Final Dyneema Chainplate design

This is it. The final (at least the latest) design of our Dyneema, synthetic chainplate.

A short recap on the background.

  • This is a Rival 38 Centre Cockpit Ketch (possibly the only one)
  • Currently we have the original Superstron (Bronze) chainplates
  • The chainplates are essentially an eyebolt with a flange that is bolted through the deck and the hull shelf that the deck rests on. Below the deck there is a small backing plate and two nuts. The backing plate is made up of two strips of stainless steel.
  • The chainplate for the main mast cap shrouds is tied into a bulkhead. A stainless strip has been bolted to the bulkhead and the top bent over to right angles (flush with the underside of the hull shelf), this has a hole which the chainplate comes through.
  • We have cracking in the deck around one of the mizzen chainplates (the backing plate is made of 2 sheets of stainless steel and they have slipped so no longer aligned and therefore have bent and not spread the load correctly)
  • Several Rivals have had chainplates fail. This has happened to both original Superstron and replacement stainless steel chainplates. Other Stainless Steel versions have been inspected and found to have corrosion where the thread meets the flange at the top of the deck.
  • Other Rivals have had some deck cracking around chainplates. Some have installed larger backing plates.

We have some constraints (and remember we need chainplates of 4 sizes for 12 shrouds, 2 main mast backstays and 2 mizzen running backstays so 16 in total)

  • For a wide variety of reasons we want to switch to Dyneema Rigging
  • Replacing the Chainplates with new and longer versions (and ideally slightly increased diameter) so that they can be used with thicker, larger backing plates would cost several thousand pounds.
  • New metal chainplates will need a means to connect to a tensioning lashing for the shrouds. Colligo make suitable products and we would also need toggles to ensure alignment. This would cost several thousand pounds.

So we have decided to make our own.

We have been through a number of designs. All of them look similar above deck. A low friction ring is held in one of more dyneema loops that disappear into the deck. The shroud or stay will end with a low friction ring and a lashing will be used to join these and tension the shroud/stay.

Below decks our ideas have varied. The key difference for this design is that we have decided not to create any extra connection between the hull and deck. Whilst modern design would want to see a solid tie between the chainplate at the deck and the hull (preferably extending a long way down the hull) we reason that Rivals were not built that way and none of the failures that we have heard of include separating the deck from the hull. Amongst other factors to create such a link would require the removal of the inner plywood lining that is fitted to the inside of the stringers approx 3cm from the hull.

Here then is our design for our chainplates. Note that for the main mast Cap Shrouds we will still create a “knee” to tie the chainplate to the bulkhead (not the hull) – this is not illustrated.

Vida Chainplate

We welcome your thoughts.

Lessons after a 6 month boat abandonment

So about to go to bed for the second night aboard after a 6 month gap through a Welsh winter. We hadn’t expected such a long gap. Back in October we were expecting Wales to restrict entry from Manchester but we hadn’t expected the double restriction of not being able to enter Wales and not being able to stay away from home to last until mid April.

The only problems we found were:

  • Our duvet and pillows went mouldy. We wouldn’t have left them all winter, we certainly wouldn’t normally leave them with no heating in the boat (not sure when our electricity ran out but until it did we had the heating set to come on at 5 degrees C)
  • One of the only deck fittings on the main saloon roof has leaked (a u-bolt for a harness to clip to). It isn’t much but we will remove it and check for damage to the balsa core.

The great thing we found:

Both our composting toilets were in perfect shape to continue to use them right away. We had emptied the urine bottles but not the compost areas. There was no smell, no mess. They were absolutely ready to use straight away. If you had left a chemical toilet partially full then it would have been disgusting, as would the holding tank of a typical boat toilet. Any toilet with water it could have had problems with freezing and the smell of the stagnant water would have been unpleasant. I don’t think there is any other form of toilet that you could unexpectedly leave for 6 months and find no problems at all (and of course most boat toilets can’t be used while the boat is ashore anyway)

Onwards

Since arriving we have spent more time working on non boat related work than anything else. So the only real progress has been to check some of our plans against reality.

