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Thread: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

  1. #1
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    Default 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    We came across our 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA in 2013 near Greer, SC while we were picking up a 1963 wooden Sunfish hull. We had to cut the grass and dig her out of a barn. Named her ZSA ZSA, like Ms Gabor from the show Green Acres.....Spoiler Alert....keep reading.





    Skipper sailed ZSA ZSA with a borrowed sail and the boat leaked a lot. We set the boat aside for a few years while we worked on other projects.



    A few years later we are ready to repair the bottom and remove excess weight. Had to pull out foam that the builder added and some extra framing. The boat appears to be built from a factory kit, lots of parts, fasteners and hardware that look Alcorty and then the added framing with non marine grade wood, screws and nails.





    ZSA ZSA's blog
    Last edited by signalcharlie; 11-23-2018 at 12:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish


  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Taking out the extra bits. Deconstruction complete.




  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    I thought you might like to look at this, They are Australian Sailfish, the blue and white sail is mine, built in the early 1960's by my cousin and myself.
    Similar in many ways with your Alcort, but with a big fully battened sail. Over the last 2 years the class has seen a big resurgence as older boats and skippers, and new boats are added to the active list.
    https://australiansailfish.wordpress.com/2018-icwdr-2/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Thanks skuthorp, glad to know there are still small wooden boat sailors out there....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Nice video.
    When did they switch to glass? Early 1960s?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Alcort switched to glass late 50s or early 60s, not sure if they did the Sunfish and Super Sailfish MKII at the same time.

    1963 Fiberglass Super Sailfish MKII SWEETNESS.

    Audrey Sweetness heading out.jpg

    Makes a stable 93 pound paddleboard. Something to consider for bigger folks, the crew capacity is 400 pounds, whereas our lightweight SUP is 180 pounds.

    Audrey Sweetness stand up paddle.jpg

    L-R 1963 wooden Alcort Sunfish, 195? wooden Alcort Super Sailfish and 1963 fiberglass Alcort Super Sailfish MKII.

    Alcort boats Chip Zsa Zsa Sweetness.jpg

    Kent
    Last edited by signalcharlie; 11-17-2018 at 01:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Thats cool. Very working man type finish. I like it.
    Quote Originally Posted by isla View Post
    It's difficult to explain virtue signalling, as I was just saying to my Muslim friends over a fair-trade coffee in our local feminist bookshop.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    They are fun little boats. I’m enjoying seeing your progress.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    oh cool, Plank sides and ply bottom and deck?


    more please! what fun.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    oh cool, Plank sides and ply bottom and deck?
    Hi Dan, yes the sides are oak and they plywood is DF. Several lightweight plywood frames, a daggerboard trunk and mast step box.

    Might be fun to build just the hull and rig it as a fishing SUP/kayak.

    Cheers
    Kent

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    interesting, oak sides, do you suppose the curve of sides at the bow was steam bent? oak should hold the nails well.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    interesting, oak sides, do you suppose the curve of sides at the bow was steam bent? oak should hold the nails well.
    I'm not sure, I know the set of plans for the homebuilt version called for kerfs. I'll look closer but I didn't notice kerfs while the bottom was coming off. UPDATE: No kerfs, the sides are about 1/2inch (+) aka 0-0-4+

    kb
    Last edited by signalcharlie; 11-23-2018 at 12:37 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    I learned to sail on a glass sailfish when I was 6. Went on to a Hobie18, other go fast sailboats, then a trip to the dark side, then back. Brings back memories.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    I like the foam inside. If there is a leak they will keep the water out. They weigh nothing.
    I love the smell of fresh cut plywood in the morning.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Took out corroded fasteners and put in a new butt joint, we think there was repair to this area from the top and a new section of deck beam added. We reinforced the deck beam and used THIXO to fasten the marine grade plywood butt joint.





    Sealed up old nail holes and a split in the keel.



    2 coats of TotalBoat WetEdge polyurethane so protect plywood from moisture.




  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish


  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Geeze what a cool hobby, collecting these old wood Alcorts!
    I wuz gonna say, no need to trash the keel if it's not rotten, just epoxy it...but you got it!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    It is surprising how much weather they will take.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    The pour-in-place foam is deadly in a boat like this. It does keep the water out for a while, but it also absorbs some when it gets wet. It gradually gets heavier and heavier. I had a friend with a well-foamed small sailboat that was in that state. He liked the way it went through the waves, instead of over them, until the day it turned into a submarine.

