Davits, Outboard wells, Rear Steps

Side Steppin

Posted by Paul

Easter weekend and it has finally cooled. It has rained all weekend which would probably suck if the boat was finished but is great boat building weather. There is nothing else to distract you to do other things that nice weather creates and my shed is dry. Dusty, but dry. In a shed there is no breeze to carry the dust away but when it rains everything stays dry.

So work progressed over the weekend. I have been fixing some of the unfinished bits on the rear steps like closing up the gaps left when fitting the steps, making the step side panels, making the bath lid and lpg tanks well lids to name a few.

The first task was to settle on a rear step side profile. Some may recall that I have modified the original Schionning look by raising the last bulkhead (bulkhead 7) by 200mm to give me more height to raise and lower larger outboard motors. (Until the money ran out I had been working on Etec 25’s or Suzuki 25hp and may still get some one day). Although I have extended the bottom step by about 500mm, I still have a more steep set of steps than other Schionnings because of the extra step created by the additional 200mm bulkhead height and that extra step had to be squeezed into the same area.

Although I did not change the height at bulkhead 6 (the main doorway bulkhead) the raising at 7 means that although the deck still slopes down between 6 and 7, it does so by 200mm less than it otherwise would have so the effect is a more flat deck to the last bulkhead then a steep drop down to the bottom step as opposed to a long gradual slope from bh6 on through bh7 then down to the bottom step.

Check out the following pics, with the fill in panels removed for cutting, it shows the old hull side profile, very graceful lines but not as functional (for me) as I have now. Besides the extra outboard height I have much better usable space in the aft cabins each side. So the job now is to make the profile I now have look as nice as I can. You can see with the side panel removed how my steps profile is too high for the old hull side profile and looks really bad with the steps protruding up higher then the hull side, so I had to add height to the hull side to properly finish the steps.

port step side panel removed starboard step side panel removed

And now the new side profile with the panel trimmed to the shape I want. To get the shape I just ran a batten from on the deck, just forward of the edge of the steps down to the flat section on the bottom 2 steps. I have retained that flat section because I will be fitting a hand rail to assist with getting into the boat from the swim steps or from a dingy so it works for me and I do want to try and retain the intended Schionning look wherever I can. The final pic shows I have glued it in but not yet glassed it.

starboard steps outside side panel cut starboard steps outside side panel cut 2 starboard step outside side panel cut

port step outside side panel cut 2 port step outside side panel cut 1 port step outside side panel cut

With the side panels cut to shape I could then make a template in order to make the inside step side panels. Cutting cardboard templates, no matter how big, is always easier than cutting timber or duflex and gives you the chance to get it close enough and then mark in adjustments before actually cutting for real. Sometimes my template is miles off but I can make the necessary changes when cutting the material. I have made the side panels from joining pieces so that I could get them from a half sheet rather than a full sheet, much cheaper. It wont make any difference once its all glassed and bogged there wont be any evidence of the join and it certainly is no different structurally.

steps inside side panel template port step inside side panel cut starboard step inside side panel cut

When I fitted the steps I ended up with a gap on the corner of the middle step, so I closed them up. It shows how easy duflex is to work with, the repairs took about an hour to fix.

port step hole fixed port step hole fixed 1

starboard step hole fixed starboard step hole fixed 1

I havent glassed the side panels in, there is still some work to do planning that out properly first, but I should get that done in the next week or so. One of the tasks is to fit and run wiring for step lights. I abandoned the idea of led rope in the front of each step so now will fit one above each step in the side panel, I have marked the position of one in the port side pic above. I also have to devise and install mounting methods for the hand rail (which I am yet to buy), a pad eye for the life lines to terminate at, the aft cleat mounts and a fishing rod holder.

I have also started on the half step over the davit. The rise from the duckboard level step up to seat top height is 450mm, too much in a single step, so a step will be added at half way. The profile of this step will match the curved main steps and as usual I started by experimenting with  cardboard template shapes. Sometimes symmetry is not pleasing to the eye. When I created a curve that exactly matched it looked out so I adjusted the curve until it looked right. Now the curves get further apart, the foot space below the half step is larger so it not only looks better (to me anyway) it works better. With the shape decided on, transfer to ply and cut. Same shape each side just mirrored (turn template over!).

port half step template port half step template 2 port half step template 1

port half step ply starboard half step ply

Over the next week I hope to have the davit steps installed including a strong point under each to mount rear anchoring points (big U bolts to attach anchor bridles or towing ropes) and maybe even get the rear step side panels in. Once these and the small gap under the duckboard step connecting it to the bridgedeck is complete the entire boat is closed up. What that means is that there will no longer be anywhere on the boat that has exposed core. And the only construction left will be the helm dashboard and the final deck pads for winches and blocks. After that its fairing, fairing, fairing.

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