Posts Tagged 'sunfish parts'

sunfish rudder and daggerboard repair – progress

a long while back I posted about refinishing my Sunfish and Super Porpoise rudders and daggerboards.  I proceeded to sand down a bit of the finish on the Super Porpoise parts, but sailing seasons got in the way, along with various other winter woodworking projects, and I never got back to finishing them, or even starting on the Sunfish wood parts.

so this winter, I bit the bullet and plunged full bore into refinishing the wood parts from all (3) of my boats – (2) Sunfish and (1) Super Porpoise.  here is a look at the (2) Sunfish rudders.

the lower rudder is from my new(er) 2000 Sunfish, the upper rudder is from my 1960’s Sunfish.  strangely the older rudder seems to be in quite a bit better shape, and the newer rudder appears to have some type of finish glooped onto it, some sloppily gumming up the rudder spring as well.

step 1 was removing the hardware and inspecting the condition of each piece.  the older rudder has a couple cracks up near the head, and the drilled holes for the rudder pins are all misshapen from years of use.

the newer rudder is in similar condition at the rudder pin holes, with no noticeable cracks.  but the finish that was used is all gummed up and just looks horrible.  pretty severe were is noticeable at the one rudder pin hole.

the daggerboard from the newer Sunfish was coated with the same finish, and was likewise a sloppy mess.  step 2 would be to strip the finish from the wooden parts.  since I would be working in my make-shift woodshop in my basement, I opted for the Citristrip (“safer”) Paint & Varnish Gel.  after brushing the orange stripping agent on and letting it sit for a while, I then used various scrapers to remove the finish.

the Citristrip gel worked pretty well for the older wooden parts, but the (2) newer pieces with the strange finish were hardly phased by it.  I hit them with a 2nd coat, and let is sit and soak longer, but it didn’t work much better the 2nd time around.  after consulting with some a Sunfish expert (thanks Alan!), I think we determined that the sloppy finish was some type of epoxy, which made it that much more difficult to remove.

step 3 was thus my process to get each board to a stripped and ready-to-finish condition.  I used my random orbit sander, and worked my way through several grits, carefully starting with 40 grit.  normally, I wouldn’t use 40 grit, as it is quite rough, and even then I only used it for the flat portions, but extreme measures were required to get through that sloppy epoxy. 

I then would work my way up to 60, 80, 100, and 120 grit papers, and by then the boards felt pretty smooth.  I used a bit of 60 grit paper by hand on the edges, and then jumped right up to 150 grit to finish out smoothing the edges.  during the power-sanding, I wore a sanding mask, and had my large shop dust collector running right near the workpiece, as well as my air cleaner that is hanging from the floor joists to help keep dust down as much as possible.  every once in a while, I would empty the small bag that collects sanding sawdust on the random orbit sandpaper into a plastic jug – as I will be re-using some of the sawdust later for repairs.

I didn’t try to sand out some of the deep gouges, as you can see above, but will use a filler later on those areas.  some of the leading and trailing edges of the boards had some dry rot that I removed as best I could.  I used a block plane to slightly re-shape the daggerboard edges by hand.

step 4 is various repairs.  the upper ends of the daggerboard have holes of various shapes and sizes from the hardware that had kept the handle in place.  some were just stripped nail holes, some were bolt holes that had pulled right out of the board end grain.

I used some blue painter’s tape to dam off the end, as well as to close of the bottom of the board.  I then mixed up a batch of West System epoxy (I buy mine at Jamestown Distributors or US Composites).  I have the 105 resin and 206 slow hardener as shown above.  to this I mixed in some of the 404 high-density adhesive filler (white in color), and I added in some of the saved sawdust (in the plastic container on the left in the picture above) to get the epoxy mixture colored similar to the wood.

this picture is the end result – from the side the blue tape was on.  the other side needs to be sanded and smoothed down some as I didn’t apply the epoxy perfectly level.  but I was impressed at how well the simple blue painter’s tape worked on the bottom and end grain areas.  I will probably use this same mixture to fill in the out of round holes in the rudder heads, and just re-drill new holes after the epoxy has hardened.

for the cracked sections, I am going to try to reinforce the cracked area by drilling a hole and inserting a dowel, set in place with some epoxy.  I cut a small notch in my Super Porpoise rudder to create a flat area to start drilling.  I’m sure it would help immensely to have a drill press, or create some sort of jig – but I don’t have either, so I just free-hand drilled the 1/4″ diameter hole.  I had bought an 18″ long drill bit at the hardware store that worked well. for the dowel – I am using a stainless steel piece of 1/4″ diameter threaded rod, cut to length after I’ve drilled the hole.  it is shown below, only partially inserted into the drilled hole.  it won’t be visible after I’ve filled the hole with epoxy.

again, I just mixed up some of the West System epoxy (which with the metered pumps is a breeze to get the ratios correct).  this time I didn’t add any filler (although I probably could have used the 404 for added strength), and used the dowel to insert as much as I could down into the drilled hole before placing the threaded rod in there for good.  I will use this same repair on the cracked Sunfish rudder head.

with the remainder of the epoxy I had mixed up, I added some 407 low-density fairing filler (the 404 sets up really hard and is difficult to sand, the 407 is softer and easier to sand into a nice finish).  the 407 filler is already a brown color, but I think I added some sawdust anyway.  I then just applied this to various small gouges and nicks on the various rudders and daggerboards to fill any spots as required.

after this has dried and hardened, I will sand the patched areas smooth, and do a final check on each board before the finishing process can begin.