Also it has been pretty cold here both days. Tonight it is due to drop to 1 degree C, our two infrared electric panel heaters can’t maintain a comfortable temperature in the cabin. We are ok in bed with a replacement duvet and hot water bottles but running out of fleeces to where while out of bed. This has been made worse because earlier this evening our electric fan heater blew up and tripped the electrics. With that we could keep a comfortable temperature, since then it has been dropping a little each hour.

Anyway we have:

  • checked reconnecting the steering to the rudder and in the process checked whether a Cape Horn Wind vane self steering could be fitted (we think it can)
  • reviewed our plans to remodel the aft cabin (better double bed with easier access, comfy seat, wider door to heads compartment, better support for the mizzen mast)
  • come up with a “final” design for our dyneema chainplates
  • reviewed and improved our design for a solar arch, getting very excited by how that is looking now.
  • rethought our chart table area (we are going to follow the recommendation from Attainable Adventure Cruising and do chart work in the cockpit, so we are removing our chart table to make an excellent spot for a Refleks Diesel heater (looking at a 62MSK which heats directly, plus radiators and has a stove top). Apart from that we will have extra storage.
  • rechecked our measurements for the dinghy on the foredeck and that it won’t cause problems for the windlass and inner forestay.
  • taken lots more photos so that we won’t have to rely on memory so much in the future 🙂

I’ve a 4 hour zoom meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday) then home in the afternoon, so not much more to do here except enjoy the views and the relief at being able to be back here.

A nice place to do the washing up

Still here!

We have arrived at Vida for our first visit for almost exactly 6 months. Lockdown restrictions have eased enough for us to both get out of Manchester and be allowed into Wales.

Only problem is that our duvet and pillows were are very mouldy. We would never have left them if we had realised it was going to be for so long.

Otherwise a completely dry bilge and no other problems. 😁

Adapting plans and being flexible

One of the many lessons to learn from the horrors of the Covid-19 pandemic is that event the best laid plans might have to change, sometimes at short notice. That should be obvious for cruising sailors who have always had to adapt their plans according to the weather. However, much of the time our behaviour shows a remarkable resistance to changing our ideas and our plans.

Right back to the process of choosing Vida we have been adapting and re-adapting our plans. For decades we have dreamed of one day building our own Catamaran. Then suddenly, triggered by a pension reminder, we started thinking differently about our longer term future, the idea of starting to prepare to live on a boat for retirement came. Then the sudden shift from catamarans because we couldn’t afford the time to build and realised there was a wide choice of older monohulls available at orders of magnitude lower prices. Then we saw Vida, almost by accident as she was larger and more expensive than we had been looking at, yet when we saw her we realised exactly what we needed.

Within the refit we have already adapted our plans many times, some examples are:

  • Deciding that we would switch to an electric motor before launching as fixing the fuel system to be safe and reliable was going to be such a big and expensive job.
  • Deciding to switch to synthetic rigging before spending money on the existing rigging
  • Discovering the cracks around one chainplate and the problems that so many others have with chainplates and so switching to creating our own synthetic ones (and now on another redesign of them)
  • Adjusting our aim of zero fossil fuels to be looking at a Refleks Diesel heater (the influence of Brexit on preventing wintering in warmer parts of the EU being a key factor)
  • Now looking at a Cape Horn Vane self-steering instead of Hydrovane – in part due to reduced constraints on Solar panel positioning.
  • Planning to move from 12 volt house battery bank to 48 volt.

As we prepare to get back to work I am sure there are going to be more changes to come. Technology keeps changing, the impact of the Climate Emergency on cruising is going to grow and grow, our understanding of issues such as microplastics is changing.

Part of our goal here is to be open about the need to reflect and think through our decisions, especially the impact they have on others. Unfortunately, we see a common tendency to focus selfishly on what is most comfortable for ourselves, that has a huge impact on others. We see that in a frequent unwillingness to “compromise” on luxury or “convenience” despite the impact on others. We also see it when people take advantage of loopholes in rules designed to limit the pandemic – particularly around travel and wanting to claim special treatment for ourselves.

We continue to believe that working through plans and being eager to make changes so that they are more sustainable is worthwhile, satisfying and better for us all. We are not about punishing ourselves or being ascetics but we are about understanding our impact and working against privilege, inequality and injustice.

So what are we going to find after not being able to visit Vida for 6 months? What changes are still to come? Is there any chance that I will get sensible about stretching to become a little more flexible physically to keep up with the flexibility of our plans?

