Sunfish Shack(s)

We wanted an area to store a couple of Sunfish sailboats, under cover, and out of the mud, so they would be free of dirt, bird poop, pine sap, etc... We did not want anything too tall as pine needles would blow under it, and it would block part of our view of the water from inside the house. We planned to leave all sides open for air circulation and heat reduction.

v1.0 So we designed a low roof aka lean-to set on 6x6 pilings, with a shingle roof to match the house. Found out that a low pitch shingle roof is not a good idea, it became a mildew factory. Dirt floor not good either, mud pit at times. But it kept off the pine needles and bird poop! Halfway there. Overall, it was a huge design failure and excess expenditure of funds for materials, but I learned what Shack 2.0 needed. All of the old roof was cut off with a circular saw, I recommend using a dust mask and covering up exposed skin while doing that, I created lots of moldy sawdust!

From Small Boat Restoration

Salvaged lumber from Shack v1.0

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Free beach lumber!!

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

v2.0 Renovated our sailboat shed, aka the Sunfish Shack. We changed the roof over to metal, added a deck and a ramp. The main function of the shed is to keep the pine needles, rain and sun(UV) off of the boats, keep them ready to go sailing without having to spend 30 minutes cleaning them up first. The old shed roof was lower, with plywood and shingles, and it leaked. The goal for shed 2.0 was to raise the front edge, lower the rear edge, remove excess roof support 2x6s, and add a deck with ramp to get trailers out of the mud that likes that shaded area.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

The new shed has 3 stalls, big enough to hold Seitech dollies or our double stack trailer. The roof is MasterRib 29 gauge metal from Lowes placed on 2x4 rafters and 1x4 purlins. The front 2x6 roof joist was moved up the 6x6 post to the top and secured on both sides with metal hurricane ties. That raised the front of the roof. The rear joist was lowered the width of a 2x4 on the rear posts, leaving enough room for the rafters and roof to clear the top of the posts. I also added a few racks by screwing 2x4s to the posts to store our restoration project boats CHIP (wooden Sunfish) and ZSA ZSA (Super Sailfish). These can be removed when the boats go into the restoration queue.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

The wisteria likes the shed, it thinks it is one big trellis. I reused the 2x6x16s from the front and rear roof joists and to frame the deck around the bottom of the posts. I had to buy the 2x4x16 rafters and 1x4 purlins to support and secure the metal roof, and reused hurricane ties to secure them to the joists. The roof is secured with a special metal roof washer and screw, screwed into the purlins. Since the roof is low I had to find a screw long enough to get fully into the 1x4 but not stick out under the roof and poke me in the head :)

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

I framed the perimeter of the posts with rescued 2x6s. Underneath the deck I used 2x4s and 12 inch square pavers to support the deck. The deck was made from salvaged 2x6x16s cut down to 12 feet, with the scrap end beveled and used for the front ramp. I ran out of old lumber and ordered 2x6x12s to finish the deck, but 2x8x12s were delivered instead. I adapted and the deck/ramp came out real nice. There is enough room under the front half of the Shack to work on projects! Here is our Super Sailfish MKII SWEET EMOTION sneaking onto the new deck.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

Before the 2x4 rafters go up permanently we like to cut decorative ogees into the ends. In this photo we were checking the spacing on the 2x4s.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

The 2x4 deck joists are screwed into the 2x6 frame, I added some pavers mid span to prevent sag, although I don't plan to have much weight on the deck. I also leveled the dirt under the deck with sand to improve drainage. The deck is elevated off of the ground like a dock, so any heavy rain should run off behind the shack or is welcome to runoff underneath.

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

From Small Boat Restoration 2013

18 Mar 2015: Current state of affairs at the Shack. 3 fiberglass Sunfish, one wooden Sunfish and one wooden Super Sailfish.

From SBR 4: Jun 2014 -

v3.0 The Sunfish Shack was so popular that we added 2 more stalls. Had to move the wisteria and it was not happy (fast forward it is growing back from underneath Bin 4). Note that in Bin 1 we are building our Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES, and have put up some weather curtains. We had a table with some saws and tools out there for a bit, but there was too much humidity to leave them there for long. That was a lot of fun, we kept the little grill fired with offcuts and miscuts...lots of them...

v4.0 Added 2 parking spots for empty trailers at the end of the Shack, or if we get an oversize boat that won't fit under the low joists. Or if we get a catamaran that remains rigged and ready (SMEDLEY). Added wisteria on the end and extended the path behind the Shack. The Penobscot 14 is finished and reclaimed her spot, and there are a variety of wooden and fiberglass Sailfish and Sunfish sprinkled around. The wooden Super Sailfish and Sunfish storage rack was trimmed down so we had room to move around boat in Bin 2.

