Posts Tagged 'winter storage'

sunfish winter storage

today was an unseasonably warm day for January in Michigan – I think the temperatures were in the high 50’s this afternoon.  I’ve been unable to take my Sunfish up to my dad’s barn for winter storage due to various schedule conflicts and then snowy roads – so today was shaping up to be a perfect day to drive the hour or so west to his house and put it away in his barn.

I forgot to take any pictures today, but it looks pretty much the same as last year’s winter storage (see pic below)!  since no one was home – I even muscled the Sunfish up there by myself – it took a little creativity and some brute strength, but I was able to lift the boat up and fasten the 2×4 beams under it to hold it in place.

winter storage IMG_0073

when I was driving home, I did chance upon a VERY different way to store a Sunfish, and just had to stop and take a picture.  it looks like it was just tossed into the back of the old beat up wooden boat.

winter_storage_fail

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small sailboat garage storage

while flipping through old photos yesterday (when I found the photo of my 1st sail in a Sunfish), I also found this picture of how I used to store my old Super Porpoise when we used to live down in southeastern Indiana.  the Super Porpoise was shortly produced as a slightly larger version of the Sunfish, but with a lot of similar features, and the same lateen sail (although a tad larger sail area).

our garage at that house had a large amount of extra space above the garage doors.  I installed (4) heavy-duty eyebolts in the garage ceiling, making sure they were securely screwed into the wood trusses on the other side of the drywall.  I then just used a couple pieces of rope, maybe 1/2″ diameter standard rope you could find at a hardware store, so nothing fancy.  I think there were a few S-hooks to make it easy to connect the rope to the eyebolts.

as you can see, it actually was hanging below the garage door (in its open position), but was still high enough that our smaller sedan could be parked easily right below the boat.  I also tossed some more stuff on the boat as you can see the mast, as well as an old plastic kiddie pool for my son to play in during the hot summer days.

this would be a lighter-duty version of winter storage than what I’m currently using at my dad’s barn, with 2×4 hangers and a 2×4 cross beam holding up my 2 Sunfish.

sunfish winter storage

with the leaves changing colors and temperatures dropping pretty quickly here in Michigan, I have now put my Sunfish sailboats away for winter storage.  I had already put my newer Sunfish away a few weeks ago, but I still had my older one to haul up to my folks house and put away.  over the summer, I had kept it in my back yard on sawhorses, and while that kept it up off the ground, I hadn’t covered it with a tarp or anything, so leaves and the like had built up on it, a good coating of summer dirt.  so prior to putting it into storage, I hosed and washed it down, and then hit it quick with a little bit of polishing compound and a buffing wheel.

there is still some fiberglass work that could be down on this 45+ year old boat that polishing compound won’t do much for, but it does help clean up the boat pretty nicely, and it makes it easier to see where the boat could use some repairs.

after cleaning it up, I trailered the boat up to my folk’s house – and my dad graciously allowed me to store now (2) of my Sunfish in his barn.  I re-used the hanger system I built out of 2×4’s for the last winter storage, and just added (2) new hangers and cross-beams to support the 2nd Sunfish.  luckily, my brother and brother-in-law were in town to help me lift the boat up and fasten the cross-beams in place.

navigating past the goose, part 2

I have to admit, I shouldn’t have left out such an important detail from our Easter weekend.  no visit to Opa & Oma’s house goes by without a little friendly face time with Mr Goose.  he promptly lets all visitors know their place, and will offer his kind services showing us the way to drive down the driveway as he runs along side (if you didn’t watch the video before, check it out – this goose is crazy!).  and sure enough, he escorted us per usual as we left for church on Good Friday.

I’ve always know that the Goose had a fondness for water, as most geese do.  here he is swimming in the big pond:

but I didn’t realize that the goose has a certain interest in Sunfish sailing as well!

so tillerman… instead of navigating past the goose, I might just need to learn to navigate WITH the goose.

happy Easter weekend

we had a great weekend at my folk’s house over Easter weekend.  Saturday was a beautiful day, and we spent a good part of the day helping with yard work.  pruning trees, picking up sticks from the yard, and clearing some of the brush along the shoreline at the pond.  we also cleared out the brush near the rope swing that a few of us hung up in a tree near the pond probably more than 10 years ago.  the swing still works great – all the young boys loved it, and even Luke tested it out!

we’ve never tried to jump off the swing to land in the pond, as we’re not sure it’d reach that well, or if the pond would even be deep enough.  but a few of the younger boys thought it’d be fun to test the water in the pond – and several jumped right into the still very cold water.  luckily Opa & Oma (Grandpa & Grandma) have a hot tub that helped get the boys warmed back up after the pond jumping.