March breaks through 1,000 views

Very happy to see that March has been the first time that we have had more than 1,000 views in one month. That was over 420 visitors. Plus we now have 130 followers spread out between email, WordPress and social media. Good to see some consistent growth.

So if you are following us then welcome! If you are new here then also welcome

We are on a journey that hopefully will return to more practical progress in a couple of weeks when lockdown restrictions are due to relax. It will be good to get out of my head a bit.

Next week we hope to be setting our son up to get the plastic shredding started. We have a new stainless steel shredder and a second hand electric motor which he is going to connect and sort out. The injection moulding machine and moulds is all on order. We will be taking our shed to re-purpose as a workshop. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we have some recycled plastic products to sell.

Next generation Dyneema Chainplates

This is a rewrite/reorganisation of this post (no diagrams yet) to, hopefully, make it clearer.

I think this is our 3rd generation of Dyneema Chainplate design. We think it is a significant improvement on our previous plans, yet realistically it might demonstrate some “Lockdown overthinking” so we are not ruling out variations on our original Synthetic chainplate idea in: Chainplates. We are going for a radical dyneema option.

All these designs and the process is for us to work out what we are going to do on our boat. We are happy to share to give you ideas for your own boat, but you need to check your plans with appropriate professionals as we can take no responsibility for whether they will work for you.

Although our previous design was significantly stronger than what our Rival 38 has had for the last 43 years, we have come up with big improvements (with a lot of conversations, especially with Simon T who has a Rival 32). Specifically these are:

  • More flexibility in deck position so they can be closer to the original chainplate position
  • More flexibility in the positioning on the outside of the hull to avoid rubbing strakes, coving strips etc
  • Simpler to build
  • Ability to have tie connections down into the hull (as Rivals should really have had)
  • Reduced possibility of chainplate lashing line chafe.
  • Reduced friction when tensioning the rig, making it simpler to tune

The previous design already met these requirements, but they are worth repeating:

  • A chainplate design ideally suited to synthetic shrouds, that eliminates the need for deadeyes and toggles to reduce the number of potential points of failure.
  • A chainplate that is much stronger than the original Rival implementation. See Deck repair question and note that Cherry Ripe had one chainplate fail on a recent transatlantic trip (their YouTube videos haven’t caught up with that point yet).
  • A chainplate that cannot leak, fully sealed with epoxy from the inside of the boat
  • A chainplate that could be fully repaired with parts that can be carried on board
  • A chainplate with minimal chance of hidden problems causing a sudden failure

We really need to define our own terminology so

  • Chainplate structure: the permanently bonded structure between the hull and deck that the Chainplate Lashing will thread
  • Chainplate Low Friction Ring: A standard Low Friction Ring that is the point to which the shroud is attached by a tensioning system.
  • Chainplate lashing: a light (we are going to use 4mm) dyneema line used to hold the Chainplate Low Friction Ring by being routed through the Chainplate structure. At a minimum the strength of the total lashing needs to exceed the strength of the original stainless steel shroud.
  • Tensioning system: we will be using a simple, thin dyneema line to lash the bottom of the shroud to the Chainplate Low Friction Ring. It will loop around multiple times to give a mechanical advantage and the end will be attached to more mechanical advantage (can be done with a winch or other means) to get enough tension into the shroud.
  • Knee: a shaped piece of material (we are going to use 10mm G10 or FR4) that ties the underside of the deck down the side of the hull. It helps stop the tension of the shroud on the chainplate structure breaking or distorting the boat shape.

Inspiration

The greatest inspiration for me was this video from Free Range Sailing “Our sailboat REBUILD begins ⛵💪 – Episode 157

They have an unusual situation for their backstays, when drilling the holes for the lashing they don’t go into the interior of the boat. A key design goal was to find a way to have a similar lashing for the low friction ring in places where it isn’t possible for a hole to go from the desk to the outside of the hull without going into interior. Also I didn’t want to have to add GRP matting to the outside of the hull. Finally, I was unhappy with the lashing as it relied on knots which is a problem with slippery dyneema.

