I haven’t been posting much here as I’ve mostly been working on our YouTube channel, however, I thought I would show some pictures of the new mizzen mast foot support work.
I am also adding some fibreglass tape to increase strength where we have cut away the starboard bulkhead to provide access to our “pullman” style double bed.
While doing this work in the aft cabin we have also finished (at last) the chainplate backing plates in the aft cabin. They were the first we did and we over complicated things with a full length plywood backing plate, plus a shorter plywood backing plate for the 3 shroud attachment points. Anyway the FR4 plates have been added and so that part of epoxy work in the aft cabin has been completed.
We have also been working in the lazarette on supports for the solar panel frames. As part of that work we found and fixed a void in the stern at the hull/deck joint and the damage caused by the davits that had been fitted without backing plates.
Now back to the video editing that will show all this.
Been a bit slow updating the blog, we have several new videos and this evening I have bought a new-to-us mainsail (from a Westerly Fulmar). We will probably have to add a very small extra reef point as the default setting point because it is very slightly too large but for £200 it will be a lot better than what we have. That significantly reduces the amount of work to do on sails (just new soft webbing hanks on the foresails).
We are not at the boat this weekend as we both have Covid and it has laid us up all week.
Anyway on with the videos, quite dramatic changes:
After some discussions on the Rival FaceBook group and further reflection I think some compromises were forced on Peter Brett when drawing the centre cockpit version of the 38. So there wasn’t enough space for a full length v-berth, a watertight bulkhead and a route for the chain that wasn’t through the middle of the berth. They chose a v-berth for kids, a neatly hidden chain but no watertight bulkhead (which the 41 has, not sure about the other models).
Our priorities are different. We want low risk (hence watertight compartments), better anchoring (more and heavier chain below deck, electric windlass, bigger anchor that self stows better – we have a whole load of videos about the new bow roller), maximised sailing performance (hence wanting to store the chain as far aft as possible for better weight distribution). So we are not at all worried that occasional guests will clamber/crawl into either the port side generously sized adult berth or the starboard child sized berth.
We won’t finish this cabin apart from the bulkheads and shoot for the chain until next year but it will be enough for us to fit the windlass and so be able to anchor.
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Only 1 month to go and I’ll have 3 months working almost full-time on the boat as I have a work Sabbatical. So there should be lots of progress 🙂
So Kika spoke at a TedX event in Cowes. A really good talk that fits very much with our philosophy here at Sustainable Sailing with our subtitle of “SUSTAINABLE: Environmentally, Financially, Mentally, Physically”
We ended with a day of better weather and real progress.
We were able to test the bow roller with the anchor despite not having been able to do any outside epoxy work all week.
Our 30kg Spade anchor fitted nicely.
And the remodelling of the saloon went through a further destructive stage.
In the process we have made progress towards a new layout with slightly reduced seating in return for a better guest double bed; a much larger galley, more comfortable seating and a better table position when there are only two of us; more storage space and considerably more structural strength.
At least that is what we are hoping to create. Stay tuned to see if we can achieve all this!
In fact there has been so much rain that when we did leave the boat to use the clubhouse facilities our ladder was standing in a bit of a lake and we had to paddle.
Despite this we decided to clear the port side of the saloon to improve the access for fitting our new chainplate backing plates. Again we found that the unpainted plywood used for the soffit was rather mouldy and rotten in a few places. The cupboards also had mould which was deep in the disgusting 1970’s mustard colour vinyl.
We have a nice timelapse of removing the cupboards which should make it into our next Refit Progress video.
We have some decision making to do about the u-shaped settee. It isn’t angled and sized right for lounging comfort. So we will probably tweak it a little to be as comfortable as possible for dining or working at the table (it will also make a double bed for guests). We are also still planning how to use the space for storage.
One real oddity is how the forward most chainplate bolt has had the nut glassed in against the bulkhead to the forward heads. It seems unlikely the factory would have done this one differently to all the others.
It is also odd that we have 4 10″ mooring cleats with very varied bolt sizes, 3 with large backing plates (like 10x the size of the ones for the chainplate bolts) and one with just tiny washers.
Our new backing plates are large enough so that each one can be for both a chainplate and a mooring cleat.
The backing plate for the cap shroud is going to be tied down the side of the hull to the first stringer with a combination of FR4 (with epoxy fillets) and glassfibre cloth with epoxy resin. This will replace the stainless steel strap bolted to the plywood knee (currently much more substantial on the port side).
The wind has been gusting to 53mph (Force 9) according to the Met Office, with the heavy rain this has uncovered a few small leaks. Generally where we have temporary bathroom sealant in holes where we have removed bolts that are going to be replaced by something different. I’ve just noticed a window bolt that is weeping a little so that will need tightening tomorrow.
