Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sunfish Daggerboard Bungee Attachment

The older wooden daggerboards for the Sunfish don't have a hole to run the new retaining bungee through, so we add a stainless ring and eyestrap. 3/4 inch number 8 screws work well, with a 1/8 inch pilot hole drilled. Make sure your ring is large enough to pass the bungee buckles through.


Sunfish Sailboat Common Repairs

Pretty much every old Sunfish that we come across needs at a minimum a bailer, a bow handle and a line kit. Other common repairs are trim rivet replacement and sealing up cracks in the daggerboard trunk or mast step. Here are a few of the items we had to do to get Scout ship shape.

The bailer was old and missing the float ball so we removed it. Take a set of large pliers ad twist off the bailer nut. You will probably have to hold the bailer on the bottom as well so it does not spin, which can be done by one person if you are coordinated and have long enough arms :)


Clean up the bailer hole and check the seam between the cockpit and hull for voids, as water can leak into the inside of the hull from here. If you see an opening or thin gap in the seam, fill it with epoxy resin or putty. You can add a bead of marine silicone when you install the new bailer but it is not required.


Check the daggerboard trunk for obvious damage, caused by runnning aground and bashing the daggerboard into the trunk base. If there is an inspection port by the trunk you can spray water where the daggerboard goes and watch inside to see if you see any water seeping in. Repair those areas with epoxy or our favorite, Marine Tex epoxy putty. In the first picture you can see a trickle of water, that indicates an area where water was leaking inside. We reapired the inside with West System epoxy resin and hardener, and the external part of the trunk with Marine Tex.



If you have to remove any deck hardware, leave one screw loosely attached at all times so that the wooden backer blocks inside the hull don't fall off. They were originally secured with putty and fiberglass, but that dries up and the blocks can fall off.


The aluminum trim and coaming are held on by aluminum rivets. It is best to by replacement rivets from a Sunfish dealer to get the proper size, but the 1/8 inch trim rivets can also be found at local hardware stores. Get aluminum rivets that have a 3/16 - 1/4 inch grip range. If the rivet has pulled out of the seam, drill a new hole next to the old hole and put in a new rivet. Try to not drill all the way through the trim, just the top, otherwise you could have a sharp edge on the bottom. File it off it this happens.




Tools and materials used for restoration and repair.

Sunfish Parts

Woot! Sunfish parts from YANKEE BOATING CENTER showed up aka Sunfishsailboats.com They include a recreational line kit (halyard, sheet, outhauls and daggerboard bungee), coaming rivets, trim rivets, bailers, drain plugs and bow handles. ALso ordered some sail repair tape.


Zip and Madison

1953 Alcort Sunfish Zip and 198? AMF Sunfish Madison sport their sails from Schurr Sails Pensacola, FL.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vintage Sunfish Parts

Made a parts haul a few months back, finally sorted them. There was some hardware dating back to the 1960s in there. It appears every part of the boat has changed since its inception.


From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

1966 Data plate.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Old style rudder pin.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Mast caps.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Wilcox and Crittenden stainless steel boom blocks.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Wilcox and Crittenden bronze halyard block.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Drain plug.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunfish Work Dolly

I had been using some sawhorses to work on our Sunfish but spotted a "finishing dolly" in a Laser Performance photo that look pretty cool. I contacted Bo Williams at LP and he rounded up some photos and pics of a dolly that they use. It is approximately 8 feet long, 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet tall. The cool part is how the bunks articulate.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

I used the base of my dolly and made some bunks to copy what LP has.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Used some extra plywood to make the ends.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Added the bunk arms, used 3/4 inch galvanized hardware.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Carpeted the bunks.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -


Then I used on a 2003 Sunfish repair and it works great. It is easy to flip the boat and the bunks hold the boat secure while I move it around.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

AMF Alcort Division Sunfish Viper and Sugar 2

08 Apr 2015: We rounded up 2 Sunfish built by AMF's Alcort Division. "Viper" is a 1980 boat that had been holding down a piece of plywood at Coastal Marine Works (formerly Breezy Boat City) in Gulf Breeze Florida. A young man needing some cash had brought in the damaged hull to our friend Jan and he helped him out. The hull had most of the parts stripped, a damaged seam and unsightly fiberglass patches, so it took up residence on a piece of plywood behind the office. Jan sold the business to our friend Allen Pinkston aka "Viper" and we discussed the destiny of the hull several times. The good news was that with all of the holes in it, no water had stayed inside and saturated the foam blocks. "Viper" will get a Naval Aviation tribute paint scheme using VF-84's Jolly Rogers colors as inspiration.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -


