Last year when I started to work on Flirt, I noticed that there was some hardened “dirt” in the bottom of her hollow keel. I spent quite a bit of time with a scraper trying to get it out and never got very far. It is deep in the keel, it is in a small space, and it was very hard to get out. What I did get out looked to me like dried bottom silt.
In bringing it up to my visiting Father, I ventured to opinion that Flirt had spent some time on the bottom and had been salvaged. He didn’t agree, but the thought was always nagging at me.
Last week I pulled the rudder off of my Sprite to do some repairs. The lower trailing edge had a couple of nasty chunks taken out of the ‘glass and was repaired with some sort of filler material (looked like bondo to me). I spent almost a week sanding, ‘glassing, and more sanding to finally get the keel looking good.. but the damage still nagged at me.
While waiting for the last layer of resin to dry, I took my handy dandy orbital sander to flirt’s keel and was not at all surprised to find more filler material. It ran up from the lower rudder pivot about six to eight inches. Once I got it all ground out, I could reach up into the open cavity of Flirt’s keel and pull out some of the “dirt”
Mystery Solved, Flirt had been holed sometime in her life and sunk. To judge by the four layers of bottom paint on her.. it happened when Sea Sprite #110 was a relatively new boat.. which explains why there were so few other signs of her having been sunk.
Now I just need to deal with the hole I cut. I get to stop on the way home and get some more resin and some glassfibre so I can get her all sealed up and shipshape again.