We spent the evening in the NWVYC clubhouse as I needed the better WiFi for some work. While we were there Jane spliced two more mizzen chainplate loops. They are looking great, we are really looking forward to finishing refurbishing the masts in the Sprint and getting them both up.
Meanwhile I’m trying to work out how to build a test rig for the chainplate loops that will allow us to get enough pull on them so that the knot will properly tighten up. Remember that our chainplate loops are based on the technique for a soft shackle where the 6mm version broke at 64Kn (which is approx 6,500 kg).
So a 6mm dyneema chainplate loop would break at about 6,500 kg which is more than double the breaking strength of the 6 mm stainless steel shrouds we are replacing. Yet our chainplate loops are made from 9mm dyneema. Seems like we have a pretty huge safety margin here!
It does mean that I’d like to be able to get in the order of 1,000kg pull on the chainplate loops to get the knot to tighten to a stable point. So I need a “plate” with a 20mm hole (so the chainplate loop can be pulled through the hole with the knot stopping it coming all the way through) that can withstand a 1,000kg pull. Plus I need to be able to achieve the 1,000kg pull (and have a measure to know I’ve done it). H’mm.
Today was definitely another no outside jobs day. So we went to Aldi in the morning and got soaked as we came out.
In the afternoon we worked on different things.
Jane started learning Dyneema splicing and after a practice, she produced our first real Mizzen chainplate:
This works in this way. The knot stays below the backing plate. The eye (with the low friction ring removed) goes up through a hole in the backing plate and the deck above it, to emerge above the deck. The hole is, of course, lined with epoxy and will have been sanded and rounded off so it is very smooth. The low friction ring is then put back into the loop. This is now your chainplate. Our shrouds will end with another low friction ring and they will be attached to the chainplate with a dyneema lashing. This lashing will be used to tension the shroud (and take out any creep).
Once the chainplate is fitted we have two issues to address. One is protecting the Dyneema from damage and the second is to stop water running into the hole and wicking down the dyneema so that it drips into the cabin.
First we need to stop the dyneema chainplate from being damaged. There are three main ways damage is likely:
dirt washing into the hole in the deck and cutting into the Dyneema.
ropes rubbing against the Dyneema where it is visible above the deck and causing chafe.
Sunlight causing UV damage which weakens the dyneema.
We have a two part solution to protect against all these forms of damage.
On the deck we fix a “mushroom” around the hole, with the hole extending through the middle of the mushroom. This stops water running down the deck going into the hole. Then we have a Sunbrella fabric sleeve that fits around the chainplate and lashing. At the bottom this is drawn tight around the base of the mushroom, at the top it is a close fit around the shroud above the lashing. The fabric stops larger waves getting into the hole and reduces the amount of water that will wick all the way down. It also protects the lashing and chainplate from UV and chafe.
Below deck we create a simple watertight “box” around the knot. This catches any water that wicks all the way down and can be easily removed to empty it and inspect the dyneema chainplate knot.
The whole chainplate can be removed for inspection by taking off the fabric sleeve, slackening the lashing and pulling out the chainplate from below. With a 2.5m dyneema line and a few minutes work we can make a replacement which can be fitted anywhere in the world, even at sea.
Meanwhile, I tackled removing the plywood soffit from the underside of the deck above the navigation table. The vinyl headlining had fallen off this very early on due to being very wet from the window above leaking. As expected the hidden side of this plywood showed a lot of water damage.
Then I removed the vinyl from the side of the hull and cut out the plywood that it was stuck to. This was much thicker than the plywood lining has been elsewhere, presumably to provide a good surface to fit instruments to. Now we can reach the bolts for the genoa track and for the gate stanchions – both hidden and unchecked for 44 years.
As you can see the actual chart table has significant water damage. Long term our plan is to remove the whole chart table. We will do on passage navigation and pilotage from the wheelhouse (which we will be able to pretty much fully enclose) so the chart table won’t be needed.
Overall, quite a bit of rubbish removed from the boat:
We haven’t fully decided what to put in this space. The current favourite idea is a comfy forward facing chair with small desk. It should be comfortable to sit in when sailing and also suitable as a quiet place to sit and do computer work. We will wait to see if we do want to fit a Refleks diesel heater, if so then that will go alongside the desk.
We have realised that we can simplify our galley if we can use the electric “Instant Pot” (actually a KingPro branded version) in the current navigation area. At the moment it can just sit on the navigation table (as can an electric filter coffee machine). However, eventually we want a gimballed shelf that we can put up over the desk whenever we want to use one of these appliances at sea. This means that our galley can have a permanent gimballed shelf for the microwave and for one of the induction hobs which is a lot simpler than our original plan.
So we ended up quite happy with today’s progress. Hopefully better weather tomorrow so we can make easier progress.
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.