Saturday, August 31, 2013

Daggerboard Trunk Repair and Leak Test

Our Sunfish Madison had damage to the daggerboard trunk on the hull, gelcoat was chipped and a previous owner had repaired the area with epoxy. The epoxy had flaked away and we could see exposed fiberglass, still encased in epoxy but the last layer of defense against leaks. We didn't notice any leaks but wanted to check for leaks and repair the area.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

We did a leak test with a mix of dish soap and water, recommendations say 50/50 but that seemed like a lot of soap to me. We put about 1/4 cup of soap with a gallon of water and it was plenty soapy. For the leak test you blow air into the hull vent hole, which is located on the forward wall of the cockpit. The key to putting air into the hull is to use very low pressure and very low volume. You can blow air into the hull, use a bike tire pump or a compressor set to low pressure. CAUTION: if you put too much air into the hull you can split the deck/hull seam or inflate the boat enough to break the foam blocks loose. Then you'll have more repairs! Blow a little air into the hull, stop and put your hand by the hole to see if you can feel the air coming back out.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

For this leak test we put the boat on its side and drew a soap bubble across the top and bottom slots of the daggerboard trunk. We also soaped up the inside of the trunk. We were looking for bubbles around the openings and also to see if the bubble over the trunk openings grew. There are a lot of static bubbles from the soap mixture but it will be obvious if air is escaping, a large bubble will grow or so will a bunch of small bubbles. For our test we found no leaks in or around the daggerboard trunk.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

We did find leaks around the halyard cleat and the inspection port!

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Once we were done playing in the bubbles we washed off the rest of the boat and mixed up a batch of epoxy putty to repair the area. Some people use plain epoxy, we like Marine Tex or West Marine RX epoxy putty because it comes in a small size and it is colored white, which matches the Sunfish white gelcoat pretty well. You can find epoxy and gelcoat kits in your local marine supply store, also online and at my local Ace Hardware store. Amazon has a good price if you are thinking ahead :)

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We use a low tech paint stir stick broken in half lengthwise to apply the epoxy, that we we can reach up inside the trunk if needed. The inside of the trunk often has epoxy chips that expose the fiberglass and also gets damaged during groundings.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

We want to remove excess putty so we dont have to sand it off later. You can use a plastic putty scraper to smooth out the surface a bit, or a good ole finger. Another trick is to put wax paper over the putty, smooth it down then remove the paper.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

We mixed up the entire 2 oz of putty, so we looked for other gelcoat chips to repair. This area has impact cracks in the gelcoat from being struck by a very solid object. The cracks are in the gelcoat and not through to the fiberglass, so they can be left alone for now, we will keep an eye on them. Madison went through several hurricanes stored outdoors, notably Ivan and Dennis, so there is no telling what all she stood up against. After the putty dries we will sand off the excess.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Once the putty dries we use a 4 in 1 file to knock off the excess and get the repair moderately smooth. I like this file because it can be used for rough and moderate filing, and it has both a flat and half round side, perfect for the sides and ends of the daggerboard trunk. A friend uses a power drill with an extension bit and sanding drums, we may graduate to that next. I do the final sanding with a power sander in the areas I can reach.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

After sanding I applied some Interlux Brightside Bluglo White. It will darken up after a little time.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Repair is finished and Madison is ready to sail!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pickin: Wooden Sunfish, Wooden Super Sailfish and Super Sailfish MKII

I was looking through images of wooden Sunfish and found a wooden Sunfish at the Old Tyme Marketplace in Marshville, NC. I contacted the owners Beth and Russ and they were happy to sell me the boat, as they wanted to see it restored and sailing again. Hooked up the pickin trailer and hit the road for a quick rescue. We decided to name the boat "Chip" and got him added up for the ride to Florida.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Chip is a 1963 Sunfish, serial number 11501, most likely factory built, and is pretty chippy. Appears to have been light blue with white primer. It took me years on other boats to notice that the Alcort data plate depicts both a Sailfish and a Sunfish!

