PHOENIX entered our fleet in 1994 in Corpus Christi, TX. She is a 1982 AMF boat, made the trip to Yuma, AZ with us and sailed Squaw Lake, just off of the Colorado River. She sailed on Lake Grapevine and now enjoys her Florida waters.

From Small Boat Restoration

From Small Boat Restoration

Phoenix, Eduardo and Wave

From Small Boat Restoration

22 Feb 18:

Phoenix needed a little TLC, she had a few leaks and we did an air leak test to figure out where the trouble spots are. We found several, the 2 big culprits being in the bailer hole seam and the daggerboard trunk. The funniest was Mt Vesuvius blowing out the rivet hole in the coaming.

We sealed up those areas with Pettit Flexpoxy, and we also put Marine-Tex epoxy putty over several areas where gelcoat had chipped.

We also sanded the coaming in prep for paint and installed the aluminum cockpit trim that our buddy Alan sent us.

28 Apr 18:

1982 AMF Sunfish PHOENIX out for sea trials after repairs to leaks in the daggerboard trunk, bailer hole seam, chine and coaming. She sailed great and Skipper did a few donuts. No leaks!

04 Jun 18:

Day sail then we color coded the rudder blades and daggerboards for MADISON, WAVE and PHOENIX.

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!

03 Apr 20:

Transom graphics for WAVE, designed and cut by See Level Graphics in Pensacola, FL.

PHOENIX got tagged also.

11 Jul 20:

Air Temp 84F, Dewpoint 80F. Water Temp 78F. Winds NNW 10-13. Light swell.

Peeked outside this morning to check the status of the Saharan dust and Heat Warning. Nice wind from the NNW and it wasn't a sauna yet, so we launched our Sunfish PHOENIX and MADISON. Skipper launched first in PHOENIX and I followed. 2 boats out, so a race ensued.


Results: Skipper won, I DNFd but got back to the shade first.

11 Jul 20:

A conversation in The Sunfish Forum got us motivated to launch our 1981 Sunfish MADISON (green and blue sail) and 1982 Sunfish PHOENIX this morning, because I couldn't remember which tiller setup was on which boat. I think every boat has something different.

After we got back we cleaned up the boats and took some pictures

Just to confuse everyone, we made our own tillers, they come up just short of the cockpit so Skipper can steer with her leg or her upper leg (butt) while she slides around the aft cockpit edge to tack.

Another custom length tiller with a Ronstan Batttlestick 31 inchish. The extension gets used on occasion, mostly when ghosting and reclining in the cockpit.

Color coded blade tips. I hope Skipper doesn't change her mind on which tiller she likes on which boat.

On to halyard and gooseneck settings, how we like it. See how the aft end of PHOENIX's boom (near boat) is peaked up a little more than MADISON?

Both rigs are set to Geezer Rig, plenty of cockpit boom clearance. Both sails are tied 5 sail rings down from the top grommet, or the 6th grommet down, approx 60 inches.

PHOENIX's gooseneck is set at 20 7/8 inches aft of the interlocking bolt.

MADISON's gooseneck is set at 23 3/8 inches aft of the interlocking bolt.


15 Nov 20:

23 Nov 20:

PHOENIX in the Carriage House with WAVE for bow repairs.

 27 Dec 20:

Sanded deck this morning, applied final coat of TotalFair, let it dry 8 hours in 70F.

Sanded TotalFair with 120 grit, wiped hull with TotalBoat Special Brushing Thinner 100. Applied 2 light coats of TotalBoat Topside White Primer.

28 Dec 20:

WAVE is primed and awaiting hull paint, her TotalBoat Wet Edge BleGlo White is on a UPS truck headed down from Bristol, RI. Along with some Gray Topside Primer for the deck. So we spent the day fiddling with PHOENIX, hoisted her off of the Dynamic Dolly and swapped WAVE onto the Dynamic.

We forgot that PHOENIX needs a chine repair, we'll put in a blind patch and then build up the repair area.

Might see if we have any new old Sunfish stickers hanging around...

Removed the bow trim by drilling out trim rivets with a 1/8th inch metal drill bit, carefull to not drill through the bottom edge of the trim.

We had already trimmed the broken bits off of the deck with a jigsaw, regular wood blade worked fine.

The "plank" was fractured up by the number 2, that comes in handy...keep reading...

Our friend Tom manages a fleet of Yacht Club Sunfish out by Lake Norman, several of them beyond economical repair. He sent us the nose and hardware off of one of the boats, let's call her NORMAN. We split the deck from the hull, took off PHOENIX's bow handle and aligned NORMAN's deck with PHOENIX's deck, clamped in place. 

I was standing there thinking, if I could just reach inside and trace a cut line...wait, I can reach inside through the plank flap! Traced the cut line with a calibrated black Sharpie. Before I could do that, though, I trimmed off some of the old foam and the bow handle backer block hanger with the DeWalt oscillating multitool, oddly satisfying.

