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Project Log:  Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What had started out as fairly involved plans to enclose and reconfigure the cockpit seats and lockers early in the project had morphed over time--inexorably and not necessarily by choice, but eventually by practicality--into a simple prefabricated propane locker that I purchased on impulse when I happened across it as a sort of "scratch and dent" item on a supplier's website.  This small, self-contained locker did everything it had to do, and was the simplest and most realistic way to complete the propane system.  I bought the locker without much consideration for how exactly I'd install it, but knew it would do what I wanted.

Earlier, after considering various installation options, I'd determined that I could--and would--mount the locker beneath one of the original teak cockpit seats.  With the seats temporarily back in the boat for the first time since the project began in 2010, I could start the final details of the LPG locker installation.  The locker fit very nicely in the space beneath the starboard seat.


To service the locker, I'd need to keep the seat removable, rather than permanently installed with screws, and to that end I ordered some hold-down clamps to secure it from beneath, which I'd install as soon as they arrived.  In fact, the new owner and I decided that it made sense to secure both cockpit seats in this way, allowing them to be easily removed for access to whatever.  I'd bung the old screw holes in the seats.

I wasn't ready to install the locker permanently just yet--I wanted to await the latches for the seat--and there were several things I had to finish first in any event.

The locker had been minorly damaged in transit to the supplier--hence its availability for less than its normal price.  What had happened was that the regulator/gauge assembly, which was supposed to be mounted in one corner of the unit, had broken away the fiberglass lip and fallen off, leaving two ragged but small holes in the lip.

In order to remount the regulator, I patched the damage with epoxy thickened with high-density filler and silica, which would have the guts to hold the screws and allowed for an easy repair.  I used masking tape as a mold for the new work.

The best and most direct lead to the new propane drain fitting in the hull was through the storage compartment at the forward starboard side of the cockpit--the original propane locker--and aft to the space in which the new self-contained locker would mount.  This path avoided any low spots in the hose and kept the length as short and straight as possible.  Once I'd led the hose through, I sealed the holes around the hose.

The locker came without a drain fitting installed, allowing the user to choose its location to suit.  I abandoned the cheesy nylon fitting in favor of a bronze one, and, having determined earlier the path of the drain, installed the fitting in the lower corner of the locker, in line with where the hose would lead to the new through hull I'd installed in the boat.


To lead the propane hose and wiring into the locker from the forward part of the boat, I installed in the top of the locker a plastic vapor-tight fitting designed for this purpose.


During initial stages of installation for the propane stove, I'd led the hose and (much later) wiring for the solenoid switch aft along the starboard side of the engine room.  Now, I installed another one of the vapor-tight clamp fittings in the bulkhead leading aft, into the old propane storage space, and led through the hose and wires.  I needed one more of these fittings to complete the run aft, out the aft side of this space and then to the new locker, and I'd install that and complete the system when it arrived.


Perhaps one might ask why not use the original propane locker.  The reason is that it does not meet current standards-driven requirements for safe propane storage in the USA.  The side-opening door is the main reason for this failure, and this was the reason I'd once contemplated reworking the area to allow for a top-opening locker and all that other rigamarole.  I'll admit that many times over the years it was tempting to use the old locker as is, but in the end the new locker just aft turned out to be the best solution--legal, safe, and good on the conscience while remaining pleasantly simple.

Next, I installed the manual bilge pump--a durable and simple Henderson MK IV--in the lazarette, bolting it through the forward wall of the locker in m ore or less the same position a similar pump had been in the original boat.  I connected the suction side of the hose, but awaited some fittings and the completion of the electric pump's hose before I completed the final short section of the manual line to the discharge.  My hose for the electric pump was backordered, so it would be a couple days anyway till I could install it, so I pulled out the smaller hose, using it to lead through a messenger line to make installation of the proper hose easy when the time came.


It seemed to make sense to continue work in the cockpit, the goal being to complete the work there--and especially any work required at the aft bowels of the engine room--before moving on to other areas.  To this end, I installed two waterproof cable entry points to eventually service the mizzen mast:  one up above the pilothouse door, for the AIS system's VHF antenna cable (which antenna was mounted on the mizzen); the other down on the sole, just to port of the mizzen step, through which the radar cable would run on its way to the interface box mounted just below.

For the larger one through the deck, after drilling the large hole required, I prepared the raw opening with epoxy to seal off the core within, and secured the fitting with sealant to the deck.  For now, I left the solid plug in place, but this would later be replaced with another that featured the correct-sized hole for the cable passing through.



Meanwhile, I installed the mizzen step with lots of sealant and new 3/8" flat head bolts.


To fill the large access holes in the cockpit sides that I'd drilled earlier to allow access to various installations, I installed two stainless steel inspection ports with sealant and machine screws into my habitually-prepared drilled-tapped-countersunk holes.



I had hoped to install another pair of these exact  inspection ports at the forward end of the cockpit, to provide access to the winch bases, but discovered that unfortunately they seemed to no longer be available (it'd been several years since I sourced and purchased the two pairs I'd installed elsewhere).  So I found a close alternative, also stainless steel, and with these on hand I prepared two openings that would allow the access to the winch bases for installation.  Keeping the tops of the new ports aligned with those already installed further aft, I marked the locations and prepared the holes and fastener holes, though for now I left the inspection ports out as the raw holes allowed better access than the finished plates.


Total Time Today:  7 Hours

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