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shameless plug

As I still have to finish up the deck and refinish my ChrisCraft hatch, I needed a way to seal up the hole. I had been using tarps slung over the bow, but they get nasty with time due to sun, wind, and rain, but they are not exactly visually friendly to my neighbors.

So I had this great idea to make a temporary hatch, but I did not want to screw it down. Thus, out came the epoxy and foam.

As stolen from the trash at work, I had a board of half inch foamcore. I cut it to fit over the now round hole in the deck and then made a smaller one to epoxy to it so as not to let it slip from side to side. Combine it with some foam door insulation and a gallon jug of water, and it is not going anywhere and does a good job of sealing up the opening against the rain.

It also looks better than a worn out tarp and is easier to remove so I can access the cabin.


Otherwise known as PVC. When Flirt was built back in 1963, SailStar used half tubes of Cardboard for underdeck support. These tubes were cut in half lengthwise and then ‘glassed into place. Over time water got into the tubes and turned them into a nasty gooey mess, but the “bump” in the glassfibre they left behind continued to do it’s job of supporting things like the cockpit seats.

Moving forwards almost 55 years, I decided to do them one better. Rather than using oak (which is expensive and hard to bend) I went down to the hardware store and picked up some 10 foot long PVC tubes 1 inch in diameter. These I then cut in half lengthwise and then epoxied into place beneath the lazerette deck to help support it and the hatch that is currently in the mail.

While only tacked into place with a single layer of ‘glass and epoxy and held up with spring clamps, I will be adding a few layers to these tubes to further “weld” them to the deck and make it more solid.

A hatch made in heaven

Thing are continuing nicely now that it only seems to rain at night. Today I not only got more work done on the foredeck ring, but I scored another wooden hatch on eBay for the lazerette.

This one is actually older than Flirt, coming from the bow of a 1950’s Ski boat. Completely restored and looking beautiful, I grabbed it for just under $200 and as it is only about 65 miles from me, it should be here shortly.

Of course some changes will have to be made. The hardware will have to be converted over to Bronze and I need a way to secure it from outside the boat, but those are minor issues compared to the hole that already exists in Flirt’s Lazerette.

With the hatch measuring 20×22 inches, I had to make the hole longer and then fill it in some to make it more narrow.

Overall, a good days work considering I also finished sanding out the lazerette and as a bonus, have a some pictures of the Chris-Craft hatch on flirt. It’s not secured in place yet, I needed to buy over 27(!?) #8 bronze 1 inch screws to secure it, but the day is coming!

And just for shits and giggles, the “new” Chris-Craft hatch next to what passed for Flirt’s original painted plywood and badly rotten hatch.

Square Hole, Round Hatch

Flirt originally came with a very nasty foredeck hatch. Even before it rotted and leaked, it was nothing more than a piece of plywood with a lip around it. Even by Flirt’s rough standards, it was a nightmare and did not belong on her pretty little bow.

Due to the fact it was a simple square hatch, I needed to modify the deck to fasten down the round Chris-Craft hatch. Previous I showed the rings I made to make it stand slightly proud, now here they are affixed to the deck and the initial patches to the deck made to fill in the corners.

First you can see the issue of round hatch on a square hole. The good news is, the Chris-Craft hatch is no larger or smaller than the my Sprite’s original hatch, it is just a different shape.

As the deck is also slightly crowned to allow water to run off to the sides, I needed to lightly chamfer the rings so it would sit flush to the deck and still allow the hatch to sit “square”. Nothing some heavy sanding could not make short work of.

I gooped in some epoxy in the consistency of peanut butter to the deck where the ring overlapped and clamped it down for the night. I also had to pull the tarp back over it as it seems to rain almost every night anymore. Good for the plants, not so good for getting work done on my boat.

With the ring now secured to the deck, I pulled out one of my many sheets of foamboard and cut corners out to bridge the gap between the deck and the ring. It is a good thing I have plenty. Using some of my many spring (Or pony) clamps to hold them into place, a simple coating of epoxy and ‘glass should keep them in place until I can epoxy them from beneath and then fill, sand, and fair them in.

Then it will just be a matter of sanding the ring, fairing it to the deck, laying a sheet of Carbonfibre to the deck, fairing that, and paint. It all sounds so easy!

forward (hatch) progress

I know it has been some time since I updated this blog, sadly it has been some time since I got any work on Flirt done. This is not to say I have been idly sitting on my hands, gutting and rebuilding a bathroom got in the way of some prime boat working weather.

