Saturday, July 4, 2015

It started as a little light project

One of the big differences between older sailboats and newer sailboats is that the new ones are much brighter inside. Our Tartan is a bit cave like. She isn't as dim and shadow encrusted as other older boats I have been on, but there is no mistaking our interior for something light and bright and airy. There is a pretty cool and hi-tech fix for chasing away darkness, LED strip lights. Since adding some interior wattage is on the list and as it is raining in these parts yet again, an inside job was just the ticket for both keeping busy and getting us that much closer to going back in the water.

Hi-tech LED lights are pretty easy things to add. Use the sticky on the magic rope of light to mount it where it needs to be, then run a couple of wires. It is that “running a couple of wires” bit that can be make the job less easy. It turned out getting to where the wiring needed to go to chase the shadows away from the port side of the cabin above the pilot berth, meant getting behind the overhead panel. That involved taking out five trim strips, two panels, (not including the overhead) one shelf, one 110V electrical box, the wood trim box built to hold that box, the cover panel over for the chain plate, and two of the mount strips for that panel. None of that was obvious when the first screw was removed to take off the single panel that looked like it would get the job done.

I used to think that aviation had a lock on the world's sadists when it came to designing interiors. I was wrong!

Another difference between older and newer boats in interior space and storage. For a 42 foot boat Kintala comes up short on both. A big interior space waster is that pilot berth on the port side. That is one of the five – count 'em, five! – berths that came with the boat. Throw in the starboard side settee and the fact that two of the berths will hold two, and Kintala came from the factory equipped to sleep eight. She also came with a single head.

Eight people.

One head.

That morning traffic jam would make any commuter in any large city feel like they had the road to themselves. The accumulated morning breath of those huddled outside the head door waiting their turn would, all by itself, peel the finish off the walls. Additional odoriferous contributions by those waiting their turn at the facility are too horrible to even contemplate. The marine interior designer for this boat was a sadist on multiple levels, setting a new low for depravity.

Even I am not crazy enough to invite 7 other people to overnight in 400 square feet of living space with a single head. Long ago, the starboard side quarter berth in the aft cabin went away to make room for work shop / storage area. In addition, the pilot berth in the cabin was modified to make room for a storage area under it, one that fits rolls of fabric Deb uses to create things that makes our life aboard that much easier. 

Pilot Berth Stage 1. Upper shelf construction to commence shortly
Even with that mod, the berth quickly became a landing zone for things tossed, the mattress piled higher and deeper with stuff that just couldn't find a home anywhere else. Thus the port side of our cabin is an OCD nightmare, prone to spilling things across the salon when the boat heels, and a dark little cave all of its own. We have long been planning a serious modification to that area, making it a real and secure storage place, as well as making room for a tidy charging station for lap tops, phones, iPads, etc.   

Adding the LED wiring had that area of the interior shedding parts like a dog shaking off water. The remodeling was on this summer's list anyway. And I didn't want to take it apart twice. So the light project quickly morphed into a major interior modification.

Some day, I swear, this boat will be ready to go cruising.

3 comments:

Andrew Hood said...

You've been cruising, keep up the dream. I bought your book and it's got some really good insight, highly recommended. Why did you stop at the Bahamas, thought you might move on through the Caribbean?

TJ said...

Andrew, thank you for the kind words about the book. For the past couple of years we haven't managed to get to the Bahamas until Feb. We also needed to have the boat (our home) back in the States come summer. That limited how far south we could go. This year the plan is to be in the Islands by Nov, and we (currently) have no need to have the boat back in the US, so there is not telling how far we might go. The Caribbean is definitely in the plan for this year but, as always with this cruising life, we will have to see how it goes.

John Clark said...

Not exactly at the same level as your issue but, my wife and I both have sedans. I used to have a truck. I dislike having to borrow people's trucks. I got a hitch installed on my Accord (don't laugh). I got a great deal on a Harbor Freight trailer. Then comes the "assembly" and disassembly as I find parts flipped or on the wrong side (read "vague instructions" here). Then comes the wood to make it usable (more$$). Then you realize the sides now make it 1.5 inches too narrow to carry a sheet of plywood. Disassembly and remodel...etc, etc. Then you realize it needs to be waterproofed. disassembly, paint, wait, reassembly ($). The light doesn't work, disassembly, scrape the paint to make the ground contact, protection and reassembly.
Man, I should have just traded in my car for a truck!