Another Saturday

One of the advantages of a boatyard with a 4G signal is that we could stay on and still fit in an AGM on zoom.

So we managed to finish the cockpit drains. Well except that I ran out of the larger Jubilee clips. As you need 2 on each hose end we needed 8 smaller and 24 larger ones but I only had 20 of the large ones so one segment will need them adding later.

So we have 38mm drains from the two forward drains which come aft to the 50mm aft drains. We tested them and no leaks 🙂 Once we complete the sides to the motor compartment we will fix the hoses to them so that they don’t wobble around or chafe anywhere.

We have brought the motor frame home now that we have sorted all the measurements to complete it. So to make that easier we have fitted a couple of lifting eyes in the wheelhouse roof. These wouldn’t have been any use for the diesel engine but our electric motor and frame is less than half the weight. We will also be able to use it to lower the big batteries into the compartment.

It was nice that when I created the backing plates for the seacocks I cut out two circles that made perfect backing plates for these lifting eyes. By the time they have been painted and the solar panels fitted you won’t see them.

We used our man overboard lifting tackle to get the motor out and then were able to use it to lower the frame down the ladder too. To get it up I’ll temporarily add a wood side so it slides more easily.

After a night to reflect on it we ended up a bit less daunted by the tasks remaining to get the motor and drivetrain fitted 🙂

Friday progress 25

The executive summary for today is: Not a lot 🙂

Again I needed to do some work this morning and then we felt we needed to take some rest this afternoon, especially after carrying lots of heavy stuff for the motor frame up the ladder.

So we spent a few hours sitting around the motor compartment plotting and planning how everything is going to line up. We even made some decisions. Next the trick will be to do them in the right order.

First we properly fitted the new motor frame drive shaft and it’s bearings. Then we fitted the belt pulley.

That allows us to position the forward end of the motor frame, there is just space to squeeze a replacement belt on when needed.

That allows us to work out the relationship between the end of the propeller shaft where it goes into the thrust bearing part of the Aquadrive, making sure there is enough propeller shaft in the boat for the PSS Pro Dripless Seal.

As you can see there is a lot of motor frame drive shaft that is unsupported at present. And the aft end of it carries a fair lot of weight (the CVT joint, Coupling converter and Coupling).

So a key set of decisions have been made about how we extend the motor frame to support a pillow bearing on the aft end of the motor frame drive shaft; and how we fit the motor frame onto the motor mounts and them into the boat. That is all done now and I can take the parts home and build it all up in the garage.

The next big decision was about the bulkhead that needs to be built to fit the Aquadrive thrust bearing to and which needs to be strong enough to absorb all the thrust from the propeller. This new bulkhead will form the base of the new bulkhead to the aft cabin. So access to the Dripless seal will be by lifting the floor of the aft cabin and access to the Aquadrive through a removable section of the cabin bulkhead. We will make the lower section of the bulkhead from FR4 (10mm vacuum compressed epoxy resin and fibreglass) with plywood triangular braces on each side of the propeller shaft going forward and aft. It will have a U shaped cut-out for the propeller shaft as otherwise the motor compartment isn’t long enough to ever be able to remove the propeller shaft. We will need to create 7 degree angle packing for the Aquadrive to align it correctly with the propeller shaft.

So it looks like we will have a few weekends with a rather more draughty aft cabin as we will have to remove the bulkhead, door and door post before we can fit the new bulkhead and it will take a while to get that properly aligned.

When that is all done we will have to fit some supports for the motor battery bank, which should be reasonably simple, we just need to get the full drivetrain connected first to check the height clearance.

Then we can fit all the bulkheads to the cockpit locker, aft cabin and corridor. Then we can do the wiring. …

Saturday extra

So we had an extra day this week.

The house battery bank box got the last bits coated in epoxy.

I finished the vertical posts that the corridor and cockpit sides will fasten to. These got coated in epoxy and fastened in with thickened epoxy. They will also support the horizontal beams that the house battery bank will sit on.

