Thursday, August 24, 2006

Refit: August update

Arabella's refit is going well - the yard is quieter now that most people's boats are in the water and being used, so it's full steam ahead.

Another two months have passed by and there have been a lot of changes since my last entry. So your intrepid blogger braved the rain in Southampton today and came back armed with plenty of photographs for the record.

The chippie had managed to get the new, full bulkheads installed - by cutting them in half and reassembling them in situ, amidst much cussing and increasing of his invoice. Still there they were, and they certainly weren't going anywhere. In fact they were by far the most solid part of the boat now. Little short of a nuclear blast would dislodge them. The first attempt at the instrument panel had all the hallmarks of experimentation for which the British marine industry was famous - in other words, it was wrong - but nevertheless it was possible to see that it would work, once those pesky measurement thingies sorted themselves out. The water tank worked first time - it was 10 litres bigger than specified, and I had visions of the boat submarining into the Solent chop if I ever filled the tank right up, but still there it was, functional, neat and big enough to supply water for, ooh, a transatlantic crossing at least. More information alongside the pictures below.

The Southampton Boat Show is coming up, which will hopefully be more user-friendly than the absolutely dire London Boat last January - I'm looking to pick up some bits for the refit, so let's hope there are bargains to be found!

Above: The new, full bulkhead has now been installed. My fear that it would feel claustrophobic after having experienced the cabin without any bulkhead at all turned out to be unfounded. The carpenter has managed to keep the proportions just right and access to the forecabin remains as easy as it ever was before (i.e not very, but tolerable).

The port side bulkhead, reverse side, viewed from the forecabin. The yard has left an access hatch to the seacock under the galley sink. This will have a matching panel, held in place by latches, as a quick-removal cover.

Above: The boxed-in tidy to the port side, aft of the stove. The 240V and 12V distribution panels are now in situ, as are the 240V socket and the Silva VHF DSC (which came with the boat when I bought her, but which had never been connected up or used). The blank space between the radio and the socket is unfortunately too small to hold the instruments that I agreed on with the yard, so they are going to have to re-cut the panel and shift the distribution panels and the radio aft by a few centimetres, in order to gain the necessary space. An ST60 Graphics Repeater and a Nasa Clipper Navtex need to squeeze in here. Forward of the socket, to the right of the picture, is the new tidy which runs forward to the bulkhead. The whole length has been installed in such a way that the (original) stove cover will still slide freely aft to act as a chart table/work top if required, and to allow access to the stove. Most of the new joinery has either not yet been varnished or has only received one coat, so it will look a lot nicer when that has been done.

Left: This is the new, custom made Tek-Tanks fresh water tank, sited in same position as the original (in fact, strictly it has been installed inside the original tank). It holds 46 litres, but the idea of sticking 46Kg up in the bow like that doesn't strike me as too intelligent, so I doubt it will ever be filled right up. In the background, the filler and breather pipes which lead up to the new deck fitting. This was never installed on the 'deluxe' boats by the manufacturers, leaving the proud new owners to fill up with a hose-pipe through the forehatch. We had a debate about whether to box the pipes in for cosmetic purposes, but to be honest the yard has done such a nice job on them, and I like things that look functional and well-made, that I think I'd as well leave them as they are. Note the badly cracked foreheatch, which is leaking - another item for the list...

Above: The new filler fitting to the foredeck.