Questions on buying a boat and light repairs

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by jCruisin, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    I’ve sailed sunfish before and am now looking into buying one. I generally know what to look for but was wondering if anyone had some more specific pointers.
    Any tips on weighing a hull would also be helpful as I’ve heard any weight upwards of 145 is waterlogged.

    In terms of light reapairs, how hard is sanding some small fiberglass work on the topside that the owner previously did and giving it a new coat?
    Is giving the bottom of a sunfish a new coat harder/more expensive?
     
  2. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    Assume you are talking about giving it a new coat of paint? They come from the factory with a gel coat finish which is pretty maintenance free, so painting it is a bad idea unless it just looks awful.
     
  3. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    Large brown patches on the boat.
    Gelcoat seems pretty hard to work with so i assumed a new coat of rust-oleum topside would do the boat well for a season or 2.
     
  4. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    I sprayed Topside and it seems to work really well. It takes some time to harden. I used
    a 2:4:8 ratio Hardener/Naptha/Topside and fiberglass primer. You need to be generous
    with the Topside as too thin a coat will lead to it being easily scratched off. If done correctly
    you should be able to get 10 seasons out of it. If you're dragging the hull over sand/gravel
    and what-not I'd say go with gelcoat for sure. The really good thing is Topside is inexpensive
    so you can practice learning to spray without damaging you wallet. Do give it some time
    to harden as even kicking it with hardener it will be slowly curing for months after you spray.
     
  5. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    If anyone could point me to posts on doing gelcoat work it would be appreciated as i live little to no knowledge with it or experience.

    Could you reccomend a primer/hardener?

    I’m very inexperienced with anything other than sailing the boat, thanks for all the help
     
  6. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Peruse the Sunfish Knowledge Base and the Sunfish FAQ sections.
    And there are some very detailed threads on the Forum as well. You can use the Search function to find them (upper right).
     
  7. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    Topcoat makes a fiberglass primer to go with their paint. I used Valspar hardener
    which is everywhere on the web.

    Other than brushing on gelcoat, spraying is not going to be cost effective unless
    you have a experienced friend with all the safety equipment and gear who can
    show you the ropes. It's a tricky business at best and you really need to be a
    experienced shooter to take it on. There is lots of info on spraying gel coat
    on the web and I think you'll find it will take you down the rabbit hole.

    If you just want to redo and refinish fiberglass patch areas, brushing gelcoat
    might be a do-able option. There is a thread where MiniFish brushed gelcoat
    on the entire bottom of his MiniFish and it came out nice. I tried the same
    at the same time and came up fail for one of a handful of reasons I'll never
    fully know.

    There are also other products such as EasyPoxy good for first time users.
     
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  8. signal charlie

    signal charlie Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    The hulls with the metal trim should weigh no more than 139 pounds. 145 is acceptable to me. The late 1980s hulls are advertised at 129 and all the hull with the rolled edge should be 129. You can take a scale and stand the boat on edge to get an idea, but also you should be able to lift one end without straining.

    Sanding is easy with a power sander, hand sanding will take a while. You can go easy with 120 grit.

    Sail the boat, take care of the hull, don't drag it over everything. If the looks bother you, find someone to do a gelcoat match. If there are a lot of splotches, just spray it with rattle can rustoleum Gloss White, easy enough to sand off one day if you need a showroom condition boat. Also rolling and tipping Rustoleum, Interlux Brightside, Pettit Easypoxy or TotalBoat Wet Edge gives a nice look.
     
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  9. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    The Sunfish can be balanced on a bathroom scale by one person. (Two would make it easier). The middle of the boat is about where the splash board meets the outer edge. Stand on the deck side, so you can read the scale :oops:. It may be possible to damage newer bathroom scales, which have fragile glass or plastic components. The older, metal "dial" type of scale are indestructible for this purpose. :cool:

    If "looks" are important, I'd keep looking for one that doesn't need gelcoat work. Now that I have five Sunfish, (two bought sight-unseen—one already had a new and excellent gelcoat bottom :cool:), the odds of stumbling onto a good-looking deck are excellent—elsewhere. Even if this boat with "large brown patches" was free, you could end up with a very expensive (and not-new) Sunfish. :confused:

