Sunday, June 23, 2013

1952-4 Wooden Sunfish "Zip" and 1977 Brother "Neptune"

We picked up a 1952-4 wooden Sunfish, reportedly one of the first 20 built by the Alcort partners and delivered to a friend. It sold from an estate in Waterbury and has been living a quiet life in the rafters of a garage in Grand Island NY for 7 years. A restoration was started but never completed, so boat is taken apart but most parts are accounted for. The current owner likes the restoration work we do and would like to give us the wooden boat, and sell us her 1977 sister Neptune. Here is the first picture we saw of the boat, which we decided to name "Zip"edeedoodah.

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Jeff gave Zip a bath before we showed up, so I don't get to take the "barn find" photo. She looks good on those saw Buffalos, which ended up coming home to Florida with us :)

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Loaded Zip up at the house and headed over to Niagara Sailing Club to pick up Neptune. A little duct tape will keep padding secure on spars and ratchets off the hull for the 1156 mile ride. The modified Magic Tilt trailer rode great on the way up, we'll see how it goes heading South through Erie, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinatti, Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery and into Florida.

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Zip and Neptune take a break with the big rigs in Pennsylvania.

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Here is Zip's deck edge trim, made of mahogany. The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad lantern made the trip down from Grand Island, I saw it hanging in the garage in the first photo and Jeff threw it in with the deal.

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We bought this rudder pin 2 years ago and have been waiting for the boat to show up.

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Wilcox and Crittenden boom block for wooden boom.

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It fits!

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Mast collar and halyard cleat before.

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Mast collar and halyard cleat after. Used teak oil on wood and lemon juice/salt on the cleat.

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No bow handle so I used the bow strap , trailer frame and towel to fashion a hold down.

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Zip and Neptune arrive at Jack's Boat Yard. Merci is making fun of their Canadian accent, Phoenix is egging her on and Cyane is sleeping.

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I tied a line through daggerboard well to keep Zip from sliding aft.

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Here is my "Bill Knot" named after a friend who ties some beauties.

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I had to secure wood spars to aluminum to keep them from flexing too much.

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Lacing sail using marlin hitch.

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Spar interlocking hardware.

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Old North Sail, made in Canada. And wooden spars made of Sitka Spruce!

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Double decked Neptune. The foam noodles worked great and she didn't move at all during 1156 mile ride home.

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1977 Sunfish

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Wooden floorboards.

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Tried some paint stripper, we didn't like the residue and staining, so we switched to sanding.

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Rigged for racing.

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Sanding through red/primer/red/primer to fir plywood using random orbital sander an 80 grit sandpaper. 120 would have worked as well.

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Ergonomic testing.

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Painted white so you can see if weeds hung up on rudder.

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Deck is nailed on.

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Old repair to rotted area, this will be cleaned up in a few weeks.

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Bits box.

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Neptune's sticker.

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Neptune heading to new home.

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Zip checking out the beach with Scout,

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Mahogany splashguard.

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Details on the mast.

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Rudder on right.

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Temporary shelter for Zip.

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Sanding continues.

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Screwdrivers were on sale at Sears, wanted new ones to remove splashguard backer.

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Killed the sander, Ace was the place for helpful new sander.

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The dry vac hooked up to the sander, kept dust down.

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Tiller bridle eyestraps.

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Splashguard backer screws needed to be cleaned out and removed.

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Part of backer had to be coaxed loose.

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Deck hardware that came with the boat.

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A coffee can and bucket come in handy for keeping track of tools and hardware.

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One backer rail split, area will clean up nice.

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A couple of hull screws came through the side.

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Decl will be lighty sanded and repainted red, full sanding this Winter.

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Painting the hull, see roll and tip video on youtube video bar.

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Rolled some extra paint onto Merci...

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and the chocks.

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Zip's bilge.

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Deck edge sanding.

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Ready for vacuum and acetone wipe.

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West System epoxy applied, 105 epoxy and 207 hardener.

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Floorboards, cockpit, deck edge and backer rail painted Interlux Brightside Fire Red.

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Halyard and sheet.

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Mast collar reinstalled, checking gooseneck setting.

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Line whip for the halyard, a fun, easy project.

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Mast has a nice taper to it and a sheave at top. The bottom section is aluminum and had something that looked like old masking tape on it. For aesthetics I wrapped the bottom section in gaff tape, it will help protect mast step as well.

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Set the gooseneck aka yoke at 24 inches, halyard will be at 60 from gaff outhaul. This setup is good for a nice, lazy sail.

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Not really sure that a gooseneck was prototypical for this year, as it had copper shims and there is a hole through the spar underneath. An early Sunfish at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has a leather yoke, so some research is required. In the meantime I am padding this area gaff tape.

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Sail went up real nice and the spars made a pleasing thunk against the mast when the breeze shifted.

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Attaching bridle and bridle eyestraps, grabbed a philips head out of habit, older screws are slotted :)

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Installing rudder fittings, found a screw had been sheared off inside the transom, so I drilled the shanks out, starting with tiny bit and working up through the bit sizes until screw could be installed.

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The carriage bolt actually goes through the transom! I tried to line the fittings up like the not-so-old style rudder and the holes didn't line up, bolt was hitting transon. Took out boat and deck plate lined up perfect over a big ol hole in the deck I had been ignoreing.

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Keel plate and carriage bolt.

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Rudder is rigged. The groove in the keel plate is very deep, the rudder will not pop up and will have to be installed just before launch. No running up on the beach with this setup. We love the keeper chain for the rudder pin.

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Mahogany splashrail backer and steam bent splashrail installed.

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Painting the deck edge trim.

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Zip is back in the water for a test sail, she sailed beautifully. She didn't want to gybe but gave a smooth, solid sail. Had a small leak It stopped so maybe boat swelled up a bit, we will check that out before next sail, maybe wet the boat inside and see if water drips out. Our wet vac is handy to get water out afterwards. And the 3 loop bridle almost caused a capsize, we are going to deep six that bridle.

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I don't know who was more excited, Zip or the Skipper.

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Zip's fan club, we even made t-shirts :)

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Boat measurer swung by...

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The fir plywood is fabulous!

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Zip sails, Summer Sailstice 2013.

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5 comments:

  1. Well done! You have saved Zip for the ages!

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  2. I stumbled into you page here and was very impressed with your story about Zip, And the love and care you put into the restoration. I just bought a wooden sailfish ( it does not have the little area for your feet) at auction, it just looked so in need, just like Zip, i could not resist. I have no boating experience. But I have fun fixing things up but i'm not sure i'm qualified to do it, especially if the boat is a very rare item , I would not want to mess up it's historical value. However you have left a very detailed trail to follow about how to do it, impressive. Could you give me an idea of the value of the boat, before, after and how much you put into the cost of restoration. I also saw a vid on youtube of someone sailing it and with the background music it makes you want to get it done and sail it. :)

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  3. Value before or after, no idea, it would depend on the buyer's Wants and Needs. Zip was a pretty complete boat when we got her, missing a keel strip and the sail had a few small tears. She was used and cared for, the previous owners began a restoration but moved on to other things. We wanted to get her sealed up and messing about again, that is where her spirit is. As for cost there was sandpaper (50), epoxy (75), brushes(50), rollers (50), interlocking hardware (150), paint (35), line (50) and a new sail (375). Plus some screws and a new sander. And about 60 hours of labor.

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