Building Logs

Another summer

Posted by Paul

As work on the boat continues launch day draws inexorably closer. But excruciatingly slowly. Although I have said this before, hopefully this will be the last summer of building the boat, and summers from now on will be enjoyed from on it. This summer will be my seventh summer building. I started the build the first week of November 2005. So we have completed 6 years and have entered the seventh (and final) year. I am now even more convinced that finally I can say the boat will launch some time next year.

The construction of the bedroom furniture is now complete except for the furniture that touches the mast posts. Until these are delivered and fitted the rest of that furniture cannot be completed. In the Starboard hull that includes some shelves inside the hanging cupboard, a side wall to that cupboard and a door. In the port hull its just the steps up into the bed on the forward side of the bed but these too form part of the bracing for the posts and cannot go in until the post is in.

In the port hull the bed side cupboards are completed, the curved lids made and the base beams glued in and the slat holes drilled, before giving everything a coat of white epoxy. We have chosen flexing slats to give a little better comfort. These slats are made of pre-curved ply and sit in plastic holders that allow them to flex under load and act like a second layer of suspension (the first being either the foam or the springs in the mattress itself). The other function of the slats is to elevate the mattress so that air can circulate underneath it. This stops moisture from being trapped in the mattress and mould from growing. Another benefit of this method of slats is that it is light weight and easily removable should I need to re-lay the water pipes or wiring that will run in the space below the mattress. At the foot of the bed there is a vent built into the cabinet in front of it that allows air in and out. The curved lids are made but wont be hinged and attached until final fit out. The lids will be upholstered with padded covers.


The bed base in the starboard hull is the same, 3 beams one on each side and one down the middle except this bed runs fore and aft. The vent holes are in the cabinet near the bedroom door. Again a coat of white epoxy finished off the section and is my way of signifying that work there is completed. For those that dont know, the white epoxy is quite thick but self levelling so except for feathering out the tape edges, I dont fair under it at all and the white epoxy gives a smooth (and gloss) surface that both ensures the surface is fully sealed, gives an easy wipe surface when set with no risk of jagged tape edges or splinters etc. Tape edges are still visible whereas fairing would remove them but I have no problem with the inside of cupboards (or in this case under the mattress) not being fair so long as they are smooth and easy to clean, I dont care how good they look.


Next I then laid the first of the water pipes that will eventually be under the port mattress. So easy was this task I decided to complete all the water pipe rough in. The water tanks are in the space between the 2 forward bunks on the bridgedeck. I was originally planning on 3 x 200 litre tanks and making them myself, but have changed this to 2 x 300 litre tanks and having them purpose built. Its too much head pressure pushing down into the bottom of the tanks for me to risk not having a good enough epoxy and glass bond. The pressure could force the water into the bridgedeck core which would be disaster. For me, just too big a risk for the small expense of buying 2 purpose made 10mm walled polypropylene water tanks, they are about $700 each. Once in they would have to be cut out, but at least I will have the piece of mind of knowing they are well made.

Plumbing and wiring is one of those jobs you think about for years. And you need to. You need to lay conduit through which it will pass months and months ahead of time. So when you finally get to the job its a bit of a milestone moment. And its such an easy job its over in a matter of hours. I chose the Whale quick connect system and as the name suggests, its quick. You simply cut a square end to the pipe with a special cutting tool, although I am sure any sharp cutting tool would work, and then just click the pipe into the appropriate fitting. In my case there are really only a few kinds of fittings, T sections for splitting subordinate pipes off the main line, 90 degree elbows for tight corners, the semi rigid pipe will make gentle curves on its own but night tight ones, and one way valves, taps and ends (for connection  to other fittings).

The port plumbing was finished in about 2 hours and it is by far the most complicated if you could call it that. With the click system the best method is to lay the mainline jn one long section from one end of its run to the other and then cut it wherever you want to run subsidiary lines and insert a T joiner which re-establishes the mainline and adds an offshoot. I will have 3 types of water travelling through the hull so I have color coded the pipes, grey for water from the tanks to around the boat, blue for fresh water from the water maker back to the tank from the laundry where it will be located, and red for hot water from the heater also in the laundry back around to the shower, bathroom and kitchen.

