Flirt’s cockpit sole is still not permanently in place, but I took another big step forwards. Fighting cooler temperatures and gale force winds, I cut out the tiller aperture and made sure everything fit. I need to cut two openings for the deck ports next. I think the 6″ ones I bought are going to get returned for 4″.
Down below, I cut a hole into the bulkhead between the water bladder area and the small stowage compartment I inadvertently created. This will get fitted with a 4″ access plate (shown in place, but not secured) to allow for easier installation and removal of the Bladder when Flirt goes in or out of the water. When laid up for winter storage, I will keep it out to allow more airflow through the hull to keep the mold down.
Soon, I will need to clean up the sides of the cockpit so I can drop the cockpit sole into place permanently. The day is fast approaching!
Ok, so I am no landshark, though I did play one for a while when I worked for a local radio station. I guess that is not the same as saying I once stayed at a holiday inn express?
Flirt’s Bilges have never been “clean”. When I dragged her home from upstate New York, there were several inches of nasty water sloshing around in there. Today I modified a how to drag the ever growing levels of detritus out.
My late Grandfather spend many of his years underground as an Iron Ore miner in Upper Michigan. One of the things he told me was how he narrowed a shovel so he would work faster. I remembering this, I did the same to a cheap hoe. I took my grinder to it and narrowed it down to about 2 inches (sorry, no pictures) and used it to scrape out Flirt’s bilges.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
this is about 10 gallons of sodden glassfibre dust:
And here are all the tools I found. Many nasty looking chip brushes, a seized pair of vicegrips, a scraper, rusty screwdrivers, and other miscellaneous junk.
Just to be nice, the “finished” pictures of the now clean bilges. Note, they are still not clean. Not even scraping or brushing would move the hardened on stuff that has probably been there for decades. I will probably sand down what I can and encapsulate the rest in epoxy.
Tomorrow I set up the “bed” for the water tank, finish up running a vent line for my C-Head, and think about laying down some runny epoxy to seal up the bottom of the bilge.
With the way I designed the under cockpit storage area for Flirt’s Water bladder I found that my work inadvertently opened up another small stowage area for items that could be handy to have in the cockpit. Between the bulkhead I added to seperate the lazerette and the bulkhead protecting the water tank area is a space the width of the cockpit and about 18 inches long. While not very deep, it is more than good enough to stow anything I need in a hurry.
Once the sole of the cockpit is put back in, this area will be mostly sealed off except for a pair of deck plates. A quick turn of them and anything I have stowed inside will be more or less accessible (I may have to reach in and search for it though)
Flirt is slowly coming together, with winter bearing down (It is December 1st after all) I am in a small rush to get the cockpit sealed up before it gets too cold for the epoxy to properly harden.
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 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 drains into the marine ply I have for it, then install a platform for the bladder to sit on so it does not drop into the keel, and then comes paint and some padding, I do no give it long now until Flirt is more sealed up for winter again.
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.
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 into the top of the cockpit bench. Yes, this only leaves me a 16 inch wide storage cubby, but that is Sixteen more inches of storage I did not have before. Perfect for Fenders, rope, a spare anchor, or anything else I might need in a hurry.
Now to bring it all together. I hope to get a bulkhead built between that storage locker and the rest of the cabin tomorrow. The Grampian 23 my parents had when I was child had a large locker in the cockpit that simply opened up into the hull. A good pooping and all that water would have flooded and sunk her. As my plans for Flirt include one cruise to the Bahamas, I am not about to take that chance.
First the Plywood (not sure what is up with my camera, the lens must have been dirty):
Screwed into place and epoxied over to protect the ply from the damp weather:
And the storage locker.. first the cuts:
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 from a couple of years worth of just collecting leaves, berries, and all the dust that has flown out the cabin companionway.
The two small, ineffectual drains will be replaced too.
And this is how it looks now.. a big gaping hole into the bowels of Flirt. As the Weekender and the Daysailor use the same hull, but a different cockpit (daysailor is non-draining) I wonder how much deeper the cockpit of the daysailor is.
And no story is complete without the remains.
Next comes my epoxying in some supports for the side of the cockpit, and then “floors” to support the waterbladder that is going into this spot before I seal her all back up, nice and water tight.