I still have some work to do (dowels in the Sunfish rudder head, epoxy the Sunfish rudder pin holes to then re-drill, etc), but progress has been made.  now the weather has been crazy warm in Michigan this late winter(?) and early spring, so I’ve got to get in high gear to make sure the parts are ready for sailing as soon as possible.

sunfish parts storage

a few weekends back, I was getting annoyed with my random large and cumbersome parts for my Sunfish sailboats getting piled haphazardly on various shelves in the garage, and just adding to the general state of mess that exists in my garage.  I was specifically thinking of the rudder & tiller combination and the daggerboard(s) that I had, and trying to come up with a better storage solution for them.

so this is my solution – I built (2) brackets out of a piece of 2×4 and 3/4″ diameter wooden dowels. each 3/4″ diameter wooden dowel is about 12″ long, and (2) maybe 24″ long pieces of a 2×4 to make the set.  I drilled a 3/4″ diameter hole in the 2×4 (approximately 3″ apart) and used a little wood glue to hold the dowels in place.  then I just screwed the brackets into the wall studs in just about the only empty space along my garage walls – which happens to be up above where the back garage entry door swings open against the wall.

so on my storage rack, you can see (2) wooden daggerboards, my FRP replica daggerboard from Intensity Sails, (2) rudder & tillers (the rudders are hanging behind the blue rope), plus my collapsible paddle, and some various bits of rope hanging there as well.  up on the top, I have my small tupperware box that I keep most of my other sailing gear in – sailing gloves, a cat bag to go in an inspection port, sunscreen, a whistle, my floating clip thing to hook onto my glasses, a sponge for the cockpit, and other various little things I bring along.  I’m extremely happy with the storage rack – much more organized than I had been with the parts before.

sunfish hiking straps

here are 2 videos that I just recently saw posted at the Yahoo Sunfish Sailor Group about modifications to make your hiking strap have some ability to adjust the tension on the hiking strap while sailing.

in this first video, Dayton Colie goes into a little detail on how David Loring, the 3-time Sunfish Worlds champion, customizes his hiking strap to give him to capability to adjust the tension on the hiking strap while in the middle of racing out on the water.  it does involve making a custom attachment using webbing material and some grommets.

Dayton Colie and David Loring collaborated to make a pretty sweet DVD called “Back to Basics for Sunfish World Championship Speed” – it’s available from most Sunfish dealers, including Intensity Sails.  the video could stand to be updated for HD, but it is still a great video, with rigging tips as well as tips for while out on the water.

in the second video, Eduardo Cordero and Paul-Jon Patin display some what their sailing coaching school, Starboard Passage, has to offer.  the hiking strap customization is at about 0:55 with more comments throughout the video about it.

there are also a ton of pictures on Sunfish rigging at Starboard Passage.

Annapolis Performance Sailing: 20 years

after my last post, I wanted to make sure that I don’t give the impression that I don’t like Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) or the great service that they provide. I’ve ordered several parts from them, and will continue to do so in the future.  they have also started a blog – the APS Stern Scoop, providing commentary from employees (all “racing” sailors), as well as good product reviews, and notices of sales at APS.

this year APS celebrates their 20th year in business – as the business started in 1991 when the founder, Kyle Gross:

…recognized the need for a local business that would supply dinghy racers with everything they needed – from foul weather gear to obscure boat parts that seemed impossible to find.

you can find a pretty thorough history on the APS website, including old magazine covers, a video, and an interview with Kyle Gross.  Kyle talks a bit about changes over the last 20 years:

The other thing has been the threat to sailing. Perceived (and in many cases, real) barriers: water access, cost, historically, an elitism had to be overcome. It seems that every sport has become a little more intense, whether it’s lacrosse or soccer or whatever you happen to do , there’s more equipment, the bar has been raised, it’s a bigger commitment. Therefore, the person that participated in 4 to 8 activities from organized sports to recreational whatever it is—scuba diving, I think the economic pressures and the commitment levels have required that people pick their top 1, 2, or 3 and there’s no room for others. There are so many barriers to sailing that it’s an easy one to just drop off of people’s radar, and it’s hard to overcome that. The sport has grown, and trust me, I’ve been happy for that change.

[full disclosure: this is not a sponsored post or anything like that - just wanted to pass on the news for their 20th anniversary.]

spring thaw at Torresen Marine

this Saturday, March 12th, Torresen Marine in Muskegon, Michigan is holding their “spring thaw” event.

the event will feature several seminars during the course of the day:

  • 9:00 a.m. Fog, Lightning & Great Lake Storms – Capt. Jack Klang of Quantum Sails
  • 10:30 a.m. Blister Repair & Prevention – Kevin Kyle of Interlux Yacht Finishes
  • 11:30 a.m. Introduction to NOAA in Muskegon: Science, Charting, Forecasts & Operations – Dennis Donahue
  • 12:30 p.m. New & Current Product Line-up – Jeff Fink of Raymarine
  • 1:30 p.m. What’s Happening at GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute? – Amanda Syers
  • 2:30 p.m. Successful Application & Maintenance of Performance Coatings – Bob Harris of Pettit Paint
  • 3:30 p.m. Ten Sailing Skills Every Wife Should Know (Husbands welcome & encouraged) – Capt. Jack Klang of Quantum Sails

I’m probably not going to drive all the way across the state for it, but it does look interesting.  there should be several suppliers on site, including representatives from Laser Performance, Harken, and Interlux.

that weekend, they will also be offering a sale on Laser and Sunfish sailboats – $300 off a 2011 model.


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