Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Oldest son is 29 today, Happy Birthday! Here is a picture of Mom, Dad and son having fun on a beautiful February day.

From Sunfish Sailboat

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Madison got a new custom sail from Schurr Sails Pensacola, deeper draft in head and foot, 6 panel design, stainless grommets. Great work by Hunter and his team.

Fiberglass Deck Repair

Here is the damage to Bud's deck. The boat was stored upside down on a trailer and uring a hurricane the high winds slammed the deck into a trailer roller.

From Sunfish Sailboat

Here's Rose"Bud" the day we picked her from Perdido Beach, Alabama.

From Sunfish Sailboat

I made a fiberglass backer patch using a good deck for a template, slid the patch inside and pulled it into place with strings. Screws held it tight until epoxy dried.

From Small Boat Restoration

From Sunfish Sailboat

I filled in faired areas with epoxy then Marine Tex.

From Sunfish Sailboat

Halyard Cleat Repair

This halyard cleat has a screw sheared off in the wooden backer block. I picked a drill bit that fit inside the halyard cleat screw hole, in this case it was a 5/32 inch bit, and then drilled into the deck where the old screw was stuck. These are the tools used to drill out the old screw, and you can also see the progress of the deck repair. (Edit Tip) When working over internal wooden backer blocks, leave one screw in at all times to prevent the block from falling into the hull. Do one screw hole, reposition hardware over repaired hole, put in screw loosely into new hole, then swivel hardware aside to work on second hole.)

From Sunfish Sailboat

As I drilled I saw wood shavings coming out, a good sign that the backer block is still there. There were more shavings than what are shown, but it was windy today :)

From Sunfish Sailboat

Next I'll force some Marine Tex epoxy putty into the drilled out screw hole. Once it is dry, I'll drill a small pilot hole and install a new halyard cleat screw, either an original bronze or newer stainless screw. The deck repair will get another layer of Marine Tex, then sanded and painted.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Overweight Sunfish

Another article from Howie on water retention in Sunfish. If they take on water the water needs to be drained immediately and leak repaired. Otherwise the foam inside soaks up water and is hard to dry out.
FMI: Overweight Sunfish

This picture is of a hull repair in progress. I made a backer patch and slid it inside, epoxied it into place and pulled it tight with string until it dried. Then I added 8 layers for fiberglass mat to rebuild the hull. Once dry I used marine tex for a finish coat, sanded and painted.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sunfish Sailboat Parts

From Sunfish Sailboat
After we learn to sail in only 3 days, we'll probably need repair parts for the Sunfish :) I like using Yankee Boating Center, they answer the phone and also have a nice online store at sunfish I have also ordered from Laser Performance and have a local Sunfish dealer, Key Sailing, who keeps some parts in stock. Other parts we have found on Craigslist and Ebay, but do some homework before paying too much. Two other good resources are the yahoo Sunfish Sailor group and Sunfish Forum. I have found parts there and also helpful advice to tackle most repairs or upgrades. Those two groups also have Files, Links and Photos, so budget some time when you go to visit.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Learn To Sail In 3 Days!

Nice old Learn To Sail In 3 Days flyer, shared by International Sunfish Class Association

Learn to Sail In 3 Days

WIndward Leg: Dear Howie Repair Column

Howie Picard worked at AMF for 18 years before going out on his own to do
warranty work for them. Windward Leg carried a maintenance tip column from him
for a while, focus was AMF boats and sailboat maintenance. He did hundreds of Sunfish
foam replacements and rudder conversions! Howie sent me a copy the first article
that appeared in the magazine. (1983 Windward Led issue no. 15 summer addition)

Article # 1

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sailing Library

When you're not sailing, you could be reading about sailing :) I am developing a list of interesting and useful sailing books, most can be found on Worldcat, the world's largest online catalog. Do a search for your title then enter your zipcode to check out the "Find a copy in the library" locator. Remember your library can also probably get your book through Inter Library Loan (ILL). Also, most state funded college libraries are open to the public. Worldcat also has a "Buy it" link in case you want to purchase the book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc...

