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Open keel night

well.. in looking hard at the damage to Flirt’s keel, I decided that the best course of action was to simply cut it out and build new. Once upon a time I had a very hard time cutting into my boat. There was always that worry of “can I fix this” or “will it look ok” and now I can get right down and to the dirty part without so much as a second thought (ok, that very last part is a lie)

So, with the rudder still not re-installed. I took my handy dandy angle grinder and proceeded to make lots of white ‘glass dust. I cut vertically from rudder tube to lower mounting bracket, removing the entire semi-cylinder that the rudder fitted into. As you can see, this is a view nobody should have of their boat.

Open Keel

No doubt it put into the water right now, she would sink like a rock.

While in there I finally discovered what the stuff in the bottom of her keel is. Wood. Rotted, decayed, and falling apart wood. Flirt has been more or less open to the elements all summer (with a large hole cut into her afterdeck for a hatch and the cockpit drains removed) and what was once hard as a rock (and just as difficult to scrape out) is now wet, soft, and easily pulled out. I am thinking this was put in when the damage was repaired as no other Sea Sprite owners have mentioned anything about it.

So. with the keel open, I took the cardboard tube I stole from work and cut and bent it to fit the opening. Once I was pleased with how it fit, I applied resin and carbonfibre to stiffen it up before removing it for further work. Once I get a few layers on, I will peel the cardboard off, push it back into place, and wrap the keel and it into place with one continuous layer of C/F from 6 inches on one side of the keel to the other.

Cardboard Keel

Right now it has two layers on it and is curing. Tomorrow I will peel off of the cardboard, stick it back into place, and go to town securing it to be stronger than before.

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A long time sailor who has been away from the water for too long, I am working hard to bring an old and abused boat back to life. When not working on my boat, I can often be found working as a Stage Hand in Atlantic City or just out and about on my Mountain Bike. I really come off as a quiet and boring person when people first meet me.

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