All posts tagged: Sea Sprite 23

Dust to Dust

I almost turned Flirt into a pile of ashes today. After spending hours grinding down epoxy drips from her forepeak, I started to cut out the last of her chain plates. On a SeaSprite 23, they are stainless steel tangs bolted to mahogany and then glassed over. Well, in cutting the stainless, I dropped a red hot piece of nut down into the bilge (thankfully not the deep bilge of the keel) where it came to rest in all that light and airy epoxy powder.. it immediately started to smoke and was about to burst into flame when I was able to scramble down and scoop it up and out of the boat. No harm done but some awful stench that took a while to clear. To get that much powder, I spent a couple of hours wearing out sanding discs. Epoxy is some pretty hard stuff and as the Starboard side was the first time I ever played with it, the drips were river like where they had flowed down from beneath the oak …

the bubbles in Champlain tickle my nose.

  There must be something about cold water. Maybe it is the shorter sailing season, or the lack of salt, or even just the never warm enough water, but Lake Champlain seems to hold a higher percentage of Sea Sprite 23s than anywhere else outside of Bristol RI (Where they were built). Especially the early ones. Perusing the web this morning to find pictures of later sprites, I came across a beautiful one for sale for $5500 on the NY side of the Lake. Hull number 102. Mine is 110 and I know that 115 is on the VT side of Champlain. It just seems odd that so many early sprites are either on that small lake or were recently removed from it (Like Flirt).. but it is also true that shipwrecks in the lake look almost like you could raise them and sail again, even if they have been sitting on the bottom for more than 200 years. I wonder how many other Sea Sprite 23s are home ported on Lake Champlain?

Gimmie Shelter!

A home out of the Wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Protection from the things that go bump in the night and the sun that beats down unrelentingly. Some people have a cabin out in the woods to get away from it all, we sailors have small cabins on our boats to crawl into.. but mostly just for storage and the pottie. Like the rest of Flirt, the Cabin was slathered in many layers of white house paint. The fixed ports leaked, and the wood companionway hatch was rotted and warped. Everything had to go if I was going to make any sort of progress. The Ports went first. 1cm thick class held in place with a oval ring of bronze… and lots and lots of sealant. Most of the screws came out easily, but each port required me to break out the drill twice. Once they were free, I moved on to the handrails, navigation lights, Hatch, and anything else connected to the cabin. As I would be putting all new on, I whipped up …

From destruction comes creation

Knowing that I bought my Sprite basically unseen, 400+ miles away from me, I should not have been surprised to learn that not everything was as I was told. In the pictures sent to me the brightwork was good and shiny, the paint looked flawless, and she looked like a well cared for little boat. Reality is so often so different from the truth. While I am happy to report that older Sprites like mine use Mahogany instead of teak, it is a sad fact that 50 years is a long life for any hardwood board. The wood on Flirt was not even marginal, it was soft and rotted. the tiller gave up the ghost on the way home from Lake Champlain, breaking in two just above the rudder head. The Companion Way hatch was warped, and the Coamings were soft and flexible. I could have driven away rather than hooking up my Land Rover to the trailer and dragging her home, but obviously I put on my rose tinted glasses that morning. The only …

in sickness and in health

All things are a give and take, even between the living and inanimate. Sadly, not long after I brought Flirt home, things took a turn for the worse for me. I was renting a small home at the time. It was run down, I had a landlord who was elderly and more concerned with rent checks than making sure the place was livable. Every time I brought something to his attention, he would blow it off. When I said I had a window that leaked, he told me they were new windows. Same with the roof. Well, attached to said house was a small room that had been illegally added on about 20some odd years before. It did not have a proper foundation and was not even heated. As it slowly sank into the ground, it pulled away just enough to allow rain to seep in. I think in the 7 years I lived there, I patched the roof 5 times. At the end of last summer I started to get some nasty colds. It …

A clean Slate

  Clutter tends to disturb the flow of things. obstacles that form eddies and ripples in the stream of consciousness. I dislike things that disturb my thoughts, progress, and general goings on through like. When I got Flirt two things annoyed me more than anything… and both were on the stern. One was obvious, the spring loaded outboard mount would have to go. The other was the off centred and oddly spaced bilge pump through hull. The engine mount was a no brainer. It was like a hairy mole on Flirt’s pert little stern. When I removed it though, I was surprised to learn the bolts holding it in place were not backed. they did not even have large fender washers to help hold it in place. just a nut and a lockwasher to keep it from pulling through the ‘glass. good thing these old Sea Sprites are over built. Flirt will be getting a side mount (reversible to either side) for a Torqeedo. There is something about the idea of light weight, renewable energy …


The Game of Chance is an alluring one. Every moment we live, the house stacks the deck against us, until eventually the odds become so great that we lose and are forced to cash out to the eternal banker. Living outside of and working in Atlantic City, I see people flirting with chance everyday. The majority do it for entertainment, they know they are going to lose and are just there for the sights, sounds, drinks, fun, and illusion of being some big shot. if they win a little, it is just a bonus. A few though, are out to make it “big”, Those are the ones that have the most to lose. When my Sprite came to me, she had the unfortunate name of “black jack”. According to old George, she was named after his standard poodle. While a cute story, the other meaning of the name would never work in the shadow of the Atlantic City Skyline. it was a friend who suggested the name “flirt” as the Sea Sprite 23 is such …

The Tao of Sanding

From Stem to stern, cabin top to keel, Flirt needed to be cleansed of 50 years of neglect. Her once smooth gelcoat had been covered under several layers of paint as previous owners attempted to revive her vivacious beauty. Time had not been kind, while Glassfibre requires less maintenance than wood, it still requires some. My Sprite had gotten none. I counted six distinct layers of paint as I worked a little each day, my dewalt Orbital Sander spewing plumes of house paint into the breeze. When I was done though, her crazed gelcoat looked better than the paint that had attempted to choke her glassfibre skin. Every girl deserves to take off her makeup once in a while

Taking stock

Nothing in life is static. From growth comes decay, order turns to chaos, and life eventually returns to death. A day of going over my Sprite turned up a multitude of problems I was not to concerned about in upstate NY. Upon reaching home, I discovered that the tiller, which had looked so strong and assuring in the cockpit was in two pieces, rot having hollowed out it’s all important core. Likewise was the wiring a disaster in the making. Running hither and yon from a makeshift switch panel carelessly hung from the portside quarter berth, it was only on tracing them did I discovered that the switches were redundant, as the wires themselves had no destination.. Truly my cute little Sprite had turned into a full scale project as a major refit loomed on the horizon like a squall just waiting to pounce. The skies had been red the morning I retrieved my boat, but I had failed to take warning.

Going Home

Getting my sprite home was the easy part. I just drove up to Lake Champlain, hooked her up to my Land Rover, and took my time getting home. Eight hours later, she was in my Driveway and looking both prettier and sadder than before. Now the real work would begin. At 50 years old Flirt had been through numerous unknown owners. Some took better care of her than others.. but as she sat on her oversized trailer, I knew I had to start somewhere.. and that was with the 6 layers of house paint that adorned her topsides.