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New Technical Articles

Dejan Radeka has written several terrific articles describing major projects we all have contemplated as we sail and restore our SS23’s. Here are excerpts from 4 with links to the Technical Section of the website for the full article, including pictures.

Replacing The Chainplates

Sea Sprite 23 Chain Plate Upgrade/Replacement Project – by Dejan Radeka

By now, the youngest SS 23 is just shy of being 30 years old.  As discussed elsewhere in the forum, there are many structural components on these boats that are at or near failure and will require some sort of repair, replacement or upgrade in order for the boat to continue to be safe and functional.

The chainplates are probably the most stressed set of components within the rigging system, closely following the oft cursed deck support beams and sodden mast step area deck core issues.

Please note that this article assumes that you have already tackled deck core and mast support beam issues.  All of these systems must be sound, and work in unison, in order for your rig to perform optimally and correctly.

Chainplate failure can manifest itself in the following ways:

  • elongation and/or hardening of the clevis pin hole
  • cracking near the hole or the body of the chainplate
  • corrosion and failure (cracking or breaking) of the chainplate within the hidden section glassed into the hull

Before discussing the repair/replacement, it is important to first understand how they were installed during construction………….

To read the entire article and to view diagrams and pictures, click here


Building A Mast Compression Post

Mast Compression Post Project – by Dejan Radeka

Eventually, as with most older fiberglass boats with deck stepped masts, the under deck support beams on your Sea Sprite 23 will begin to get tired.  Unlike larger boats with bulkheads that can help spread the load of a deck support beam, the 23 has no such interior components.  Instead, the builders glassed two athwartships wooden beams across the deck layup (upside down) before flipping the deck and laying the deck onto the hull.  In addition to the two beams, once the deck was laid onto the hull they also glassed gussets on either end, to attempt to spread the load to the hull sides.

All of this will be easily visible in all but the Ryder built boats (which have a head liner), so it is relatively easy to inspect for the impending failure of the deck supports.  You’ll need to lie on your back, look up and inspect the beams for any cracking.  Also look at the radiused transition/edge of the forward cabin trunk and deck for cracks.

Up on deck, you can look for more cracking or crazing, again at the radiused transition of the forward cabin trunk and deck.  Note that this area can be confusing to inspect, because in parallel, the boat may also be suffering from a sodden balsa deck core around the mast step area.  The deck may look compressed, in addition to showing cracking and crazing.  The mast step itself may also look like it “sank” into the deck, which is a good sign that the core has failed.

To read the entire article and to view pictures, click here


Porthole Replacement

Porthole replacement/upgrade project – by Dejan Radeka

This technical article about porthole replacement is adapted from several of my posts in the Forum about this topic.

With three different builders, and some 500 plus hulls built over a span of almost 40 years there are many variations in fit, finish and hardware found on the Sea Sprite 23.  A good example is the set of portholes that came with your boat.  Unless you have a late model Ryder built hull with the nice bronze portholes, you most likely have some variation of aluminum framed plexiglass fixed port, or perhaps a slightly better quality, yet non bronze, opening port.  If they are the former, I’m sure they leak like a sieve and are cloudy and nasty looking, with corroded aluminum frames.

After contemplating this for several years I bit the bullet and decided to get some new portholes for Firefly. I wanted bronze.  In my opinion it was the only option for the pretty Sprite.

For almost two years I searched eBay, consignment shops, etc for used ports. The main problems I found with used ports include:
1) They never have the trim rings, which make them essentially useless.
2) The condition is never very good
3) They’re always too big for the Sprite
4) They’re way overpriced.

I finally had enough of the searching.  I bought new, bronze opening ports from NewFound Metals in Port Townsend, WA http://www.newfoundmetals.com).

To read the entire article and to view pictures, click here


Rebuilding The Lazarette

Lazarette Deck Rebuild Project – by Dejan Radeka

This was the first major project I undertook on Firefly.  Many Spriters with pre-Ryder boats like mine, will ultimately recognize this major flaw in the execution of the lazarette deck hatches for the outboard motor well.  These hatches were simply cut out of the deck lamination, with hinges and trim added.  The balsa core was simply covered over with sealant.  Over time, water would get into the deck laminate, saturate the balsa core, and cause delamination.

