buying a Sunfish on eBay

digging through all of my sailing notes, registrations, and miscellaneous paperwork that I’ve been saving the past few years, I managed to dig up the original eBay listing for my second boat – this one a true Sunfish, that I ended up bidding on  and winning back in May of 2005:

l960’s era AMF Sunfish Sailboat

Length – 14’Width – 4′- 10″
Complete with mast, sail/spars, sail bag, dagger board, rudder, trailer, and trailer mast/boom brackets.  This boat was made in the mid 1960’s and purchased by my parents in 1971. I bought the boat from my parents 1980 when I moved out on my own.

  • The deck has been repainted (Dupont Imron – Kelly Green) and the hull with Marine Epoxy – White (both via spray gun, not brush). The boat originally had a turquoise green color deck and White hull.
  • The deck is in good shape – a few minor scratches and one 6″ length crack in the gel coat in front of splash shield. This hasn’t changed since we bought the boat.
  • I added a cleat just behind the dagger board for the mainsheet (line which controls sail).
  • Rudder and Dagger board in excellent shape. The original rudder (old Sunfish style) was replaced with the current style design in the 1970’s.
  • The aluminum trim surrounding the boat is intact/not broken – no missing rivets.
  • The paint on the keel is scratched up from taking in and out of the water. There are a few scratches or either side of the keel. The bottom surface overall is in good shape – scratch free. The trailer pads and bumpers have left some discoloration on the paint.
  • The sail is in outstanding shape – always dried out after each use and rolled up when stored – no creases that can cut down the life of a sail. No missing/damaged nylon sail clips. Sail and spars were purchased new in the 1970’s. Lines are all in excellent  shape.
  • The cotton sail bag was made by my mom in the late 70’s and has a few holes/tears in it. If you’re good, a sewing machine you could make another one or bid for one on ebay!
  • The boat has been garage stored until 6 years ago and since then has been stored outside covered. The sail/spars/mast/rudder/daggerboard have always been garage stored.
  • The trailer was made by Midwest Trailer and has the “Shore Landr” brand label on it. The trailer was “painted”, not galvanized. A good bit of the paint has come off and I have never repainted. A wire brush and a can of rustoleum, would resolve if the appearance matters to you.
  • The trailer includes wooden sail brackets to make for quick setup and tear down. Trailer lights all function as I’ve maintained/updated wiring as required. Tires both have a lot of tread left on them.

This is a great boat for both adults and kids to learn to sail – relatively stable but fast enough to have a lot of fun. This is a one or two person boat. If you capsize, it’s easy to get back up quickly. Controls are simple – just mainsheet and a rudder – no jib to fuss with! Two people can easily pick up the boat when you’re not using the trailer.

This boat is going unused and my wife wants the space so I’m hoping to find a buyer who will start using this again and enjoy it as much as my family has. Pictures are included but if you’ve questions, please contact me.

The winning bidder is required to pick the boat and trailer – I am not offering shipping. I am not supplying a temporary license plate for the trailer. The boat will be available for pickup to occur between 5/31 and 6/10 – beyond that requires discussion as I may be unavailable due to professional commitments. If you bid and have “negative feedback”, unless you contact me with an explanation. I will reserve the right to not accept your bid.

I was particularly interested in this ebay listing, because the seller happened to be located in the town right next to me, so a maximum expected drive of maybe 30 minutes, depending on his specific location.  I immediately contacted the seller, and asked if I could come and personally inspect the boat prior to making a bid on ebay, which he agreed to (and ended up being only about 10 minutes down the road from me).  Call me foolish/naive/headstrong, but I even brought a wad of cash to see if I could buy it outright then and there… but he felt that since another person had already made a bid on the ebay listing, he couldn’t pull the ad… probably the right thing to do.  so, instead, I kept an eye on the ebay listing, and ended up being the winning bidder!

Again, not sure if it was the wisest, but I think the fact that the boat was so close to me probably swayed my opinion some, and allowed me to bid maybe slightly more than I would have otherwise, knowing that I wasn’t going to have to go pick up the boat out of state, potentially hours away.  this was before I was familiar with craigslist (was it even around then?), which these days would probably yield more local options for buying a sunfish.  again, in retrospect, because I had the opportunity to visually inspect the boat prior to purchasing it – I wish I had done a few things: for example, I probably should have weighed the hull, to get an idea if it was leaky and/or waterlogged, and if the seller had let me, maybe even do a quick leak test to see if I could have found any leaks.  call it a lesson learned, I guess.

Either way, I now had 2 Sunfish-style boats, and finally a trailer to transport one of them, or potentially both of them if need be. why a 2nd fish you might ask?  mostly because I was really frustrated with not having a trailer, and the difficulty I was having trying to find spare (used) parts to fix up the Super Porpoise.  I reckon I could’ve just found an old trailer, but for whatever reason, that didn’t specifically cross my mind.  I figure that now with 2 ‘Fish, as my boys get older and learn to sail on their own, we can take them both out and race the 2 boats against each other.

Now I just needed to get out and start sailing the new Fish!

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