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

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Niggley Things

Niggle: (verb) cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety

#1 Niggley Thing

The two rear portlights on Loopy Kiwi (and I suspect on other aft cabin Motor Yachts  as well) are angled in such a way that, if it rains and they are open, water runs from the sundeck roof down the sundeck windows and side of the hull and funnels through them into the boat. It does not have to be raining hard for there to be a lot of water ingress that makes one hell of a mess to the woodwork and soft furnishings below. The one in the aft head is well positioned so that water ran down the inside wall to fall directly onto the toilet roll, which would blow up like a tampon - I have since repositioned the toilet roll holder. On the other side, within minutes of it starting to rain, water would cascade over the sill, behind the mirror and into the dresser drawers below. One night we finished up with the Admirals "dainties" drawer half full of water and wet knickers.

The same issue occurs with the pilothouse door, where the top angles inside the bottom, so rain runoff naturally falls over the step, seat and floor of the dinette. The four forward portlights are fine, as they are angled the other way with the flare of the hull and are also protected by the rub rail.

Now before anyone says "keep the doors and windows shut when it rains", it doesn't take a lot of rain to make a lot of mess, and sometimes (particularly at night), you don't realise its raining until its too late. We like having them open - there's not a lot of point in having opening windows otherwise.

The culprit

The result
After our summer cruise, where we had a couple of instances of this flooding, I began thinking that it may help to attach eyebrow shaped drip rails to the outside of the hull above the portlights to divert the waterfall to either side of the window, and the same above the pilothouse door, just like they used to have on automobiles. Having recently joined the Silverton Owners Club (SOC), I put a posting out to see if anyone had done this and, while no-one had done exactly that, I was led to a product that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. It is a flexible PVC drip rail, made by 3M and came complete with stick-on backing. What's more it was available in NZ! The product is 3M DRW (drip rail white) and it is available from UES Ltd, 291 Nielsen St, Penrose, and was cheap enough to warrant at least trying it out. Accordingly, I bought 5 metres of it for around $40, enough to do the areas of concern, and applied it thus:

Not only does it look better than I expected, the results were just phenomenal. Since installing it in February, we have had plenty of rain and I have been able to keep the portlights open without any water ingress. In fact, it is only in windblown rain coming directly at the windows that they need to be closed for. The rail above the pilothouse door stops dew dripping down onto the dinette floor, but the door opening is just too big and angled for the rail to stop rain, so we still have to close it when it rains.

#2 Niggley Thing:

Loopy Kiwi has a fully enclosed sundeck with solid glass windows and plexiglass doors. The doors are in aluminium frames with a lower sill, like a bulkhead hatch on a ship or submarine.

The aft entry door from the swim platform has the same setup, with only a 3" landing on the outside at the top of the stairs and a 3" sill that you have to step over. This means that to get out, you have to step over the sill and then straight down 7-8" to the top stair, which is not easy, particularly if you are carrying anything. Getting aboard is even harder, as you have to step up over the sill from the top step, placing your foot well inside the sundeck floor, and then heave yourself through the door past the centre of gravity which is trying to topple you backwards.

Now this may be fine for 13 year old gymnasts, but not so good for geriatric folk with dodgy knees, like me and the Admiral. After years of thinking about replacing the door with something more user friendly and, after watching an 82 year old friend struggling to get aboard last weekend I decided that it needed to be done forthwith. I remembered seeing an earlier model 453 in Lake Michigan which had the same enclosure as ours, but the doors went all the way to the floor, so there was no sill. So I figured I would just cut off the lower aluminium frame and the "Star Board" sill, and it would basically be the same. So that's exactly what I did.

It wasn't an easy job, and it looks a bit odd..... but it worked.... and it makes boarding soooo much easier..... I wish I had done it years ago.

#3 Niggley Thing

There is a lot of room on a Silverton 453 and plenty of storage spaces inside, but there is nothing very BIG in the way of storage, particularly out the back of the boat. The result is that there was always an unsightly heap of stuff (Dive gear, gas bottles, buckets and BBQ's) in one corner of the Sundeck and I had been looking round for ages for something in the way of a storage box to tidy it up. There are no "before" pictures of this project (why would I take pix of something that unsightly?). I wanted it to double as a seat and be big enough to store all the loose gear, but had to be mindful of fitting it through the narrow rear door. This ruled out things like plastic deckboxes or chilly bins (eskies/Coolers...whatever) and I had been looking at kitset wooden outdoor storage boxes, which would also match the teak outdoor furniture on the Sundeck (and, d'ya know, I don't even have a pic of that!).

We happened to be in Australia a couple of weeks ago and on the last day, I visited a Bunnings (a bit like Home depot) to see if they had anything over there. It just so happened they did, and I considered buying one, but then considered the issues of transport (it was slightly heavier than my baggage allowance) and warranty - which was just as well as it turned out. I figured they might have them now in NZ, or at least I may be able to order one through Bunnings NZ. Turns out they were available here at roughly the equivalent price, so I bought one the following week and took it to the boat to assemble it. It was in a bulky flat pack and weighed 26kg (57lb), but I manoeuvred it onto the Sundeck and began assembly. It was made in Vietnam of eucalyptus hardwood and seemed to be of reasonable quality. However, as I fitted the first long (about 4") screw that held the back to the side, I heard the ominous sound of wood splitting after I got it past the halfway point. It wound all the way in, but you could see a crack in the timber where it was bedded. I finished the assembly with no further mishaps and the box looked great (the Admiral didn't even notice it when she came aboard - so it must have looked the part), but that crack bothered me all night, fast becoming #4 Niggley Thing. The next day, I decided it actually wasn't good enough (considering it wasn't a particularly cheap item), so I dismantled it to take it back. Not only was the crack worse than it looked, I found one of the other long screws had bottomed against screws holding another part of the box together and has stripped about 1" off its thread. It looked to me like the holes in the suspect piece had been drilled out too big, so they had been plugged and redrilled but this time too small - hence the splitting.

Bunnings didn't seem at all surprised when I returned it and offered me a refund. I told them I actually still wanted one as long as it wasn't faulty like this one. I was a little taken aback when they said that they couldn't guarantee it wasn't faulty too, but we finished up unpacking one and checking the holes, none of which seemed to have been  "doctored". So I lugged the new one back up the pier and on to LK and began assembly. This time it was the second long screw that gave trouble - only this one wasn't too tight that it split the wood....it was so loose that it just kept turning after it bottomed. The eighth screw was so loose that it could be screwed almost fully home yet still straight pulled out with my fingers. I decided that I didn't want to play this game any more, so I dismantled it (again) and lugged it down the pier and back to Bunnings for a refund.

Bear in mind I had been looking for something like this for almost 2 years and was really pissed off to be so close and be let down by quality. I figured there was no chance of anyone else having something similar but, what the hell, I may as well check out Mitre 10 (Bunnings competitor) on my way home from the boat. Lo and Behold a very similar looking storage box made in Vietnam  from eucalyptus hardwood (Hmmmm - a different brand though), although slightly longer, wider and taller (which suited me) but dearer (which didn't).

The following weekend I bought one from the local store and lugged it to the boat (although it was also slightly lighter!), and assembled it without any problems!!!!!

Well that's got rid of 3 Niggley Things. Undoubtedly some others will rear their ugly heads before too long


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