By: Barry Marshall, OYC Fleet Administrator
In 2008-9, a group of OYC members built four Optimist sailboats, known as Optis, to use for teaching young people to sail. This very successful program is still operating today. Soon afterward, a Sunfish was donated to the OYC for teaching older aspiring sailors. Today, the OYC has six Sunfish plus the original four Optis. All are used in the “Learn to Sail” programs held in June or July each year.
Young and beginner sailors have one thing in common. They must learn to steer, stop, and dock their boats, particularly in windy conditions. This results in the need to closely monitor the condition of the boats and make any necessary repairs to keep them safe and fun to sail.
Following a late 2022 survey, it was decided that a comprehensive repair and maintenance program for the Sunfish fleet was urgently required. Some of the boats had damage that needed immediate attention to make them look good, but more importantly to ensure they were safe to sail.
An appeal for help was posted on Nabr, and 18 people responded. My sincere thanks go to them all. Without their support, coping with the nature, diversity, and volume of the work would have been a major task. In the end, we completed everything that needed to be done in just six weeks!
The project was divided into four areas to make it more efficient and easier to manage. These were:
1) Rebuild the dock box which houses the masts, sails, rudders, and dagger boards for each Sunfish. The one in use had served its purpose well. Because of its location on A-dock at the Marina, it had suffered the ravages of sun, wind, and bad weather. It definitely needed to be replaced.
2) Repair, sand, and varnish the dagger boards and rudders to prevent further deterioration.
3) Repair and or replace missing or damaged items on the boats, plus fixing holes and damaged areas on the hulls. In some cases, the holes had allowed a considerable amount of water to get into the hulls, causing internal wooden components to rot and disintegrate.
4) Lastly, four of the boats were completely repainted and striped.
The leaders of the tasks were Bob Burgess, Joe Minoski and Mark Richert.
Bob Burgess: Ably assisted by Paul Hotz, Bob led the repair and maintenance work on the boats themselves. Bob is a master of this type of work and an inspiration to the rest of the team composed of Buzz Savage, Dave Malcolm, Joe Vaites, Fred Levine, and Kevin Sheehan. I provided our gar-age and courtyard area for the work. It proved to be very suitable. It was also close to our fridge, which served to quench our thirst at the end of dusty and solvent-filled afternoons.
Joe Minoski: Joe designed and built a new dock box with support from Dave Chiasson, Kevin Sheehan, Mike McGauvran, and Bob Fatscher. This turned out to be a very challenging job, as it essentially required the box to be built from entirely new components. By good fortune, a new resident, Dave Whitten, arranged for all the external lumber to be donated by the company he worked for. This material had been thermally treated and should result in a 20-year service life. Thank you, Dave!
Mark Rickert: Mark, with support from Kevin Sheehan, did a wonderful job rejuvenating and repairing the rudders and dagger boards. They now look brand new.
The OYC plans to build a new storage area for its fleet of Optis and Sunfish just below Dockside on the way down to the Marina. This will be a great improvement, because all the “teaching” boats will be in one location and better protected from the weather. The completion date is currently not available.
The whole project emphasized again how strong volunteerism is within the community and the OYC. All who participated enjoyed the work and camara-derie and are proud of the results they achieved.