Alcort Sunfish WAVE

1965 Alcort Sunfish Wave has sailed Hawaii, Corpus Christi, Yuma, Grapevine and Pensacola. She is the first family Sunfish and the cover boat for our publication The Sunfish Owner's Manual.

From Small Boat Restoration

We modified Wave around 2014 with a new style rudder.

From Small Boat Restoration









04 Jun 18:

We painted WAVE about 4 years ago with Interlux Brightside Medium Blue, a polyurethane topside paint. We keep the boat covered when not in use and it is holding up great. We app;ied it with a foam roller and tipped it with a trim brush. The paint was thinned about 5% with a temp of around 75F.



04 Jun 18: Day sail then we color coded the blades for MADISON< PHOENIX and WAVE.









29 Jun 19:

Took our 1965 Alcort Sunfish WAVE and 1982 AMF Alcort Sunfish PHOENIX out for a day sail Skipper raided the North coast of the bay and I searched for prizes on the South shore. 10-12 mph wind, light chop on the bay, 85F heat index, scattered clouds. Water temp 85. Wind usually dies around 1000 so we headed back. On the way back, PHOENIX and I caught a fish! Not on purpose! I was sailing close to a dock and didn't notice that someone had left some lines out. As I went by the two fishing lines slid across the the gaff, caught at the top of the mast and turned me into the dock. Thunk. I was able to sail backwards a bit, pulled up the daggerboard and used it as a paddle to get clear of the dock. As PHOENIX and I completed our donut, the fishing line slid down leech of the sail and caught on the boom end cap. As we sailed off the line ran over the end of the boom and up comes a fish on the hook, over the end of the boom and then it plopped back into the water. A yelled "Fish On!" to the neighbors and PHOENIX and I sailed home to tell the Skipper our fish tale. It was about an 8 inch bass, under a pound.








Marine Traffic Control Board updated.


Fish stories!


29 Jun 19:

Our 1963 Alcort Sunfish CHIP is ready for Sea Trials, so she needed to get off the finishing dolly and onto a Dynamic Dolly. I asked Skipper how to organize Sunfish TETRIS and she said she wanted her 1965 Alcort Sunfish WAVE to take a turn on he finishing dolly, get her purtied up like the other boats, fix the amateur patches I put on 20+ years ago. So first we dollied WAVE up to the Carriage House and dropped her in the grass. Next we used Skipper's field expedient Sunfish hoist to get CHIP off of the finishing dolly.


Lowered CHIP onto the Dynamic Dolly and rolled her out next to WAVE.


WAVE loaned CHIP her spars on deck Sunbrella cover, a fine cover that we got fro SLO Sail and Canvas. It has nice straps!




Rolled the finishing dolly out into the yard and walked each end of WAVE up onto the dolly. Rolled dolly into the Carriage House. WAVE telling fish stories to ZIP and WINNIE.


While we were in the Carriage House we shaved some yaks. "Yak shaving" is what we call it when we find other jobs to do while avoiding the primary job, which in this case was getting CHIP out back to the Sunfish Shack and finishing cleaning some air vents inside the house. Today's yaks to shave were cutting some 1/8th inch nylon line to make daggerboard retaining lines for WAVE and PHOENIX and whipping the ends of a couple of vintage Sunfish/Sailfish sheets.

We cut the nylon line to length and seared the ends. Line is long enough so that daggerboard can easily be removed, but not much longer than that. The retaining line is there to keep the daggerboard from floating away after a capsize.


Tied the line with a bowline. Make the little loop, the run the rabbit (end of the line) up through the hole...


...around the tree (long end of the line) and back down into the hole.


Snug down the bowline. Cut another line for PHOENIX. Yak 1 shaved.


Old School. Simple.



Yak Shaving Take 2. Wrapped the end of the sheet with a piece of gaff tape and seared the end. Then whipped the end with waxed line. Yak 2 shaved.


How to whip a line.




Back to our original unscheduled program, CHIP taking up WAVE's slip in the Sunfish Shack, ready for Sea Trials!

12 Jul 19:

Jamestown Distributors sent us some TotalBoat products for WAVE's repair, she needs a few things done. We are Ambassadors for the brand and get the supplies free, but before we came AMbassadors we happily paid for them. We have been happy with the products and especially Jamestown Distributors excellent Tech Team and website. We only put products on our boats that are going to last, and so far that has been experience. JD also sells other brands that we have enjoyed using in the past, Interlux and Pettit and also some RustOleum Topside.

Ding dong!


WAVE needs some fiberglass repairs, we will use THIXO (Thickened Epoxy) to bed the fiberglass cloth into a backer patch and build up repair areas.


The regular epoxy will be used to wet out the fiberglass cloth.


We have several old fiberglass repairs on the hull to clean up, once the fiberglass is repaired we will fair, prime and paint WetEdge BlueGlo White.


The other repair is internal, one of the foam blocks has come loose, we will reset it and fix it in place with flotation foam, it is a tenacious adhesive.



21 Jul 19:

Skipper learned to sail on Sunfish in college, who knew you could get college credit for that? PE, 4 electives! Then she helped teach the class. The College and University used the Sunfish, and that immediately became her favorite boats. After that she let her parents know to keep an eye out for one, and in 1994 they got a Sunfish from her Aunt. The family decided to name her WAVE, after a US Navy ship that her ancestor had sailed back in the days when ships were wood and men were steel. WAVE had travelled around a bit, had made it out to Hawaii and back. We hauled WAVE around from Corpus Christi, TX to Ft Worth and then out to Pensacola, Florida.