Finally, we put the first coat of paint behind the saloon cushions.

Very pleased with the progress this weekend.

Friday progress 24

I suppose the most significant progress is that we has a guest sleeping on board with us for the first time. Stephen, one of our sons, in our social bubble, joined us for the night. The saloon single berth got a good rating.

Today, I ended up working for the morning but Jane and Stephen took the house battery bank apart and then reassembled it with thickened epoxy as glue. They have then coated nearly all of it with epoxy and added some fillet joints to strengthen the joint between the sides and the base.

Then we spent some time going over the design and plans for the electrics.

Meanwhile, one of the lasts part of our drivetrain had arrived (the shaft from the reduction belt pulley to be connected to the propeller shaft via the Aquadrive) so we have been able to lay things out and make sure everything fits (it does – just).

Motor frame on temporary wood supports at approximately the right height showing the motor shaft in about the right position to connect to the propeller shaft.

I’ve had to redesign the way the electric motor rests on the engine mounts so that we can support this shaft at the propeller shaft end. So a few more bits of metal and one extra bearing are now on order.

This shows the base of the box for the motor batteries.

It is slightly oversized at present but there is just space for it and still be able to open/close the seacocks. Access to the Aquadrive (which will be partly under the battery box) will be by making the new bulkhead to the after cabin open-able (after all no carbon monoxide or diesel fumes to worry about).

The house battery bank goes above the motor and the motor battery bank.

The two inverters go on the bulkhead forward of the motor and just above it (grey bulkhead at the bottom of the previous two images).

Given how tight everything is I’m sure we are going to have to pay attention to air flows and ventilation to ensure that the motor, the motor controller and the batteries don’t overheat. However, I’m pretty confident that we are going to be able to make that work fine for most climates with passive ventilation. We will probably need to assist that with fans in the tropics (but if it is hot there should be plenty of solar power available to charge things.

The centre of gravity of the batteries has moved up a little from what I had hoped for. However, I don’t think it is very different to when the diesel tanks were full (and it doesn’t move around). Fortunately, we have saved a whole lot of weight in other places and when we switch to dyneema rigging we will save a whole load of very high up weight.

So not huge visible progress but a lot of thinking and planning will help next steps.

Holiday progress day 13: yes more cockpit work

We are getting very close with the cockpit after today.

The epoxy work for the aft cockpit drains is nearly finished. After drying overnight we should have just a few little bits to fill with thickened epoxy to make sure that the lower lip if fully sealed (where it tucks under the old grp lip and flange).

With the lip bits are now fixed in place (to both the cockpit floor and to the drain area) and the area around the white skin fitting filled with epoxy so there should be nowhere for water to collect.

As you may be able to see our resin has gone a bit jelly like and so isn’t mixing as smooth as it was (don’t know if this is shelf-life or temperature or what). We are nearly at the end of a big bottle, so as it seems to still set hard we will use it up on areas where the finish isn’t too important (and hopefully ones not critical to safety).

I have managed to get both of the old drains out ready for new TruDesign skin fittings.

If we can’t finish them this holiday we will simply seal them up for the moment.

We also had a big delivery of shiny bits today (sadly FedEx left only parcel 1 of 2 so not everything).

Here is the PSS Pro dripless seal and the refurbished bronze flange it will fit to.

Here is the Aquadrive (thrust bearing and CVT that allows for the motor to be on a different alignment to the propeller shaft).

Then we have our motor mounts.

This evening we had a really nice socially distanced BBQ on the beach with the members of the NWVYC we cheated slightly as we don’t have a BBQ. So we ran a power extension cable from the boat and setup our Induction Hob on our workmate 🙂 It was very effective 🙂 Anyway it was lovely to see people and chat about boat refits (and other topics were permitted).

Hoping dry weather continues so we can get the cockpit watertight.

Holiday progress day 9: Electric Motor reliability

Well not much progress today because we nipped home last night as our old Diesel engine was being collected today. The forecast had also helped make the decision with another storm coming through.