Our Short List:
The open boat: across the Pacific by Webb Chiles

The Sunfish Bible by Will White

Montgomery and the Portsmouth by Fred Blackburn Rogers

See my complete sailing list on Worldcat

AMF Boat Builder

From Sunfish Sailboat
I had a great phone conversation with Howie P yesterday, he has parts for older AMF sailboats for sail. He worked at AMF from 1960-1978 and was friends with the designers. When he started they were producing about 10 boats a day, and worked up to 65, plus other AMF boats were coming off the line like the Catfish, Sunbird and Tracs. He worked at AMF in Waterbury for 18 years and bought some parts from them when they sold out. He also set up his own shop doing warranty work for AMF, where his most common jobs were foam replacement and rudder conversions. He had the skills and tools to split the deck from the hull, remove and replace the foam. Water logged foam would hardly ever dry out, especially the inner section. For the rudder conversions he split the seam on the transom and up each side about a foot with a putty knife, glassed in a backer plate then resealed with resin, glass and 8 clamps.
It was an awesome conversation, talking to a craftsman who not only built the Sunfish but also many other Alcort and AMF boats.

FMI: AMF Boat Parts

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunfish Rigging Manual

I have been looking for a good rigging manual. Found it on Laser Performance's website:
Sunfish Rigging Manual

Seitech dolly

"SEITECH dollies are the easy-to-use, light-weight, small boat transportation solution. The Sunfish dolly has been designed specifically to fit and support the shape of the hull. SEITECH dollies allow you to spend less time getting your boat to and from the water and more time on the water." (Laser Performance).
That's the good news. The bad news is they are hard to find. I managed to round up one on craigslist for a Sunfish and another that was originally for a john boat. I bought a tow strap and made that into a sling and it works great.

Laser Performance new parts list

There are some nice folks working at the Laser Performance store in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, I have talked to them a few times.
Here is a link to their new parts list: Laser Performance Parts List

From Sunfish Sailboat

Monday, January 14, 2013

Inspection Port Installation

Need to install an inspection port? I wrote out instructions on how to do it and offer a kit with the port, hardware and instructions on Etsy: Etsy

But if you hang around here I'll be adding the same information over the next few months!
Here's are ports we installed on our Sunfish Wave, one for the rudder conversion and one to replace a deck cleat backer block.

From Sunfish Sailboat

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sailing in January, NO frostbite!

Today was a great day to sail on Wave, a Captain Jack restoration. She has a rudder conversion and inspection port to check inside hull, and a nice rainbow colored sail. 75 degrees F air temp and 65 water. I tried to hike out but didn't get very far.

From Sunfish Sailboat

Sun came out for a bit, wind was 6-8 with puffs.

From Sunfish Sailboat

A Seitech dolly makes life easier!

From Sunfish Sailboat

Hiking Out

This looks fun, the Skipper says I should try it sometime....maybe in 2013...and with this 1965 Sunfish it takes some talent, no ratchet block, cam cleat or hiking straps!

From Sunfish Sailboat


From Sunfish Sailboat

Wave is the First family Sunfish, well, no really she is the Skipper's flagship. She is a 1965 sailboat that has been restored by Captain Jack. Rudder was converted to the new style in 2012. Gaff has been replaced after Clark turtled her in 1994. Wave has sailed in Hawaii, the Colorado River, Texas lakes, Corpus Christi Bay and Pensacola Bay.

Winter maintenance for Sunfish

It's time for winter maintenance in our part of the world. Does anyone have any projects planned, upgrades or rehabs? I am going to finish a deck repair and paint the hull and deck of a late 1960s Sunfish that we rescued. Spars are in good shape. Rudder and daggerboard have been refinished already by Captain Jack. We will also be looking for a good used Sunfish sail.

From Sunfish Sailboat