Author: arthaberland

Tanks!

You’re welcome! Seriously, I know I have been a bit negligent in posting up on Flirt’s ongoing refit, but I have some work to share now. As you may have remembered a few months back, I mentioned replacing my Sprite’s badly designed 9 gallon tank wit a 24 gallon Plastimo water bladder. Flirt’s original tank was a small cylindrical tank that was buried in the lazerette. With no hatch or access to it, cleaning, refurbishing, or even just making sure the hoses had not rotted off of it was an impossible task. So Flirt went from this: To this: To make this transition work, I found myself cutting the floor out of the cockpit and building up a “bed” for the tank (plus fixing the cockpit’s inherent flexing) Over the past few weeks, I have epoxied into place under seat supports, a support under the cockpit, and now a rear bulkhead between the lazerette and the rest of the cabin space. Soon, the cockpit will regain it’s floor again. First I need to cut the …

All Ahead Slow!

That is the course I have been sailing now for a few weeks. The weather and work have been uncooperative to working on Flirt. It’s not the heat (I actually enjoy the hot weather) but the rain. I recently lost my phone on July 4th due to the torrential rains we had that night. It was zipped up tight in my jacket pocket and still managed to get shorted out and eventually bricked by the water… thankfully I save all those photos online and on other devices so I have plenty of backups. Now it seems I timed everything just right. I managed to get the rest of the hull in the Starboard side quarter berth carboned up just as I ran out of both Carbonfibre and epoxy. You just cannot time things that well.

Excuse the screws!

Cockpit work is coming along nicely, I managed to get a strip of ply bonded to the hull and covered in Carbon to act as a “foot” to the cockpit supports. I did not want to leave a hard spot on Flirt’s most fragile hull part, I sought to spread out the load over a 4 inch wide by 5 foot long strip would do wonders. After that, I cut a piece of ply from a template to reconstruct the Starboard Side quarter-berth and act as the cockpit’s much needed support. Sadly none of my clamps could be turned around to press it against the cockpit, so I was forced to resort to drilling a couple dozen screws to pull it tight. The squeeze out of the epoxy was incredible to see as it was pulled tighter and tighter. With that done, it was time to address one other short coming in Alberg’s design for the Sea Sprite 23.. Storage. After measuring out six and a half feet for the berth, I cut a hatch …

I’ve got no rhythm

And Flirt has no sole, in the cockpit, that is. After sanding down the Port side quarterberth, and seeing no rain in the forecast for the next week, I took a little extra time to attack the next phase of my Sprite’s cockpit rejuvenation. I started with that great boat killer, the angle grinder. With a fresh blade in it, I cut along all four sides 2 inches from the edge of the sole. I needed to use my reciprocating saw after that to chew through some of the wood supports I tried to epoxy in (epoxy is very hard to cut through) and dropped the whole thing into open hull. Still with some time to kill, I brought out my sander and made very quick work of the texture paint that the factory put everywhere inside the hull and brought everything to a nice smooth finish (as smooth as 40 grit can do) in anticipation of the next step.. This was how the cockpit sole looked before I started the major surgery. It’s dirty …

A Pain in the neck

Last week when I finished grinding out all the old paint and texture from the Starboard Side quarterberth I was sore, mostly from the contortions I had to get into to get my almost 6 foot frame into that coffin sized berth. Today I got half of the Port Side done. Being right handed, working on the other side was easier, I could lay on my left and grind away with my right. It is all reversed now. In order to get any kind of decent grip and control on my sander, I have to keep my right arm free also, which means I am not resting my head against the side of the boat. Right now my neck is sore and I am only halfway done getting paint and texture off that quarterberth. She is getting there, slowly, but surely. We are finally getting decent warm weather and a lack of rain (knock on wood) so I am able to get more done. Once I get both berths smooth, I can start reinforcing the …

Rain, Rain, go away…

Ok.. so it actually did for a couple of days, but my crop of mold is still coming in quite well. Going to be a bumper crop this year. So between the ever so frequent raindrops, I did manage to get some work done to Flirt, not as much as I would like, but the day when I stop destruction and start construction is within sight. My biggest thing is getting the ever wiggly cockpit shored up. I had thought to epoxy some wood to the underside of it, but it was proving near impossible to do a good job of it, so the sole of the cockpit is going to come out, which is actually a big help for what I have planned. These past few days have been spent sanding and grinding in the Starboard side quarter-berth area. If you have ever been aboard a Sea Sprite 23, you will know that this qualifies as a “coffin berth” at the best of times. Squeezing my 180 pound, 6 foot self into the space …

Drained

After last weeks near disaster (I over-dramatize) I finally got the seat drain molded in and the under seat supports for the cockpit epoxied into place. I will eventually sheath them in carbonfibre, but for now, a good covering of epoxy keeps them safe. It is amazing how strong and stiff that part of the cockpit already feels. Where once you could feel the entire structure move beneath your weight and hear it rub on the rudder’s shaft, now it moves just that little bit less.. and I am not even partway done in adding support to this critical area. While most people like to look at a boat’s cabin (and Flirt’s will be nice) you really spend most of your time “out on deck” and in a smallish pocket-cruiser like Flirt, that means the cockpit. Getting this area flex free will do wonders for getting friends and family aboard for short and long cruises and might even convince them to do it again. So, under the Starboard seat, I epoxied up a sheet of …