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I hate sanding

I am sure that is an almost universal sentiment in regards to any sort of vehicular or domicile work. If it has or will have paint, it will need to be sanded smooth at some point. Do not think that I do not enjoy removing paint, I can grind paint off of cars, houses, and boats all day, I love making wafting clouds of paint dust (as my neighbors will concur), it is the getting stuff smooth like a baby’s bottom that I dislike.

Getting to that, I have spent the past week and a half filling in all crazing in Flirt’s cabin top with filler, sanding it down, and then redoing it again with finer grits to get her to this point.

Soon it will be time for epoxy primer, that means more sanding, but at least her cabin should be just as smooth and sleek as when Flirt first came off of SailStar’s production line in 1963

Flirt: the prep for paint!

Yes, you read that correctly. I spent the past couple of days finishing up all the rough sanding/grinding so that I can begin fairing and primering what remains of Flirt.

All that nasty epoxy that had dripped all over the cockpit: gone. All the cracked and crazed gel coat on her decks: gone. The light gray paint on the cabin: Gone. She is as bare as a boat can be without being taken down to the molecules that make her up.

Between the three addresses I have kept Flirt over the years, I am certain that most of South Jersey has some of her ‘glass dust. There is still a bit of sanding to do as I used up the last of my epoxy to fill in a few missed holes and gouges.

And just to give you an idea about how nasty the cockpit looked, here is a pic from last week when I redid the lazarette deck. You can just make out the nasty gunk on the Port side seat.

tomorrow I buy some epoxy primer to do the cabin.

Signed, Sealed…

Well, Flirt finally has a sealed up Lazarette again. After fixing a small error in height on the supports, I took the old beaten up ‘glass deck down into the basement and used it as a template.

9mm Okoume Plywood should be more than strong enough, especially backed by 4 inch wood supports that crisscross the deck forward and back and back and forth. Once the epoxy is dry, this should be a very strong deck.

First came the deck itself. I dropped it dry onto the stern of Flirt and carefully screwed it down at the edges to see how it would sit. As the beams were not perfect arcs, I am only mechanically sealing it at the edges and letting the epoxy do all the work in the middle

Of course I then had to do was mix up the epoxy to a really thick peanut butter consistency. Once I had that, I spread it liberally across the deck beams to ensure a good seal and chemical adhesion.

A layer of epoxy on the underside to both prime the ply and protect it and it was time to drop it into place on Lazarette. Screwed down at the edges again, and then two layers of epoxy across the top and I am done until it all hardens. Of course I still need to cut a 16″x16″ hole in it for the hatch, but that can wait for a little bit. The main thing is, the hard work is done and it looks good. Tomorrow I trim it up and add some more epoxy to the edges where it meets the hull.


I am trying to get a bit more each day, even if I do not post about it until I get to a decent point. That moment has been reached. All week I have been going out for an hour or so before heading off to work to get some progress done on Flirt. Slowly fitting her cedar boards to the edges of the ‘glass hull, then measuring out and cutting the supports that would lay across the open space of the Lazarette to support it’s deck and eventual hatch.

Today, I got them all fitted and epoxied into place. There will still be some sanding, grinding, and epoxying to go, but now what I am attempting to do becomes crystal clear. I also got the 16 x 16 inch hatch opening spot on!


That used to be a nicely painted and clean Lazarette…

Clean Mr. Clean

The Lazarette is not quite done, I still need to add another support against the hull on the Port side and the deck supports that span it, but I did manage to sand everything smooth and slap some paint on areas that will be hard to get at soon.

As in most of the inner hull.

That’s with only one layer of “Bilge Coat” there will be another. Until then, enjoy the blinding whiteness.

Fiddle me this!

Like most boats not designed by Phil Bolger, Flirt’s hull is not a square sided box. As her design is decidedly “old fashioned” with slack bilges, a long keel, and a transom that rises gracefully from the water, making anything “square” is a challenge.

With this in mind, I realized I need a flat area in the Lazerette to store stuff (this is a technical term) or everything would slowly try to funnel it’s way down to the bilge. I could have just simply cut a piece of plywood to fit over the space and called it a day, but I know from previous sailing experience that if you do not put things into containers, storage quickly turns into a vindictive pile of spaghetti as ropes intertwine with cushions, floatation devices, chain, anchors, and the kitchen sink.

A milk crate is thirteen inches by thirteen inches by eleven inches square. By laying out some cedar planks to fit the space, I am able to fit a piece of plywood 39 inches wide across the lazerette. With the higher sides of the planks and some yoga mats glued to the plywood, this will keep three milk crates securely square in an irregularly shaped space.

The planks are Six inches in height with a one by one inch support on the bottom to hold the plywood in place.

I will still need to cut the plywood to fit and then epoxy the whole thing to keep rot at bay, but you get the idea!

Irma gonna leave this right here

Bad pun, I am (not)sorry.

With rain from Irma’s remnants due tomorrow, I had to finish getting all the openings between the lazerette and cabin sealed so I could cover the cockpit back up with it’s tarp.

It was not a hard job, the Starboard side was easier due to the hole cut into seat for storage. The Portside saw me twice crawling up into the quarter berth to retrieve the small piece of plywood that disappeared inwards. Once I finally got it jammed into place, slathering on the thickened epoxy was easy peasy. Sanding it down won’t be, even if I did my best to get it as smooth as possible before hand.

Hopefully over the course of the next two days I will get everything carboned up and get started on deck supports. Next week’s work scheadule has me doing mid mornings to late afternoons, makes it very hard to get any sort of work done, maybe I can start putting together the lazerette hatch.

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.