Key Design elements

First we have a permanent structure to be built

For each shroud two plastic pipes will go through the deck (approx 40mm gap between them – scale as appropriate). On a Rival they can be in approximately the same place as the existing chainplate. They should line up with the shroud (following both the fore/aft and athwartships angles). Below decks they will curve to exit through holes in the side of the hull (still the same distance apart and level with each other). The pipes end approx 50mm above the deck.

A “backing” plate on top of the deck will provide reinforcement. It will make it easier to keep water out of the holes in the deck.

A “backing” plate on the outside of the hull will spread the loads and can be shaped to allow a very smooth curve for the chainplate lashing between the two pipes.

Inside the boat a knee will be fitted between the pipes. It will tie the deck to the hull and will extend down far enough to spread the loads over a large area of the hull.

Inside the boat the pipes will be encased in thickened epoxy. The will prevent any water intrusion. It will also create a single solid structure of deck, hull, pipes and knee to ensure loads are widely and evenly spread.

Second we have the connection for the shroud tensioning system

The permanent structure allows a lashing to attach a low friction ring above the deck. The shroud can be directly tensioned to the low friction ring using a lashing. As the low friction ring is lashed directly to the chainplate structure we eliminate a deadeye (with two thimbles) and a toggle – so removing several of single points of failure.

The chainplate lashing line starts at the low friction ring. Then it loops several times going through one pipe, across the outside of the hull, back through the other pipe and around the low friction ring. When there are enough turns for the maximum load the lashing terminates at the low friction ring.

Rather than use knots to tie the lashing at each end (which lose a lot of strength), terminate each end with an eye splice. These both loop over the low friction ring. Eye splices retain approximately 80% of the line strength. As all the loops of the lashing go over the “rim” of the low fiction ring the shroud tensioning lashing is held captive by the chainplate lashing. Therefore if the low friction ring breaks the shroud is still held captive. We can use eye splices rather than lashing knots as there is considerable flexibility as to how high the low friction ring ends up above the deck.

Third we have chafe and UV protection

The pipes extend approx 50 above the deck, their ends should be slightly flared. As they are slightly flexible they will automatically align (in a gentle curve) with the tensioned lashing so that chafe is minimised. The lashing can be easily inspected for chafe as it enters the pipes.

Extending the pipes above the deck also prevents dirt, particularly gravel, being washed into the pipe as this could quickly cut through the lashing.

The up-stand of the pipes allows a fabric sleeve to be secured at the deck so that everything from the shroud to the deck can be protected from dirt, chafe and UV. If the sleeve is a basic rectangle, with Velcro along it’s length, it can be easily removed to inspect both lashings and the low friction rings.

On the outside of the hull the backing plate can be filed and sanded to provide a smooth rounded route for the lashing to go between the two pipes.

Potential Upgrades

Rather than rounding/smoothing the backing plate on the outside of the hull a plastic pad could be added to provide a lower friction, smoother route for the lashing.

A pop-on plastic cover for the hull backing plate would protect the lashing as it goes between the holes. This would protect it from being damaged by docks, dinghies and the sun. It could be removed to inspect the lashing.

Instead of a single low friction ring for the chainplate lashing it would be possible to use 2. One for each pipe. The two rings would not be directly connected together above the deck but only by the lashing going down through the pipes. The advantages are a) alignment with pipes would be slightly improved as the lines from the pipes only come together at the bottom of the shroud rather than at the chainplate low friction ring. b) two rings so each has half the load c) each ring will only have half the number of turns of the shroud tensioning lashing, so a little less binding and friction.

Rather than a single chainplate lashing line, for each shroud, it would be possible to use several, each would act in parallel. The first eye splice on the low friction ring, through one pipe and back through the other before the other eye splice goes onto the low friction ring. Each “turn” of the lashing would be a separate line. If one line chafes through, it will be very visible but the shroud won’t suddenly become slack. This method would require very consistent splicing so that the lines are very equal in length (although even the small amount of elasticity and creep in dyneema will tend to equalise small differences over time).

Maintenance

All the key potential chafe points for the lashing are easy to inspect as it is highly unlikely that the lashing will chafe first in the hidden but smooth run inside the plastic pipe. Instead chafe will come first a) where it exits the hull, b) where it exits the pipes at the deck, c) where it loops round the low friction ring, or d) where something rubs against it.

