A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Sunday, 15 December 2013

More wee Jobs

New Zealander's have a passion for fishing. If you own a boat you are expected to fish out of it, and we have done so with all our boats for many, many years. So when we first looked for a Loop boat, we figured we would get one with a cockpit - so we could fish off it. As it turned out, and since we were never going to bring our Loop boat back to NZ (yeah, right), we settled on the cockpitless Silverton 453. Now, since the boat has made its way back here, the requirement for fishing has returned once again. While the 453 has no cockpit, it does come with a very large landing board (swim platform) on which you can fish, cook BBQ's, or hold a small square dance, if the fancy takes you. The dinghy stows across the back of it on Weaver davits and that provides for a secure area for outdoor activities as described above -  other than the stays that hold it upright which everyone who comes aboard smacks their heads against at least once!

However when the dinghy is in the water, there is a lot of open space on the landing board and nothing to hang on to when you are getting in and out of it. You also get the uneasy feeling when having a barby on the landing board with the  trusty Weber grill on its trolley, that at any moment the entire kit and caboodle will roll into the tide (not that it ever would - but I actually do tie the trolley to a hand rail, just in case). Another issue was that there were no fishing rod holders anywhere on the boat, and very few places to mount any. I was contemplating these situations the last time we had a barby on board (BOB) and it suddenly struck me that a handrail across the back of the landing board would overcome all of these problems and provide other benefits as well. Accordingly I began investigating having such a fitting made up. As it turned out, a local chap at our marina had a couple of stainless steel rails that he didn't want. They were originally from a supermarket (you know - from the place where the shopping carts are guided in to the store) and when I took one down to the boat, it not only was exactly what I was looking for, it even lined up with some of the existing bolt holes for other devices. Down to the local stainless steel fabricators it went (where it is known as a "staple") and extra rails and the rod holders were added. Over the weekend I took it down to Loopy Kiwi and fitted it, and this is how it turned out

So....it provides a nice secure back fence for activities on the landing board as well as somewhere to put the rods when fishing if you need to go elsewhere for a wee while. It doesn't interfere with the raising and lowering of the dinghy, or getting on and off the boat at the dock, and it provides something substantial to grab when climbing in and out of the dinghy at anchor. I hope it will also double as a hand grip for climbing up the swim ladder - if not I can always have a grab handle mounted to the side of it.
You may also note in a couple of the pix that the outboard motor is now stowed vertically on a transom mounted bracket. The previous owner had it on a bracket that lay it down on the landing board - which was real dumb because it took up a lot of space, was a trip hazard and was not particularly good for the motor.
Much easier to handle and stow now, and I made the lowest rail on the staple high enough for the outboard to slide underneath for fitting to the dinghy.
In the last posting I didn't put any pix up of the raw water alarm I had just fitted (because I didn't have any at the time). Well now I have so here they are

 That's all for now - till next time.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A few more mods.

Loopy Kiwi came with a leather sofa in the saloon that folds out into a bed. Very comfortable, but low to the floor making it difficult for the Admiral to get up out of it with her arthritic knees. At home we had a similar problem which was overcome by screwing 100mm (4") feet to the bases of the sofas. Not so easy with a sofa in a boat, particularly when it turns into a bed - the problem being that there was no solid base and the runners that support the bed mechanism are 10mm (3/8") below the rest of the frame. However, the Admiral had requested that it be modified as her birthday present, so the project was duly commenced.
It was essential that it worked right but also that it looked right. so the answer was to build a box frame 90mm high that matched, and raised, the support runners. This was made of decking timber, which just happened to be exactly the right thickness (and was also the cheapest) 
I then used 10mm ply to pick up the rest of the framework and added fascias, screwed from the inside so there were no fastenings showing. These were made of our most common building timber Radiata Pine (Monterey Pine) and were stained with Cabot's "Crabwood" stain and varnish to  match the existing timber. 
The sofa has always been smaller that the gap that it fitted to, so the two sections of it used to pull apart after a bit of use, so I made up a packer that screwed to the wall to keep them together. this was also made of pine and stained to match.
The end result came out pretty good, even if I say so myself (but I'm kinda biased), and the Admiral was delighted with her birthday gift.
and here are the before and after pics

There is now even some storage underneath for bedding and for the little feet that the bed legs have to sit on when they are deployed

Another pet hate on the boat had been the galley table, which had been designed for anorexic people.
So while I was in "chainsaw" mode, I took to it and removed enough of it to make it usable, but not so much that it became useless. In doing so I also stripped it back to the bare timber and re-varnished it with clear varnish, believing that the timber was in its natural colour. It became obvious after the second coat that it had originally been stained to match the rest of the timberwork, but by then it was too late, and I did not feel like stripping all the new varnish off and starting again. As it turned out, the new lighter colour was a good match for the leather furniture and we have decided to leave it as it is.

I have already mentioned in previous posts that LK is fitted with underwater exhaust outlets. Not only are they horrible to paint, they also hide any evidence that the engines are pumping water and this has always been a considerable concern. A couple of months ago, I procured a "save your engines" kit from the USA, which consists of 2 flow sensors that fit to the raw water inlets to each engine, and a panel on the flybridge that lights up in the event of flow failure. See http://www.aqualarm.net/comerus/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=3526.
The sensors were relatively easy to fit to the pipework between the raw water strainers and the engines, but it also requires wires to be run from the engine room to the flybridge - which was not quite so easy. Fortunately my good friend and fellow 453 owner, Bert, advised my the best route for the wiring. This included removing several fixings on the bridge and removal of a wall panel from the inside of the saloon. Even then getting the wire from one place to the other was a frustrating and time consuming job and I ended up running a spare cable of 8 wires through at the same time, just so I don't have to pull the interior apart again if I need more connections up there.
I also did a oil and filter change, so LK is now ready for the summer (although there is still plenty more to do - it is a boat after all!)
We've just spent a week up in the Bay of Islands helping Charlie and Pauline get their boat ready for summer as well, in payment for their help we had with Loopy Kiwi a few months ago. Mercifully, Charlie's boat is a bit smaller than LK and it is much less stressful carving bits out of someone else's boat than it is your own. We had very co-operative weather while we worked and it looks like we can expect a long hot summer. It will certainly be our intention to spend some of it up in the north in the continuation of our cruising lifestyle around New Zealand.