Progress on Visit 4 in 2021 (part 1)

Last night was pretty windy and heavy rain. By the morning the wind had died but it has rained on and off all day.

So it wasn’t a good day to fit the big backing plates to the underside of the hull shelf that supports the deck in the aft cabin because we want to use the old chain plates to apply pressure while the thickened epoxy sets. So we want the decks dry.

Instead I have been working on the changes to support the mizzen mast better and rearrange the bed in the aft cabin. Instead of the v-berth with an infill we will have a seat on the starboard side that faces forward and this will also act as a step to get onto the bed more easily. The bed will be sort of Pullman style on the port side. Still 5 feet wide at the head. The middle section will also be a little longer with a headboard.

We wrote about the original plans in Idea for redesigned aft cabin.

One of the other key design goals for the redesign is to make the corridor which is quite low (1430mm or 4 foot 8 inches) and narrow (door was about 400mm or less than 16 inches) feel less dark and claustrophobic. So compare these photos:


Obviously removing the fuel tank from the starboard side (under the fenders on the left of the first picture), also the door and the side to the engine compartment has helped a lot.

We will be able to build a new side for the electric motor compartment that will leave the corridor a bit wider. The starboard (outer) side of the corridor will probably have a new water tank and storage but again we will leave the corridor wider.

The bulkhead which is at the aft end of the chart table has been weakened both by the cutout for the fuel tap at the bottom and the old radar. So we will cut this back a bit and then strengthen it.

Today though was the work on the aft cabin.

We had already cut back the aft wardrobe which you can see stepping into the cabin entrance just after the door in the first picture. Now I have added a new 70mm x 44mm strut which is going to become one of two new mizzen supports. That has allowed me to cut a big opening into the bulkhead at the head of the starboard berth. This has a massive visual impact, as it opens the view right through to the far end of the berth. This opening is going to have a seat (a little higher than the cushion I’ve put there at the moment with a flat footrest/step (you can see the slope of the hull there which is too steep to stand on or rest your feet). The seat then becomes the new way onto the berth.

This picture, sort of shows how it will work. The seat will be a little higher and have a curved backrest with storage behind and under it. We can cut and reuse the foam to create a comfy double bed. Thanks to the new post (and one to go on the other side of the opening) the central part of the bed will be 90mm longer which will make it great for me. This central bit will have a headboard and access to the storage underneath.

Above the headlining there is a raised section of the GRP that runs across the cabin roof to create a section for the mizzen. The two bunk end bulkheads at bonded into the middle of the raised section. They are joined by some more ply that goes under the mizzen mast foot. However, that is currently loose. So I am going to bond that in with Silcaflex 5200. Then using ply, thickened epoxy and fibreglass cloth I am going to tie everything together as a really solid beam the full width of the cabin roof that is supported by both new posts and a strengthened remainder of the bulkhead at the cabin side on the starboard side (still got the full bulkhead on the port side as it is between the bunk and the heads compartment) all this above the headlining so that can run straight through which should help make it seem a larger space.

As we square off the heads compartment with a new wider door we will also be adding more support for the mizzen that is closer to the centreline than in the past (using a 40mm x 40mm doorpost)

We are losing a little standing space in the centre but the gains for knee room in the heads (and much easier to get the toilet in and out) as well as the seat that acts as a step for the bed are a much bigger benefit. Plus we will be able to find each other in the bed 🙂

Here are a few other pictures of the work in progress today.

Obviously a lot more to do, including a proper “foot” for the post which will bond it to the hull.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, will be the big plywood backing plates that go the full length of the aft cabin. They are there for (on each side) 2 mizzen chainplates, 1 main mast backstay chainplate, 1 mooring cleat and the current pushpit. They are made and coated with epoxy, they have a large 2nd layer of ply which covers all 3 chainplates, which is already bonded to the first (see Visit 3 part 1 and part 2). Each fitting will also have a 10mm FR4 backing plate to ensure that the ply gets a distributed load. If I get time to work on the port side of the bed/heads mizzen support that would be great.

Looking further ahead, once the ply backing sheets are in and the bed/heads door/mizzen support all done we can get on with re-configuring the mattress, fitting insulation and headliner and then we can start moving forwards with a nice to live in aft cabin. Oh, yes also got to cut that access panel into the lazarette that I mentioned here.

Also looking forward to a delivery on Sunday or Monday of all the other dyneema and other bits to rig the mizzen mast. The only thing left to order is some bits to make the mast tangs. Mustn’t forget that the mast itself needs quite a bit more work (new aerial, new lights, new wiring, and hopefully, painting so that we can have 2 masts the same colour).

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