Replacing either the chainplate lashing or the shroud tensioning lashing should be straightforward, even potentially possible at sea on the appropriate tack.

The most difficult task will be replacing a pipe when it wears through (although plastics such as hdpe should be very wear resistant). There are a few options

  • start with an oversized pipe so that a smaller pipe could be inserted through it later as a replacement (or have an fixed outer pipe and a floating inner pipe from the beginning)
  • coat the pipes in a mould release agent during construction so that they can be removed (some ingenuity may be required to ensure that they don’t move during use)
  • if the pipe fails then use a dremel with a flexible attachment to sand the route through the thickened epoxy so a pipe isn’t needed (a short length of pipe could be inserted at the top to provide the gravel protection).

Our construction details

We are hoping to use HDPE pipes, they should be low friction and hard wearing. However, the smallest I have found them is a 20mm external diameter. Maybe inserting a smaller sacrificial tube inside them would be a good solution or a different type of plastic?

I’ll use a heat gun to flare the top of the pipe to make sure the lashing doesn’t get damaged by the edge.

We will use the same dyneema line for both the shroud tensioning and the chainplate lashing to reduce the number of items we need to buy and carry.

Our main mast cap shrouds are the only ones with a chainplate that has a connection to a bulkhead. So some detailed thought will be needed (one pipe each side of the bulkhead?)

Our chainplates are in the deck and are close to the bulwark so the internal intrusion will be small. This solution may not be the right one if you have very inboard chainplates. In that case look at my original “padeye” design.

I’m going to use 10mm G10 for external chainplates and 10mm FR4 for the knees (I want first resistance inside the boat).

All holes in the deck and hull should be sealed with thickened epoxy (drill oversize hole, fill with thickened epoxy, when cured drill correct hole through the epoxy).

When drilling the final holes angle the drill to reduce the curvature of the pipes.

Our holes and backing plate in the hull will be a bit lower so that they are below the rubbing strake. You might want to miss things like cove lines.

Our cap shrouds have a piece of stainless steel bolted to the bulkhead that has a bent over top that sits under the backing plate. It has a hole fitted over the chainplate bolt and so when the nut is on the chainplate bolt is connected to the bulkhead. This will be replaced (on all our chainplates) by the FR4 knee. The top edge of this shaped piece of sheet material will be fitted to the underside of the deck and the long edge will fit vertically down the inside of the hull. In our case it will go down far enough to “hook” over the first horizontal stringer. The inner edge of the knee doesn’t have to be a straight line but can be cut away as a nice organic curve. The best place for the knee is between the two pipes. It should be glued in with thickened epoxy with good fillets along all the edges that touch the boat.

It is going to be tricky to fill around the pipes and knee with thickened epoxy so that there are no air pockets. My current plan is to create an enclosed space that I can fill (using thin plywood held in place and “sealed” with epoxy fillets). So the plywood is creating a kind of mould covering the pipes and part of the knee. Before I fit the deck backing plate, I will drill some extra holes in the deck and inject into them slightly runny thickened epoxy, until it is full to deck level. Once they are filled these holes will be covered by the backing plate. I can remove the plywood to confirm that the space has been properly filled.

The strands of the chainplate lashing are going to be under a lot of tension between the two holes on the outside of the hull. So it is vital that the route out of one hole and into the other is very rounded and very smooth. That transition from pipe to backing plate is going to be the key load point of the lashing, so it is vital that it does not chafe through here. We are going to carve a solid plate of hdpe (we will make ours as part of our plastic recycling work) that will sit on the G10 plate and be a very low friction, smooth, curved surface for the line. We will also fit a removable hdpe cover plate to protect the chainplate lashing from being damaged by docks or anything else.

Fitting the lashing

When you are ready to lash the Chainplate Low Friction Ring into place you have a choice. You can use a single ring per chainplate structure. Or for slightly higher cost you can use two. Having two improves the alignment of the chainplate lashing slightly and makes tensioning a little easier. If you use one then you need to size it so that the outer sheave can fit 3 turns of the lashing line rather than 2 (the number of turns depends on your calculation of loads and the line you are using – I’m planning to have 6 of 4mm, 3 per pipe, which is quite a lot stronger than my shroud).

