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Das boot(line)

The Sea Sprite 23, as designed by Carl Alberg, was originally drawn with the intention of an inboard engine being installed, most likely an Atomic 4. As most of Flirt’s sisters did not come with an engine, they all tend to sit nose down slightly when at the dock or on a mooring. It is just what happens when a boat is denied some of her designed in weight.

When I picked up Flirt from Upstate New York, I noted then that her “scum line” was much lower on her stern than the boot line. I attributed it to the fact that Flirt did not even come with an outboard well (one of the few Sprites to have no provision for an engine at all) and thought nothing more of it aside from planning on adding 100 pounds of lead to her stern to help bring it down to her marks.

Last year when I started sanding her topsides down to the gelcoat, I was very careful to not remove her painted on boot. I did not want to have to figure it all out and hope to get it right by sheer luck alone. At the time I was unsure if there was a molded in line or not due to Flirt’s age (She was built in 1963) and the many layers of paint that covered her top and bottom kept me from finding out.

Today, while waiting for resin to go off on my lazarette hatch project, I started sanding her bottom at the stern. I counted 5 layers of bottom paint, a bright blue, a dark blue, a bright red, a darker red, and a final coat of black. The Dark Blue and Black are Ablative making it rather tough to remove them without clogging up a lot of my orbital sanding discs.

While sanding, I noticed what at first appeared to be a deep gouge along her side some six inches below the boot line. As I sanded further forwards, I noticed that is kept a perfect arc and would eventually intersect the painted on boot I had been so careful to protect.. that was when it hit me, Flirt’s stern only looked to be skyhigh out of the water because her boot and bottom had been painted wrong. I do not know if she had been sitting nose down on a trailer or on some blocks, but sometime in her distant past, somebody had painted her boot stripe as a rising line as it traveled from bow to stern.

boot line scribe line

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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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