So rain nearly all day for the time we were in Manchester, rain for the journey back to Beaumaris and rain most of the evening.

The key progress is emotional, with the sense of freedom from having an engine sitting in our trailer, waiting to be sold. As we were driving back we were remembering all the expensive work we would have had to do in order to get what was a good engine working.

  • The survey required the raw water seacock to be changed. That was bonded in so thoroughly it needed cutting out with a hole saw. Possible with the engine in (although the two cockpit drains would have been much more difficult).
  • the survey warned that the cutlass bearing was worn and that the stuffing box needed to be repacked. We found that the propeller side of the coupling to the gearbox needed to be cut off (and so would have needed a replacement). We also found that the propeller shaft is too long to slide out because of the skeg, so we would have had to lift the engine for the propeller shaft to come out under it, that would have meant cutting off the rusty original engine mounts and replacing them.
  • the survey warned of a leaking fuel filter, would we then have found that several of the valves in the various fuel lines were seized and would we have felt we needed to add inspection hatches to the fuel tanks, replaced all the fuel lines and thoroughly cleaned all the system and all the fuel? As we did that we might have noticed and been concerned about the very rusty fuel vent fittings and the condition of the fuel filler hoses.
  • In this process would we have noticed and dealt with the rusty paraffin fuel tank for the boat heater (that failed and spilt paraffin everywhere just as I arrived at the recycling centre).
  • When would we have taken out the hot water calorifier (heated by the engine or by a mains system condemned in the survey) that was buried behind the paraffin tank, under the rusty fridge compressor and under the unreliable water pump? Because when we did take it out, we found it rusty and leaking out of sight.

In short, because everything around the engine wasn’t replaced with the new engine, we would have had large costs to get afloat with this engine and far more over time to get it to a point where it would be reliable with the many problems with the setup diesel supply (particularly water in the fuel and no way to get it out, modern problems diesel bug growing due to the use of bio-diesel and no way to get it out, old sludge in the tanks causing blockages in the pipes before the filters).

We are more and more glad that we took the plunge and decided to go fossil fuel free from the beginning rather than first fixing what we had. So we have not spent any money on fixing the diesel but all on preparing for where we believe all yachts need to be going – fossil fuel free.

Again we have been watching more YouTube videos and seeing more people having problems with diesel fuel, the old idea that diesel engines are this magical safety device because they are always reliable just isn’t the case for lots of people. Also the amount of nasty, cramped, smelly maintenance and the impact that has on sea sickness and morale needs to be acknowledged more openly in the sailing community.

Obviously, at the moment we have very little to be sure of in terms of the reliability of our electric motor system, how dependable will it be. However, from all we have studied so far we are quite confident. We will have a good installation of a brushless motor, that will be in as dry a place as possible, with potential backup batteries and tools/spares for making cables.

We have come to realise that the Rival 38 centre cockpit has a number of really good features for a reliable electric motor installation.

  • the bilge is really deep and large. So even if we get a lot of water on board it is going to be a long way from the motor or the batteries, we have made this so it is visible for checking as well as making it possible to access the pumps and hoses (initially we are fitting both an automatic large capacity electric pump and updating the original manual pump)
  • the motor compartment is not accessible from the companionway steps (but instead from the corridor to the aft cabin). Very often these steps lift up for access but that also means there is potential for water to get into the motor compartment whether it be from spray or people climbing in with wet clothing etc
  • the motor compartment is large enough so that our batteries, motor and controller can be right next to each other, so short cables that we cann easily inspect that don’t go through bulkheads where they can get damaged or through bilges where they can get wet.

