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Project Log:  Saturday, September 17, 2011

It was time for me to nail down some of the larger mechanical choices for the boat, beginning with the engine.  Earlier, I'd built a template for my leading choice, the Beta 43, but before committing it only seemed right to look at the alternatives.  While I'd not had time to do any work on the boat recently, I'd been thinking of details constantly, and had used many of my spare minutes researching various systems installations to the best of my ability.

Once again, I set up the template in the engine room, after first double-checking it's key measurements against the technical drawing.  In hand I also had drawings for two additional engines, the Beta 38 (a slightly smaller block than that of the 43), and the Yanmar 3JH5E (39 HP).  Fortunately, the basic measurements of all three engines were similar in that their mounting flange centers all easily accommodated the existing engine foundations, so no significant modification to the foundations would be required.  I really wasn't seriously considering the Yanmar, despite my past excellent personal experience with the brand, but wanted to have it in as a basis of comparison anyway.

Beta 43
Technical Drawing (PDF)

Beta 38
Technical Drawing (PDF)

Yanmar 3JH5E
Technical Drawing (PDF)

Besides, who wants to say "3JH5E" when asked what their engine is, anyway?  I can't even remember it long enough to write it here without looking it up again.

My earlier setup had shown that the overall height of the Beta 43 was a close fit at the forward end of the engine room, so confirming that measurement seemed to be the key factor in the engine selection.  I'd have to raise the engine foundations somewhat to accommodate any of the new engines I was considering, so that wasn't an issue for me,  but I had to be sure the engine would fit.

The engine required 16-3/16" clearance (maximum) above the top of my template, this measurement adjusted from the technical drawing according to the thickness of my template and the reference criterion, which was the bottom surface of the plywood template.  There was 16-3/8" height available (at the forward end; more aft, thanks to the angle of the foundations) to the top of the support beams, which corresponded to the underside of the deck.  Since I'd also want to add sound insulation, which would take up an inch at least, this was a bit closer than I wanted, though I could cheat up the height of the platform fairly easily at this point by simply adding cleats around the perimeter and all the support beams; with ample headroom in the pilothouse, this wouldn't pose any problems for me, and nothing was yet tied into the existing height.

I'd the commonly-applied notion that I wanted extra, rather than just enough, power for the boat, but would the five horsepower make any practicable difference (between the Beta 38, which would be an easy fit as it was two inches less tall--and the Beta 43)?  Would this justify the extra size, weight, and cost of the larger engine?  Both engines featured four-cylinder blocks, which I wanted regardless, and were otherwise similar in many ways.

In the end, either the Beta 43 or 38 would fit, the 38 with less work.  It came down to the importance, as it were, of that extra five horsepower or not, and any other salient engine features that might tilt the balance one way or the other, which I'd now have to look at in some detail.  Since the original engine was 36 HP, either of the new choices would be a slight upgrade.


While in the engine room, I also confirmed some measurements of the space where I intended to install a domestic water heater, on the port side aft, outboard of the centerline fuel tank.  I'd not made the final choice on the heater to use yet, so I printed out specifications for the main choices under consideration and checked them against the space.  Any of the tanks I was considering would fit, which kept the options open for the moment.


At this stage, I was undecided whether or not to install AC power on the boat.  It certainly was not a feature we needed to power anything on board; we don't spend any time dockside, so from this perspective it was clear we didn't need it since it wouldn't be used the way we cruise.  But this was no to say the day might not come when the boat would spend time dockside, so I was leaning towards installing a basic system since it made sense to do so now rather than retrofit it later. 

Why mention this now?  Well, it could play into the type of water heater.  Most domestic water heaters are fired not only by engine coolant bypass, but also by AC heating elements.  These sorts of tanks are also designed to store the hot water, which was a feature that might be handy.  We didn't necessarily need the AC capability, as our plans for the boat would have the water heater fired by the engine and also by a diesel-fired hydronic boat heater, which was the direction I was leaning towards at the moment.  (It's impossible to make one choice on board without it also affecting 6 or 7 other things, it seems...)