"Sugar 2" is a 1983 boat that was doing an admirable job of leaning against a wall at ICC Marine in Gulf Shores, Alabama. She had most of her parts stripped as well and has a big hole in the bow. We bought her as part of a 2 1/2 boat deal from Jim and our friend Loxley brought her over when he came to pick up "Boo." The hull is actually in decent shape, just need a bath and small repair....and a lot of parts. "Sugar 2" will get a tribute paint scheme using S-2F Tacker paint as a guide.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sunfish Pickin Gulf Shores AL: Scout, Boo and Sugar 2

Picked 3 Sunfish in Gulf Shores AL. The owner of a Marine repair and storage business had the for 7 years and the kids didn't use them anymore, so he contacted me and we made a deal. He had 2 complete boats, one derelict and some extra flotsam. Took the double stack trailer to get them, the boat on top is Scout and the boat on the bottom is Boo. Had to leave Sugar 2 behind for a few days.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Sugar 2 needs some grill work.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Minifish sail in decent condition.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sunfish Sailboat Covers

SLO makes a nice boat cover, snug elastic strap, tie dow loops and it's waterproof.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014 - Jun 2014

From SBR 3: Jan 2014 - Jun 2014

Need a couple more!

From SBR 3: Jan 2014 - Jun 2014

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

01 Apr 2015: Bought another cover, now all 3 fiberglass boats have one. I can't cover up the wood boats because the squirrels want to build nests in them :) In fact a squirrel ate part of the keel off of the Super Sailfish, which was actually helpful because it is rotten anyway.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

1959 Sorg Rough Water Boats 15 Runabout "Willow"

22 Oct 2014: Skipper bought a Race Committee boat, a 1957 15' Sorg Runabout. Her name is Willow, and she will head down from Michigan in a few days on her Tee Nee trailer. Anybody heard of Sorg Boats from Detroit, MI?

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

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From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

24 Oct 2014: Eagerly awaiting a boat and trailer....

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Keith passes the flag on the Sorg to Kent.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Cool bailer.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

25 Oct 2014:
Skipper likes it!

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Willow meets Cyane and St Jacques.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Tucked in to the shack.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

03 Nov 2014: Hung the Evinrude Lark 35hp. It needs several parts and running condition is unknown. Current plan is to put on a new motor and slowly restore the old one. Check out the post 1958 Evinrude Lark 35hp for progress.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

11 Nov 2014: TeeNee trailer has some great design features. We will probably add a crossbar at the end for transom rollers, tie downs and a better location for tail lights.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

14 Dec 2014: The bilge in the Sorg has some thin slats, we are not sure if that is supposed to be the floor or not. Also it is hard to get in the boat without stepping on the curve of the hull or catching a foot on the stringer, so we are going to put in a level cockpit sole in the midsection of the boat. That will be our boarding area. Here we are laying out some planks to get a few ideas.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

The rear seat has a folding back, but the middle seat back is missing. Taking some measurements to build another seat out of 3/4 inch marine grade plywood.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

15 Dec 2014: Ripping stringers, slats and battens from cypress for a cockpit sole.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Marking a notch for slat to fit around the seat support.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Cut notch for seat support using handsaw.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Transferred notch markings to opposite end of slats.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Cut notch for seat support using handsaw.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Countersunk brass screws through slats into battens.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Center section finished. It rides on a rail so it can be slid back out of the way once passengers are seated.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Individually fit slats for the sides.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

22 Dec 2014: Willow is getting a new Suzuki 4 stroke 25 hp installed at Lou's Marine in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Gary is the Owner and has taken this fun challenge on himself, having recently worked on a 1954 Lyman Runabout. Willow will be getting remote steering, remote start, new lights, a bilge pump and external fuel filter. I got to drop in and pick the spots for the steering wheel and throttle.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Kind of like dropping in during the middle of a surgery.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

23 Dec 2014: Swung by Lou's again to decide on tachometer installation location. Gary was excited for us to get a good look at the boat so he rolled her out to better light at the edge of the shop. She is getting special treatment, spending all day and night inside.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

29 Dec 2014: 1959 Sorg 15 Runabout "Willow" bow light wired.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Suzuki 4 stroke ATS 25 hp with tilt and trim.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Suzuki electric start and remote control, remote steering.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

05 Jan 2015: Picked up Willow today, Gary went over the Suzuki checklist and systems with me. Gary is the Owner of Lou's Marine in Gulf Breeze, Florida, worked there with his Dad since the 80s. They are the oldest Suzuki dealer in Florida and 4th oldest in the U.S. He expects a ride when it warms up!

