Measurements confirm layout choices

So I recently wrote Cabin Refurbishment: Part 4 Layout, however, at that point we hadn’t been on Vida for over 3 months during which time our thinking has been evolving. So our ideas were based on memory and the drawings which are a little inaccurate for the internal layout.

So, yesterday, we took lots of measurements :=)

Galley: In order to fit the worktop extension flap we are only going to have reduce the height of the bulkhead by about 50mm. We will be able to hinge the flap so that when it is in the up position it will cover the top of the bulkhead and so there will be no visible hinge to trap food, that will make it easier to keep hygienic.

Chart Table: We do want to keep a chart table suitable for a standard folded chart. The existing chart table is much, much larger than that, but sadly not quite big enough for an unfolded chart. We have enough space for a forward facing chart table with a permanent, forward facing bench seat (with storage underneath it). We will be able to have a shelf under the chart table to fit the sewing machine, without reducing knee room. This should end up being a comfortable place to sit when you are on watch (between getting up every 15 minutes for a full look around the horizon).

Corridor to aft cabin: The space at the outer starboard side (where the fuel tank was) is long enough to store both our bikes (providing we remove the wheels first). That means we don’t have to spend money on folding Bromptons (at least initially – folding bikes are a lot easier to transport ashore and can be kept with you in shops for security). We will fit it out with shelves to maximise the storage space around the bike frames.

It means that long term we can have at least one full-size bike for use on the indoor trainer for exercise 🙂

The changes to the chart table and turning the engine compartment into the motor room mean that the corridor can be widened, enough to make it practical for a foldaway sea berth. We can also add an opening porthole to the side of the cockpit to provide natural light and ventilation to the corridor as well as easier communication from the chart table or sea berth to the cockpit.

Electric Motor Room: We need a cool name for this space that is going to be so awesome. Something that sounds like it comes from the Starship Enterprise 🙂 We have confirmed that the motor, it’s battery bank, the house battery bank, the two inverters, the MPPT Solar controllers will all fit while still having good access to the only 2 seacocks in the boat (2 x 50mm Trudesign composite seacocks) for the cockpit drains.

After further study and thinking we are probably also going to fit an electric desiccant dehumidifier in this space so that we can improve the lifespan of all the electrics by drying the air thus avoiding them sucking in salty, humid air causing them to fail. More on this in the future, a nice side effect is that the dehumidifier also warms the air (and yes we will make sure that warm air gets directed outside the boar when we are in hotter climates).

I’m working on designs for battery boxes that fully enclose the batteries and hold them in place even in the catastrophic event of the boat rolling over. With the motor bank of 4 batteries weighing a total of 152 kg the thought of these flying around is terrifying.

Critically, we are going to be able to have really short and simple electrical connections between a) the batteries and motor b) the house batteries and the inverters with all fuses and master switches very accessible. We have some really chunky tinned copper (60 x 6 mm) for the main busbars so are very confident that we can get a really efficient house battery bank (that is very critical for 12 volt batteries connected in parallel where the current is very high) with a key focus on that connection to the inverters and also to the windlass as these are, by orders of magnitude, the items needing most power.

The route to our main 12volt switch panels (everything apart from the inverters and the windlass) is also simple as the panels will be above the entrance to the corridor (above the chart table, on the starboard side of the companionway). All the busbar connections for the lights etc will be accessible behind the switch panels above the corridor (there is a narrow space inside the edge of the cockpit), we will make them so that they drop down for easy access.

Forward heads: We feel we also have a measured plan for this space. We are sacrificing some, rather inaccessible, storage space for what will be a much more generous toilet, shower, dressing space.

The composting toilet will be on the port side, sitting on a raised platform which allows it to move outwards a bit. Above and behind it will be storage space for a hand washing machine and an electric spin dryer. As we won’t have the sliding door to the saloon we will be able to fit big handholds, on both sides, for when you use the toilet in rough weather.

The two big, awkward cupboards/wardrobes opposite, on the starboard side, will be removed. On the forward side there will be a narrow hanging locker/wardrobe for guest hanging clothes. Next to that the basin with vanity storage outboard and holding tank below.

The central section will be used (with full standing headroom and plenty of space) as the shower. The toilet and basin will be protected by shower curtains (although if it is rough you can sit on the toilet to shower). The shower drains straight into a sealed section of bilge which will be pumped directly into the larger holding tank.

There will be a hinged door to the saloon (will block off the basin when it is opened).

The hinged door to the v-berth will open and expand to be able to hide the toilet. When the v-berth is used as a guest cabin you can use the shower area with wash basin and hanging locker for getting dressed (with the toilet out of view). At night, if you wish, the door to the v-berth can be closed to act as a headboard. We will add a step to the lower part of the hanging locker to make it much easier to climb up into the v-berth when it is configured as a double.

We think the small loss of storage (which is currently very difficult to access and going to be very damp if you have a shower) is a small price to pay for a comfortable shower and space to get dressed when using the v-berth as a double.

The whole of this space will also be much lighter (thanks to the larger windows as they no longer have frames) and better ventilated as both windows have opening portholes.

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