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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
These are shots of the cockpit cut open, the midship knees in, the rear bulkhead glued, screwed and glassed and a coat of gray on the deck and bottom. Next we have to install the bow bulkhead, combing and hardware. After that is the dodger canvas and frame and final coats of gray with camo pattern.
 

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Lookin' good.I have a Sunfish that I'm about done converting.It's funny,everyone has a different idea
of what they want.Mine's quite a bit different than yours.Keep up the good work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What are you doing to your? And what type of hunting will you be building it for? I have seen a lot of guys tear off the deck, which I think is unnecessary. Putting any kind of motor on it it also not complementary to the hull design (unless you are going to put a VERY small hp for very small distances.) I intend to build a bow bulkhead to add rigidity and seal off the bow area, build floorboards and a spray dodger and that's it. I will tow it to the flats with my Dory and put out a stool of brant, buffies and other divers. I have an awesome pumpkin seed layout hull that is great, but REALLY heavy, which spawned this, lighter, low profile design.
 

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Here's one for ya. I never seen one, but read about guys making a traditional pumpkin seed shaped layout boat ( in the style of the Busick or the MLB Layouts) out of an old Sunfish. I always wondered how it wood actually worked but , but it sounds like it could be fine. They remove the splash rails of the Sunfish, close in the cockpit hole by screwing in and fiberglassing in plywood from inside the the cockpit. Then they lay fiberglass into the depression ( a layer of "rove" cloth should fill it) that builds it up to that of the existing deck , and overlap glass and resin well onto the deck. This plugs up the cockpit hole 100% waterproof and this will be the new bottom. Then they fiberglass the seam between the deck and hull all the way around. Then, they flip her over and cut a new cockpit out of the old bottom. You can choose to remove the plywood that supported the fiberglass work if you used a releasing agent, then clean away the releasing agent 100% and lay glass and overlap it onto the new inside bottom to make it even stronger. This is what I would do rather than just glassing over the plywood. Now you have a very flat bottomed layout boat ( which is what they all are) with a bulging top ( which was once the bottom) . This also resembles a traditional layout . Painting her grey and add a spray shield and there you go. I would also add foam in the bow and stern for swamping bouyancy. Wa la..... A poor man's layout boat. I think just looking at the shape of a Sunfish, I would want to shorten her long length, which is beautiful for a sailboat or even a little duckboat but not a layout, by cutting some off the stern and fiberglassing a plywood one back in to make her more of a pumpkin seed shape, before I did anything. Also the shorter length would fit into a P/U bed better. She won't be as wide as a traditional layout, but for protected waters, she'd get some of that " in your face" bird landing action, with your decoys at your elbows. Add two oar sockets to the deck and get a pair of lightweight oars and you can row her to and from your " mothership "jonboat, or a kayak paddle. Again, protected waters only.

Concerning the Sunfish posted above, looking great! I like the rear deck that you cut some of it away, I'd and add verticle boards near the gunnels to hold decoys, resembling the Barnegut Bay Sneakbox. Just an idea, not a criticsm. Also, I think I would like traditional flip boards on either side of the cockpit. What do you think?
 

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That looks nice awspaniel. I've been looking to buy or build a similar boat. Something that my dog and I can hunt out of and that will accept a small outboard. Did you cut that 2 feet off the stern? Is it stable enough to take out on some of the smaller Finger Lakes?
 

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Ww,me and another guy that hunts with me have been talking about building a some boats that would be better suited for larger water ,maybe we can do a couple of boats from scratch as a group project after hunting season
 

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WOW, that does look real nice. The 2' shorter looks to be in proportion to the rest of the boat. Real good eye. Nice big cockpit. Are you going to add strips or straps etc to hold grass? What sized motor are you thinking about? That area near the transom, flotation? Just an idea, a strip of 3 inch, 4 inch? wood that runs the length of the inside, attached to the angled part of the knees, would provide storage of stuff. I'd add mesh material in each chamber, like cut up plastic milk crate material, to keep stuff off the floor and water.

Concerning the big water question. I would say protected water only, cause the water always kicks up a lot more than when you left the ramp.
 

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I'd love to DukBum. But a lack of time and money make starting from scratch a lot more difficult for me than doing a sailboat conversion.

However, those AA Broadbill look nice I wouldn't mind building one like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Spaniel,
Classic gut pile in the background, looks like my yard. Looks like nice work, good luck. I am sure a spaniel would be perfect for that, try it with a Chessy and you may want to keep that extra 2'!
As for my boat, I have a beautiful, old, tongue and groove pumpkin seed that I have to take pics of (similar to a MLB) but you can't believe how heavy it is. They used to davit it off the deck of a tong boat when weight didn't matter, and even helped steady the boat. I am looking for clean lines, so I am trying to stay away from high gunnels and decoy racks, but I know it would look really cool. Will keep you posted, should make more progress this weekend.
 