The first task was to run a length of pipe from the water tank bulkhead in the bedroom, through the various conduits in furniture and under the steps all the way to the last bulkhead inside the boat in the laundry. A run of about 8 meters. Its only about 6 meters in a straight line but once you go into furniture then up and down around obstacles it ends up adding a little to the pipe length. Then it was just a matter of cutting this mainline, inserting T joiners and adding the subordinate lines to the various service points. The first sub pipe branched off the main line from the tank on its way aft, underneath the electrics cabinet and up onto the bridgedeck under the fridge to the dishwasher housed under the settee seating adjacent to it, its a half size dishwasher, a fisher and paykel dish drawer. (There are 3 conduits under the fridge as the battery bank is on one side of it and the power switch panel on the other side so a lot of traffic. I already figured one conduit would deliver fresh water to the dishwasher and take waste water away, another would carry power cables from the starboard side to the switch panel and the other conduit would connect the switches and inverter/charger to the batteries).

The next offshoot from the pump is to the main toilet. I had previously installed an old 40mm rubber diesel line as a conduit under the bathroom sole from inside the furniture on each side. I simply taped an electric cable (toilet power) to the end of the sub pipe and pushed it through the conduit until it emerged on the toilet side, then cut the pipe off and pushed the end into the T joiner. Next sub pipe went up through the vanity unit through behind the shaving cabinet and up into the bottom of the kitchen cupboard to the kitchen sink and then another branched off the mainline to the vanity basin taps. Then the mainline carried on through behind the shower side wall to the laundry with another sub line to the shower mixer on its way through. Then ending in another to the washing machine and another to the laundry basin, then another to the instant gas hot water heater (and then the hot water will run back along the same path the mainline came down, sending hot water to the shower, kitchen and vanity basin) and finally via an inline tap to a through bulkhead to a hose attachment either inside the outboard well or above the steps that are its roof, and this double as a place to attach a freshwater deck shower (I will only have a cold water shower on deck) and for attachment to shore water. By having an in-line one way valve at the pump end and a close off tap when not in use at the rear bulkhead, I realised it was possible to reverse the water flow and attach to a shore water hose to save using the pumps for showers etc when in marinas. We will have shore power coming in so why not shore water?

So with the first mainline in and all the sub lines branching off, I set the red hot water line back the other way, through the same conduits that the grey main line came down, and branched off one for the shower mixer, one in the bathroom for the vanity basin mixer and one up to the galley for the kitchen mixer. And then the blue fresh desalinated water from where the watermaker will be mounted in the laundry all the way back to the tank wall in the bedroom.

Then it was the starboard hulls turn to get its plumbing. I will have a completely independent water system in this hull, again for redundancy. If the main system fails we can shower, and toilet in the starboard hull until we effect the repair. I may also incorporate a manifold system and the pumps so that pumps can cross over via a system of taps, the only thing I wont bother with is sending hot water from one side to the other. Each hulls hot water will operate completely independently of the other side. We will have a 10 litre 12v tank heater in the D section behind the vanity side wall. When I built the shaving cabinet into that wall I built it to be removable with that tank position in mind. Anything that can break down needs to be able to be accesses for repair or replacement.

So water starts at the tank on the bedroom side wall and under the bed slats to the D section and through a pre fitted through bulkhead hole. My through bulkhead method is to drill a hole the size of the conduit I need, decore it, then fill it with glue and insert etched conduit into the hole to set. Then grind down the conduit on each side of the bulkhead and sand the sharp edges for a neat through bulkhead hole. I used conduit large enough for 2 water pipes and 2 electric cables. Once water pipe is cold in to the water heater the other is for a hot water back out and along to another through bulkhead hole under the vanity top height for the vanity mixer. Both hot and cold go through to the vanity. Inside the D section the 2 mainlines branch off the hot into 2, one out again for the vanity the other behind the side wall into the toilet cavity to come out at the shower mixer that comes aft from the toilet bulkhead. Cold also goes to the shower mixer and also branches down to the toilet.. In the bedroom the cold branches off one more time, one down to the ensuite vanity, the other aft to the water fountain and sink in the aft bedroom. This bedroom only gets cold water. Its only there so the occupant can brush their teeth or get a drink of water in the middle of the night without having to leave their state room. The 2 electric cables into the D section cover the water heater and the other follows the cold water to the toilet.