Over the last 54 years WAVE took some damage from a cannonball on her chine, and she fell over in storage and hit the edge of some landscape stones. I fixed the damage with a thick fiberglass bandaid and slapped on some paint. Her bow handle came off at one point and Capn Jack fashioned a beautiful and strong stainless backer plate. The parents found a beautiful Rivera sail. A previous owner sheared off the bottom of the metal DePersia bailer and thought best to fiberglass over it. She got painted and striped. We (I) put in a transom drain when she started leaking. And a few years ago we converted the rudder and she got a second rig, a Jolly Roger. Recently I noticed her starboard side foam bow block had come loose, probably from when the whale broached on top of her. So now she has a hodgepodge of paint, patches and holes and she rattles when flipped over. Despite all this, she is still dutifully hauling Skipper over crest and through trough. She is the Flagship, the Favored.



With CHIP finished there was a space open in the Carriage House, so we put her on the Finishing Dolly and got to work. First order of business was to do an air leak test, we will use the drain plug housing as the airport. Cordless shop vac will provide the air and a little Dawn dishwashing liquid with water in a spray bottle the bubbles. WE bought this screwdriver a few years back specifically for deck drain plugs, nice fat head to fill that screw slot.


WAVE is special. She has a deck drain plug on both sides. And a drain hole for the cockpit on the deck, placed so if you set the boat on its port side against a wall, the cockpit deck drain hole is at the low point on the port bulkhead. Maybe they new she was going to Hawaii and she was going to be hanging ten.



A few bubbles around the bow handle.


Now Skipper and I must have not slept well, because we tried the leak test with the shop vac hose on the cockpit drain hole first. I pointed in the general direction and she thought "I don't think that's right, but OK." I sprayed some soap on a known leak area and no bubbles. Hmmm. The I saw the hose and laughed. We then moved the hose to the hull drain and tried again. Still no bubbles. Hmmm. Then it dawned on me that I had not changed the hose around to the vac exhaust. More laughter and a comment that we should avoid power saws for the rest of the day. Tried again and voila! Bubbles from bow to stern.

Time to reseal.


I was a fan of transom drains until I spent some time inside transoms and saw all of the foam back there, especially on the 70s boats with tons of expanding foam, or in some cases 38 pounds worth. Once we learned to fix the leaks vs drain the boat I wished I hadn't done the drain. It is a big hole right at the waterline, and on some boats it is hard for the water to make it back there. We are going to remove the drain and fiberglass the hole back to factory spec.


Now this was a surprise.





The Sunfish have a hull vent hole, to keep the hull from bulging from hot air inside and popping a seam or loosening a block. Most of the time the vent hole is on the forward cockpit bulkhead. On some boats, like WAVE, the vent hole is right through the middle of the Serial Number plate on the deck. Turns out WAVE's was plugged, so we reamed it out with a 9/64th inch drill bit.


Took us years to notice that there is a Super Sailfish on the data tag along with the Sunfish. Too bad it doesn't come with the bigger daggerboard, it needs it.


Skipper got tired of lifting boats and flipping them, so she designed a boat hoist using Sunfish rigging.





While WAVE was airborne I fixed the bunk bungees, they are set to lightly pull the bunks flat when the boat is on them inverted. When the boat goes onto the dolly right side up, the bunks articulate to fit the V shape of the hull.


Smooth landing.





Time to remove these ugly patches.





1200 degrees ought to do it.






40 grit on a random orbital sander, getting rid of flaky paint, old adhesive, fiberglass patch bits and top layer of crushed fiberglass. We'll use a file to get the hull trimmed back to good glass.


So the bottom of the bailer was sheared off, so someone covered it with a big blob of Never Be Gone glue.


The inside of the bailer looked like this. I tried twisting, hammer taps and heat. Nothing worked.


Since I will be repairing fiberglass anyway, I drilled out bits of the bailer and bits of the boat. Finally if came out.



Removed the trim so we can sand the sides easier. Used a 9/64th inch drill bit to remove the rivet head and body.




We use a small block to tap the trim off. Be careful to not bend or break the trim around the rivet holes.




Sunfish Archaeology.



Sanded away old epoxy, patch residue, some paint, some more paint, some primer and some gelcoat. It's good to stop there, we're down to the crushed fiberglass on the first patch, where you see the woven roving threads threads and the glass turns from opaque to milky. Time to find the diamond file.


WAVE telling tall tales...


40 grit to sand of fiberglass patch remnants and uneven primer/paint. Halfway done on this bit.



Keel cleaned up.



The Dust Deputy has been working great. There's about 2 inches of paint, primer, epoxy and gelcoat in there so far.


19 Jul 19:

Used the Skipper's hoist to flip WAVE.



Then grabbed our Kobalt heat gun to remove old fiberglass patches.



22 Jul 19:

Worked on WAVE, removed the gudgeon and transom drain plug


Sanded a bit.



Sunfish bits



23 Jul 19:

More sanding to remove old paint on WAVE and we uncovered the shadow of her old Hawaii registration numbers, HA 1988 B. She must have had them for a while, the surrounding gelcoat is pretty sunburnt.


And her vintage alcort sticker shadow.



We also uncovered the Blood Stripe that Capn Jack had painted on her back in 1994. We painted over it around 2000, and are going to put it back with her new paint scheme.


The stripe started 36 inches back from the bow and ended 18 inches shy of the transom.



to be continued...

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