    If, as you say, you are inexperienced at painting and general repairs, the learning curve(s) can be long, expensive, and frustrating. Spraying large areas of deck with rattle-cans of Rustoleum isn't so easy outdoors. (You'll need three cans for the deck). Start spraying nearest you, and keep spraying over the old surface. (Don't stop). Rough areas, drips and sags—which are likely on any curved surface—can be hand-sanded out after a couple of days of curing. (Preferably under sunny or otherwise heated conditions). I like "Wet-or-Dry" sandpaper—wet, and wrapped around a wooden block. Four-hundred (400) grit is a good start. Although each of my five Sunfish decks are gloss white, I'd paint with some other muted color. Maybe match your tow car, house, or other boat? My borrowed Sunfish has a baby-blue deck which, like turquoise, turned out to be a soothing color. Cataracts developed in the eye are precipitated by strong sunlight. Sailors suffer more cataracts, receiving added / reflected sunlight off the water.

    The large brown patches could be oil-stained fiberglass. :eek: Oil, which can penetrate and weaken fiberglass :(. Paint or gelcoat may not even stick to it! :confused:

    Pictures would be helpful for our analyses.
     
  10. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    thanks for the advice. The brown patches are actually fiberglass repairs i believe.
    I’ll provide pictures later.
     
  11. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    I’ll add pictures this week but I’ve picked up a nice mid-late 70s AMF boat (will check exact year later) and I’m starting to clean it up. It was in a very good shape, small sail rips that i can repair.
    If the stain is chipping on the rudder and tiller should i stain it again or would it not matter?
    It didn’t come with a a daggerboard/centerboard, and in my search for a cheap enough used one I’ve came across two kinds, both of which I’ve used before. One is a longer mahagony and one is a shorter mahagony. Does it matter which i get?
    I also heard a slight bit of water in the hull. I have it upside down drying out. Is there a certain way i should have it positioned to dry a bit. Should i bother with an inspection port and could someone point me to a thread on those (couldn’t find a one well in the search box).
    There’s also what appears to be small hair thin “cracks” in the paint. Can’t feel them, just look more like scratches. Anything to worry about?
    There’s also two indents that can barely, if at all, be felt. Any repair needed on those.
    The metal running around the top (splashguard?) has a screw (nail?) missing from it. Should i worry about this and replace it? Are these standard hardware or specialized stuff?

    Sorry for all the questions, I’m really in love with my new boat. Thanks for any help!
     
  12. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    Also, can i just get some of those pop rivets for the trim at a hardware store? Don’t need a pack of 50
     
  13. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    Get the bigger board. The boat likely isn’t painted and gelcoat cracks and scratches happen with age. No reason to fix unless they leak into hull and that isn’t likely. Tip the boat up on edge and open the drain hole by the coaming to let the water out. You should weigh the boat after you drain it. If it’s much for over 140 lbs then it is port time

    Lastly, I have never seen poprivets sold by the piece. Just be sure to get aluminum or stainless.
     
  14. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    Thanks! Am i fine with 2 or 3 pop rivets missing from the trim? I sail recreationalally on a local lake with winds generally under or around 10 knots
     
  15. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    Also, i can’t manage to open the drain. 1983 AMF Alcort boat.
     
  16. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    If a rivet at the end of a piece is missing the piece could get pulled off, but otherwise it’s not an issue.

    You mean the little metal drain on the deck won’t open, right? I think people on this board have used pb blaster to free it up. Wd40 makes some unsticking spray that might help too. If it’s a saltwater boat freeing it up will be harder than for a freshwater boat.
     
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  17. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    jCruisin:
    I’ll add pictures this week but I’ve picked up a nice mid-late 70s AMF boat (will check exact year later) and I’m starting to clean it up. It was in a very good shape, small sail rips that i can repair. If the stain is chipping on the rudder and tiller should i stain it again or would it not matter?

    Clear varnish? If refinishing cosmetically is what you want, make sure the wood is very dry before starting. Wait for the beginning of your dry season to get out the brush.

    It didn’t come with a a daggerboard/centerboard, and in my search for a cheap enough used one I’ve came across two kinds, both of which I’ve used before. One is a longer mahagony and one is a shorter mahagony. Does it matter which i get?


