Author: arthaberland

Kerbing my Enthusiasm

I bought Flirt for many reasons, not all of them logical. The most illogical (as Spock would no doubt point out) was her looks. There is something so beautiful about an older boat with her long overhangs forwards and aft and a low springy sheer. It is the “stereotypical” sailboat that Alberg was so fond of drawing for his clients. All She needs was a traditional Gaff rig and you would never have never known her true age. The other reason was to learn. I enjoy learning, I enjoy tinkering, if I can tinker and learn at the same time, I am in heaven. Flirt had been quite the learning curve. After a long and wet winter (still not over, 20 days to go!) weather and work finally conspired to give me a few hours to work on my Sprite. Climbing below decks I could smell Mold and Rot. Never a good combination aboard any boat. The mold was easy to spot, my temporary companionway hatch had a layer of fuzz growing on it. It …

Storm warning!

Anybody in the Mid-Atlantic region and points south and west knows that we just went through a truly terrible winter storm. Some of the videos I saw were wild, one included a shrink wrapped boat, on it’s trailer, floating away as the water crested over 8 feet above mean high tide thanks to the nor-easter that accompanied all the snow. During all this, we lost power. Everyone around us had power, just my street went dark due to a transformer that blew up during the wee hours of Saturday morning. Power came back today (sunday) so that left about 36 hours of in the dark and in the cold for us. Candles, borrowed power from neighbors who still had theirs, and a little ingenuity kept us warm(ish). One of them was something I never thought I would need outside of Flirt.. my Origo Alcohol stove. Filled up and placed on the stove, it’s heat did a lot to keep the areas of the house we were in warmer than 60 degrees without too much effort.. …

winch way did it go?

Being an old boat, Flirt has/had a lot of older systems on her. One of the main ones found on any sailboat are the winches used to snub the jib in tight.  On a Sprite of Flirt’s vintage they are bolted to bronze mountings on the outside of the coamings that are attached to both the deck and the coaming boards. A very safe, stable, and convenient place to mount them. While both work, and seem to work well, and have built up a wonderful patina of green on the bronze, the trouble I have with them is a lack of handles and knowing exactly what winches Flirt has. I know they were made by Merriman, as their Trident symbol is prominent atop them, but from that point on, I am at a loss. As you can see they have a rather unique way of mounting the handle, it does not use a slot into the side, nor does it use a more modern square or star shaped receiver, instead the handle would slot in …

Momentum

With all the moving, ever changing work schedules, the weather, and finally holidays with family, work on Flirt had gone from a crawl to completely standing still. The past two days saw some resurgence of effort as the weather was both warm enough (for me) to play with epoxy and it was not raining.   So I give to you.. more hull beneath the waterline done up in epoxy and carbonfibre. I had been trying to do it all in large sheets, but working on the complex curves that dominate  Alberg Designed boats was near impossible unless I had a way to lay Flirt over on her side, or preferably, upside down.. then gravity would be on my side like it had been on her cabin. The trouble would start when I went to go to upright her, with almost 40% of her displacement in pure lead, it would take more than a couple of friends to lift my sprite back up to her preferred position. What I have been forced to do is cut …

On the road again

It’s good to get back on the road again… And what a strange trip it has been this past month. Last post I had showed me finally registering Flirt so I could move her to my new address. In that time, my mother took a half gainer with a twist in the pouring rain and broke her Humorous (upper arm bone) in her left arm. This put paid to me doing anything with Flirt as now I could not stray too far in case she needed me for anything. Today, my Sprite made the 10 mile trip from where I used to live to my new home. It was uneventful even if the lights on the trailer did fail part way (thanking my Father for being a chase vehicle) and it started to rain while we were heading through heavy traffic, but other than one guy who did not want to pass and spent far too much time hanging alongside flirt, it was an uneventful trip. Now I can get back to working on her!

Playing the Numbers

While Flirt is in no way ready to be splashed, I did finally go out today and register her with the NJ Department of Motor vehicles. I didn’t want to, but because I am moving her to my new home, ordinances dictate that she be registered to the residence or I could be fined and Flirt could be towed away until I did register her. It took a bit of doing, being a 1963 Sea Sprite built by the long Defunct SailStar Corporation, the DMV had no records to go by. New York, where I bought her, does not issue titles for boats that old. Boats that old also do not have a molded HIN, or Hull Identification Number. Thankfully, Andre, the office manager was able to take care of the whole thing for me while the line workers were very useless. I guess this sort of thing is just enough out of their normal responsibilities that none of them could recall how to handle it. Now to get her in the water next summer …

It’s a Tarp!

Admiral Ackbar would be pleased… (yes, I am a geek, get over it), for the first time in 2 years Flirt’s deck has seen the light of day. With the approach of Hurricane Jaoquin, I decided to remove the sun-bleached tarp from her deck. Taking said tarp, I cut a small piece away that had faced north all year, thus it was still blue and not yet sun-damaged. This I wrapped around some plywood to make a temporary companionway hatch. Armed with a full roll of Gorilla tape, I then proceeded to secure it tight and hopefully waterproof. Just to make things even more secure, a can of spray on rubber was used to cover the tarp and tape to keep the sun and rain from destroying it. Flirt actually begins to look like a boat again. Maybe now the junk people will stop coming by to offer to haul her off.. we know they are just after the trailer and the 1400 pounds of lead in her keel. Tough fellas, Flirt is not for …

Washington’s Crossing

No, this has nothing to do with crossing the Delaware River in the dead of night to ambush some Hessians in Trenton. This has everything to do with a very nice lady named Caitlin Miller that I met today is getting ready to participate in the Atlantic Row Challenge. A race from the Canaries to Antiqua across 3000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine that a moment.. 3000 miles in 40 to 90 days with no sails, no engines, just you, a partner, and your own muscles to get across one of the largest expanses of open ocean in the world. I don’t often talk about other boats in this blog, it is supposed to be about Flirt after all, but when you meet somebody so determined to do something, it bears mentioning. I hope all goes well for them! The Cranial Quest Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

A Primer on Paint

Today was a big day for Flirt. While her hull is by no way near ready for paint, I got a layer of high build primer on her from Waterline to toerail. Instead of being discoloured and stained from sanding, epoxy, and rain, she now more or less gleams in a single layer of white. Yes, you can still see some marks beneath the primer, and I still need to do some sanding on her topsides to get her totally smooth.. and as you can tell from her Starboard side, I still have raw epoxy to deal with, but this is still a step in the right direction. As I am going with Petit for the paint, it makes sense to use the high-build primer. One quart was more than enough to get a single layer on Flirt’s topsides. I still have another to go before I need to buy another (or two).. but overall I am very pleased with how She is looking and with how well the primer went on. Now to see …

the old (new) grind(er)

While working on Flirt I came across one of those annoying little facets of sanding. Obviously the first one is that it is hard work. The other was that I would go through a sanding disc ever foot of hull or so. (The seasprite is full/long keeled, so there is a lot under the water). While this meant I needed to buy a lot of sanding discs, it was getting hard to get them. I managed to exhaust the supply at three big box stores and several mom&pop hard ware stores of 6″ stick on discs for my drill. Occasionally they would come in and I would nab them up (or somebody would get there before me.. they appear to be in demand) and I thought about taking apart my old orbital sander to use the head on my drill.. And along comes DeWalt to the rescue with just such a tool. The took their corded drill and after removing the clutch end, grafted on the business end of an orbital, minus the random movement …