Looks nice, the little path? Didn't last long, a storm came up and washed most of it away, we have some beach erosion that needs to be addressed. (Edit: And it was, Winter 2019, 22 feet of yard on that corner was reclaimed, the damage was remnants of Hurricane Ivan from 2004, seawall was not repaired by previous owner. We finally saved money to have it done, and saved several heritage pine trees in the process.)

15 Aug 18:

Current state of affairs. VICTORY headed off to her new homeport so Shack slot #2 was open, SUGAR immediately filled it. Current fleet L-R St. JACQUES, SUGAR 2, MADISON, PINKY, PHOENIX and WAVE.

27 Feb 19:

PHOENIX is airborne to make a temporary spot for ZSA ZSA.

14 Apr 19:

AMF Sunfish BOOMER headed off to her new homeport, time for Shack Tetris. Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA moved into the open stall and PHOENIX landed back on her dolly.

(L-R) Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES, Alcort Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA, AMF Sunfish MADISON, AMF Sunfish PHOENIX, KM SUP PINKY and the ship that started it all, Alcort Sunfish WAVE. To learn more about each boat click on their page link off to the right.

29 Jun 19:

Current state of the Sunfish Shack, (L-R): Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES, 1955 Alcort Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA, 1981 AMF Alcort Sunfish MADISON, 1982 AMF ALcort Sunfish PHOENIX and 1963 wooden Alcort Sunfish CHIP.

02 Apr 20:

Current State of the Sunfish Shack (L-R): Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES, empty stall, Finishing Dolly, 1982 AMF Alcort Sunfish PHOENIX and 1965 Alcort Sunfish WAVE. WILLOW's trailer and and empty stall to the right off camera. Empty stalls? Hmmmm. There is exciting news on the horizon about that....Stay tuned.

10 Apr 20:

(L-R) 2017 Penobscot 17 ST. JACQUES, 1963 wooden Alcort Sunfish CHIP, 1950s wooden Alcort Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA, 1981 AMF Sunfish MADISON, 1982 AMF Sunfish PHOENIX, 1965 Alcort Sunfish WAVE. Dollies by Dynamic Dollies and Racks, Covers by SLO Sail and Canvas, except Skipper made the custom cover for ST. JACQUES. Shack design by Clark.

24 Oct 20:

Tropical weather has scared most of the boats up front to the Carriage House, there are a few hardy souls still hanging out. Good time to replace the ramp with new lumber.

 01 Jan 21:

v5.0 Mother Nature reshaped some accoutrements to the Sunfish Shack last September, She removed the uncovered trailer parking at the end and the ramp. The Shack itself held strong, 6x6 posts set in concrete and the metal roof is strapped down with hurricane straps. We decided to only replace the ramp, and used 5/4 x 6 marine pressure treated decking left over from the pier project vs the previous 2x6 planking. Some remnants of the 2x6 ramp will be repurposed into work tables, suitable to hold various libations.

Current Fleet in Port: (L-R) Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES,, Alcort Standard Sailfish WINNIE, red wagon RED 1, wooden Alcort Sunfish ZIP, RED 2, AMF Alcort Sunfish MADISON, Super Sailfish (actually a Sailfish Deluxe 14) TRACKER, wooden Sunfish CHIP, John Deere 8Y cart WILEY. 

15 Jan 21:

WAVE is ready for Sea Trials and she will need her slip in the Sunfish Shack back soon, so that generated a round of TETRIS. CHIP was in her spot, so CHIP got pulled out to move to MADISON's spot, But there was a wagon, RED 1, in front of MADISON, so RED1 1, and RED 2, got moved back to the porch as did the power washers and the carpenter's bench, which all had been removed when we painted the porch. MADISON was pulled up front to the Wheel Deck for repair to her damaged chine. 

 03 April 21:

Still moving bits around as the Armada shifts Homeport from the Gulf Squadron to the Atlantic Squadron. Carriage House was getting a little crowded with 2 Sunfish on dollies and a lawn tractor, and we wanted one of the Sunfish easily accessible for nice sailing days ahead before the final move.

Spring cleaning, we mowed the yard and moved WILLOW's trailer off the grass onto the Wheel Deck.

Skipper's John Deere WILEY gave her Sunfish WAVE a tow back to the Sunfish Shack, so WAVE could keep SCOUT company.

1963 wooden Alcort CHIP keeps an eye on her shipping box, WILEY checks out the Carriage House.

