Design Changes & More Research
About a year and a half ago, I completed a multi-month research phase to try to nail down all my final design decisions and allow full focus on construction. In March, 2012, I was about to take action on final interior construction, however before I did so, I began to review all my notes a full overview. The overview was a way to insure that my feelings about my decisions still made sense. During the review, I began to play with the idea of removing the heater and engine to create a more livable interior. As I pondered, entirely new avenues of cabin design and general simplification of many systems in opened in front of me. If there was any time to make changes, now was that time.
So, since March I’ve embarked on another research phase to finalize how the interior, and boat itself will come together. Here are some key changes:
- No icebox
- No sink
- No engine
- No heater
- No tanks, use jerry cans instead
- V-berth entry improved
- Head moves into v-berth
These changes will require demolishing some already completed work, and though this pains me, I believe the design improvements and reduced costs are worth the trade off in lost time and money. I will be posting a very large update to the site with all my new research, questions and so on. This update will cover, in depth, all the changes that were made and why. For now, while I complete this new research phase, here’s an incomplete list of pro, con and mixed reactions to this new design:
- Simplifies the entire boat, including the engine, heater, tankage and more.
- Makes the boat less expensive to build, meaning less need for full-time work, and more time to focus on the boat project.
- Makes the boat as cheap as possible to operate in the long run. For example, by using jerry cans, there are no more tanks to replace. By doing away with the engine, there are many less parts to replace and no diesel fuel to buy. No heater means no long term costs of new fuel pumps, burners, or other parts and less fuel usage with only kerosene lamps for heat. Or, if I used an electric engine, a new battery bank would have been around $4,000.
- Reduced concern of losing the boat; an expensive boat can be more easily replaced.
- Access the v-berth and forepeak is easier without a heater and related components clogging up this entryway.
- Boat would be lighter if engine system, steel tanks, heater and other components are removed.
- No need to ever buy diesel fuel.
- Ability to add lot’s of flotation foam, because less systems running through lockers and more stowage space opened up where there used to be systems.
- Can close off whole aft-end of cockpit, because there is no need for engine access, exhaust or bilge hose, meaning the whole aft end is water-tight.
- No more waterlift exhaust
- Mast-step bulkhead will be strengthened, because of new hanging locker construction methods.
- No heater flue through the entrance to the v-berth and one less through-deck hole, thereby reducing a water ingress point. This also removes deck clutter and change of line snags.
- No need to run power to heater vent, meaning no power draw from the 12v heater pump
- No kerosene lines running to the heater
- Safer, due to ridding the source of the inherent dangers of using a kerosene heater. Also, no engine inside the cabin and related systems which can pose a health hazard.
- Length of the cabin sole is increased to over 6′ when the heater is removed, allowing a better area for sleeping in very rough seas.
- No need to install a drip pan or worry about oil spills in the bilge.
- Makes the head much more comfortable to sit at.
- No more starter battery
- Head is moved from main living area (it would have been at head level while seated, not so nice!). This will increase privacy for the seated head user.
- No tank vents.
- No tank deck fills.
- No tank hose routing below deck.
- No tank volume monitoring.
- No sink removes a seacock
- No engine removes a seacock, transom fitting and associated exhaust hose
- No more vented loop needed for engine exhaust, which would take up locker space, potentially flood with water (if not properly installed) and could squirt a skippers legs when sitting in the cockpit.
- No need for a wind generator which reduces weight and cleans up the lines of the boat.
- Reduced weight. By removing the kerosene and diesel tanks, engine, sound insulation and related spare parts reduced overall weight in the boat by close to 900 lbs.
- No need to wire and place engine control panel
- Don’t need shaft seal and constant drips that this would present.
- And more…
- High cost in work and hours to tear down, then rebuild again. Items to be removed include head compartment, heater compartment, engine mounts, icebox, v-berth splitter and lazarette locker. Essentially lose six months of work or more.
- Project will take longer to complete, because I need to run through all my questions again and insure each has been addressed under the new design considerations. Demolition and rebuilding will also take more time.
- No more ability to dry clothes with no heater.
- Requires selling current heater and engine, which may be difficult and will likely take a loss.
- Make the boat less expensive initially because I don’t have to buy a lot of expensive systems. That said, there is some dollar loss, due to having to remove completed work.
- Using jerry cans is more simple, allows for shifting around of weight (for kedging off, or performance, etc.) and many other advantages already described. Built in tanks can rot out, and are expensive to make. A downside is that the jerry cans will need to be replaced every so often, but the benefit is a great simplification of the entire water supply system.
- No more heater, meaning sometimes I might be cold. That said, my calculations show that a kerosene lamps and the stove will provide adequate heating.
- Simpler instruments are less power hungry, but need two through-hulls for the same data that can be given by a smart transducer-display setup.
- Reduces seacocks to zero, though there are two through-hulls for the ST40 transducers.
- No more heater melting the ice in the icebox, though the icebox will be removed so this isn’t much of an advantage.
- Definitely some concern about a steep learning curve without an engine and a change in lifestyle, but this entire project is a learning process. The learning curve will be especially apparent when the boat is first launched, because I will launch into the Columbia River, which has a current. With no engine and lack of sailing knowledge, I will rely heavily on my Dad to assist with sailing. My plan for this initial cruise is to sail up the Columbia for as long as possible for the shakedown cruise. Progress will be slow due to no engine, it will be a test, but a worthwhile one. Once we hit a certain point, we will sail back down. I will stay on to play in the current working down to Astoria until comfortable to cross the bar and tally on.
- No more alternator to top-off batteries with an alternator. This does mean no need to buy the expensive parts nor diesel to provide this power, however it would be very nice to have a way to top off batteries.