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best supporting role..

Ever since I discovered that Flirt’s Deck supports were rotted, I have been slowly working towards replacing them. Weather and work have conspired to keep me from the task, but I am finally making progress.

As noted some time ago, the supports that kept Flirt’s decks from buckling were nothing more than half tubes of cardboard glued into place and encapsulated in resin and mat. In both theory and practice this makes a fine and lightweight support. It also makes for a soggy mess if water should get to it. With all of Flirt’s gelcoat crazed beyond repair, all of her deck supports came out in soaking wet chunks.

rotted support

Down the centre of my Sprite’s deck was also sliver of glassed in plywood. Again, this is a very strong and lightweight way to both support the deck and anchor the cleat that was bolted through it. While not as bad as the other supports, it too had seen better days.

underdeck support

As you can see by both the dark areas and the fact that the upper layer of ply was permanently attached to the glass mat, it too had seen better times. It was still in better shape than the cardboard though.

rotted ply

And now I get to the fun stuff. After months of waiting for just the right weather to coincide with my days off, I have replaced the ply. I used 3/8s marine ply and ran it from the very stem to where it stopped just short of the hatch. Tomorrow I will be adding the deck stringers that will run from the oak beams I already glassed in to the ply and then epoxying them into place and encapsulating them in woven mat. Already the deck buckles less than when I first got Flirt, once I get all the stringers into place and then have the deck coated in Carbonfibre and epoxied over.. it should be like the proverbial brick

new deck support

Using the westsystem, I mixed the epoxy with enough filler to turn it to a peanut butter consistency before screwing through the deck to draw the ply up to it. This pulled the plywood to the deck’s crowned shape and started to squeeze out some of the epoxy. In a couple of days, I can remove the screws and fill them. Once that is done, everything can get coated in epoxy and glass to make it one solid deck.

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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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