Thats it. Thats the water system plumbed in. All that is left is to fit the water tanks and pumps and an accumulator in each mainline somewhere in the line before the loads, I have cabinets these will fit into and be hidden and to fit all of the mixer taps and toilets and run the system. Having so much fun doing this got me started on laying wiring for various house functions, starting with the important systems. So far I have the 2 toilets and the 2 sump pumps wired, that is the power cable is laid but not connected to anything at either end. Slowly I will wire every room, all of the wiring leading from that room back through the pre-laid conduits to the electrics cabinet in the understair cabinet on the port side.

Next I finished another part of that under-stair cabinet. The roll out rubbish bin. I bought a cheap plastic bin at Kmart that fitted the cavity I have. I had previously already cut the door in the stairwell wall. I covered the top of the bin with sticky tape under the rim to ensure glass did not stick to it) and glassed a ring of glass with timber stiffening (and depth to screw the pot drawer runners into) around it and let it set. I then made a plywood frame to hold the bin in and attached it to the bin top ring. The purpose of this is to create a rigid housing that can be attached to pot drawer rollers but allow the bin to be lifted out for cleaning any spills. Inside the bin will be a normal plastic bin liner.


Unfortunately I miss calculated and this bin frame ended up being 20mm too wide for the doorway, not too wide for the cavity but the door had a 15mm rim each side. So because this frame (and bin) would not fit the doorway I had 2 options get a smaller bin and make a smaller frame or widen the door 20mm. In the end I opted to widen the door. It meant cutting a new door as the previous door was the piece that was cut out. The problem of cutting a new door is that the existing door already had any twist that the bulkhead may have had built in. A new door will be flat. As it happened I was able to fit a new door and just one corner sits proud about half a millimetre. I can fix that with a little bog on the bulkhead wall just before I laminate that wall. I re-cut the door opening, re de-cored refilled the edges and sanded them square. I cut and did the same for the new door. I then hung the bin frame on the pot rollers. The inside bin walls are ply so I could just screw the runners into the walls. I needed to pad them out with a 5mm ply insert each side. (I originally left 15mm in order to do this but the bigger door cut this down to 5mm each side). It just meant slightly shorter screws. But still plenty long enough to hold a full bin up. The runners are rated to 20kg. If we ever have 10kg of rubbish I would be stunned.


I have not yet glassed the top of this cabinet on as I want to be able to dry fit the fridge first. Once I am comfortable that the fridge fits well (and can be removed and re-fitted) I will glass it down. But for now, it made hanging the bin front much easier. I was able to wedge it in place using icecream sticks to space it out on each side then attach the bin frame through the top from inside. The ensured it was centred on all of the planes after the bin frame was properly hung and slid well on its rollers.


With the bin finished, and a very satisfying project it was except for one frustration I had. After finishing the attaching of the front (glassed to the frame) I white coated it all. I first removed the runners so as not to get any epoxy on them. When I came to refit the runners and slid the bin frame in, it would not roll smoothly. It was too tight. The coat of epoxy on each side was enough to bind it up. I didnt twig to this at first thinking I had re-fitted the runners incorrectly No, it wasnt that. It took me a couple of hours of doing something else before I realised that the white epoxy coat would be enough to bind it up. A quick grind away of the coat and re-fit and it slid nice and smooth again. But I didnt want to leave it uncoated. So I ground the ply down a little further, applied a coat of white epoxy and refitted it all and it still ran smooth. Job well done! Just a pull latch to stop it rolling open in a rough sea and its all finished.

