Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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.

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