 11 Jul 21:

A new homeport for the Armada's Mid Atlantic Squadron drives the requirement for a new Sunfish Shack. We cleared a few areas in the Boat Yard and selected a spot for a 16x16 Shack to get started. We are making this deck 4 feet deeper because on the last shack we had to turn the Sunfish diagonal to get optimum protection, and in this Shack we will experiment with some vertical storage on racks or hoists vs having a 40 foot long structure.

A For The Record before picture. Oops, looks like the Shack has started to form.

Cones 'R Us.

Still guessing at what size we wanted, but finally decided 16x16, or 256 square feet, which happens to be maximum shed size to build without a permit for our locality. 

SMEDLEY will anchor one end of the Shack and the Work Dolly/Strongback may park on the other side. We've still got some overgrown brush and the "North 40" to clean up, then the dolly will probably relocate to the location of the new Carriage House. ST. JACQUES is eyeing one stall in the Shack.

Seems like a good spot.

12 Jul 21:

We framed the floating deck using techniques our friend Paul taught us years ago, leveled some spots and blocked the pressure treated wood on concrete pavers. First we went to our local builder supply and picked up some 2x6x16 pressure treated lumber, rated for ground contact.

We learned that "you can't keep water out but you can keep it in," from our Marine Carpenter friend Keith, so we made sure there are no low spots under the deck and that water drains from this area of the yard. 

Made it about this far before I ran out of materials and the Heat Index chased me inside.

13 Jul 21: 

We placed 6x6x8' posts today for the Sunfish Shack, they'll be strapped in with framing and eventually hot dip galvanized lag screws.

We also trailered home some more lumber for the deck. I think it was about this time that I realized my vision of framing a shingled gable roof was extreme, a lot of work and a lot of lumber and a lot of time 15 feet up in the air. So Skipper came out and saved me, she had rightfully assumed and furthermore asserted that we would be doing a simple sloped cover with metal roofing. Yay.

Pavers down and posts tacked in place.

16 Jul 21:

Today we marked out the spacing for the Sunfish Shack 2x6 deck boards, then put down the 12 boards that we had in spots where we could roll a few dollies up and check the fit. We found that the Penobscot deadwood keel barely clears because the deck joists are sitting on pavers now vs being set ground level in concrete, and we set the deck boards on top of larger 2x6 joists vs insetting them over 2x4 joists. Overall that raised the surface of the deck close to 3 inches over what it had been. Added to the increased deck height were some low spots in the yard that lowered the ramp entries, we added some topsoil at the base of the ramps to get the same drop all the way across the base. You might note in the photo that the ramps on the right side of the Shack have been shimmed up a bit with a 2x6 backer board set on another paver block, then we graded the ramp entry with more topsoil. A little more grading in the yard will be needed to eliminate some low spots and ensure that water flows away from the house and the Shack to an existing drainage ditch behind the line of bushes.  The last adjustment we made to ensure ST. JACQUES deadwood keel would clear the deck before the dolly wheels started up the ramp was to cut a small notch on the end of a temporary deck board, per Skipper's direction.

Why not make longer ramps with less slope? We wanted to use the 3 foot sections of ramp that we brought with us from the Gulf Squadron Sunfish Shack, they were hurricane salvage and had played a role in the rescue of the Armada from the last Shack. They had become flotsam during the storm and we used them to pull boats and dollies up over a small stone wall in the front yard, so it felt wrong to just send them to the Remote Storage Facility (landfill) after we remediated the Shack in Florida. So they made the move out to the Mid Atlantic Squadron in one of the PODS containers, and with lumber prices up, turns out that's about $65 worth of lumber....maybe we should have moved the entire Shack :)

03 Aug 21: 

Cut a detail on the rafter ends.

Set the cross beams for the rafters, then rafters started going up.

We'll use the roof panels to square up the rafters.

Starting to look like a boat yard.

Supervisor SMEDLEY.

Detailed design software was utilized....

 04 Aug 21:

Video update for the new Mid Atlantic Sunfish Shack:

The metal roof panels are 3 feet wide and 8 feet long, we sourced them from Lowes. For the 18 foot long sections we cut one panel to 4 feet long, attached it at the low point of the roof slope, then put an 8 foot panel over that with a one foot overlap, then another 8 foot panel with a one foot overlap. Rains sheds off easily with no leaks, as we found out today. 

Also put down 3 more rows of the 2x6 deck planking.

It seems to be a tradition that we start using a structure for its intended purpose before we even get it finished.