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Slack,I think the sunfish should be a great layout boat.I have a MLB wigeon that I used as a layout.
It looks like a 12' sunfish.I don't hunt divers that way anymore.I was going to cut out the cockpit of the wigeon,
but I got this sunfish for zip.The Wigeon will take all the water you want to hunt in.3 footers don't bother it.
I believe the sunfish will do the same.The problem with displacement hulls,is that they're slow.I put a 5 horse
on the wigeon ,6 or 7 mph.Put it on this sunfish, slightly slower.I'm going to use an electric motor on it.
Around here,you can find a sunfish for little or nothing if you're patient.Keep the pictures coming,I'm
particularly interested in how you make the dodger.
WW,this boat might be kinda' slow for what you want.
VaTF,I'm going to put decoy racks up front and grass it real tight.
 

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I ve done three ....but i think they are too heavy or bulky to use as a layout...since they are only passable in that task( their profile is too high) but divers are not known to be that warry...

I have seen the sunfishes dont upside down as posted here... so that the "deck" flowed down into the water and showed less profile....

seems like a lot of work to save $900 that you can buy a perfect one man true layout...

I am working on modifying my sunfish to make it plane better....hutning season came and i havent had the chance to finnish glassing in the transom...but bascially i added 4" of foam to the bottom and glassed it over to make a new hull bottom...

soooo I can use my outboard!!

heres a pix of all three I did, the middle one( my best ) was done for a DU auction...


the left one is a super snark...it is better in weight....about 125 lbs

if you trailer a sunfish around they are ok....other wise they are too heavy ..

the tool
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tool,
What brought us to this was that using my existing layout, which is about 50 years old, awesome, glass over tongue and groove etcc, was crazy heavy, like 5-600 pounds. I have a few local friends who have Bankes etc and I just don't like them. The ones that I like (UFO, Mighty) I think are tough to tow with the boxed bottom design. I had a friend expertly convert a Sailfish (little bro of the Sunny) and it was lethal. Coming from where I am coming from, this new boat is a dream as far as lightness. We shoot open water that is always textured, so with the proper camo-pattern, I am not worried about the profile. And then, like you said, then you have the tendency for divers to be pretty liberal when it comes to decoying. Also, we get no Cans, no Red's, rarely Broadies (and you are allowed One) and no Old Squaw. SO, all this for Brant, Buffies and Mergansers with the occasional first light black and maybe some broadies if they make it this far up the bay.
Finally, labor excluded, I am into this project for about $60 so far (resin, discs and beer)
You coming Sunday?
 

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I started on a sailfish project..at first i didnt want to because it was so narrow...I think about 36" wide compared to about 48" on the sunfish... it doesnt have a cockpit....I cut most of the deck off , but abandoned the project when i had to move...

I hadnt started to hate the weight of my other conversions yet!!! ha ha

I think a die hard duck hunters needs to have at least one layout boat...

the tool
 

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Tool your right about labor; I had about 40hrs in mine. Maybe to some that's not worth it, but to me it was. The thing is, sure I could of gone out and bought a real sweet looking layout, but it wouldn't be the same. The way I look at it I spent one September mostly at night building something from scratch with no plans just an idea. I'm sure you'll agree there is something special when you have bird's hit your rig that you painted and you're able to pull up from a layout you built and drop the hammer on them. It takes your game to the next level. At that point labor isn't even factored in. Besides the wife would of killed me if I drop $1300.00 on the one I really want to buy. Great job guys
 

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Thought you might be interested in seeing this Force 5 conversion which is essentially same size as the Sunfish. I bought this from the guy who made it from an abandoned Force 5. Has a large cockpit, you sit on the back to run the motor (a Merc 5 pushes it well), it's stable and low. Have added a small spray shield, cleats, a Dridek tile for the floor, portable nav lights, small storage bag, radio holder and use a reclining seat against the gas tank in the bow to make it comfortable, and a gray cloth cover over the motor once in place. It has an anchor winch which I'll have to try to see if it works well as I use a bouyed anchor when hunting and retrieving birds by myself.

Made a camo cover from digital urban camo seen in the second photo.

Plan to use this for buffs and Old Squaws in Barnegat Bay mostly.



 

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Nice job....

when layout hunting, do you pull the motor in the boat?, or try to shoot around it?

the tool
 

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I just shoot around it, mostly swinging to the side. I've got it rigged so I can put out a small stern anchor to hold the boat a bit at an angle to make this less a problem. Learned that from hunting with Pitboss, master of seaduck gunning!
 
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