We’ll take a quick detour from the project to provide some context.  Carl Alberg actually designed the Sea Sprite 23 to have a small inboard motor; this is evident from the lines drawing. The vast majority of Sprites built however, did not have the inboard option, rather they were equipped with an outboard motor mounted in a lazarette motor “well.” Many sailboats of this size and vintage were so equipped. With this option there is virtually no above decks storage available as the motor takes up most of the lazarette area. Another disadvantage is that you cannot fully tilt the motor out of the water, therefore the boat suffers the associated drag while sailing, and the lower unit becomes fouled during the course of the season. Lastly, on the Sea Sprite this is a really lousy design because to mount the outboard means you have to leave the lazarette hatch open all the time because the outboard head unit stands proud of deck level.

Now back to our story.  When I bought the boat in March, 2009; there was still snow on the ground; everything was frozen, and the sodden lazarette deck was not obvious to me.

To read the entire article and to view pictures, click here

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Call For Stories

A winter storybook…..

Send me a story with some pictures to share on the website. Any story. Perhaps a trip. Or a rehab summary. Or a history of your boat. Anything that might make for some good wintertime reading. I will post it here on the front page for the rest of us to enjoy.

Below is the first story from Mark Baldwin about sailing his SS34 in Maine.

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Ella In Summer


ELLA SS34 yawl low res


In Maine we’re still in the phase of being irritated that it’s winter, and it is.

The boat is ELLA. I bought her in Bristol in January 2013. My previous boat was a TULA, a sweet Cape Dory 27, on which I put an 18′ carbon fiber mizzen. I made the boom and some of the hoops, and dug the tackle out of the “assorted blocks” bucket. (Had mizzen envy, I guess, and liked being able to balance in heavier weather jib and jigger only, sailing by myself.) The new owner didn’t want the mizzen, so I put it on ELLA. On TULA the mast was stepped on the cockpit sole. On ELLA it is stepped it on the aft deck, still without stays, so the top of the mizzen is still about the height of the spreaders.
The photo is by Christine Guinness. That’s me at trying to tighten the luff on the Main.
I do just about all of my sailing on the coast of Maine, usually between Blue Hill Bay and Monhegan Island or Boothbay Harbor. The longest trip on ELLA was bringing her from Buzzard’s Bay to Blue Hill Bay, in chilly, sloppy April weather, with a friend and one of my sons. For a while the seas were five to seven feet, which is no problem for the boat.  There were sufficient mishaps, mostly, I’m afraid to say, because of inattentive work by a yard where I had some work done. A couple of mishaps were not the yard’s doing. The dinghy left us when we were 40 miles offshore, sometime in the early morning. Later that day we got my son Chris stuck up the mast, but he’s a professional climber and finished the trip in more comfort.
Summer cannot arrive soon enough!!
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Sea Sprite items  will occasionally be listed for sale to owners, crew, families, and anyone interested in our great boat . We will advertise the product and provide details on how to arrange a purchase. Customers will deal directly with the seller regarding ordering, payment, shipping, and other details. Vendors will donate a small percentage of profits on each order to the Sea Sprite Association to support the Sea Sprite class.

Each item for sale is listed as a sub-menu under “Store”.


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Ms. Lynn G.

Joel Schuman has contracted with Tim Lacky  to rehab his recently acquired SS23. It is an absolutely spectacular rehab project. Along with fine workmanship, Tim is keeping a detailed log of his progress and work. You can follow the progress by going to the following link:

Ms Lynne G.



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Catani Wins ” ‘Round The Hog ” ….. Again


Carter Awards Mr. Hog To Skipper And Crew Of Bramisole

Carter Awards Mr. Hog To Skipper And Crew Of Bramisole

For the 2nd year in a row, Bob Catani racing his speedster Bramisole won the ‘Round The Hog race outside Bristol Harbor on September 13th. It was a beautiful afternoon, with a northeast  wind at about 8 with gusts to 15. We started on a broad reach, with Hall grabbing an early lead down to the first mark. But, as luck would have it (and a modicum of skill, I guess), Catani and then Jeff Bardell in Pau Hana moved to windward. And that was that. We had 6 boats (Bramisole, Pau Hana, LulaBelle, Asparas, Hope, and Vexatious). It was a blast.