We are also implementing a few things they we hope are best practice to help with the reliability

  • The motor is brushless for no maintenance and high efficiency. It is air cooled to keep our moisture (we will need to monitor temperature and might need exhaust fans)
  • All our battery banks are going to be in boxes that are watertight from below with a top that means any drips from above will not make it in. Build from epoxy coated plywood with a strong timber frame that does not allow battery movement but does allow air circulation for cooling.
  • The motor frame will have a watertight undertray and a lid that directs any drips clear of the motor.
  • Our batteries that are connected in series will have automatic battery balancers to ensure they are evenly charged. Those in parallel will have huge busbars and identical cables for equal loading.
  • We are over specifying all our battery cables and have a full size professional crimping tool to make the best possible connections.
  • Most of the batteries (5 out out of 8) have a bluetooth BMS and I will be monitoring this automatically from our Raspberry Pi system
  • All our solar chargers, battery balancers, battery monitors are from Victron with bluetooth capability so we can monitor them from their app and from the Raspberry Pi system
  • The SignalK system on the RaspberryPi will allow us to add a number of sensors to monitor temperature, humidity etc of everything, so we should know if there is a problem in any battery, bearing, motor, motor controller etc
  • We are installing a dripless seal for the sterntube. This should minimise maintenance and the chance of any salt water coming into the engine compartment.
  • We are installing an Aquadrive. This absorbs all the thrust from the propeller which means the engine and the bearings are free from these loads. It also means that the alignment of the motor is not critical. Both these mean that the motor will be on very flexible mountings so there should be much less vibration in the motor frame as well as in the boat. That should help avoid things shaking loose.
  • We plan to install an automatic dehumidifier for the motor compartment so keep the air in and around the motor plus electronics as dry as possible.
  • The cockpit floor is removable for lifting diesel engines in and out. All our electric stuff is small and light (heaviest individual items under 40kg). Even the motor in it’s frame is under 70kg and we can put it in the frame in the corridor next to where it will go. So we will use a more secure sealant on the cockpit floor, it would be possible to get it up but not as easy as it has been.
  • We will have a much more sealed bulkhead between the motor compartment and cockpit locker. So when you put wet ropes, fenders, sails in there it will drain into the bilge directly and not splash through lots of holes.
  • We are re-routing the vent for the main water tank so it doesn’t go through the motor compartment (reduce chances of water ingress)
  • The boat does not have a working electrical earth at present, we will make sure it is implemented and tested to protect the systems from galvanic corrosion.
  • All new composite cockpit drains and seacocks should reduce condensation and with much higher quality hoses should be more watertight.
  • We are not in a rush and so we can take the time to build it up slowly, carefully and with clear layouts and documentation
  • As we are doing all the work ourselves we know how it is installed and how to maintain it

Despite all that there are still some risks:

  • The biggest is the motor controller, the wiring is complex (for us, fortunately we can bring in our son who is an electrician). Also they are programmable and we don’t have the tools to reprogram it (particularly for regen but potentially also for things like throttle response and max revs)
  • We don’t manage to generate enough electricity to charge the batteries enough (separate updated blog post on generation to come)
  • We do something stupid with one of the expensive components so we need to spend a lot of money replacing it (eg shorting a battery, wiring something wrong).
  • Something we have not thought of

Compared to our lack of understanding of diesel engines this feels like a comfortable place to be 🙂 We think that overall we should be more reliable than diesel, better to live with and because of these be both more convenient and safer than a diesel engine while obviously being incredibly better for the planet.

Going 100% electric: the “house”

I recently detailed where we are at with the Electric Motor, now for the domestic “House” side.

The House power supply

I have started building the battery box which will sit above the motor and motor batteries in the motor compartment.

We have 4 x 120AH Lithium (LiFePo4) batteries from KS Energy KS-LT120B. These have Bluetooth BMS’ which I have been able to connect to from a Raspberry Pi (so one day will be able to monitor and control from the integrated navigation system). Their high continuous current rating of 160 Amp and 30 seconds surge at 250 Amp means they are easily able to power our inverters. It also means that we could rewire them in series to replace the motor batteries if we needed to.

These batteries are going to be connected in parallel so they act as a 12 volt, 480AH bank. This is one decision we agonised over. An alternative would be to have a 48volt house battery bank (and even have a common battery bank for the motor and house – such as Sailing Uma have). The biggest advantage of a 48 volt system would have been for the inverters. However, there are also disadvantages, particularly if you want to add additional battery capacity (you need to add four 12 volt batteries at a time).

