Small Boat Restoration: One Sailfish at a Time

TotalBoat Ambassadors, Kent and Audrey Lewis, go the extra mile when working in their tiny, cramped boat shop out back. It’s less that the shop is too small and more that it’s occupied by the amazing amount of boats and projects being refurbished or constructed  by the industrious couple. They are as official as it gets when looking for an “Official Repair Shop” or expert on the classic favorite sailboat, the old wooden Sunfish and the sister ship, the Sailfish. Today’s video takes you to the end of a full restoration of Super Sailfish, Zsa Zsa. She’s ready for paint and some accents that will make her old bones really shine. 

They both have a fondness for the classic wooden sailing dinghies and there is no shortage of them in the States.. Since moving to Florida in 2011 they have restored a fleet of small boats and shared information with other boaters through their YouTube videos, their active blog and on their Facebook page, Small Boat Restoration. They also published The Sunfish Owner’s Manual in 2013 and manage the Yahoo Sunfish_Sailor group.

Throughout their journey, many questions arose about the best tools, materials and methods to use for repair and restoration. It was important to share what was done, along with how and why. Putting the tools and process out there for all to benefit from is what makes this duo stand out. Their videos aren’t riveting or fancy edits, they are honest, straightforward looks into the methods for repairing and reconstructing these popular old boats.

Some other boats have been lucky enough to be restored by the Lewises – such as Barbashela,  Jefferson Davis’ 1880s bateau that had been built for and used by Davis’s daughter. The Lewises were asked to make the bateau watertight and able to be “ceremoniously rowed” after the bateau was damaged in Hurricane Katrina. The process is documented on their blog and Facebook page, as are many of their other projects.

TotalBoat is a proud supporter of small shops like the Lewises and their Sunfish Sanctuary. Let’s help them grow their social media channels and YouTube subscribership – Subscribe to their channel and hit like on their videos. Here is a recent one using our topside paint, Wet Edge, to decorate the decks of a boat that’s almost ready to launch! And that’s where Audrey, a lifelong sailor, comes in as the sail tester (among many other things.). She takes great delight in sailing off her front dock in the boats so lovingly restored by she and her husband; a true labor of love when you consider the work that also goes into documenting it all so we can benefit. Enjoy a glimpse into their little boat shop out back!

See all their restoration videos here:



5 responses to “Small Boat Restoration: One Sailfish at a Time

  1. These guys are the best. The combination of their expertise, energy and enthusiasm is infectious. They are experts when it comes to Sunfish and Sailfish and they do beautiful work as well.

  2. You are working the paint far too much to get a smooth sprayed like finish. You need to mask the line and use the roll and tip method to make this paint work to it’s intended capability. Get the paint on and keep the wet edge. Continuously painting over drying paint leaves a bumpy surface. I learned lots after painting six boats. You’ll have a 15 foot finish.

  3. I have either #6 or # 7 of the first year kit built by chuck mcmahon and perry king. Have original sail ect and other boat is still around.
    Any intrest?

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