Thanks to Port Townsend Foundry, I got my hands on replacement “dogs” for my Chris-craft hatch. What Cathy, Pete, and company made for me could almost be worn as jewelry.

The middle is the original bent chromed bronze dog. The outer two are fresh from the foundry. Hats off to Cathy, Pete, and company

Moving further along in my attempts to seal up Flirt from the weather, I cut two rings from marine grade ply and glued them together, These will make a solid mounting point for the Chris-Craft hatch on the foredeck. It will just be a matter of sanding and shaping the bottom to match the crown of the deck and I can screw, epoxy, and ‘glass it into place.

The inside line is the inner part of the ring, The middle line is the actual outside diameter of the hatch. The outer ring is where I will be cutting.

With two half inch rings of marine grade ply epoxied together, I should have enough to make sure the hatch is proud enough of the deck to keep most rain and spray away from the seal and still have enough meat to make the crown of the deck.

Hopefully soon I can fit it, epoxy it into place, and do the filling necessary to get a good fit as I try to fit a round ring over a square hole

Long Cold winter of no-content

Has finally come to a halt. When It was not cold and nasty out, I was working. I begin to think my boss looks at the weather forecast before deciding what schedule to put me on. When I was working, it was nice and warm, when it was nasty, I was off.

So, after getting a couple of days of nice weather, I finally got the cockpit boxed in. I still need to cut out the opening between the cabin and watertank area for a louvered hatch (It’s in the post) it is all epoxied into place and waiting some sanding and painting before it becomes an integrale piece of Flirt.

As always, when I fabricate something, it starts with a sheet of foam board:

From there comes the plywood that is ready to fit into place with some minor shaving and sanding:

And once it is all shaped to fit, it gets epoxied into place:

And finally Filleted and encased in epoxy to keep he rot at bay.

Soon I will be able to add some Carbon to strengthen it up, but before that I need to cut the access hole for this nice bit of teak:

It’s a shame most people will never see it, the vent will be hidden behind the toilet, but I will know it is there.

Cross Hatching a plan

One of the things I disliked most about Flirt was her Foredeck Hatch. While perfectly serviceable, it was falling apart and unsafe. In all reality it was just a square hole cut into her deck with a raised lip. The hatch was a piece of ply with a flange to fit over the lip. While it did have a solar vent and hinges, it lacked any way to secure it nor did it have a gasket to seal out even a heavy dew, let alone a boarding sea.

The only thing I have against production hatches is their looks. They are very secure, very safe, and very strong, but their moderninity do nothing for Flirt’s 55 year old design. So in all things, I turned to the past to one of the prettiest “production” hatches ever produced.

Chris Craft, purveyors of many a fine wooden yacht had a wonderful round hatch on their larger cabin cruisers. Made of bronze and teak, they could be dogged down tight against rubber seal. Their classic looks would be great on Flirt’s foredeck. So I bought one!


Now I need to modify her deck to take the 20 inch round hatch instead of a square hole. The chrome bars are chrome over bronze, so when I refinish the hatch, I will have the shiny stuff removed and polish up the bronze beneath it.

And you thought I wasn’t doing anything to flirt over the winter?

Water Water Everywhere…

I had been having a disagreement earlier today about how much rain we had in the past week. She was insisting that we got less than half an inch, I begged to disagree as I had driven through several flooded sections of the nearby town of Pleasantville on the way to and from work (thank goodness I drive a Land Rover). Today being a very nice day, I decided to try to paint the under deck areas of the cockpit.

Tomorrow is supposed to be around freezing again, but today was in the mid-fifties (low teens in Celsius) and probably one of the last nice days before the worst of winter hits. So out came the Bilgecoat that I bought when I first brought Flirt home and out I went.

Climbing the ladder, I was confronted with a “pool” that was once the cockpit. The new tarp is obviously very waterproof as went from the bilge to even with the seat tops.

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I had to siphon it out as I do not happen to own a working bilge pump (yet) and soon I was able to pull back the tarp to get at the task at hand.

Bilgecoat smells nasty, most enamels do, but there is something exceptionally horrid about bilgecoat. Still, I managed to get all my hard work safely coated in it without too much collateral damage to my skin or clothes. I will put a second coat on eventually, but already this one small area of Flirt looks like new. Progress at last!

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sealed up.. roughly

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.

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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!

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Cleaning lady!

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.