Dashboard height raised

Posted by Paul

Today I cut the offcuts needed to make the parts that will raise the height of the saloon back bulkhead and so raise the height of the dashboard by 120mm and in turn the headroom in the berths by the same 120mm. The outside of the boat is not affected by this change as this is all internal. But headroom is not the main motivation for doing so. There is one disadvantage and a number of advantages. The disadvantage is that the wrap around window is reduced by the 120mm so visibility and light is reduced by that amount but the reduction is at the bottom of the window so overall distance visibility will not be much affected as the vision at the bottom would be of the deck rather than into the distance.

The advantages are that the missing 120mm of window in the saloon will now wrap around the berths so each of the forward bunks will have much more light in them. Between the bunks there is a back wall for an athwartships berth (in one of the bunks this wall will be a side wall as the berth will be fore and aft) and at the front of this wall it slopes down from the ceiling (which is the dashboard underside) and along this angle is the underside of the deck. This angled section is only about 300mm with the dash at its normal height but by raising the dash by only 120mm because of the way angles work, it is now 700mm. At 300mm the space was barely big enough for a vent hatch, but at 700mm there is room for a full size hatch that I can climb in and out of the bunk from, so that if there is something that happens at night, for example I hear a noise or I am concerned about a wind change, and I want to quickly investigate I can stand up in bed, through the hatch and if it is a false alarm I can just get back to sleep without having had to get out of bed. The final 2 benefits are the extra headroom in the bunks, which whilst it doesn’t seem like much, it all helps to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia and the reduction of the depth of the dashboard in the saloon, it is wasted space as you cant put anything on it as it blocks visibility and is very deep normally so that you cannot reach all the way back to keep it clean etc and this reduces the depth by about 350mm so that you can reach all the way to where it meets the window.

I cut 2 pieces of 16mm duflex to the length I needed and to shape with the angle needed for the walls, and I cut a number of offcuts of 25mm duflex pieces to make up the bulkhead parts I needed as I did not have a very long length of 25mm left to span the boat, about 5 meters long. It wont matter as it will be glassed both sides but is a little more work cutting a bunch of smaller pieces instead of one long one. Then once they were all the correct height (a fence on a circular saw ensures all the parts are the same height), I cut them to length and cut the angles in to suit the existing bulkhead. I then glued them in place using 2 pieces of pine with tape on to stop it sticking to clamp the join flat and square. On the side wall only a couple of clips were needed to keep the part in place while it sets ready for glassing tomorrow.

All of this took me all day to cut and glue in place, it is amazing where the hours go.

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