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It all starts with (a) mould

Seriously, I could not resist. In order to get the Lazerette “seaworthy” I need to not only put the deck on it and hatch, but I need to limit the access water has from the space into the rest of the boat. As designed, a SeaSprite 23 has ample access for water (but not for people, unless you are a small child) to simply flow into the boat if it somehow gets in through a broken hatch, collision, or even a bad thru hull. As Flirt will have a hatch, something she didn’t have for the first 55 years of her existence, I needed to keep water out of the cabin and bilge (or at least control it’s flow)

Using one of he sheets of foamboard I have laying about, I shaped a mold to fit the space I wanted and then cut the ply to fit. It’s not an exact fit, it needs to be loose so the epoxy has a place to fill and hold.

Once the two pieces of plywood were cut (mirror imaged) I then jammed, wedged, and placed them into the openings they are meant to seal and went to work with a peanut butter like epoxy consistency. I think they turned out rather nice.

Without Epoxy First.

Inside the quarterberth/cockpit storage area.

And all epoxied up. Yes, I need to seal up at the top, but I also need a vent there to allow some airflow through the boat to keep the real mold down.

And because I appear to be a slow learner, I used up the excess epoxy I had in another layer over the carbon in the lazerette, forcing me to do some more “boat yoga” and slither over the side to get down.

With any luck the rain from Hurricane Irma will not impact us too much as my days off from work are approaching and I want to be a little further along in putting in the beams to hold the deck up now that almost all the carbonfibering is done. (is that a word?)

Painted into a corner

Look carefully where I keep my ladder. It’s there because Flirt overhangs the fence and it is easier to climb up from inside the backyard than to walk around and go up over the side. Keeping this in mind, remember I have been working on the Lazerette. I wish I had.

Once the deck was off, I could clean it all out, sand it all down, and get rid of 50 some years of detritus. You can also see where I filled in the holes for the scary outboard mount and what used to be the thruhull for the bilge pump.

Once that was all done, I got out my nasty epoxy encrusted Scissors and cut up some slinky CarbonFibre and went to work with more epoxy. I cannot say enough about Fiskers scissors. I have left these out on the deck, they have been covered in epoxy for years, they have spent all this time cutting and trimming CF and they still hold a sharp edge.

I think now you can see the issue with me getting down off of Flirt. I am not 18 anymore, I cannot simply do a flying leap 7 feet to the ground without worry (I probably could, but I am going to chance it). So I had to do the most inglorious slither over the side and down to the grass anybody has ever had the displeasure to witness. I do apologize to the neighbors.

beam me up!

I  have been a bit lax in both working on Flirt and updating here. Projects not involving a boat tend to be just as big, take much longer than imagined, and balloon the budget beyond all recognition. My small 8×5 bathroom might as well have been a house for how long it took to gut and redo.

Anyway, back to my beloved Sprite. We will not be going down to St. Michaels this year for the Small Craft festival, I am aiming for next. In the mean time I found a way to do MORE demolition to Flirt.

The Lazerette deck on my SeaSprite never came with a hatch. this left a large storage area with no way to store anything in it. It was also stuffed half full of a nasty watertank that disappeared years ago when I cut a large hole and removed it. With all the cutting, glassing, re-cutting, and re-glassing I have been doing, I finally decided to rip the entire deck off and redo it right.

So out came the grinder (a boat refitters best and worst friend) and I went to work cutting all along the edges of the deck

and soon I had so much more debris.

With the Lazerette now completely open to the elements, it was time to do some grinding to clean everything out in preparation for some Carbonfibre,

But first, run to the local big box hardware store to get some Cedar Planks. I would have preferred to use White oak, but all they have is red, so I would have to special order. Cedar is light, easy to cut, and resistant to decay. Once encapsulated in epoxy, it should last nearly forever.

So, some measurements later and I have a beam.

And even though I plan on laying CF throughout the lazerette first, I had to epoxy this in. I probably should have notched it for the support beams, but I can do that later.

It’s fun to watch epoxy ooze when you clamp it.

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.

Polyvinylchloride

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!