Senior fixes up sailboat recreationally

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Photo courtesy of Chris Nagel

Senior Chris Nagel sails the boat that he has been working on fixing.

Katie Karlen, staff writer

This past summer, senior Chris Nagel single-handedly repaired an antique sailboat, practically rebuilding it from scratch, but it was more than pure chance that led Nagel to the sailboat.

The sailboat, a 1958 Sunfish, had been in the family since his twice-great uncle and aunt purchased it. “The sailboat had been sitting up at my cabin since I was a little kid. My dad sailed on the same boat when he was my age, [but] after he had kids, it fell into disrepair and that’s how I found it,” said Nagel.

Almost every part of the sailboat required extensive alterations when Nagel decided to take up the task of restoration. “I have had to sandpaper, re-stain and seal the wood, mend the sail, reshape the bow with fiberglass, re-fiberglass the bottom, repair the dagger board entry point, build a tiller handle, replace the line that keeps the boom from going 360 degrees around the mast, and renew the finish to stop and reverse the oxidation of the fiberglass,” said Nagel.

While the numerous repairs posed a great challenge, Nagel found the rewards well worth it. “I mostly use it for pleasure sailing and to honing my skills. I sail competitively with my grandfather on his 24-foot boat that we race on Lake Minnetonka too,” said Nagel.

Although the sailboat is currently in much better shape than when Nagel originally found it, he believes there is still more to accomplish. “I would like to give it a new coat of blue paint, fill in some of the cracks with resin to make it look nice, and give it a name,” said Nagel.

But while he admits the sailboat has changes to be made, an overall sense of satisfaction is present. “Once I put the final touches on the hull, I stood back and was proud of what I had just accomplished [with] virtually no help in repairing it,” said Nagel.