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Project Log:  Friday, August 3, 2012

Beginning in the woodshop, I milled a series of plywood strips to use for the v-berth ceiling (hull liner) supports, using 12mm meranti plywood cut to 1" wide, just as I'd used for the overhead strips earlier in the project.  I milled enough material to frame the in-hull port openings, plus the required supports for the wooden ceiling strips that I'd install later, plus some extra material to have on hand.

For some time, I'd been hemming and hawing about an idea whether to employ a standard ice chest in addition to the Engel refrigerator.  (Read my original thoughts on this from September 2011.)  Since I had no objection to using "old fashioned" ice beyond needing to constantly rely on its ready availability ashore, I liked the idea of a regular cooler for holding drinks, ice cubes, etc., reserving the refrigerator for real foodstuffs. My idea all along had been to use the bottom section of the tall vertical locker opposite the head, which was voluminous and seemed to have the space to spare (all the more so given the substantial storage space I'd added in the dinette and galley).

I'd looked carefully at the high-performance (and expensive) coolers from Yeti and Deep Blue (Engel).  These coolers featured rotomolded construction and 2" insulation all around, with supposed 8-10 day ice retention. While they looked like good choices, ultimately I decided that these were not cost effective for this situation:  there just wasn't a critical-enough need to justify pricing five times higher than the Coleman Xtreme cooler, which also featured 2" insulation and good reviews with five-day ice retention reported, though I doubted its ultimate performance would be as good as the high-end units.  But for a cooler of convenience, it seemed like this might be an acceptable option.

After much debate, I decided to order the Coleman and give it a try.  If in the future I determined I was unhappy with its performance, I could always order one of the expensive coolers, which would fit in the same space.   So with this cooler actually on hand, I decided it was as good a time as any to start construction in the storage locker.

The new support shelf for the cooler needed to be high enough to provide the required width, as well as to clear various plumbing installations already in the space.  So after some basic measurements and test-fitting the cooler in the raw space, I struck level lines for support cleats on each side and installed hardwood cleats as needed, including one across the opening of the locker to support the edge of the shelf.



With cardboard, I created a template of the shelf, then cut the shelf from leftover 1/2" plywood.


The cooler fit in the space nicely.  I'd have to chock it on the outboard side to prevent movement, and would probably add other means of support.  Since I wanted the cooler to automatically drain (one nice feature was a recessed drain sump that allowed full drainage without needing to tip the cooler), I marked the shelf beneath the drain fitting so I could cut an opening for a hose to lead through; the drain fitting accepted 5/8" ID hose.  Later, I cut the opening.


The shelf position left ample room to access the through hull fitting beneath, and other plumbing runs.  I cut to length and connected the 1/2" line leading from the through hull to the galley sink salt water pump and spigot, leaving enough extra to secure to the hull out of the way.  I installed a cable tie mount on the hull, but left the hose free for the moment till I could paint out the space.

Meanwhile, thinking ahead to the other end of the seacock's supply fitting, which would service a deck wash down pump eventually, I drilled a hole through the forward bulkhead for the hose to pass through.  I also prepared an opening at the bottom edge of this utility space, where I could later run hot and cold water supply lines across the bilge to the head, where I'd be fitting a shower.


I'd be finalizing plans for the remainder of this large locker later, starting with another shelf to be located at a height above the installed cooler to allow access and ice passage, but for now I was out of time.

Total Time Today:  3.5 hours

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