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Gary's tip for the flush attachment, add a wire to keep the muffs from slipping off the back.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

We found good spots for the battery, bilge pump and external fuel filter. The gas tank will eventually find its best spot, if it were just a bit shorter it would fit i=under te seat nicely.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Gary did a great job installing the throttle and steering, it took a little whittling on the steering shaft so that the steering wheel trim cap fit. He also installed a fuse box under dash and wired up the bilge pump and lights.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Stopped at Walmart for fire extinguisher, winch strap, transom tie downs, hitch lock, floaty key ring things, registration letter/number kit, motor flush attachment....entertained several wooden boat enthusiasts in the parking lot....

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

'Twas several nights after Christmas, and all through the town, the Skipper was asking, "When are we taking the lights down?"

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Willow back at the Casa.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

06 Jan 2015: Bought a piece of 3/4 inch fir marine plywood at Gatlin Lumber, used the Ford Edge to bring it home. We will use this to cut a new seat back for the middle seat.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

08 Feb 2015: Willow went for sea trials, she ran great. 12 mph at 2700 rpm, 25 mph at 5000 rpm. She had a few small leaks, but they slowed after a few minutes and less than a cup came into the boat. She rides great with her lapstrake construction and carried 3 adults with no problems.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -


12 Feb 2015:
Visited the old Sorg factory in Detroit at 4301 Grand River Ave. Willow was built here circa 1958-9.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Also found the house that Harry C. Sorg lived in around 1953.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

15 Feb 2015: Took Willow out for her second cruise, she ran great and carried 4 people. 2 passengers sat in the back seat and we could have a normal conversation even with the motor running at half speed. Anticipated fuel burn is 1 gph.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

04 Mar 2015: Willow after a run into the river inlet. And she got her name on the stern.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Added bow chocks.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

21 Mar 2015: Started work on making a back for the middle seat, which was missing. It is a little taller and wider than the aft seat back, but I traced the aft seat back to get a starting point.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

The middle seat is a bit taller and wider than the aft seat, so I added an inch all around.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

I cut out a piece of scrap okume plywood to get an idea of the curve and height of the seat.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Used the okume scrap to trace the ends and the rest was traced with the cardboard. The small folding tables worked great as mobile work tables.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Cut out the middle seat.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Test fit of the new middle seat. Look good, but design challenges lurk.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Oops, I didn't consider the concave curve of the hull, so I'll trim the sides a bit. That explains why the seat back supports on either side of the hull curve out a bit at the top.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

25 Mar 2015: Used the template to see how much of the side needed to be trimmed, then trimmed the seat back.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Also began work on the stem leak. The bow stem curves down and lays on top of the keel. The leak is coming in around the 3rd to 4th rib up from the end of the stem.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

We think the leak is by that gap on the keel/ bow stem joint by the red paint. Water comes in to the boat at a slow trickle, then we think it drains out once we put it back on the trailer, runs down the keel and pools where that discolored area is. There is also a small rust stain on the trailer there.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Willow propped up so I can get to the keel.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

The keel comes up and meets the bow stem, and there is a scarf joint there. We suspect that is where the leak is.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Scraping out the failed sealant between the plank and the keel.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

The old sealant kind of flaked out.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Used West System to seal the bare plywood.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Sealed the bare wood with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

26 Mar 2015: Faired the plank with Pettit EZ-Fair then added 3M 5200 Adhesive Sealant to the keel/stem joint. First time using the 5200 and I couldn't get it to smooth out. It will be fun to sand :?

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Old paint needed to be cleaned off the bow eye. We used a razor blade.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

27 Mar 2015: Finishing the 1959 Sorg Runabout 15 with Sikkens Cetol Marine.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Used Pettit Easypoxy to touch up the stem repair.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Not a perfect match but the fish won't mind. (05 Apr 2015 Note: Found out the color should be Rustoleum Topside Oyster White)>

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

29 Mar 2015: Drilling pilot holes for narrow hinge screws.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Seat back finished, folds nice and flat. and matches pretty well.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

01 Apr 2015: Willow got measured for a new galvanized trailer at Eddie English Company, Inc. We are going to sell the Tee Nee trailer IOT save it from certain destruction by the local marine elements.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

Click her for the rest of Willow's story.