One of the challenges we face by trying to sustainably pace ourselves is that a job like fitting the new bow roller takes quite a few visits to the boat. However, we think the process of filling from the new backing plate to deck level using scraps of FR4 with thickened epoxy is a little novel.
This is an area that just need to be strong in compression (sandwiched between the backing plate and the bow roller). FR4 is ideal here as we will never need to worry about water ingress through the bolt hole causing rot. It is a lot quicker (and better in compression) than building up with layers of fibreglass. We don’t need to worry about cosmetics as this part is going to be completely buried. Nor do we need to worry about a smooth finish on top as it will be covered by a larger FR4 board that will be bedded with more thickened epoxy. This board will also include raised bases for the forward pulpit feet to keep them drier.
Later we will create the curve at the aft end with a small wood batten and then the whole lot will be encased in fibreglass cloth to fully tie it to the bulwarks and give us a surface to fair up before painting.
Our chain lockers were quite similar. We totally agree on the need for more space for chain and for the weight to be further aft. Initially our plans were quite similar (see Plans for anchoring). However, this is where we have been able to simplify things a lot.
A combination of things have meant that we are completely changing our forecabin, it will be a lot simpler in many ways. We started that thinking in Foredeck and Forecabin plans update but we can now go further.
The two key things that have led us to a simpler solution are Water and Beds.
When we decided to remove the stainless steel water tank and use some of the space for our batteries we have been through a number of ideas for water tanks. Now we have realised we can build them into the hull and this gives us huge advantages:
far greater capacity as no wasted space
much safer. They strengthen the hull and create extra crash boxes
We also realise that we can use the same technique for the batteries (rather than a drop in box build it into the bull), for the chain locker and for storage/crash boxes.
Already we have reduced the number of beds by removing the fold out pilot berth above the starboard settee (it has saved weight and created a much more usable space). We have also replaced the “V” berth in the aft cabin that worked best as a 2 singles with one double Pullman style berth.
When we realised that the “V” berth in the forecabin wasn’t actually long enough for an adult, let alone 2 it simplified things a lot. It also means that we have a chance to create a much better chain locker than Magic Carpet 2.
The key limit on the “V” berth length was avoiding having the chain pipe come down through the middle of the bunk. By moving to one single bunk we can move the chainpipe slightly to starboard so that there is plenty of space for the single bunk to extend past the chainpipe on the port side. Not only does this make the bunk full length and a good width it also means that we can use the chainpipe to drop the chain vertically into the chain locker despite moving it aft. That is a huge advantage over our original plans and what Aladino can do on Magic Carper 2 where the chain slides into the chain locker almost at the bottom – the chain can stack better, be further aft and have a deep crash box forward of it.
I’m now planning 4 watertight areas under the original”V” berth height. Each of them will be considerably higher than the waterline and all of them will be able to have a removable, watertight lid.
At the very forward end there will be a proper crashbox that we will probably fill with foam (there will be another forward of this beyond the foot of the bed that will also be filled with foam). These crashboxes will mean the whole bow from below the waterline to the bow roller will not be able to flood the boat if damaged.
Aft of the crashbox will be the chain locker. When at sea we will disconnect the chain from the anchor and attach a line between a deck bung for the chainpipe and the chain which will drop down to the locker. That will allow a watertight lid to be fitted over the chain locker. The bottom of the anchor locker will drain into a much smaller locker aft of it. This will have a pump to remove any water that comes in to the chain locker with the chain. This small locker will also have a watertight lid so that the two act as another crashbox.
Aft of this will be a full width built in water tank. The top of this will be the “footwell” when sitting on the bunk. It too will act as a crash box so a hole in the hull here will contaminate this water but not flood the boat.
The doorway into the forecabin will no longer be full height. The bottom will be level with the top of the water tank with a step in the heads compartment so that you can get up and into the cabin (no standing headroom but full sitting headroom on the bunk). The heads compartment will be your dressing area. There will be a door for this cabin, separating it from the heads.
Additionally, I want to learn something from the older Amels (like Delos). So we will carry a sheet of wood that can be bolted over the doorway on the forward side of the bulkhead. It will have a rubber seal so that the whole forecabin can be turned into a watertight crashbox. I can imagine that when sailing with only the two of us we might put that in place quite often when at sea (and just use the forehatch for access to the forecabin as a storage area.
By embracing the limits on the size of the forecabin which mean a V berth for two adults isn’t practical we end up with a much simpler, stronger and safer boat that will suit our needs much better. We don’t need to be able to sleep 3 couples and 2 singles on board, but we do need to carry enough water and would like extra protection from potential damage caused by debris floating around our oceans.
Thinking about this has also helped us think about simpler supports for the Bow Roller, Anchor Windlass and Inner forestay. So we can hopefully progress them soon.
Once I can get the companionway steps removed, this approach of watertight compartments built into the hull is going to make the battery boxes much simpler and more compact. I think the outcome will be larger water tanks and being able to move the Inverter and Mains Galvanic Isolator into the motor room so that we can keep the wet locker behind the steps.
It takes a long time to simplify things, but the results are well worth it.
Today was beautiful weather and we were able to get the last coat of paint on both masts (at least for the moment) m
We are not in a rush now to get the masts up. There is nothing to be gained by putting them up in the boatyard for the winter.
