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Monday, March 28, 2011


Engine room insulation and finish covering continues, but we had to take a brief detour to address the issue of the stairs from the wheelhouse to the below decks area. Just before we painted the boat last summer, I realized that unless we wanted more of a ships ladder leading to the lower deck, we would need to do some cheating to make real stairs work here… I would have to cut the stairs into the forward engine room bulkhead in order to achieve a usable stairway that wasn’t too steep and wouldn’t require ducking when going up or down. So, out came the cutting torch and we lopped off a notch out of this bulkhead directly under where the steps would go. At the time, like so many of our other early decisions, the dimensions for this cut was kind of an educated guess based on some ballpark stair geometry plus a little extra just in case. Initially we had planned on a straight set of steps, but a few months ago, we changed the layout below to put the dinette on the stbd side, opposite the galley… much better use of space. This caused us to rethink the stairs and we found that the only solution would be a 90 degree stairway. I have never designed anything like that before, so last weekend, I had a big cup of coffee to get my brain working and set about to construct a mock-up so we could try it out. As it turns out, the results were better than expected. I used three 30 degree steps to make the turn and the ergonomics are very good. By narrowing up the stairwell to 26”, it feels quite secure going up and down. The half wall at the base of the stairwell below will form the back of the forward facing dinette bench. This allows plenty of light from above, and makes it relatively easy to carry big awkward things from the wheelhouse to the lower deck. In the wheelhouse we cut and layed out some of the bigger pieces of the console. There is a little side extension to the right of the helm seat that will serve as an easy to reach mounting spot for the engine controls and steering jog lever. I will probably mount a breaker panel for wheelhouse electronics here as well. After actually playing around with the helm seat that we are going to use, we decided that there really isn’t room for two helm seats and the day berth/setee that we want up there… Just too crowded. So, looks like it’ll be just one center helm chair and a nice long L-shaped setee to stretch out on.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Engine room and exhaust trunk insulation

Finished a few little leftover insulation panels in the fwd main cabin. Now we have moved on to the exhaust trunk and engine room. I have been accumulating quite a big pile of equipment for the engine room and, since access will be more difficult once all this stuff is installed, I really need to concentrate my efforts on getting the engine room bulkheads insulated and covered first. I also have the exhaust system to fabricate and install and therefore need to have the exhaust trunk insulated for sound and heat from the stacks. I managed to knock out the exhaust trunk job in one day without too much grief, although it was a tight squeeze getting up inside to install the insulation. I went with one inch of Roxul rigid mineral wool panels (good thermal and sound insulation... fire proof too). I covered it with aluminum sheets and held the whole thing together with misc aluminum angles and flatbars. The 3/8" studs that I used to fasten everything down are welded to the exhaust trunk and will also be used to hang the exhaust piping. In the wheelhouse, the outside of the exhaust trunk will get covered with 3/4" Armaflex to further reduce the engine noise in the cabin. In the engine room, I have most of the necessary framing in place now. This will not only support the insulation and finished surface, it will also serve as mounting points for much of the bulkhead mounted equipment to be installed later. Most of the bulkheads will get 1/4" or 1/2" Armaflex, then 2-2.5" of Roxul mineral wool panels, then an aluminum facing to hold it all together. Then comes the fun part (for me anyway) of installing all the toys and related systems in the engine room.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fwd Insulation

The past couple of weeks have been mostly occupied with trying to finish out the fwd cabin insulation install. Sue and I have made pretty good progress and we are probably one more day of "cut and glue" away from being complete on insulation below decks (except for engine room- more on that later). Our friend Anne and her kids stopped by for a visit last week and, like all good backyard builders, we put them to work... in this case, helping us load all of our house and starting batteries (1400 lbs worth!) into the boat. Should be starting on the exhaust system in the next week or two, and bolting up all the nailers for the interior. Then it's on to the fun stuff... of course it's all "fun", right?