05 Aug 21:

Worked on the new Sunfish Shack, today we added a few extra purlins (the horizontal 1x4s that the roof gets attached to). The basic spacing we chose for our low wind, low snow load area was 3 feet x 3 feet, and then we added a purlin under each end of each panel overlap, if there was not one already there. We added these purlins so we could drive the roof screws and not have the bare ends of screws poking out on the underside of the roof. All of the purlins are also attached to the rafters, and once we got everything mostly square we drove screws along the panels ridges over each purling and along the rafter/purlin intersections.

Sunny today, the roof started to get a little warm just after Noon, 78F.

FYI the high roof point is the bow, lower roof is the stern. Started spacing rafters and adding purlins for the port side of the shack, still some adding and trimming of purlins to be done in this photo. In this photo you may notice that we made the starboard slip larger, we set the posts a little further apart so our widest trailer (CYANE's) can roll underneath the cover if needed.

The challenge when building a Shack and adding a metal roof is to try and get a square corner to work off of, for this shack we chose the starboard stern corner as our starting point and used a neon pink string run across the stern from starboard to port for as one alignment axis, and then used the stardboard edge of the first panel section as the other axis. There is a little bit of wiggle room for panel overlap and alignment but not much, we used the string and then the panels themselves to set the final lateral spacing of the rafters and fore and aft spacing, then tacked the rafters in place with tie straps. As we got a section or two of panels/rafters/purlins aligned we went back ad put the rest of the screws in the roof panels.

Ready for more purlins, straps and screws.

 09 Aug 21:

Skipper decreed that we would finish the deck for the Sunfish Shack before continuing with the roof. So fourteen 2x6x16 bits of pressure treated lumber later, the deck is finished. Might get a bit more roofing done early tomorrow, before the sun peeks over the pine trees, and get more ramp bits cut. A little grading of the yard will be needed as well.

ST. JACQUES and WAVE volunteered for static load testing of their new spots. 

10 Aug 21:

 15 Aug 21:

The sides are up, LP Smartside with cedar texture, ready for paint.

The rains came before we got a picture of all the sides up, but the boats stayed nice and dry. More photos to come.

 15 Aug 21:

Plenty of wall space for spare parts. And SCUPPERS.

Two 24x24 inch slider windows will go on the starboard side and two more on the port side, so Skipper can sell parts, hot dogs and prop wash out of them.

Our temporary storm jib being tested, we'll use it to keep sideways rain from filling up the wooden boats, until their Carriage House gets built. Then we'll have an open bow so we can keep an eye on the hooligans.

SCOUT tied up so she doesn't wander...

 17 Aug 21:

After draining TRAKER's bilge, Skipper towed the work dolly around to the Sunfish SHack. But first the John Deere E130 had a chat with an excavator, which was visiting the Mid Atlantic Station to extend our driveway.

Skipper never moved anything heavy in the theater without a block and tackle, so she designed a Sunfish/Sailfish hoist for us to use, utilizing nice bronze Alcort hardware and vintage Sunfish sheets. One end of the sheet snap shackles to a repurposed bridle eyestrap.

The sheet runs under the boat and then through a halyard block.

One end of the boat is lifted and the sheet gets tied off to a halyard cleat.

Voila! We have also found that it is easy to turn the boats over while they are in the hoist, a great side benefit.

Work dolly and caboat strongback departing the area.

22 Aug 21:

Add a wall, then cut holes in it, then add 24x24 inch slider windows. One window got 1x4 PVC trim and we need to make a run for more trim for the other window. We think one window will be Parts, and one will be Service....or maybe hot dogs, popcorn and snow cones. 2 more windows to go on the port side so we have options. 

The windows will let in some light and will help with cross ventilation, should we ever decide to do a restoration or a new build in the Shack. We left the windows open, forgot, and of course it started to rain. We do have some gear stored in back that we'd rather not get wet, but hey, they're boats, and boat parts.

27 Aug 21: 

We built this 5x8 section of deck back in Florida, planning to use it as part of the new Sunfish Shack, then we added legs so we could put it in a PODS container and hide a Sunfish under it as part of our move.

Today we took the legs off and decided to use it as a temporary parking deck for SMEDLEY, with future plans to expand around it to make a seating area, maybe add a pergola and use it as a shaded spot to work on boats. We shimmed the deck up to be the same level as the floor of the Sunfish SHack, and added a ramp.

We are happy to report that all the boats are out of mud pits now, either in the Shack, on a deck, a sawhorse or on a trailer. One thing we had to check on SMEDLEY was to make sure that his bow was elevated enough to let water run to his deck drains. 

Here's the exciting video:

 04 Sep 21:

Cut new portholes on the starboard side for Skipper's cannon and got the windows tacked in. be continued...

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