I spent this glorious spring like day deep in Flirt’s bowels.. well, as deep as you can get in a 22 and a half foot long sailboat. With the entire v-berth section now cleaned out and sanded down, it was time to turn my attention to rebuilding…
One of the things I want to fix on Flirt is her flexiflier like build quality. She gets most of her hull strength from her shape and a slight build up of glass in high stress areas. This allows her sides to “oil can” along with her deck. Her flexible nature also led to her chainplates causing many small stress fractures in the gelcoat not to mention the sheer amount of crazing that covers her from Stem to Stern.
To fix this, I have drawn up a plan to epoxy laminate oak stringers and small ribs into structure. I started today with a 3 inch wide plank that I epoxied and screwed into place along her hull to deck joint on the Starboard side:
This beam runs from her very stem all the way back to where Flirt’s first chainplate went and is just short of the supports that lend strength to the deck stepped mast. It will get paired up with a matching beam on the Port side and I will then run “ribs” down the hull and up the other side to meet it before covering the whole thing in a layer of epoxy and carbonfibre for strength and water resistance. To this Flirt’s furniture will get attached. If I thought this through right, I should have a very stiff and strong Sprite.
While it was a nice warm day and while I had my grinder at hand, I attacked Flirt’s stem to remove the ‘glass bow rail. On early sprites such as mine, wooden toerails run between a ‘glass taff rail at the stern and a ‘glass piece at the bow. Later boats had a flush deck and everything was wood. I cut off Flirt’s to make room for a custom bronze bow roller I have coming from New Found Metals. When I have it in place, I will carve out a matching wooden rail to seat it perfectly on Flirt’s sharp bow.