    Agree with the longer board—with a round bottom edge. I've had three designs, and can tell the difference when pointing. Before springing for mahogany, I'd price the newer "white" boards first, though. The consensus here is that they're worth having.

    I also heard a slight bit of water in the hull. I have it upside down drying out. Is there a certain way i should have it positioned to dry a bit.

    The factory put the drain plug in a good spot. "Park" it with that edge downwards. Alternatively, upside-down, there may be gaps where the deck should meet the cockpit "tub". You'll have to shift the boat to find the spot and drain the water out that way.
    If the boat isn't too heavy, rather than installing an inspection port, I'd work on getting that corroded drain plug out. Try a hand impact-driver with a straight screwdriver. If that doesn't budge the plug, drill a hole in the center to introduce a small amount of WD-40: or, you can drill two small holes, add WD-40, and pop-rivet a metal "handle" for more leverage. Trim it smooth / snag-resistant and retain it. You may see two small depressions (with tiny pins in them). Those can be driven out, and the entire drain plug can be removed. A plastic drain plug (with attached keeper) is a better replacement item.

    Should i bother with an inspection port and could someone point me to a thread on those (couldn’t find a one well in the search box).
    One recent post:
    http://www.sailingforums.com/threads/purchasing-sunfish-from-the-70s.37789/#post-168281

    There’s also what appears to be small hair thin “cracks” in the paint. Can’t feel them, just look more like scratches. Anything to worry about?

    Those are probably "spider-cracks"—mostly a cosmetic distraction, where the fiberglass took a sharp hit.

    There’s also two indents that can barely, if at all, be felt. Any repair needed on those.

    Not likely, depends on how big they are, or if an unsatisfactory repair.


    The metal running around the top (splashguard?) has a screw (nail?) missing from it. Should i worry about this and replace it? Are these standard hardware or specialized stuff? Also, can i just get some of those pop rivets for the trim at a hardware store? Don’t need a pack of 50.

    All aluminum trim should be secured with standard pop-rivets. The last three I bought (size: ⅛"x⅛") were sold individually—12 each, but don't expect a big store to do that. If the trim doesn't "draw-up", the hole in the fiberglass may be cracked or oversize. I'd tape it up, and add epoxy. When set, drill it to ⅛" and try again. Avoid drilling through the bottom edge of the metal trim, or you'll expose injurious sharp edges to boaters and swimmers.


    Thanks! Am i fine with 2 or 3 pop rivets missing from the trim? I sail recreationally on a local lake with winds generally under or around 10 knots.

    Definitely not. Borrowing a neighbor's Sunfish, I bumped the trim firmly on a wood dock timber. The friction caused the trim to pop out at a sharp angle. It immediately became a moving hazard to lines, sail, and flesh! Although you "can" replace the trim, some aluminum trim replacement is challenging.

    Sorry for all the questions, I’m really in love with my new boat. Thanks for any help!

    We understand. ;)

     
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  18. jCruisin

    jCruisin New Member

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    I still cannot open my deck drain plug. Any advice?

    Also, i have damage in the daggerboard trunk and can see fiberglass cloth/mesh. Repairs needed?
     
  19. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    What have you tried to get the plug out?
     
  20. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Of my five 70's Sunfish, only two have drain plugs that have ever budged. :confused: The water you hear may be entering through damage within the daggerboard trunk. (Try applying a thick layer of Marine-Tex through the bottom opening).

    Consider installing a 6" inspection port behind the splash guard—or try this port below—for added storage and convenience:
    Heavy Sunfish | SailingForums.com

    If you can see the two tiny pins, flatten one end of a wire brad ("finishing nail") and drive them out.

    Below is a useful ⅜-inch "Manual Impact-Driver". (Loosens or tightens, using a hammer). Some imported cars require a screwdriver with the same rounded tip that the Sunfish drain plug needs. Wal-Mart shows the driver @$15, but I don't see the screwdriver tip that's shown elsewhere @$35:

    [​IMG]
    See if you can't borrow one from a repair shop. (Or rent one). Alternatively, drill a hole, and spray a small amount of PB Blaster through a snorkel to break up the corrosion. (PB Blaster is made to "creep" :cool:). The plug is made of brass, so the hole can be lead-soldered to close it back up. :)

    .
     

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