22 May, 2017

Cabin window curtains and bug screens

This is not a rocket science project, but I would like to share my struggle finding the suitable solution.
My wife Verka always wanted the cabin window curtains to provide shade on sunny days or privacy at night. That sounds simple, but Phobos 21 has a a very difficult internal shape around the windows and the windows itself.
The first idea was to buy something already available on the market. However, nothing usable with reasonable price. The second idea was that Verka sewed the curtains and using the self-adhesive Velcro tapes around the window trim, it will be put on the windows.
That works until you realize, that self-adhesive Velcro tape is peeling from the walls leaving the nasty glue gunk behind.
I said, ok, that was cheap kind, so replaced with something more expensive. Bam, again after a few months in hot weather it started to peel again.
Oh well, using the heat gun it took a while to remove all the leftovers, but what next - screw the stainless steel snap buttons or expensive Tenax fasteners?
Nope, I've decided to use the KAM T5 12mm plastic snap buttons and pliers like found on the Aliexpress.com.
It's cheap, plastic does not rust, the holding force is less than SS ones, but still way more than needed for this purpose.
The last struggle was to find really small stainless steel self tapping screw. Then I found the best suitable screw is DIN7981C 2.2x6.5mm.

KAM T5 12mm button base and the tiny screws

Drilling 1.5mm hole has been just enough.

One note about drilling. Since I didn't have the optimal 1.8mm drill, I've used 1.5mm and then beveled the gelcoat to avoid chipping!

Port window

Longer starboard window

It's holding perfectly and easily removable without fear of tearing the soft fabric.
We have also special curtain for the companionway hatch doors, which is from the same fabric, but the top hem is sewn over the 6mm aluminum rod that goes into the grooves for the sliding hatch. Fast and easy.

Companionway hatch sun cover

Companionway hatch bug screen

The small port holes in the head and above the aft berth were not addressed, because they are opening inside and not really a problem.
For the front hatch above the V-berth, we have a special cover made from Sunbrella-like fabric with the rubber bend sewn inside the hem.

Verka also sewed a bug screen with lead beads in the hem which is holding very well even in the gentle breeze.

We are also planning, as the English sailors call it, the cockpit dodgers (lee cloths) for the colder sailing areas which could add also more warm and privacy.

Cockpit dodgers (lee cloth)

Happy sailing!

19 May, 2017

Bow ladder and the other stainless tuning

Last year, we were cruising the whole season on our famous dam Orlík on the river Vltava. It's very deep with steep shores so the most common way of anchoring preferred by local freshwater rats is to drop anchor from the stern slowly approaching the shore with the bow. This way you don't have to retract the centerboard, rudder or the outboard motor, like when dropping the anchor from the bow and reversing to the shore.

Example of anchoring with the stern first

This maneuver with bow first can be done easily single handed, however you suppose to have some kind of ladder on the bow or bowsprit.

Example of anchoring on Orlík with bow first, near the castle Zvíkov

The boat on the left is using the kind of add-on foldable ladder to the bowsprit. This is good, but you have to store it in the anchor locker after every use.
The other advantage of this type of anchoring is, that you can reach the shore with dry feet.

A good friend of mine David, lent me his add-on ladder to test it and it was working perfectly.

Foldable add-on ladder test

So was decided to add some foldable ladder to the bowsprit permanently for an easier manipulation.
After many hours of checking the various ladders found on the internet, I've found these 210mm narrow, 3 step telescopic ladder from Osculati article #49.541.23.
At first I wanted to bolt it somehow from the top of the bowspirt, but found it bad with too many edges for bare feet and it would collide with the anchor.

Ladder on the top of the bowsprit

Final decision then was to weld it bellow the bowsprit tubing. I've cut the hinges to the shape of the existing tubing and added a small piece of 3mm thick stainless strip as a reinforcement near the bolts.

Modified flange

Then asked the local welder to weld it under the bowsprit and this is the final product.

Welding from bellow

When retracted, it's also usable for boarding from marina pier

Simon was the testing monkey

There is a little flex on the ladder itself, but there is no problem holding me (84 kg) with no flexing on the ladder flange or the bowsprit itself.
The last thing is to add some line to it for easy retraction when standing on the bow, but this has to be tested once on the water.

When I had the TIG welder on the place, I prepared him some more work.
The factory anchor roller is mounted on the plates under the bowsprit which has a pretty sharp edges. I've tried to file the edges a bit, but still chafing the anchor line. So I've fabricated the 4mm thick rods chafe guards and welded them to the front edge of the roller plates.

Anchor roller chafe guards

The last update was to replace the railing clamps for the addition lifelines ends and gennaker sheet blocks with the stainless steel rings. They were created from 5mm thick rod winded around 11mm tubing, then cut with the angle grinder and flattened.

Welded rings for the stern lifelines

Welded rings for the gennaker sheets block

Finally polished everything and one more job finished.

02 May, 2017

Diesel heater installation II.

Here I come with some update after two weekends I had a time to work on this project.
I've realized how hard this could be if I want the best possible quality. The worst job so far is doing the ducting hose covers in the aft berth.
At first I had to create a carton template, checking all right angles, transferring all kinds of odd shapes and curves. Then transfer it back to the plywood, double check, remove from the boat, make tiny adjustment and check it once again. This all over again and again until it will fit perfectly.

gluing cover for the ducting running though the head

I've used my woodworking router to create a right-angle edge molding to hide the plywood joint and to keep the factory look. For this I've routed the 15x15mm oak strips found in the local hobby market.

gluing edge molding

Then it was a time to create ducting cover base which was then glued to the hull. The factory is using the thickened polyester resin so I'm doing the same. At first I'm using the hot glue to temporarily attach it to the hull and then glued it permanently with resin putty consisting of Cabosil, microballons and short chopped glass fibers.

cover base "glued" to the hull

aft berth - hole in the top going to the aftmost part of the head

oak strips for front cover screws

The factory heavily uses the polyurethane adhesives for all wood joining. This is cool as you don't see ugly screw heads, but you are unable to do the future upgrades. So that's why I've decided to use the screws for the ducting cover, so I'm able to add more wiring or whatever time brings.

cover after 3 coats of satin varnish

In the mean time, I was painting the fuel tank shelve and heater holding plate with the top-coat (gelcoat with 2% of paraffin solution)

finished fuel tank shelve with strap in the middle locker

I was worried about the amount of space between the locker hatch and the locker opening so I've installed additional port locker vent and stainless grille.
Maybe it isn't necessary, but before the final installation, I've put the butyl tape stripe on the left, top & right part of the grille to make it more watertight.

port locker vent

bug screen

The last small modification is adding a 4cm height shelf border in the port locker to prevent small parts or tools to fall down inside the locker.
Again stripe of plywood, laminated and top-coated.

in the middle - shelf border

Stay tuned for the next part - hopefully the final installation.