Powerful 12 volt inverters require a lot of current, they therefore need very thick cables and short cable runs. Ours are going to be very short and so on balance we have gone for the simplicity of running everything on the house side at 12 volts.

So our batteries are connected in parallel using a massive 60mm x 6mm tinned copper busbar. We will be using very short 95mm2 cables to connect the batteries to the busbar. All 8 cables will be the same length. This form of connection is one of recommended ways (simplest of them in our opinion) of making sure that the battery use is balanced equally across the batteries.

From the battery box +ve busbar we will have doubled 95mm2 cables to a fuse. Then doubled 95mm2 cables to a shunt (used so that the Victron battery monitor sees everything). Then again doubled 95mm2 cables to the main battery switch. Finally the doubled 95mm2 cables go to a +ve secondary busbar at the forward end of the battery box.

From the battery box -ve busbar we will have doubled 95mm2 cables direct to the -ve secondary busbar at the forward end of the battery box.

The reason for doubling the 95mm2 cables is twofold. First, our inverters could potentially draw more current than one 95mm2 cable can carry. Second, the inverters are very sensitive to any voltage drop over the cable (it can cause fluctuations which can damage the batteries). By doubling the cables and keeping the lengths very short we should avoid both problems.

We will have 4 connections from each secondary busbar. All of them will have circuit breakers or fuses on the positive and all of them will have 95mm2 cables to the circuit breakers/fuses.

  • Inverter 1: a Victron 12V inverter giving up to 2000 watts (95mm2 cable)
  • Inverter 2: a Victron 12V inverter giving up to 2000 watts (95mm2 cable)
  • Lofrans Tigres Horizontal Anchor Windlass windlass 12v connected via 70mm2 cables (thicker than the 50mm2 specified by the manufacturer)
  • Distribution busbar for Main 12volt switch panel (busbars situated above the corridor to the aft cabin, switch panels on the bulkhead above the entrance to the corridor)

The 230volt AC systems

The Victron inverters get connected together into a single mains supply. So we have a 230V 4000watt mains supply via a standard circuit breaker box. The main purpose of having so much 230 volt power is the galley. In the galley we have

  • 2 x single induction hobs (max 2000watts each)
  • Microwave/combination oven/grill (max approx 1000watts)
  • Multi-cooker (max 900watts)

And no doubt we will be adding coffee machine and a few other gadgets.

So we will be able to run any 2 of these devices at full power at the same time (and to be safe we won’t run both hobs on full power at the same time).

Beyond the galley we have

  • 230volt water heater to supply sinks and shower
  • Device like our current laptops which only have 230 volt power connectors.
  • Two wall infrared panel heaters.
  • Power tools (most of them are now cordless but the batteries are charged from 230volts)
  • One day in the future a 230volt watermaker

Our electric outboard motor for the dinghy has a 12volt charger as well as a 230volt one.

4000 watts should be plenty with some simple house rules

  • only one cooking device while using the windlass (why would anyone be cooking when you are either raising or lowering the anchor?)
  • if using two cooking devices then turn off most other mains devices (possibly via the circuit breaker?)

The 12volt DC systems

These are mostly very normal for boats with lights, instruments, electric autopilot (we mainly want to use a windvane anyway), fridge (not planning a freezer), windlass (a lot of current but not for very long).

However, we are also going to be building our navigation, entertainment and office systems around 12volt Raspberry Pi computers and 12 volt screens. This will include WiFi to our phones etc. We will be fitting a hi power/long range 3G/4G antenna that will make it’s connection available via WiFi to everything else.

The Raspberry Pi’s will be used for navigation (we have a touch screen for the cockpit) with OpenCPN as well as for general use (everything from NetFlix to general office to video editing) on a TV screen in the saloon.