    A better bet for permanent flotation are air bottles. Fill the hull with 2 liter pop bottles, well sealed. Put a drain hole in it, and a deck plate or plates so air can be blown through to dry the hull.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Shop Local, trip to our local lumber yard for some 1/4 inch A/B marine plywood, 2 sheets to make up the bottom panels for the Super Sailfish. The beam is about 3 feet, with a 1 inch center keel strip, so we'll split the sheets down the middle longwise and scarf two 8 foot panels to make up the 13' 7" length. The factory scarf was a step scarf, we might try to replicate that, or just do a 12:1 scarf.

    boat lumber trailer plywood willow eddie.jpg

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Rough cut the bottom panels, cut a keyed scarf similar to what we found on the wooden Sunfish, just made several passes with a circular saw and cleaned up the scarf with a jack plane and rabbet plane. Tacked the panels in place with a centering keel strip, strapped them down to set some bend.

    fullsizeoutput_d76.jpg

    IMG_7701.jpg

    IMG_7702.jpg

    IMG_7703.jpg

    IMG_7704.jpg

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Keel strip cut.

    IMG_7732.jpg

    Limber holes

    IMG_7746.jpg

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    First panel THIXOd and nailed.

    IMG_7756.jpg

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Looking good! I love the Halloween pirates in the background of some of the pictures. what type of wood did you use for the keel strip?

  26. #26
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Any idea what glue was used in her original construction? I'm restoring an early 1960's build and the original brownish glue, an epoxy of some sort, has the habit of failing completely with just a bump with a mallet. In aAustralian Sailfish I built in 1963 I had the same trouble with wooden mast and boom, I found I could split them with my thumb! The present boat has the same mast problems and I am taping all the seams despite them being held with bronze screws and nails just to make sure it doesn't leak. I was thinking that If I bumped a pier she might just fall apart!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerwagon View Post
    Looking good! I love the Halloween pirates in the background of some of the pictures. what type of wood did you use for the keel strip?
    Thanks, that's our salty crew aboard their wooden pirate ship, yard art, fun to make. I'm on the helm thinking I'm steering, that's the Skipper in the crow's nest, she has a hidden control line running down to the rudder

    IMG_7303.jpg

    2 sheets of 1/2 inch marine grade plywood, patterns from The Winfield Collection.

    IMG_7255.jpg

    We used cypress for the keel strip, the original seemed to be oak. As best we can tell the solid bits were oak and the plywood mahogany. Whatever the keel strip was, the squirrels loved it! Very helpful with the deconstruction

    Zsa Zsa bow keel strip rot.jpg

    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Any idea what glue was used in her original construction?
    Those Aussie Sailfish are cool, fun looking boats. I think the glue used was Resorcinol or Weldwood, vey popular in the 50s. It came as a powder. It held up well, the plywood sheared before the glue, but there were a lot of brittle fracture areas.

    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    The ply is trimmed after it is fastened, Alcort provided a butt gauge to draw the bottom panel nailing line. I had to make my own.

    IMG_7758.jpg

    Added a nail pilot hole spacing template to the butt gauge, the Alcort assembly instructions recommend spacing the nails every 12 inches to tack the panel down and then put nails every 1 3/4 inches. That math hurt my head, so I made the holes every 2 inches. Pilot holes drilled with a 5/64th inch bit.

    IMG_7757.jpg



    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper

  30. #30
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Alcort put out wooden kits for the Standard Sailfish, Super Sailfish and Sunfish from the early 1950s until the late 60s, they came with assembly instructions. There are some important measurements throughout the instructions for parts placement and fastener sizes. The instructions and pictures offer great insight into the construction of the boats.

    IMG_7709.jpg

    IMG_7708.jpg

    Alcort also published a 2 page set of plans to build a Super Sailfish, we are taking measurements to see how our boat measures up. Taking measurements of the frame width, frame center and outer heights, longeron dimensions, side thickness and heights. Also getting a lot of reference photos so we can publish an in depth owners manual

    fullsizeoutput_d9f.jpg

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    The plans and the assembly instructions can be found in the Yahoo Group Sunfish_Sailor Files under Wooden Fish
    Last edited by signalcharlie; 11-23-2018 at 07:04 AM.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    The Alcort Sailfish plans, with many thanks to Alcort and the Sunfish_Sailor crew for making them available and legible. Wayne crossed the bar in 2010, I am the current Owner of the group and Librarian, so if you need additional information please ask

    Attachment 26930

    Attachment 26931

    Attachment 26929

    FMI: Master Copy of the pdf located in Yahoo Group Sunfish_Sailor Files Wooden Fish

    Cheers
    Kent
    Last edited by signalcharlie; 11-23-2018 at 07:26 AM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Sailfish Assembly Instructions, in case you lost the instructions to your kit. We think this would be a starter build and a fun boat.

    Attachment 26937

    Attachment 26938

    Attachment 26939

    Find the Butt Gauge!

    Attachment 26940
    Last edited by signalcharlie; 11-23-2018 at 07:46 AM.

  33. #33
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  34. #34
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: 1950s Alcort Super Sailfish

    Just a slight correction to the thread: Zsa Zsa Gabor was not the actress who played Lisa on Green Acres. That was her sister Eva. They look rather similar. As for the boats, they look like a lot of fun. I never had one, but I remember seeing lots of them as a kid on Lake St. Clair.

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