Our first Boat Refit Tips video

Just uploaded:

We would love it if you watch the video and like it 🙂 Comments on the video really help too, we will reply to them!

As we work to build our Sustainable Sailing YouTube Channel it would really help us if you subscribe (and hit the notify bell). As you look on the channel we are going to be standardising on Orange thumbnails for Tips, Red for refit Progress and some other colour for more reflective/theoretical videos.

We have lots more Boat Refit Tips videos planned (and we think we will keep them under 10 minutes long so that they focus reasonably tightly one issue). Do you think that is a good way for us to go? Any suggestions of what you think we be helpful?

Some future directions

As you may have seen, we are making a much bigger go at producing YouTube Videos for Sustainable Sailing. I’ve had to learn quite a lot more about making video during the pandemic and we watch a lot of sailing related video content. We hope to manage a couple of short videos a week for the moment with a mixture of action footage of the various tasks and also some with more background reflections.

So head over to the Sustainable Sailing YouTube channel, subscribe, hit the notification button and then play & like everything 🙂

We have also been setting up a Sustainable Sailing page on Ko-fi. At the moment it allows one off donations of any amount or memberships with monthly payments (again any amount, no tiers). We much prefer the business model of Ko-fi over Patreon (especially that they don’t take a huge cut of the donations).

Gradually, we want to add more to our Ko-fi page. There will be physical items to buy, some that we will be making from recycled plastic, others craft items that Jane is planning to make. We are also be looking at adding some “virtual” items such as e-books/guides. Eventually, we plan to develop the membership side with specific content and probably some direct support of great projects that we see around.

In the meantime your support can help us with the equipment we need for the videos. Better lighting is a key priority and then we would love a GoPro.

Next Bow Roller video is here

Just published this:

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.

Start weekend update

We arrived just after dark and fortunately were able to get everything on the boat in the dry (big puddles all around though).

Wind is howling, forecast says gusts 37 mph and it definitely sounds like it, boat is shuddering a little.

Despite that nice and snug inside, had a lovely cabbage stir fry and some wine. So time for bed with a hot water bottle.

Hopefully dry tomorrow so we can make some more progress on the bow roller support.

We published another video on our YouTube channel yesterday, the colour/white balance needs some work but managed some new bits of editing. It is “Upgrading a 44 year old Bow Roller for blue water cruising“. We are quite committed to seeing how far we can take the channel. So we love views, likes, comments, subscribes and shares 😍 on YouTube.

We also have a Ko-fi! account if you would like to support us by donating the value of a coffee.

Adding more simplicity :-)

We have been busy with the rest of life this month (September is always a very busy time at work for us both).

However, our thinking has been progressing and we have been finding lots of inspiration from very small boats and from other people’s projects. So for example this video from Sailing Magic Carpet

It ties in with our Foredeck and Forecabin plans update or at least it confirms that we are making some different choices.

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.

Water

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.

Beds.

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.

So.

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.

Simpler

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.

Mast top coats of paint finished (for now)

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.

Cabin sole (floor) upgrade plans

We already know we need to make significant changes to the floors of all parts of Vida. Some of the drivers for this are:

  • The aft cabin has been remodelled so that the original floors don’t match the new shape of the aft heads or the storage under the new bed.
  • The corridor to the aft cabin is now wider. We have been able to move a little space from the engine compartment as the electric motor is so much smaller than the diesel engine.
  • The aft part of the main saloon floor needs to include a watertight lid to the new battery box with reconfigured support beams.
  • Forward of the battery box we are planning a new built in water tank (although we are updating this at the moment) which needs access and changed floor supports
  • The forward heads is becoming full width and needs a new, larger shower grating and changed shower drain.
  • 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.

Mast top coat 1

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).

The results:

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 🙂