Whether you use one ring or two your chainplate lashing needs a eye splice at each end designed to loop over the exterior of the low friction ring.

If you are using One Low Friction Ring then:

With the low friction ring above the pipes fit the eye splice from one end of the lashing. The other end goes down one pipe to outside the hull. Then in the other hull hole and back to the deck. Now loop it over the low friction ring and go down the first pipe again. From the hull outside return as before. Repeat for another loop through the chainplate structure. At this point the low friction ring should have one eye splice and two loops. Each pipe will have 3 lines through it. The outside of the hull will have 3 lines between the holes. Now slip the eye splice from the loose end onto the low friction ring (4 lines in total on the top of the low friction ring). While holding up the low friction ring up, tidy all the lines so that they don’t cross over outside the hull and as little as possible in the pipes. You can now use the tensioning system to connect the chainplate low friction ring to the shroud.

If you are using Two Low Friction Rings then:

With the first low friction ring above the pipes fit the eye splice from one end of the lashing. The other end goes down one pipe to outside the hull. Then in the other hull hole and back to the deck. Now loop it over the second low friction ring and return down the same pipe again. From the hull outside return up the first pipe and over the first low friction ring. Back down the first pipe, outside the hull and up the second pipe. Now slip the eye splice from the loose end onto the second low friction ring. While holding up the low friction rings up, tidy all the lines so that they don’t cross over outside the hull and as little as possible in the pipes. Each low friction ring should have 1 eye splice and one loop of lashing line. Each pipe should have 3 lines. Each low friction ring should have 3 lines all going into the same pipe. The outside of the hull should have 3 lines. To tension the shroud the tensioning lashing should start from one of the chainplate low friction rings, go up to the shroud and down to the other chainplate low friction ring. Continue to add more turns, alternating between the two chainplate low friction rings.

Tensioning the Shroud.

There are videos from Rigging Doctor, Tula’s Endless Summer and Sailing Zingaro showing how to tension using a lashing. Although, of course, we have our own ideas which we hope to test before too long.

Conclusion

We believe this design will create

  • a chainplate structure that you can easily build yourself.
  • something that you can visually inspect for wear and damage.
  • something with no metal parts that need to be fabricated, that can corrode or fail due to fatigue.
  • where you can carry all the parts to replace everything that works with the chainplate structure (lashing line and low friction rings, shroud tensioning line, shroud) even at sea.
  • a significant weight saving
  • a significant increase in strength on boats like Rivals where the chainplates are not very well connected to the hull
  • huge cost savings if your chainplates or turnbuckles need replacing
  • a very simple, strong, neat, light way of connecting dyneema shrouds to an older boat

DIY Washing Machine for Sailing

There are some things that (nearly) all Sailing Channels on YouTube have in common. One is the significant costs in time, money and hassle of maintaining Diesel Engines. Another is the pain of laundry, that is one I want to look at again.

I’m going to group the approaches to laundry into three categories: Electric Washing Machine; Laundromat; Handwashing.

All these have problems.

Electric Washing machines:

  • Purchase cost
  • High power requirements (almost certainly going to require a generator)
  • High water requirements (almost certainly going t require a watermaker)
  • Large space required
  • Not designed for a marine environment so don’t last very well
  • Potential to fit a filter to catch microplastics

Laundromat:

Well summed up in this video from Ryan and Sophie:

  • Quite expensive
  • Very time-consuming
  • Requires access to large enough town (in much of Europe now only common in marinas)
  • Unlikely to have filters to catch microplastics

Handwashing

  • Available everywhere (but not attractive in a cold/wet climates)
  • Drying laundry is a real challenge anywhere apart from the tropics
  • Unlikely to have anyway to filter out microplastics

Our approach

In the past we have considered a WonderWash, but at the moment getting one in the UK seems almost impossible (most sellers specifically not exporting to the UK, others might but shipping would double the cost).

There are a number of washing machines being marketed at campers, however, they look very flimsy.

So we plan to build our own, very simple and very robust washing machine. We will start with a watertight plastic key such as this from Solent Plastics

If we make a frame so that it can be rotated with a handle then it is just a matter of putting in the washing, some water and some form of reef safe detergent, then rotating it. We would need a keg large enough for the largest thing we need to wash (our duvet cover). We can use it to store our dirty clothes when we are not doing the washing. When clothes have been washed, all we need is a large funnel into a microplastic filter and we can pour the water away without dumping microplastics directly into the sea.

