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From the inside out

the further and further I get into Flirt, the more and more rot I find. While a glassfibre boat is far from maintenance free, it should be rot free. So far every piece of wood I have taken off of my Sprite, including those completely encased in glassfibre, has been either completely rotten, or getting there.

This included the mast supports which are made of composite wood, plywood cut and glued together to form a shape, which had no access to the outside world. While these were not rotted out, several areas had turned black from exposure to water.

Never a good thing, as the mast supports do more than hold up the deck, they keep the mast from punching a hole straight through to the keel. Some boats have a “keel stepped” mast, meaning the mast passes through the deck and rests on the keel itself. Other’s have a “compression post” which sits between the deck and keel and takes all the weight of the mast and it’s rigging straight to the strongest part of the boat, the keel. SeaSprite 23s have a “deck stepped” mast, meaning the mast sits atop the deck and they have a beam that runs across the width of the hull to support it’s weight.

So you can understand it’s importance.

Today, Flirt has no supports at all. I slit the ‘glass and chiseled them all out in anticipation of replacing them with stronger and less (much) rotted wood. I am going to embed a sheet of 3/8s marine grade plywood under the deck, running from side to side a foot wide.. then bonded to that will be another foot wide piece only a couple of feet in length. Supporting these will be two thin oaken beams and lots of resin and carbonfibre.

Just as Flirt’s foredeck is now rock solid, I want where the mast sits to be equally granite like.

Until then, enjoy the pics of where the supports were.

removed mast support

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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.

1 Comment

  1. Sadly I think a lot of GRP boats aren’t rot free… Our old boat had a ton of rot in the cabin overhead, mast collar, even the engine bedlogs. Not to mention osmosis in the hull… No fun… Hope you get it sorted out and have a stronger boat than ever!

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