Another bit that we trimmed from NORMAN was the deck edge flange, to replace PHOENIX's missing flange.

Flange and deck clamped in place.

Trimmed off high spots of the seam with the multitool, that leaves a tiny gap for the thickened epoxy to fill.

30 Dec 20: 

1982 Sunfish had viny; stickers on the side that said AMF and SUNFISH, PHOENIX's Sunfish stickers are getting pretty worn. 

We have a few New Old Stock stickers that our friend Howie sent to us, he worked at Alcort then AMF from 1960-1978, then did Warranty work for AMF for another 10 years. 

Once we get PHOENIX's hull cleaned up, we'll apply the new vinyl.

02 Jan 21: 

Trimmed a piece of chine off of the parts boat SALLY to be used as an internal fiberglass repair backer plate.

The plate will be adhered inside the hull, behind this section of chine.

Dry fit of all of the backer plates for the chine, hull flange and deck.

Poor PHOENIX, I called her WAVE twice in the video. I guess my mind was on WAVE, who just got her second coat of paint. I hope she forgives me.

03 Jan 21:

Fastened the fiberglass repair backer plates for the deck, hull flange and chine with TotalBoat THIXO thickened adhesive. Light clamp pressure, just enough to keep the piece secure and see a little epoxy squeezeout along the seams.

Chine backer., butter up with TotalBoat THIXO Wood, which is all we had on hand. Works the same.

Chine backer and hull flange backer fastened in place with THIXO.

We pumped more THIXO into the areas where the fiberglass was chewed away, that will help bond the remaining edge to the backer plate, and fill the void where fiberglass is missing. THIXO is pretty amazing for the fact that it clings to vertical surfaces while it dries. One area on the chine will be pure THIXO, so stand by if PHOENIX rams you with that area :)

Taped a piece of poly film over the chine repair, shaped it a little so there will be less sanding. 

Deck backer plate fastened with THIXO, everything gets to dry for a day or two, then we'll clean up any excess THIXO and fasten the replacement deck piece for the parts boat NORMAN.

 09 Jan 21:

Removed the clamps and we have a little excess epoxy to trim from the seam.

Trimmed the large blobs with a bi metal blade on the DeWALT oscillating multitool and finished up with 120 grit on a DeWALT 20V random orbital sander.

Chine is watertight now, needs some fairing compound and sanding.

Used TotalBoat THIXO thickened epoxy to fasten the deck piece to the backer plate and hull flange.

Clamps for the seam, they are vintage, used at Alcort and AMF 1960-1978 by our friend Howie. He sent them to us about 10 years ago along with tips on working the hull flange seam, example, the paint stir sticks along the edge of the deck are there to help distribute clamp pressure evenly. For the deck seam we put a strip of poly down to smooth out epoxy, placed a piece of salvaged fiberglass deck over that to spread out pressure of the sandbags.

10 Jan 21: 

Took off the clamps and sandbags. Sanded excess epoxy with 120 grit pads on a De WALT 20V random orbital sander.

Mixed up some TotalFair epoxy based fairing compound to fill in a few small voids and to raise the deck edge a bit. 

12 Jan 21: 

We sanded deck repairs on PHOENIX with 120 grit pads on a DeWALT 20V 5 inch random orbital sander, then applied a coat of TotalBoat Topside Primer with a Mighty Mini roller. 

The primer dries in about 4 hours, so we took the time to apply a New Old Stock Sunfish sticker to the port side. Our friend Howie sent us the stickers about 10 years ago, he worked at Alcort 18 years then did 10 years of warranty work for AMF.

Once the primer dried we lightly sanded it with 120 grit, the brushed on a coat of TotalBoat WetEdge BlueGlo White.

13 jan 21:

Brushed the second coat of Wet Edge, added some Bristol Beige to the Blue Glo White to darken it a bit.

Sprayed a test stripe and a bit of the coaming.

Unpacked the replacement bow trim for PHOENIX and WAVE.

14 Jan 21:

Checked out the damage to PHOENIX's chine.

We have a chunk from the salvaged boat SALLY to make a small internal backer plate, then we'll build up the repair area with fiberglass and epoxy.

15 Jan 21:

Salvaged 2 bits of chine from SALLY to make a blind backer patch and a chine shaper patch.  The string will be used to pull the backer patch snug against the inside of the hull.

Coated the backer patch with THIXO, inserted it into hull, pulled snug, added more THIXO to make a "plug," and draped some poly to keep the shaper chine piece from becoming a permanent part of the boat.

Used a calibrated 2x4 and PHOENIX's bow line to bring the side plank back to vertical, and hold the outer chine shaper. Pulled strings tight to snug up the backer patch and engineered a fine system to tie those strings off with deck screws and a paint stick. About 5 hands was needed for this mess, only 2 were available.

Temp 55F in the Carriage House with space heater running, so it will take 2-3 days for this to harden to the point where it can be sanded.

