Is it worth it to fix the sunfish?

After receiving the unwelcome and discouraging guidance from that well known west coast Catalina supplier that I should take the Catalina 22 to a boat yard to finish the keel weldment repair, I redirected my attention to the Sunfish I’ve carried around with me for the last 2 years.

This is what it looked like when I first saw it:

Being given a sunfish

First look at the Sunfish

Here is what it looked like recently when I took out the splash guard grommets:

Recent sunfish photo

Recent sunfish photo

I’ve been wavering back and forth about just repainting it as is, or removing the beat up trim first. It will cost around $100 to get replacement trim for it, so it’s not exactly a trivial matter. I decided to take the trim off carefully and see if I could maybe polish up the trim and reuse it. This was fine for the bow and starboard trim.  The rivets don’t actually go all the way through the trim.  They just go through the top layer and into the fiberglass.  First you drill out the center…

drill out the rivet

drill out the rivet

just…enough.. to get the top to pop off.

rivet drill out complete

rivet drill out complete

Starting at the end of the trim piece, I just pried the trim over the remaining rivet post and off it came.  Easy as pie.  It’s interesting to see that the original paint job was done before the trim was added.  Very nice Bicentennial stripe there – this is a 1976 Sunfish and the stripes match the old (rotted and useless but with pretty red white and blue colors) sail.

Old Bicentennial stripe

Old Bicentennial stripe

Once I got to the third and last piece on the port side it was a different story.  I broke a drill bit…. and another drill bit.  I noticed these rivets seemed to be bigger than the other ones.

Broke a drill bit

Broke a drill bit

And I was having trouble getting the trim off once the rivet was off.  It. Just. Would. Not. Come. Off!!!  Then I could see why.  It had been caulked in this spot.  Hmmmm….

It just won't come off!

looks like some kind of caulk

Then I saw that these rivets were all the way through the trim.  This boat has already been through a repair job.  I finally got  the last piece of trim off, but unfortunately, it was in about 6 pieces.  So much for reusing the trim.

Not reusing this trim for sure

Not reusing this trim for sure

And this lovely site in the picture below was revealed.  The top has separated from the bottom.
Here you can see there is caulk in the join that might be sealing it – and might not.

hull split

hull split

A little further aft it looks like the hull is fully separated.  In addition, there are quite a few spots around the hull flange that are in pretty bad shape.  Here is the view from the bottom.  Almost everywhere that had a large rivet (about 3 feet on the port aft quarter) it looks like this.

other damage

other damage

So.  I’m looking at:

$100 full trim replacement
$100 fiberglass supplies (epoxy, catalyst, cloth, rollers, etc.)
$100 complete sand, paint and gelcoat,
$250 replacement hardware and running gear,
$350 new sail.  (May be able to repair the one I have, but I doubt it)

At least $900 .  I just looked on craigslist and I can get a great looking one for $650.

What to do?

I’m discouraged.  I’m not making progress on either of my boat projects.  I don’t think I’m a very good CapnRehab.

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7 thoughts on “Is it worth it to fix the sunfish?

  1. Hey ya..im Chris Howell from Titusville Florida. I am a member of the Titusville Sailing Club (Rear Commodore) im am state certification fiberglass tech. I have repaired about six sunfish at the club. If you look around parts can be cheap! These boats are built with poly resins and hand lay up so repair it the same. Resin is cheaper! Just as strong! If layed up correctly. Any help ive been repairing boats for 30+ years small and large boats. My email is chrisgowell580@yahoo.com. Enjoy helping others!

  2. I’d go look at the one on Craigs List to see if it looks as good in person as it does in the picture. Your time is valuable, so if the Craigs List one is as good as it seems, I’d go with that one.
    Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and not be stubborn.

  3. Sometimes it’s not about the money. But I can tell you that enemy though my CatLina project took 4 times longer and cost three times as much S first projected. I did sell it at a modest profit.
    The income by thT time seemed diminished but the personal accomplishment was overwhelmingly favorable.
    One step at a time. Work in the moment.

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