As I mentioned previously, and you no doubt remember well, I have been given a Sunfish sailboat. I had no idea of the condition, but you can pretty much be sure no one is going to give you something in perfect condition. I went over to see it Thursday, and even I was a bit surprised by the condition. The poor boat had been parked in 2001 and had not moved since. It was sorely in need of some TLC -tender loving care. The people that had been given the boat were not sailboat people, but they were so friendly I just liked them instantly. They were so happy to have the boat go to a new home too. Happiness all around!
My phone’s battery died just as I pulled up to the house, so I don’t have any “first look” pictures. I charged it up while there and then was able to take a few. One surprising detail was that the trailer had sunk into the dirt up to the trailer frame, about half the depth of the tires. The tongue had sunk to a depth of about 4 inches. My first order of business was to dig it free. Once I got the tongue free and bailed out the cockpit I tried to lift it and it WOULDN’T BUDGE! These little sunfish don’t weigh that much. What could it be? It had a tiny fitting on the top starboard side of the boat. Hmmmmm, that’s looks interesting. I could see water down in it. Chuck the helpful neighbor and I tilted it on it’s side.
2012-04-05 5.59 pm - boat tilted to drain
There are several things to notice in this picture. First at the front of the boat, actually under it, you can see the trailer post sticking up out of the ground. The tongue is still buried there. Second, you see the black scuz on the bow. That’s where the tarp wasn’t. Last, look carefully at the bottom of the boat in the center near the ground.
WOW, look at that stream of water!
close up view of water squirting out of boat
It’s under a lot of pressure. I sat and watched it drain. For 30 minutes!
2012-04-05 6.30 pm - drain almost complete
With the water out, the boat was light enough to lift off. Then I yanked the trailer out of the ground. In pieces. First the frame, then the wheels and axel. The springs had broken and rusted away. Probably partly due to the extreme weight of the boat full of water. Amazingly, the tires looked like they were in good shape! Helpful neighbor Chuck offered to see if we could use his compressor and get them filled up. We grunted, squeezed, strapped, sprayed WD-40, used glue, etc. and finally both tires were seated and filled. Four days later as I’m writing this, they are still rock solid. Yay!
I took the wheels/axel and frame assembly and put them in the back of my truck. My plan is to buy the springs and bolts needed to put the trailer back together. Once that’s back together, I can bring the boat back to my place and store it on the trailer. When I get the boat I think I’ll swing through a car wash and see if i can get some of that black stuff off the boat.
A very compressed trailer
The trailer frame is aluminum, so it isn’t rusted, but it does look dirty. The axle, although solid and strong and still very functional, is very rusty. I’d like to do something to make it look better, but not sure what to treat it with. Any suggestions?
It will also need new lights and new carpet on the runners. On the whole, it’s not really in that bad of shape. I’m so excited