We will be using a SignalK server to connect the Raspberry Pi systems to marine instruments (AIS, Radar, WindSpeed/Direction etc). Anyway that is a whole lot of other posts.

Capacity

While it is perfectly ok for us to plan the system so that we can deliver 4000watts for cooking at full power on two hobs or run all these other devices the fact is that we still have a battery bank with limited capacity.

Here we admit there are a lot of unknowns and variables. However, we think that being able to monitor our battery use very accurately will allow us to modify our behaviour to suit the available battery charge (eg no hot showers or minimise cooking power use).

The next key part of the picture is how we recharge our batteries, both house and motor banks). That will have to be a separate blog post.

Holiday progress day 7: miscellaneous

So today we picked up a few jobs, none of which got completely finished. However, we did succeed with selling our Diesel engine (and have got paid this time!).

First job was to create FR4 backing plates for the new seacocks (the TruDesign fittings need a minimum thickness which is greater than the hull at that point. Before that we had to grind off some of the hull around the hole in the port side (it had been thickened for the old raw water inlet seacock but wasn’t very smooth). Made a huge mess as with a 40 grit flap disk the grinder creates loads of dust and sends it flying off at high speed so having the vacuum trying to suck up the dust as we went didn’t help a lot. Hopefully the last grinding needed in the engine room.

Cutting the holes in the FR4 was the final straw for the cheap 60mm hole saw, so I had to finish using the jig saw. Seems to be a good fit though. Next task will be to bond these in place with thickened epoxy (we will put a fillet around the edges to so there are no sharp transitions or edges).

Then I had to empty everything out of the Van (using it as our storeroom) to get to the timber, plywood and saws. Here is the start of my temporary woodworking shop.

I’ve been working on two projects.

First a box for the new house battery bank. That is 4 x 120AH Lithium (LiFePo4) batteries to be wired in parallel.

We are trying to combine some gaps for air circulation with both holding the batteries so they can’t move and fully protecting them (from moisture and also from anything/anyone touching the terminals or busbars).

This is all test assembly at the moment. Sanding still needed and I’ll be glueing the joints and coating all the wood in epoxy. The box will be above the motor and motor batteries, hence the depth of timbers, as it will need to span a fair distance to allow access underneath it.

Here you can see the batteries in situ with the busbars resting in position, next to them. The busbars are very much oversized (60mm x 6mm) to maximise efficiency.

I will be notching the timber under each busbar bolt so that there is easy access to tighten them.

The battery box cover will keep any water off the batteries and busbar, it will include a retaining bar to hold the batteries in place even if we invert. It will also protect the busbar from anything touching it.

The batteries will be slid in one at a time from the right hand end of the box (in this picture).

This is the box in approximate position. It will be higher, fixed to horizontal beams between the uprights that are not there yet. I am going to cut away the extra length of side at the left of this picture so that the batteries can be slid in and the rightward in the box. I have left the box length beams over-long to give me options for exactly where it and the uprights go.

I also started preparing the timber for the new cockpit floor corners (where the new drains will be) no picture though.

Tomorrow, should be a combination of epoxying all this stuff and maybe some other woodwork tasks.

Holiday progress day 3: being comfortable in a boatyard

First, some good news. All the epoxy work filling the holes yesterday worked better than we dared hope. Everything has hardened nicely, very little slumping. Going to be straightforward to put the fibreglass cloth on both the inside and outside.

As the forecast was for heavy rain from about 11am and as we felt we needed recovery time from yesterday we took today off boat jobs.

So this morning we went for a walk in a part of Anglesey we haven’t been before, apart from some tiny showers the rain held off and we went further than we planned. Absolutely beautiful area of sand dunes.

Then a quick visit to Toolstation in Bangor to collect some more holesaws (finding ones the right sizes for things seems to be an ongoing battle – this time I need a 60mm for the new cockpit drain seacocks).

Then a late lunch of eggy bread 🙂 Although we might have had to eat up some scones with Jam first to keep us going. To keep up the rest and recovery theme an afternoon nap was essential 😉

This evening we had an Aduki bean bake that we had brought from home, first time we have used out combination microwave on oven setting.