Sunday was a beautiful day, too – we went to church in the morning, and then visited with my grandparents for a short bit right after church.  the afternoon was spent playing outside, then a great Easter dinner, followed by the usual Easter egg hunt around the yard.

over the weekend, I walked around the yard a bit, and snapped a few pictures of the scenery around the ponds in my parent’s yard – a weeping willow starting to bud, reflected in the pond:

and the cascading waterfall from the smaller water ponds that my brothers built into the nearby hill – water is pumped up into the upper pond, and it waterfalls down to 2 more small ponds before dumping back into the big main pond.

we also got the Sunfish down from my dad’s barn, where I had been storing it during the winter, and I trailered it home tonight.  it’s still a bit too cold around here for me to sail, but I’m going to try to get some work done on it – maybe a leak test, and some trailer upgrades.

sunfish storage gone wrong

thankfully, this is not my Sunfish.

the picture was posted over at the Sunfish Forum a month or two ago by Alan Glos – I got his permission to share the picture here on my blog.  here’s how he described it:

Attached is a photo of what’s left of my neighbor’s 1960s vintage Sunfish hull after a recent fall windstorm on Cazenovia Lake here in Upstate New York. The hull is a total loss and it is off to the landfill for the “long dirt nap” after we chainsaw up the errant tree. R.I.P.

I’m glad I decided to use my dad’s barn for this year’s winter storage.

winter storage 2010-2011

to get my boat prepped for storage over the winter this year, I wanted to come up with a way to keep the inspection ports fully open to allow natural airflow through the (2) inspection ports I put in (I’d prefer a small fan, but the one I was using crashed out – to much constant running, maybe?).  I wanted to try to create some sort of barrier to keep rodents and bugs if possible from making a nice winter nest on the interior of my Sunfish, though.  I spent a few hours making these little screen covers for the inspection ports:

now before you criticize me for that piece of fine wood-working, keep in mind 2 things: it was quick and dirty, and I really really really HATE using a jigsaw.  I didn’t really have any other tool in my shop that would work any better, though, so that’s what I put together, and I think Norm Abrams would be mighty proud.

anyway, it’s made from a piece of 1/4″ plywood, with a piece of window screen stapled to the back.  I also added these little pieces of foam around the back perimeter to sort of seal the edges.  the 2 screws are attached to little blocks of wood, each with a small piece of the foam, and a quarter turn of a screwdriver from above will “clamp” the bug/rodent cover down over the inspection ports.

another thing I did towards the end of the summer or early fall was order a sail/spar bag from the Sailboat Garage (same folks that help run the Sunfish Class).  they recommended one a bit heavier duty than the “official” Sunfish version from Laser Performance, and so far I’m quite happy with it.  it is a full length zippered bag constructed of rugged, water resistant nylon, with the white webbing handles that make it easy to throw it over your shoulder to carry the sails, spars and mast down to the beach (order # MSF558 from the Sailboat Garage).

I had my usual helper that fall afternoon – Luke is modeling his lovely Burger King crown while sitting on top of the Sunfish.

for winter storage, I just keep the sails, spars and mast zippered up in the sail bag, and use bungees to hang it all from the roof of my garage:

last year, it was brutal ordeal to wrestle the Sunfish up into the 2nd floor of my dad’s barn (it really was brutal – I wrote about it here, if you want to re-live the pain), so I was really hesitant to try that same route this year.  instead, over the holiday break a few weeks back, I trailered the Sunfish up to my dad’s again, but this time decided to just hang the Sunfish from the floor joists of the barn.  the ceiling is pretty high, so it shouldn’t interfere with any of his stuff in the barn (unless he tries to wire up that extra ceiling fan hanging there!).

my brothers and brother-in-law helped me out this year, and we used my dad’s John Deere a little more wisely this time: we lifted the Sunfish laying flat and balanced it on the tractor front bucket, and used the tractor to lift and hold the Sunfish horizontal up near the joists.  after we screwed the (4) hangers into the floor joists, we had to only lift the Sunfish slightly and install the 2×4 cross beam.  I also threw in some scraps of fiberglass insulation as padding.  I’m sure there are better alternatives than that, but it was handy, and better than having the boat rest directly on the 2×4 cross beams.  I haven’t put a fan on it, but left the inspection ports open with the bug screens I talked about above.

we’ll see how it holds up over this winter, and it should be pretty easy to reverse the process in the spring!


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