We still have a lot to do anyway in terms of chainplates, fittings on the masts, dyneema standing rigging, wiring, lights, wind sensor, aerials, running rigging. None of this will be improved by 6 months of autumn, winter and spring outside in the boatyard.
So most of these jobs can wait until the couple of months before we launch. Until then we can do a lot of preparation (such as mast tangs and splicing) plus ordering everything we will need.
The new forecabin layout won’t have a full height area and so the existing floor will disappear into a second built-in water tank.
We no longer need some of original loose access panels (for old water tanks, seacocks and speed sensor).
We want to have all our floors secured to avoid the danger of things flying around if the boat gets knocked down or rolled, yet we also want to have access to the whole bilge for storage and for inspection/repair.
I hate creaky floors! Some of our boards are terrible for this and it is very limiting if you can’t move around quietly when others are asleep. This requires a careful mix of rigidity and flexibility to cope with the movement of a boat in waves, however, I am sure we can improve on the current situation.
Wear and warmth. In high traffic areas such as the bottom of the companionway the teak veneer on the floor is very worn away. The teak is also cold due to the lack of insulation underneath it. So we are looking to refresh both the look and warmth of the floors. We quite like the rubber style tiles with round bubbles on the surface.
One of the challenges that we have been struggling with is how to secure the floorboards. Currently screws have been used but they have been taken out and put back in so many times that the grip is much diminished. When we look at commercial offerings for securing floorboards they are way outside our budget so we have been looking alternatives.
What we are looking at now is to fit Blind Self-Tapping Inserts into the floor supports and then fit the boards with countersunk M6 bolts (using Torx heads as it is easier to get a good connection to loosen or tighten even when the boat is being thrown about). Bolts will provide a repeatable and reliable fixing that can be left off when loading stores or doing jobs. So access can be free and easy when it is safe while being secure when at sea.
By using rubber tiles such as these light grey ones we think we can have a warmer floor that is hard wearing and fresh (also fitting our plans for a light, modern interior or this example that we like). It also means we can use cheaper plywood, without a beautiful veneer as a base. In many cases we are going to need to update many of the floor supports due to the various changes and in the process open up storage and remove creaks. Part of that work will be to create a slightly wider fixed perimeter around the edges so that the opening sections are easier to lift.
Today has been less certain when it comes to rain than we had hoped.
However, this morning we sanded the masts with 400 grit, then washed and dried them.
In the end we waited until 3pm for painting in the hope of more certainty about it staying dry.
This time rollers are not recommended (or at least need to be followed by a brush). So we went for brushes only.
We changed the way of supporting the masts so that they are “balanced” on the sail track with as few points of contact as possible. We then painted everything else. When it comes to the 2nd coat we will rotate them 180 degrees and so the areas where they are supported will all get one coat. This avoids a long wait between painting sides and reduced the chances of resting the mast on bits that are not fully cured.
One tin is supposed to be enough, it certainly didn’t feel that it would go far enough as we were painting the main mast, but in fact it was plenty for both masts (we are going to get extra paint for the spreaders and mizzen boom all of which we can do in the garage at home).
Despite the name of the International Paint we are not expecting Perfection in terms of finish 🙂 However, they should be good from a distance and certainly better than they were before we started. Of most importance to us is that we have dealt with all the corrosion and should have a well protected mast for years to come (we can work on any small areas where there are problems over coming years to ensure that the protection lasts).
Should be another part of the boat that will outlast us 🙂 That has to be good for sustainability 🙂
Tuesday was the last day of our holiday and so was always going to be busy packing up all the tools and materials that we have been using for just over two weeks.
However, our biggest decision and challenge was where do go next with the painting of our masts.
By Tuesday morning the 2nd coat of two part epoxy primer was nicely cured. It was ready for over-coating although that could wait for upto 6 months. The problem was that this left 1 coat of undercoat and 2 coats of topcoat still to do. These have stricter over-coating times of roughly between 20 hours and 3 days. We figured that finding 3 or 4 days in a row when we could be at the boat with dry weather in the next 6 months was next to impossible (and as temperatures drop the time to be able to over-coat increases).
So after checking the forecast constantly we decided to paint the undercoat on Tuesday hoping that we could come for Friday and Saturday with good enough weather to put on the topcoats.
An extra challenge has been to find the best way to support the masts while painting to give good access and be able to also paint the areas where the supports are.
So Tuesday started with sanding the primer (and filler that had been put on between the primer coats) with 120 grit paper. Then with the masts on their sides we painted the first side before lunch. Then back to packing up.
Eventually we decided the paint was dry enough to rotate the masts and paint the second side. That painting started at about 6.30pm.
We eventually left to go home well after 8pm, which was much later than we wanted (and then the journey was delayed by lots of road works). We decided to buy some sandwiches from a garage on the way rather than taking longer with fish and chips, however, the first two garages we stopped at had completely sold out. Got home just before 11pm.
Still the masts looked good 🙂
The forecast had been a 10% chance of rain so we took a chance in the way we loaded the trailer for home.
As usual a 10% of chance of rain in Beaumaris means it will be dry. However, we got home to a 10% chance of rain which in Manchester means it will rain and it did. Fortunately not too much and the wood protected the tools 🙂
All in all a productive and enjoyable summer holiday. We had time with family, time on the water and have made lots of actual progress on the bow roller, masts, dyneema rigging and starboard settee/sea berth plus lots of sorting out plans for the foredeck, forecabin, batteries, water tanks and more.