All very nice and we have sat in our saloon watching sailing YouTube channels, playing games and doing cross stitch (yeah that last one was Jane only). Meanwhile the wind has changed direction by 180 degrees and it has started to rain.

All this got us thinking about what makes a boat a comfortable space to spend time on in a boatyard. We’ve watched lots of YouTube videos of people in boatyards and so many of them find it an uncomfortable/stressful place to be. We don’t find that, even with all the jobs to do our boat very much is our own home. So what is the difference?

Climate: A lot of YouTube channels are doing boat work in very hot climates and doing dusty jobs in a lot of heat is unpleasant. North Wales isn’t that 🙂 and that is a good thing. We have found our two electric wall panel heaters, occasionally boosted with a fan heater and supported by a thick duvet have meant we have been comfortable here all year round. So an electric supply is really important.

Sleeping cabin: Having our aft cabin well separated from the saloon really helps with comfort, we can have a permanent bed and it isn’t affected by many of the jobs. One of us can be asleep while the other is active in the saloon and we don’t get disturbed.

Ladder: Obviously this is more difficult when you are not in your home boatyard but a really good ladder makes such a difference to your comfort. You will need to carry lots of stuff up and down. You will be using it in the dark and in the rain. It amazes me the ramshackle things that people use despite keeping their boat close to home and in the same boatyard every year. We have an aluminium double extending ladder, we have had it for around 30 years. We don’t have to extend it for Vida so every step is a double tread. We have a dedicated line for tying it on securely, a cloth to protect the side of the boat and we lock it up with a u-lock. All basic stuff but it makes life much easier.

Composting Toilet: A huge comfort advantage is a comfy composting toilet. No need to get dressed, go out in the rain and dark to boatyard or clubhouse toilets. Can go several days without needing to empty anything (with two urine containers we are basically good for a week). We get a toilet we can use that doesn’t smell compared to the boats with a sea toilet and holding tank who get the smell without the use.

Bucket sink drain: Ok in one sense so we only have this because we haven’t finished the plumbing yet. But our galley sink drains into a standard B&Q plastic bucket. It is easy to take outside and empty so we can use the sinks as normal.

Bike bottle taps: Ok so again we don’t have plumbing yet. But also, like many others our boatyard doesn’t have much water supply (one tap in our half of the yard and you need tokens to get water). So we are reusing 2 litre water bottles (easy to carry up ladders as they are not heavy) and during COVID we can bring water from home to save using shared facilities. Instead of a tap we use a cycling water bottle, leave the nozzle open, tip up and squeeze.

Solid wheelhouse: the combination of a centre cockpit (which is why we have that great aft cabin) and a wheelhouse with solid roof and glass windscreen is great. We have a removable heavy canvas back (and this is going to be much improved with some zips for easier access). It means we have a dry space to store stuff for projects without cluttering the cabin. It means whatever the weather we can have the main hatch open for ventilation if we want, we can get in and out without hanging around in the rain. When arriving or leaving it acts as a convenient dry staging post for all our bags (pass them all out to the cockpit, then pass them all down – saves a lot of climbing).

Electric cooking: We are using a single induction hob, a combination microwave (microwave, grill and oven) and electric multi-cooker (mostly used as an electric pressure cooker. We get far less moisture in the air than cooking with calor gas, it doesn’t require bottles to be changed (and taps to be turned off for safety), it is much faster to cook with.

Windows and hatches that don’t leak: We are in North Wales after all 🙂

What would I change/improve? Well, given that we are still in the middle of a full refit there are lots of things still on the jobs list. For living in the boat yard the ones I’m looking forward to are:

  • Zipper access through the wheelhouse rear cover
  • Doing the wiring so that we have permanently fitted lights (we have camping LED strip lights, they work but we are going to have better)
  • sort out the creaking floor boards
  • properly fit the insulation and headlining in our sleeping cabin before winter.