Moliere is quoted as saying “the trees that are slow to grow, bear the best fruit”. This certainly seems to define the work being done to Flirt these days. Not that many trees grow in winter, but I am still making some progress.
Sadly, my progress all seems to be towards the destructive side (again) as I spent the afternoon cutting out one chainplate and grinding the tabbing off of the hull where the Starboard side V-berth once sat rotting. Even though I wore a mask, I could still taste (and smell) burnt glassfibre as I filled the entirety of Flirt’s cabin in a fine white dust.
It was the chainplate that caused the most amount of issues. I had been looking at the area where it was glassed into the hull and from some angles, it looked like it was getting dark from internal rot. They are also a source of gelcoat crazing as you can see where the gelcoat has split in fissures that lead away from each of Flirt’s six chainplates. I had planned to replace them with deck mounted versions anyway, as this makes them easier to see and inspect.
While the stainless steel within the glass was still in top notch shape, as were the screws, the Mahogany that SailStar had used to bolt them into the hull had seem better days. It was wet and rotting, coming apart easily with the simple application of a well placed screwdriver. Overall, Flirt is better off without them as I feel they were a timebomb waiting to go off.
For the non-sailors who read this, the Chainplates are the bases to which the stays are bolted. These wires run from the hull up to the top of the mast to keep it upright against wind, movement, and even just gravity itself as the way Flirt is built, her mast is not mechanically secured to the deck, it just sits into a cup and lets it’s own weight and the stays hold it securely in place… so if you lose a stay, you stand a very good chance of having the entire mast topple. We all know that old Mr. Murphy will make sure it happens at the worst possible time as well.
While today was warm(ish) it was raining and as the day wore on, was getting colder and more raw, so after a couple of hours I had to bring an end to today’s work. Hopefully I will have more to report soon.