Jan 2021 Newsletter

At this time it’s difficult to predict how the 2021 season will play out.   Please consider joining or rejoining the Canadian Seaspray Association for 2021.

At this time there are no plans for organized SeaSpray Assn. regattas for 2021, but I will advise if things change.  With no SeaSpray Assn. regattas in 2020, there was no opportunity for our AGM to take place in 2020.

Our season here on Lake Newell this past summer was pretty good.  Formal regattas were cancelled everywhere but there were a fair number of non-organized sailing club activities that played out well. We aren’t participating in a team sport so it’s a relatively safe activity to do during these times.

Get Well Soon Tom!

Here’s wishing Tom Alexander a full return to good health.  Tom (photo below) who lives on Vancouver Island was a regular attendee at the Osoyoos regattas until a few years ago. 

Boat Talk – Paint

Tremclad high gloss oil based paint applied with a foam roller, followed by a foam brush to level the paint really can freshen up an old boat. This is a low tech job anyone can do. Make sure you do good prep of the hull first. The most preferable choice for hull restoration is to wet sand. Gel coat can be freshened up a good deal by sanding and polishing and is preferable to painting. Paint may be preferable when no amount of sanding, etc. will brighten up the gel coat, staining cannot be removed or repairs to the hull have been made which make it impossible to make a consistent finish. There are better harder finish paints available that can be sprayed on as well.

This particular SeaSpray (photo above) is a foam core construction boat. The foam core boats are heavier but the hulls seem to hold their shape better. If you want a faster boat try to reduce as much weight (boat too?!) as possible and keep your hulls clean and smooth.

Boat Talk – Masts

The original SeaSprays were built lighter than later models. They were also “sock sail” boats so the rig was lighter as well. You can reduce the weight of your extruded mast a bit by grinding or cutting away some of the unnecessary metal. Some masts had horizontal cuts placed on the sail track portion (don’t cut into the main tube) of the mast to help the mast bend a little more. More bend will help to flatten the mainsail for better upwind flow over the sail.

Sock sail mast cap

The top cap can be removed and replaced with a wooden plug (sealed and screwed on) if you like as well. Many of the masts have main halyard pulleys that are too small (some masts had the bigger sized pulley and work fine). A 1″ or slightly bigger pulley(could use an appropriate harken cheek block) at the top will help to raise the mainsail. Removal of the bottom pulley and cutting away the sail track up to the gooseneck will reduce a bit of the weight and possibly place a horn cleat below the gooseneck for an easier downward pull and lock of the mainsail halyard. Make sure you use non-stretch rope for your halyard. You could even rig a 2:1 system for the main halyard. You really want the top of the sail to stay as close to the top of the mast as possible.

Track end view after riveting the two lengths on.

The other option, if and when more sail luff track is available, is to build a mast using 3″ irrigation pipe. This type of mast system is around 5 lbs lighter than the extruded mast. It will cost you some money, maybe upwards of $350 to build a mast like this but you will get a much bendier, lighter halyard sail system mast.

The extruded mast system is around 23 pounds weight with all the stuff attached. You might be able to cut a pound of weight off of the extruded mast. The tube mast with the sail track attached is around 16 to 18 lbs. The sock sail tube mast is around 12 or 13 lbs. One suggestion I heard about the extruded mast would be to fill it with muriatic acid and let the acid etch away some of the aluminum. Really didn’t think I would want to try this, leaks, safety, etc. but maybe it would work. If you try it make sure to rinse with lots of water and neutralize the acid.Both sock and halyard sail systems have their proponents. After getting used to the sock system I don’t feel there is any difference in time required to set up the boat with either system.

Boat Talk – Renovation Project

So, say you want to get a used Sea Spray and fix it up.  What is a used SeaSpray worth?  If you can find one of the original earlier, narrow slot (3/4″ instead of 1″ wide) daggerboard trunk models you could save a lot of work in not having to remove the two part foam.  These models used a couple of full sized bulkheads inside the hulls to provide strength instead of the multitude of fiberglass ribs.  They also have a finer bow that cuts the water better.  They likely will weigh less and sometimes a lot less.  Depending on the condition of the hulls a boat like this would be worth more than a later model.   Some earlier production, but not the narrow daggerboard slot boats, from Calgary used styrofoam blocks for flotation and these generally weigh less as well.  Remember Sea Sprays started out as race boats for the purposes of training potential Tornado sailers.  They eventually morphed into stronger heavier more rugged sailboats for the recreational market.   The most likely boat you will find in the used market is the later, heavier models.  There are advantages to getting a late model foam core Sea Spray. 

A rear deck opened for work on the transom. Note the stiffening ribs

Although they weigh more they are generally in better condition with hulls that keep their smooth shape (no wavey look punctuated with rib locations along the hull).  Weighing your finished Sea Spray requires that it weigh no less than 180 lbs all up so if you end up with an older model that could weigh 160 lbs all up, you are required to carry 20 lbs for racing purposes.   You could spend up to or more than $3500 for a complete overhaul with everything new, so if that is your plan, make sure you don’t pay $2000 for a used Sea Spray that requires a whole bunch of work and expense.  With a trailer, a good price might be in the $500 to $1000 depending on the boat model/condition and trailer type/condition (registered or not).     

Example of foam to be removed

Nearly all of the used boats I have acquired have needed a lot of work.  Waterlogged overweight boats can be difficult to re-right if you capsize, not as lively to sail, and harder to manhandle when loading or launching.  The ropes become filled with dirt over the years and are nearly impossible to run through the pulleys and need to be replaced.  If they have been replaced with nylon or polypropylene rope that doesn’t work well on a sailboat, get dacron non-stretch line.  Often the rudder blades and daggerboards are in broken or poor condition and may need replacement or a lot of work to restore.  Sails nearly always need to be repaired and battens are often missing.  Many cleats don’t work and the tramp is pulling out of the extrusion.  

Fixing up an old sailboat, that can be fixed, is a cost effective way to get into the sport. If a SeaSpray were built today it would likely cost way over $10,000 just for the boat so it’s worth your time and expense to restore an older boat.  Besides you are doing your part for the environment by keeping an old boat out of the land fill.  Whether your intention is to race, sail recreationally or make a more attractive/reliable/functional boat for resale fixing up your Sea Spray is a cost effective investment. 

Boat Talk – Now for something completely different

If you have the time, check out Fulcrum Speedworks newest boat the “Rocket”. It is a fresh take on a really old sailboat type. From the sailing videos of the Rocket, the lighter weight difference really helps the performance. The price is relatively inexpensive compared to new comparable boats and it comes with a launching dolly! A little more research about Dave Clark and his positive approach to sailboat building is infectious. It’s nice to see such a progressive approach from a boat builder.

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