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Fiddle me this!

Like most boats not designed by Phil Bolger, Flirt’s hull is not a square sided box. As her design is decidedly “old fashioned” with slack bilges, a long keel, and a transom that rises gracefully from the water, making anything “square” is a challenge.

With this in mind, I realized I need a flat area in the Lazerette to store stuff (this is a technical term) or everything would slowly try to funnel it’s way down to the bilge. I could have just simply cut a piece of plywood to fit over the space and called it a day, but I know from previous sailing experience that if you do not put things into containers, storage quickly turns into a vindictive pile of spaghetti as ropes intertwine with cushions, floatation devices, chain, anchors, and the kitchen sink.

A milk crate is thirteen inches by thirteen inches by eleven inches square. By laying out some cedar planks to fit the space, I am able to fit a piece of plywood 39 inches wide across the lazerette. With the higher sides of the planks and some yoga mats glued to the plywood, this will keep three milk crates securely square in an irregularly shaped space.

The planks are Six inches in height with a one by one inch support on the bottom to hold the plywood in place.

I will still need to cut the plywood to fit and then epoxy the whole thing to keep rot at bay, but you get the idea!

Irma gonna leave this right here

Bad pun, I am (not)sorry.

With rain from Irma’s remnants due tomorrow, I had to finish getting all the openings between the lazerette and cabin sealed so I could cover the cockpit back up with it’s tarp.

It was not a hard job, the Starboard side was easier due to the hole cut into seat for storage. The Portside saw me twice crawling up into the quarter berth to retrieve the small piece of plywood that disappeared inwards. Once I finally got it jammed into place, slathering on the thickened epoxy was easy peasy. Sanding it down won’t be, even if I did my best to get it as smooth as possible before hand.

Hopefully over the course of the next two days I will get everything carboned up and get started on deck supports. Next week’s work scheadule has me doing mid mornings to late afternoons, makes it very hard to get any sort of work done, maybe I can start putting together the lazerette hatch.

It all starts with (a) mould

Seriously, I could not resist. In order to get the Lazerette “seaworthy” I need to not only put the deck on it and hatch, but I need to limit the access water has from the space into the rest of the boat. As designed, a SeaSprite 23 has ample access for water (but not for people, unless you are a small child) to simply flow into the boat if it somehow gets in through a broken hatch, collision, or even a bad thru hull. As Flirt will have a hatch, something she didn’t have for the first 55 years of her existence, I needed to keep water out of the cabin and bilge (or at least control it’s flow)

Using one of he sheets of foamboard I have laying about, I shaped a mold to fit the space I wanted and then cut the ply to fit. It’s not an exact fit, it needs to be loose so the epoxy has a place to fill and hold.

Once the two pieces of plywood were cut (mirror imaged) I then jammed, wedged, and placed them into the openings they are meant to seal and went to work with a peanut butter like epoxy consistency. I think they turned out rather nice.

Without Epoxy First.

Inside the quarterberth/cockpit storage area.

And all epoxied up. Yes, I need to seal up at the top, but I also need a vent there to allow some airflow through the boat to keep the real mold down.

And because I appear to be a slow learner, I used up the excess epoxy I had in another layer over the carbon in the lazerette, forcing me to do some more “boat yoga” and slither over the side to get down.

With any luck the rain from Hurricane Irma will not impact us too much as my days off from work are approaching and I want to be a little further along in putting in the beams to hold the deck up now that almost all the carbonfibering is done. (is that a word?)

Painted into a corner

Look carefully where I keep my ladder. It’s there because Flirt overhangs the fence and it is easier to climb up from inside the backyard than to walk around and go up over the side. Keeping this in mind, remember I have been working on the Lazerette. I wish I had.

Once the deck was off, I could clean it all out, sand it all down, and get rid of 50 some years of detritus. You can also see where I filled in the holes for the scary outboard mount and what used to be the thruhull for the bilge pump.

Once that was all done, I got out my nasty epoxy encrusted Scissors and cut up some slinky CarbonFibre and went to work with more epoxy. I cannot say enough about Fiskers scissors. I have left these out on the deck, they have been covered in epoxy for years, they have spent all this time cutting and trimming CF and they still hold a sharp edge.

I think now you can see the issue with me getting down off of Flirt. I am not 18 anymore, I cannot simply do a flying leap 7 feet to the ground without worry (I probably could, but I am going to chance it). So I had to do the most inglorious slither over the side and down to the grass anybody has ever had the displeasure to witness. I do apologize to the neighbors.

beam me up!

I  have been a bit lax in both working on Flirt and updating here. Projects not involving a boat tend to be just as big, take much longer than imagined, and balloon the budget beyond all recognition. My small 8×5 bathroom might as well have been a house for how long it took to gut and redo.

Anyway, back to my beloved Sprite. We will not be going down to St. Michaels this year for the Small Craft festival, I am aiming for next. In the mean time I found a way to do MORE demolition to Flirt.

The Lazerette deck on my SeaSprite never came with a hatch. this left a large storage area with no way to store anything in it. It was also stuffed half full of a nasty watertank that disappeared years ago when I cut a large hole and removed it. With all the cutting, glassing, re-cutting, and re-glassing I have been doing, I finally decided to rip the entire deck off and redo it right.

So out came the grinder (a boat refitters best and worst friend) and I went to work cutting all along the edges of the deck

and soon I had so much more debris.

With the Lazerette now completely open to the elements, it was time to do some grinding to clean everything out in preparation for some Carbonfibre,

But first, run to the local big box hardware store to get some Cedar Planks. I would have preferred to use White oak, but all they have is red, so I would have to special order. Cedar is light, easy to cut, and resistant to decay. Once encapsulated in epoxy, it should last nearly forever.

So, some measurements later and I have a beam.

And even though I plan on laying CF throughout the lazerette first, I had to epoxy this in. I probably should have notched it for the support beams, but I can do that later.

It’s fun to watch epoxy ooze when you clamp it.

shameless plug

As I still have to finish up the deck and refinish my ChrisCraft hatch, I needed a way to seal up the hole. I had been using tarps slung over the bow, but they get nasty with time due to sun, wind, and rain, but they are not exactly visually friendly to my neighbors.

So I had this great idea to make a temporary hatch, but I did not want to screw it down. Thus, out came the epoxy and foam.

As stolen from the trash at work, I had a board of half inch foamcore. I cut it to fit over the now round hole in the deck and then made a smaller one to epoxy to it so as not to let it slip from side to side. Combine it with some foam door insulation and a gallon jug of water, and it is not going anywhere and does a good job of sealing up the opening against the rain.

It also looks better than a worn out tarp and is easier to remove so I can access the cabin.


Otherwise known as PVC. When Flirt was built back in 1963, SailStar used half tubes of Cardboard for underdeck support. These tubes were cut in half lengthwise and then ‘glassed into place. Over time water got into the tubes and turned them into a nasty gooey mess, but the “bump” in the glassfibre they left behind continued to do it’s job of supporting things like the cockpit seats.

Moving forwards almost 55 years, I decided to do them one better. Rather than using oak (which is expensive and hard to bend) I went down to the hardware store and picked up some 10 foot long PVC tubes 1 inch in diameter. These I then cut in half lengthwise and then epoxied into place beneath the lazerette deck to help support it and the hatch that is currently in the mail.

While only tacked into place with a single layer of ‘glass and epoxy and held up with spring clamps, I will be adding a few layers to these tubes to further “weld” them to the deck and make it more solid.