And the best was yet to come. Skippers, crews, and families all met after racing at Lou, Karen, and Emelia’s home on State St in Bristol for a post race barbecue featuring Lou’s famous (what else) pulled pork BBQ. Mr. Hog got passed back to Bob. He promised to display him prominently on the fireplace mantle for the next year.

Sue Hall And Deb Rude

Sue Hall And Deb Rude

The MacKeiths

The MacKeiths

All in all, it was one spectacular day. Many thanks to the Marino’s for a very special effort.

Lou is pleased. Pulled pork is a hit!

Lou is pleased. Pulled pork is a hit!

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Cruising Southern New England Coast

Our sailing connections are myriad. Here is a note from Dejan about a crossing of paths that keeps us thinking we are family. By the way, The McCormacks’ jaunt that took them from Long Island to Cuttyhunk to 3rd Beach and back home highlights the cruising fun of our SS23’s.
McCormacks at 3rd Beach

McCormacks at 3rd Beach

From Dejan:

Bede McCormack contacted me as a result of our association web site.  So
this was a “virtual” connection for awhile.  He originally emailed me a
couple of years ago; inquiring about this area with a view towards
making a longer trip to Cuttyhunk.  He keeps the boat at Shelter Island,
NY.  We have corresponded via email for awhile and I made some
suggestions for good places to stop along the way, like Dutch Harbor and
3rd Beach Cove.  Bede did not end up making the trip last year, but
tried again (successfully) this year.  So Bede and another brother,
Aidan, sailed out bound 2 weeks ago, stopping at 3rd Beach and then
continuing to Cuttyhunk, on a 2 day run Thurs/Fri  July 17/18 to
Cuttyhunk.  They returned to 3rd Beach Cove on Sunday the 20th.
I connected them with our harbor master so they could rent a mooring to
leave the boat for 2 weeks.  I met the brothers that Sunday afternoon on
the beach.  We got their gear ashore, and then I followed Bede back out
to the boat in my dinghy, so we could leave his dinghy with the boat.
(there is no town sanctioned dinghy storage here for transient
boaters).  I dropped the brothers at the bus station in Newport so they
could make their way back to NY.  I kept an eye on the boat the last 2
weeks but we really haven’t had any weather to be concerned with. Then
yesterday I picked up Bede and his other brother Colm at the local Avis
agency, and then dinghy’ed them out to the boat for the return trip this
Their tentative plan was to push ahead to
Newport or Jamestown and get a slight jump on the weather and position
themselves for the jump over to Orient Point on Long Island and then
onwards to Shelter Island.  They made an overnight run from 3rd
Beach to Three Mile Harbor, Long Island.  They left 3rd Beach around 
7:30pm and motored most of the way.  RI and BI sounds were like a mill 
pond overnight.  An Easterly kicked up as they entered Gardiner’s Bay, 
so they sailed the last hour or so and arrived safely around 7am, ahead 
of the rain/storm front that deluged us all day on Saturday.
What a trip!!!
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Norm Grant SS23 Photos

Norm Grant is a Rhode Island based photographer who among other subjects has taken some gorgeous pictures of sailboat racing on Narragansett Bay. He has been a photographer for 30 years, currently producing video for the Community College of Rhode Island and shooting freelance photo and video assignments. He welcomes inquiries for event photography, documentaries, or corporate videos, and can be reached through his website at http:////normangrant.zenfolio.com


He has kindly lent our website numerous photos of Sea Sprite 23’s sailing in local races in the upper Narragansett Bay. The images below are from Bristol YC races in 2010 and 2013 as well as from the Mount Hope Sailing Association races in 2013 and the Herreshoff Regatta from 2010. You will also see a few of them cropped and used as web site headers. If you use any of these pictures from our site, please give him appropriate credit. If you would like prints, they can be ordered from his website.


By the way, if you would like to while away some time in the cold (or even warm) weather season, go to his website and scroll through his galleries. He has some spectacular shoots of PHRF yachts and big boat Herreshoff classics racing in the Upper Narraganset Bay.


SEA SPRITE RACING PICTURES FROM NORM GRANT. Single click on photo for full size screen.



Bob Rude and crew racing in MOHOSA 2013

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