Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media 2006-2020. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.


Aft to the future

The slight bit of corrosion on that frame will be converted chemically and recoated with two-part top paint.
Behold the underside of the bed platform we've removed in the aft cabin. The black hoses are excess hydraulic feeds for the autopilot and hydraulic actuator that steers Alchemy. The bed platform, more or less two pieces of surfaced marine plywood cut to fit the the hull shape, was on the port side (looking forward). We typically slept (at dock or underway) with our heads at the forward end.

Anyone who has been to sea in proper sea states can figure out the problems with a fore-and-aft berth that lacks a) lee cloths; and b) sleeps two. The function of a lee cloth is to keep the sleeping sailor in the berth; a boat on any kind of a heel is likely to throw or roll said snoozing crew out of the bunk and onto the sole, a situation unconducive to rest. The old-school sea berth therefore featured a wooden half-wall of sorts, but this, which functional on larger sailing vessels, did not easily allow said berth to be used as a settee when it wasn't a bed. Fore-and-aft double berths, meanwhile, required a bunk board (see photo), plus a lee cloth, so that two people could be kept still, or at least, could roll only so far, and remain safely asleep.
Bunk board and lee cloth to make a safe "double" while underway. Photo (c) Practical Sailor

The pipe berth can be wood or metal-framed. Photo (c) Sailing Anarchy
The fuss and yogic exertions to leave that hull-side berth in a lively seaway aren't worth picturing. Similarly, the 19th century solution of a well-secured hammock takes up a lot of room and can be problematic on a small yacht in terms of rapid swinging.

Pipe berths have some advantages in that they can fold or roll up in the day watch and can either be locked into a safe angle of heel or, via rope tackles, can be secured at any angle. And this might be a future project for the saloon, although we already have proper sea berths above the settee seating only requiring lee cloths to be made up to be fully usable in a seaway. Lee cloths, by the way, are commonly bolted to the berth platform and folded away when not in use. We also have two pilot berths in the pilothouse itself, but these are being used for gear and tools at present.

We've decided to move our sleeping platform across, or, in nautical terms, athwart the forward part of our aft cabin. This will accomplish several objectives, including a) gaining us about 15-20 cms. of bed platform width; b) moving our body weight forward, which is desirable for trim and comfort purposes; c) freeing up a fairly impressive amount of otherwise "dead" space opposite the hydraulic ram suitable for large, if light, stowage, such as fenders, while at sea; and d) meaning we can sleep "head on the high side" irrespective of whatever side the boat is heeling. Lee cloths would still be needed for the aft side of the newly angled double berth, however, in case the boat was to pitch uncomfortably in the off-watch.

Lastly, it puts the sleeping crew mostly out of the way of the footwell on the aft deck, which is about one centimetre lower than my crooked knee, as I found out this summer while living aboard.

Quick 'n' dirty hack just to give the general idea. The bunk, of course, will run straight to the curved portside hull.
In the above crappy, rushed diagram hacked from my "electrical layout" schematic, note that the bed extends right across the hull from the port side to the hanging lockers on the starboard. The depth of the lockers here plus the narrowing of the hull aft of the pilothouse means all that width aft of the cabin's built-in bookshelf (and future SSB installation) is needed for adequate sleeping length. However, this means using up all the floor space in the aft cabin, which, when it is deployed, will be under the bed's "flap". Stowed when not in use, the flap will be on a sturdy hinge and will be supported by cross-braces and beams through-bolted to the existing lockers and cabin furniture.

The present clothing shelving for socks, underwear and T-shirts will be shifting to fore-and-aft stowage in heavy-duty plastic drawers on a platform under the flap. Further stowage space will be "liberated" under the platform and some wiring will be more easily routed under here.

Those wooden "floors" are actually two triagular access ports to the aftmost bilge through which the prop shaft runs.
I'll post up further discussion as this project, which I hope to finish before the end of March and our move back aboard.


Allan S said...

Love your progress. We still have a sh*t load of work to do too. We still left Hamilton just over 3 years ago and I am still looking at a half finished galley. Hey! Her shower was installed only two years ago:)

Allan and Ellie
s/v No Gridlock
Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Rhys said...

I know the feeling, believe me. Priorities for repair and construction are premised on the amount of whining I hear.