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

The rudder assembly deck plate was still on the boat, I removed it for transport. You can see where it screwed into the transom and you can also see remnants of the rudder pin keeper chain.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Mast step.

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Hull needs some work, one section near the scarf joint is delaminating, but hey, it's wood and we can repair or replace that section.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

On the way back from North Carolina, I had the brilliant idea to check Craiglslist for other boats. I spent the night near Greer, South Carolina at a Holiday Inn Express.

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The next morning I called on a wooden Super Sailfish that was listed on Craigslist. The Super Sailfish is the big sister to the first wooden Sailfish. Alcort built an 11'7" board boat with a sail, daggerboard and rudder and then designed the Super Sailfish, which measures around 13' 7". Both boats were available from the factory or as a kit, and the Super Sailfish even had DIY plans. The pictures looked good, the Super Sailfish appears to have all the parts except the sail. After a short wait I got a call back and arranged to go see the SS.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Judging by the rudder, this Super Sailfish appears to be a mid 1950s boat, most likely kit built.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

I went to look at the boat, and that is a story in itself. The boat had been purchased in Auburn, NY years earlier and head been stored in a barn. The seller in Greer had an extensive sailing history but had not sailed this boat very much. He had to cut a path back to the shed with his tractor so we could look at it, and the dogs were a big help both inspecting and loading the boat.

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Our first true "barn find" fit on the top rack neatly. And because of her farm heritage we decided to name her "Zsa Zsa" after Zsa Zsa Gabor of Green Acres fame. Funny thing was that the dogs only started barking when I brought the trailer back to load the boat.

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Next I headed down to Greenville, GA to look at a fiberglass Super Sailfish MKII.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

We made a deal on the Super Sailfish MKII and we were able to load it on the trailer by flipping it and suspending it below the top rack.

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From Small Boat Restoration 2013

A new pickin record, 3 boats! The trailer pulled great and we made it back down to Florida.

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We started unloading the boats and I was most interested in the Super Sailfish MKII sail. It is vintage, made by Ratsey and Lapthorne out of City Island, NY. They made sails for Alcort for a long time and this sail has a nice buttery feel to it.

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I really like the Sailfish logo, it has a lot of energy.

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Sanded a test area on Chip, she will clean up real nice!!

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You can tie a lot of knots with 25 feet of halyard.

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Super Sailfish MKII needs a mast base cap...

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...and a halyard cap.

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The Super Sailfish spars are in great shape the sail not so much.

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Super Sailfish bow is missing 14 inch metal strip that forms bow and keel trim.

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Paint is shot but the wood below has minimal checking.

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Super Sailfish hull weighs 140 pounds.

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We borrowed the MKII sail for the Super Sailfish and I put a rope bridle on the boat, we don't care for the 3 loop wire bridles. The Skipper took out Zsa Zsa, she didn't tack very well with that elephant ear rudder and short daggerboard.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

The Super Sailfish took on a lot of water, so we'll have to figure out where the leak is.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013


From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Not sure how a drain plug ended up here?

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Next we rigged the 1963 Super Sailfish MKII and took her out. Her name is Sweetness. The hull was pretty dirty but cleaned up well, data plate worn but we could still make out the hull number.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Sweetness sails great but she is a wet ride!

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The MKII rudder is quite a bit larger than the Super Sailfish rudder.

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The dagger board is around 36 inches, our Shadow board will work much better.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Chip's turn on the scale next, he weighed in at 158 pounds.

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Chip got a new bow handle. The wooden Sunfish bow handle has a tab that goes down the front to hide the chine seams.

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Chip's mast step and halyard cleat.

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Float test for Chip, he leaked a little but should seal up.

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Just forward of the bailer is a scarf joint in the plywood that is beginning to delaminate. It will need to be repaired or replaced.

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Chip is ready to head out. All we need now is a bowtie and a long sleeve shirt.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Here's the latest additions to the restoration queue, l-r 1963 Super Sailfish MKII Sweetness, 195? Super Sailfish Zsa Zsa, and 1963 wooden Sunfish Chip. We will keep Sweetness, a friend wants Chip and we will try to find the leak on Zsa Zsa.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013