A side benefit is that we can easily use the same system to wash plastics before shredding them as part of our plastic recycling.

Drying. We think we need the combination of 3 things to be able to dry washing whatever the climate.

Spin dryer: However, you end up getting laundry to fully dry it is much faster if you first use a spin dryer. We haven’t seen a really effective human powered spin dryer. So we think a mains electric spin dryer is the best option. There are not very large and they spin out most of the water (which is easy to collect to pour through the microplastic filter).

Obviously in a suitable climate the simplest option is to hang laundry outside dry. That is not possible all year round in the UK and many places. So to allow drying inside we plan the combination of heating and dehumidifying.

We will have a dehumidifier in the motor room. We wrote about this in Sustaining Electrics and are still planning for something like an Ecor Pro Dryboat 12. Running this should help ensure that laundry dries quickly and without causing damp throughout the boat.

When we need heating it will be via a Refleks diesel heater that will not just provide direct heat but also distribute hot water through radiators. This is a dry heat which is important, we don’t want to introduce more damp into the air. We will have a radiator in our forward head with the shower drip tray and plenty of hanging space for our washing so that it can dry reasonably quickly. The water from the shower (like all our grey water) will go through a microplastic filter before leaving the boat. Obviously having a shower won’t be possible while laundry is drying and access to the forecabin will be inconvenient. However, while there are just the two of us we can use the en-suite heads in the aft cabin and so it won’t be a problem.

Summary:

We think the combination of a diy manual washing “machine”, a mains electric spin dryer, a dehumidifier and radiator heating will

  • be cheap to buy, install and maintain.
  • be good for collecting microplastic
  • be a good combination of low hassle and low cost laundry
  • take little space and not use much electricity or water
  • provide a good basis for washing plastic for recycling
  • work in a wide variety of climates and weathers
  • allow us to be off-grid for long periods of time

An Amel, very similar to our Rival 38

We haven’t seen one of these before. An Amel Sharki 39. Closest boat we have ever seen to our Rival 38.

Here is a couple giving a boat tour of their Amel Sharki 39 called Panda.

The size, rig and layout is by far the closest we have seen to our Vida although the Rival is 3 years older.

They are a little longer, wider and deeper. Their cockpit looks a bit larger and their wheelhouse/fixed dodger is prettier. But our aft cabin has a standing area and an ensuite heads.

Their galley is a bit larger than ours was but lacks a bulkhead to lean against. When we have finished we will have larger worktops.

Our remodeling of the forward heads is going to give us a much better space and a good shower.

Their mizzen mast is easier to access in the cockpit but we don’t have a Triatic stay connecting the two masts at the top (big plus for us, if one mast falls it shouldn’t bring the other down with it).

Really nice to see, very encouraging to see how comfortable it will be.

Chainplate cost update

One of the arguments for switching to Dyneema chainplates has been cost. Today we got a more concrete idea of the costs of replacing roughly like for like. So Cherry Ripe a Rival 38 (but aft cockpit cutter) (see Sailing Beyond Borders) has had to have custom replacement chainplates made in Antigua after one failed while crossing the Atlantic.

So now we know. $1600 USD for their chainplates (made from Stainless Steel rather than the original Superstron).

We have twice as many chainplates (ketch so two masts instead of one). So to replace our existing chainplates would probably cost over $3000 USD, they would be a bit better as we could have them longer to allow better backing plates. But we would probably need to replace some turnbuckles as the mizzen mast ones are original bronze and the main mast ones are crimped onto the existing shrouds so at least part of them will need replacing.

By comparison we should be able to buy everything we need to re-rig both masts with synthetic rigging and synthetic chainplates for the cost of just replacement chainplates. That is going to be a really significant saving for us.

Plus we still get rigging that we can carry spares for and that we can replace every part ourselves anywhere in the world.

Plus it saves a huge amount of weight up high which will improve sailing performance.

With downsides of slower tuning and needing to watch for chafe and UV damage.

See Dyneema / Synthetic Rigging Summary for the whole picture of our rigging plans/journey.