20 Jan 21: 

Did some touch up fairing, sanding and rolled a small bit of primer to the repair spots on PHOENIX and MADISON. Ready for paint.

21 Jan 21:

Removed the old AMF  vinyl in prep for new. Scraped off the vinyl first then made a second pass to get the adhesive residue.

24 Jan 21:

I'm sold on this Preval spray system, spray your own custom color mix. We sprayed TotalBoat WetEdge Blue Glo White, tinted with Bristo Beige to get "Sunburnt Sunfish," a close match to PHOENIX's 39 year old sunburnt gelcoat. The first coat ran because I sprayed too much, so I wiped it off real fast, then sprayed a light mist coat. The next coats seemed to bond better because the bond was paint on paint vs paint on hull. The sprayer bits came in a VALPAK kit with 3 power units, bottles, dip tubes and V grip, from Fibreglast, $39.95. Jamestown Distributors also sells a one can spray gun kit for under $9.

PREVAL Sprayer:

25 Jan 21:

Lots of taping and striping and stickering on PHOENIX today, we'll go through it, try to keep up...We taped around her coaming with 3M 218 Fine Line tape and put down some poly sheeting.

Taped off the bow stripes, to spray the Royal Blue stripes first. We used the old stripe edgees as a guide for the tape, and eyeballed the spacing on the new area, if it looks right... 

Waiting for Skipper to spray Rust-Oleum, I applied the new vinyl AMF on the port side. The New Old Stock Sunfish sticker was applied a few days ago.

Peeling stickers and stripes is always fun!

Skipper sprayed about 4 coats of Rust-Oleum Sail Blue, waiting for each coat to tack before the next coat. She lapped the yard and made some Scooby snacks between coats.

The Sail Blue is sprayed, we let it dry for about 4 hours then got to the red.

Oops, didn't get one area taped down enough, that spot removed easily with a little TotalBoat Special Brushing Thinner.

Spray paint will not fill aged gel coat stress cracks, if those bug you you'll need to file them out a bit, fair, sand, prime and sand before paint. Then go out and run into a dock and create all anew.

Tape removed from red stripe, and starboard side AMF and Sunfish sticker applied.

The stern stripes and the rest of the deck will get some TLC with 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax, we did a test patch here and it will definitely brighten up the hull to match the shiny new bow bits. (editor's Note: Read the label directions, there are very specific ways to apply this product. And see next post on PHOENIX for those directions, courtesy of the 3M Tech Team.

26 Jan 21:

We attached PHOENIX' deck edge trim with 1/8th inch diameter aluminum rivets that have a 1/8th inch grip (depth) range. On some boats you might find you need 1/4 inch grip. Check the top of the rivet for burrs afterwards and file as needed, those burrs are sharp and can snag skin or clothes.  Also when drilling the 1/8th inch hole for the rivet, be careful to not drill through the bottom edge of the trim, no hole is needed there, only enough depth to go through the flange on the deck edge. If the hole os accidentally drilled through, check that bottom edge for burrs also.

Our friend Alan sent us salvaged trim, cut into smaller pieces to make shipping economical. 


My brother Kirk's rivet gun, luckily we have the same initials. The Arrow brand rivets we got from Lowes, but there are also suppliers who sell OEM rivets for the Sunfish, Laser Performance does as the Manufacturer.

We used a piece of spare trim we had, cut it to length using a metal blade on a De WALT jigsaw. 

Rummaging for parts we came across this Alcort box, our friend Alan gave it to us, we think it had parts for a kit boat like screws and deck hardware.

We (I) applied 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax with a cheapo car buffer to the entire deck then polished it off with a towel and polishing pad. Our Sunfish Restoration Savvy friend Rodney, who repaired Sunfish at summer camps for many years, saw what I did on our facebook page and mentioned that we did it wrong.  (I) checked into it and sure enough I did it all wrong and was lucky I did not haze over the deck. The big clue should have been where it says One Step. So I got online and chatted with a rep at 3M and he sent the  label directions to me on pdf, as I was too lazy to walk out to the carriage house and get the bottle. I had been too lazy to read the direction for the 10 years I have been using it, and who can read that tiny print anyway? The correct ways to apply it are 1) by hand with a soft, clean cloth to a 1' x 1' area. Rub aggressively using short, straight strokes. Rub until the product is gone and do not allow product to haze. Or 2) by variable speed buffer/polisher set at 1400-2000 rpm equipped with a 3M Perfect-It wool compounding pad (PN 05753). Apply sufficient material to work 2' by 2' surface area. Before starting spread material around surface to prevent sling. Use light to medium pressure. Reduce pressure as material begins to dry.

We don't normally wax the decks of Sunfish, especially around the cockpit, but PHOENIX's gelcoat was lightly oxidized and it needed to be refreshed. The wax brought the gloss up a bit to better match the repair area.

PHOENIX bids adieu to the Carriage House and WINNIE has already rolled in to have her lines and offsets taken.

Sunfish Shack Back In Order video:

to be continued...

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