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Project Log:  Sunday, October 9, 2011

I had to take advantage of uncharacteristically warm weather over the weekend, working outside on a variety of other projects, so I limited my time in the shop and worked only on a few odds and ends, and general research for some of the work ahead.

Wrapping up the work on the new through hulls, I painted the remaining patch beneath the galley, including the through hull backing block.

My immediate work on the galley was mostly complete, and after weeks of work dedicated to the dinette and galley, I found myself at one of the many transitional points in the project, where I needed to head in a different direction.

From the beginning, I knew I needed to address the original propane locker in the cockpit.  This locker, located beneath the molded forward portion of the starboard cockpit, was all wrong in many ways, but mainly in that it wasn't constructed properly for safe storage and use of propane.  The locker featured a door on the side of the locker, which did nothing to prevent the possibility of a gas leak escaping into other parts of the boat.  While there were molded tank recesses and an overboard drain from the bottom, I needed to revamp the locker.


This led me, again from early in the project's conception, to thoughts of reconfiguring the cockpit to enhance its comfort and utility, at least in my eyes.  The original cockpit had featured slatted teak seats spanning open spaces on each side, which was functionally OK from a seating standpoint, but the arrangement lacked storage, and I thought enclosed lockers would be more useful.  Earlier in the project, I removed the teak seats.

I supposed it was about time to begin this job, so that I could wrap up once and for all the exterior fiberglass work and surface prep sooner than later.  I would have preferred to continue work on the interior, but the overall project schedule demanded I turn to the cockpit instead.  With this in mind, I began related research into new propane tanks, the size of which would ultimately drive the shape of things to come.

I planned to keep the propane locker in the same place, but to convert it to top-opening and make other improvements as needed.  I wanted to use composite tanks, and looked into various brands and sizes on the market to figure out which direction to go.  I wanted two tanks for the convenience factor, so there'd always be a spare.

To this end, I built two pair of tank mockups that I'd use later in determining the overall dimensions of the new locker (and, by direct association, the remainder of the cockpit).  For each mockup, I cut discs of 1/4" plywood to the correct diameter, then attached wooden legs to create the overall height.  Not fancy, but effective in visualizing the various dimensions.

One set of mockups was based on 10 lb. cylinders available from Lite Cylinder, Seaward, and others--a standard and typical size.  The other set of mockups emulated a squat, wide 11 lb. cylinder from Trident Marine, which was attractive because it was a couple inches shorter, though as large in diameter as a stock 20 lb. cylinder.

I didn't build mockups of the standard 20 lb. cylinders.  I figured that if the width of the Trident cylinder (same as the larger ones) worked out, then I'd see if I could fit the large cylinders, which were only an inch taller than the narrow 10lb. cylinders from Seaward and Lite Cylinder.


I'd put these mockups to more use later in the process, but it was one of those little constructions that was good to get out of the way on a slow day.

I also wanted to square away my steering system sooner than later.  I planned a hydraulic system, incorporating an autopilot and other features, and wanted to start getting a handle on what I needed. with the notion of using one of the Vetus systems described in the catalog, though there were other choices out there as well.

To determine the various units needed, the catalog described a couple calculations to determine rudder torque and, from there, the correct helm and steering arms.  These calculations were based largely on the size of the rudder, so I traced the rudder on some kraft paper to make it easier to determine its true area, incorporating the angled top and cut-off lower corner.  Then, I worked through the calculations to arrive at the specifications for the steering gear, though this was as far as I took the research at this point.


Finally, I applied more varnish to a few small trim parts.

Total Time Today:  3 hours

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