The alternative was a tankless coil, which lacked not only the AC element, but also the ability to store heated water.  Though at first this seemed of interest, the more I thought about it the less interesting it seemed, since storing hot water for later use seemed a handy thing and I didn't necessarily want to have to always run the diesel heater (or, worse, the engine) to heat hot water.  So I more or less took this idea out of the running.   This left the Super Stor and Isotemp high-end 6-gallon water heaters as my main choices.


With the theoretical part of the morning over with, I moved on to some real work.  Earlier, I'd finally purchased the more-complicated-than-I-wanted-but-had-no-other-practical-choice sanitation system, the Raritan Hold'n'Treat system, which incorporated a 15-gallon holding tank along with Raritan's Electro-Scan treatment system.   From the onset, we knew that a standard holding tank getup was not practical, and although I looked carefully into the composting toilets on the market, in the end I couldn't quite make the leap.

I will not delve into my thoughts on the current state of sanitation discharge laws in the US, and will say only that the law requires either containment (in many zero-discharge zones now becoming more and more common) or appropriate treatment before discharge.   This system covered both possibilities, the only to do so.  I covered additional aspects of the reasoning behind this option in an earlier posting on the subject.  Right or wrong, this was the choice I decided worked for our intended use and  needs.

I'd constructed the space beneath the v-berth with this system in mind, and with it now on hand I moved along with the final steps leading up to its permanent installation.  First, I lowered it through the forward hatch--it was too large to fit through the doorway into the forward cabin (at least by measurement; I didn't try it physically).

Then, I placed it in its designated spot beneath the berth, and adjusted it around to be roughly on centerline before making some reference marks around the perimeter of the base and also the bolting locations.

After removing the tank, I drilled and tapped the platform for the 3/8" fasteners that would secure it.  Then, I built two simple plywood partitions, one on each side, to block off bulk storage areas against the hull outboard of the tank location.  These partitions were designed as dividers only, and served no structural purpose in retaining the holding tank system.  With the dividers complete, I painted out the entire area with my habitual gray Bilgekote.


With that out of the way, I returned to the galley project. Having had a couple weeks to mull over the existing prototype, it was clear that there were no substantive changes requires, certainly not to the basic position and shape of the cabinet.  One minor change I began to contemplate was the position and orientation of the sink, which I'd originally laid out in a longitudinal position (long axis parallel to the centerline of the boat). 

It occurred to me, however, that changing its orientation to transverse (long axis perpendicular to the boat's centerline) might work as well or better, as it would allow more usable counterspace and also perhaps more space to incorporate a hidden trash receptacle, either  through the countertop or in a locker beneath.


This decision didn't need to be made immediately, but after marking out the second position on the countertop mockup, I dismantled the whole galley mockup so I could begin constructing the real thing.

The first order of business was to mark off a new line, offset from the original layout line on the cabin sole, to demark the position of the back of the toekick, an inset area at the base of the cabinet.  I compromised on a 2" deep toekick, which seemed ample enough and avoided too much interference with the curvature of the hull, which loomed just outboard of the layout line.

Allowing for the 1/2" plywood thickness, I installed a full-length hardwood cleat with glue and screws.  Then, I cut a 4" wide strip of cherry plywood for the vertical face of the toekick, and installed it to the cleat on the cabin sole, plus two short vertical cleats at the ends.


I added an additional cleat to the top of the toekick back (on the inside, or hidden side), then cut and installed the horizontal overhanging portion of the toekick, bringing it out to 1/2" from the desired position of the cabinet face.  then, I added vertical cleats to the adjacent bulkheads, which would support the front of the cabinet, and a full-length cleat to the top of the toekick to provide additional support to the bottom edge of the cabinet front.



It was a lot of little pieces and careful layout, so this process took several hours, and in the end I had barely made visible progress.  The toekick certainly wasn't necessary, but I thought it would be a nice addition, and would prevent the cabinet from being scuffed near the base.

 I made some basic cuts on a sheet of 1/2" cherry plywood, and prepared to cut it to length according to the rough template from the mockup, but as it was late in the day, I decided to wait till morning to cut the final piece, lest I make an expensive mistake.

Total Time Today:  7.25 hours

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