I moved into the forward sections of each hull, the wardrobe in port and ensuite in starboard and prepared to glass in the side walls that close off the D sections. I have long been wondering how I will best utilise the free space in this area in the Port hull, I considered drawers (on pot drawer rollers) either from the wardrobe or through the bulkhead into the bedroom but in the end settled for a simple hatch through the side wall. I simply took the hatch and traced its cut out onto the panel, cut it out and de-cored the edge and back filled it with uni rope to retain the panel strength. In truth the hatch itself would probably be plenty strong enough in its structures, but the edge needed de-coring and back filling anyway so this method is only just a little more work.


Once the hatch was fitted to the panel, I prepped (feathered the tapes edges out) the D section and white coated it before glassing the panel in. I could access the inside of the panel to tape it in through the hatch opening.

Shameless plug time. The hatch I fitted is part of the range of hatches I import. I am in the process of winding up that business and have some stock to clear. That particular size hatch (in the pics above) are one size I still have good numbers of. They are 330mm x 610mm overall and come with or without key locks. So if you like the look of them and are interested in buying some or some of the other sizes I have stock of, shoot me an email. They are going cheap.

The other wall in the port hull wardrobe, the one forward through the bulkhead also has a hatch opening. On this one I have cut a quite large hole in order to climb through to the section in front and glass the foredeck down inside that section. There is a ply false bottom about half way up so under that is clear space void. This section is added storage. Most likely we will store sails in this locker. The door for this area is the piece that was cut out. Each edge (doorway and door) de-cored and back filled, the doorway with uni rope the door just with filler. A ply ring pad slightly smaller than the opening was glued to the inside of the bulkhead leaving a rim around the inside of the doorway to act as a door stop. It is epoxy coated to seal it. I will add a rubber seal to it so that the door is air tight.


With port done, it was over to the ensuite in the starboard hull to glass the same panel in. This panel already has an opening with edge filled with uni. This panel has a shaving cabinet fitted into it. The shaving cabinet removable to service the heater that will be fit into the space behind it, and not much more, we dont need any storage in there. So white coating signified I was ready to close it up. Which I then did.

Then to finish the ensuite construction I finally glassed the vanity top in place. Again not a big job just one that has been sitting waiting for me to get around to it. First I white coated the inside of the cabinet. Much easier to do with the top off. And then once the top was on and the D section cover, I made a shelf that I had been planning for some time. For a while that shelf was going to be glass (or clear perspex) but in the end it was easier and cheaper to glass solid duflex in (from offcuts). The shelf could have been run out to its natural tapered end but I had to shorten it and give it a cut away with and end cap. The reason for this is that I will fit a hatch into the wall for added ventilation.


Finally for the month I glassed the shower wall into place. I firstly gave it a rough fairing on a flat table. Much easier to sand horizontally than vertically. Hopefully the panel keeps its shape once glassed in. To ensure it is rigid I have glassed upright beams to the black water tank so that such a big panel cant flex. I dry fitted the panel and secured it with screws through the bulkheads and then made the uprights to a tight fit between the back of the shower wall and the tank. I then removed the wall, glassed the uprights to the tank the refitted the wall with glue on the uprights and around the edges of the panel. Then coved and glassed it in place. There is a pipe end with a screw on cap through the shower wall. This is in order to access the black tank inlet pipe bend in case it ever gets blocked.


A big months work in which I got a lot done. I am getting very close to being finished the construction of interior furniture. There is still just a few small jobs to do, most of them revolve around fitting the 2 toilets and finishing the cabinets or areas around them. I also have to glass the bedroom ceilings (the dashboard) into the boat, but cant do that until I purchase the water tanks) and then I just have to have the mast posts before I can progress inside the boat.

So next month I will move back outside the boat. I have to finish the roof and cockpit, and fit the outboards (I still dont have them yet, but am hoping I might be able to get one in January) and the bouyancy tanks that go around the legs but more on that as I do them. And I have to get on to the rudders, build the kick up boxes and hang them before glassing the rear steps into the boat.

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