. I've done it several times.
Since the boat you are looking at sounds like my boat, here is some more of my useless babble to think about. . .

I opened my hull up three months ago and it's still drying out. Seems to take a long time for the water to wick from the core of the foam blocks outward.

Old style rudder seemed to stay-put most of the time for me. The rudder seemed to be too small as there was excessive weather-helm.

Boat I'm working on has no storage cuddy. Major drawback as I use to store the canoe paddle there.

Got tub problems as you mentioned. Sort of a puzzle, I could cut through the bottom of the hull to patch or patch from the tub exterior or pop the deck and remove the tub to patch. Going with patching the tub exterior, If there was a major blow out that damaged most of the tub bottom I'd probably try cutting throught the bottom of the hull.

Set my father to making the missing rudder and daggerboard. 90% of the difficulty is finding the missing hardware. Thank goodness for Ebay and the internet. I'm using the single rudder strap with the bronze rudder cap fitting. Anyone know when they stopped making the rudder cap and replaced it with another strap?

My serial number was on a metal disk behind the splash rail. I'm told others are on the transom.
Go make an offer with CASH of $85-$100 bucks unless there is alot of repairs to do like the rudder/centerboard. Sometimes people will let you have it just to clean up their yard and get it out of there. All the previous post gave good advice, heed it.

If you think your gonna be spending 50 hours labor and $400 on parts I would look for another boat.
Good luck,


New Member
I live in Dallas and I am an experienced Sunfish sailor and active member of the Texas Sunfish Racing Circuit. I would like to offer that you have me come and take a look and I could tell you if that boat is worth spending anything on. We have circuit members who have models that age and they have upgraded them to be competitve boats for racing. Our organization is not exclusively for the elite racers, but emcompasses all sailors of all levels interested in sailing the Sunfish frequently. If you would like me to take a look I am more than happy too. If you want to sail a Sunfish frequently, I suggest you meet some of us, because there are Sunfish available on a regular basis in Dallas. Our web site is My email is .

Shoot me an email with your contact info, and I will send you mine. I sail at White Rock Lake, just about every Saturday and you are very welcome to join in anytime.

Shaun Hoffmann
Dallas, TX
Suggest you visit Yahoo! Groups sunfish_sailor for more info on looking at a used boat, repair methods, etc. You will need to "establish an account" to get to all the info, but it's free and safe. Set up a Yahoo! email account with fake info if all you want is access (but keep track of your fake info because I know you'll be going back there often to find more info on repairs and maintenance!).

A Sunfish with wet foam blocks can be dried out in one winter if you get the inspection port openings cut in (don't install the rings and plates until after you're done drying if you won't be sailing again until spring) and can store the boat indoors someplace that is heated. The trick is to have a great difference in relative humidity--the lower the better. I guess a trip to the desert for a few months would also work.