Posts Tagged 'sunfish repairs'

old style Sunfish rudder repair [video]

Shoreline Sailboats just posted a great video showing some of the steps and process of converting an older style Sunfish rudder to the current rudder system.

Small Boat Restoration also has a good blog post “sunfish rudder conversion” about this same upgrade, with a lot of photos of the process as well.

old style rudder (photo by Small Boat Restoration)

new style rudder (photo by Small Boat Restoration)

all 1972 and newer Sunfish are equipped with the current “new” style of rudder, so this only applies to those of you who have currently, or are looking to buy, an older Sunfish.  back then, the manufacturer of the Sunfish was AMF, and they released a write-up with the procedure to upgrade the rudder.

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a DIY Sunfish rudder build [video]

saw this video posted on the Sunfish Forum.

thoughts? it certainly is pretty creative.  also quite simple and fairly low cost.

I didn’t realize you could flatten PVC like that – but I’d worry about it’s long term strength. pine and plywood also don’t strike me as the best suited for exposure to water, or having very much structural strength and stiffness.

it seems like old rudders are pretty readily available if you look around, so I’m not sure I’d try to recreate something that works if I can find an old one nearby to buy and maybe refinish if need be.  plus, I sail enough on the Great Lakes that I don’t think I’d trust sailing in heavy wind and waves with a home-made creation that might not hold up under the heavier loading from heavy sailing.

Sunfish hull repair method

here is an excellent video created by Shoreline Sailboats on Sunfish hull repair.  Shoreline Sailboats is an authorized Laser Performance dealer in western New York.

as an aside… it is nice to see Shoreline using the Total Boat product line from Jamestown Distributors.  I’ve purchased some of the Total Boat Thixo, but have not used it yet.  the Total Boat product line seems like a good alternative to West System products that is perhaps a little easier on the wallet!

pimp my boat: 1970 Sunfish restoration

the following is is from a contest put on by Jamestown Distributors (JD).  the contest was called “pimp my boat” and the contestants would post before and after pictures of boat repair/restoration projects that they had completed (presumably using some supplies from JD).  this particular contestant was repairing a 1970 Sunfish sailboat.

his “before” picture is downright frightening! but I guess it was only $50.

pmb_As-it-arrived

but after I’m sure quite a bit of work, the final result is mighty impressive!

pmb_IMG_1514

stop by the website for his project to see more pictures of the process and final results.  maybe it will give you an inspiration for a repair project this winter.

do you have any projects planned for your Sunfish during the winter months ahead?

the solar fish (a frankenboat)

fellow blogger Earwigoagin posted this gem on his blog a few days ago.  he was attending the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival and stumbled upon a modified Sunfish sailboat (or maybe a Sunfish clone? – it’s hard to tell).

the boat has had major modifications: the normal lateen sail on a Sunfish with the upper and lower boom and a triangular sail has been replaced by a single furling sail.  the cockpit has been chopped up and totally rebuilt – I’m pretty sure the daggerboard slot has to have been removed, and the cockpit enlarged, so that the driver can sit down inside the new larger cockpit more comfortably.  as Earwigoagin mentioned, this appears to be “a sit-in, non-hiking day sailor with a small cabin.”  there is also, a little solar panel up on top, which powers a small trolling motor.

overall, a pretty neat little bit of creative work to make a unique little boat for messing about on the water.  I’m not sure that a Sunfish would have been my 1st choice to start with for a project like this, but he seems to have done a great job and I’m sure has a lot of fun with it.

be sure to check out Earwigoagin‘s blog for more small boat & dinghy sailing topics.

sunfish inspection port & hull drying fan

this weekend, I decided to put an inspection port into my new(er) Sunfish. I’ve done this before – cutting holes in my older Sunfish.  this time, I wanted to avoid adding a port on the deck, so instead opted to put the inspection port in the wall of the cockpit.  this would also give me access to the back of the hiking strap attachment, so I could change that out as the current one in the boat was a bit worn out and nasty looking.

I first roughly traced the port onto the wall – this was more difficult than I had imagined because it was tough to get a Sharpie marker behind the lip of the inspection port at the right angle.  I ended up just tracing the inside of the port, and then roughly drawing an outer ring by hand.

some people use a jig-saw to cut in their inspection ports, but I feel that the jig-saw is just about the most worthless power tool known to man, and prefer to use my Roto-Zip, a rotary cutting tool.  I probably should have bought a better cutting bit, but I was able to cut it out no problem.

before I installed the port, I unscrewed the forward attachment for the hiking strap.  I didn’t want the backing nut or whatever the attachment could be to drop off into the hull and be lost.  in my case, though, the backing plate must have been threaded, because I couldn’t find any loose attachment, and it was a machine screw – so I probably could have probably changed it out without the port. oh well.

I installed a new hiking strap from Intensity Sails – at only $13 it is a great deal, and I’ve been very happy with it on my older Sunfish. (and if you look at the link above – the picture on their website is my older boat! – you would think I could get them for free!)  here’s the hiking strap installed in my newer Sunfish:

after that, I installed the inspection port.  you can buy various sizes of ports or deck plates at just about any sailing or boating website – I usually use the 5″ ports.  for installation, I usually run a small bead of 3M 4200 sealant behind the lip of the inspection port.  for fasteners, I used stainless steel oval head #8 x 3/4″ long screws with a nylon locking nut inside.

my newest creation is a drying fan that can be used to help dry out an older Sunfish that might have minor leaks and you come home from sailing with a little bit of water in the hull. for parts, you’ll need a small fan – you can usually find a decent one in an old computer tower, a power converter to get electricity to the fan (you might be able to use batteries, but I’m pretty sure the constant fan running would drain them way too fast), a small piece of screen, and an extra inspection port cover.

first, I cut out a hole in the extra inspection port cover for the fan.  the dimples in the cover for the handle are kind of in the way, so the cut-out isn’t exactly matched to the fan diameter, but it’s not a bad 1st attempt for a home-made job.  a co-worker gave me an old computer fan to use, and we also found an old cell phone charger converter that was close enough in voltage and amperage to the fan.  I mounted the fan to the port cover, and then used Super-Glue to fasten a small piece of window screen to the back of the cover to keep bugs and critters from getting through the opening.

if you’re not able to find an old computer fan and power converter, you can buy the fans pre-wired for a normal plug for about $15 to $20.  you can also buy one of these hull drying fans pre-made from Intensity Sails, but it’s pretty pricey at $80.


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