Launched as a bare hull in 2017, with just sole boards and bulkheads, after fixing up somewhere to sleep we move on to the galley and chart table.
In May, 2018 with sleeping accommodation sorted it was time to make decisions about the galley, chart table and final positions for batteries, Taylors stove, pump, switch panel, VHF radio and storage options. We spent quite a bit of time thinking through various ideas, and trying the stove in different positions. Once the stove’s in place, it’s great to cook with everything we need on board, rather than rustle up a meal in the van that can then be transported down to the boat at any time of the tide! Our first guest to eat aboard is Claudia, but there’s still plenty more to do on the ‘fitting out’ front and we sometimes joke about Rik’s wry comment when he came aboard before the launch, “Now we will find whether Steve is a boatbuilder, or a sailor!” An expensive visit to the chandlery, funded in part by Bev’s first State Pension payment, resulted in a special purchase of a fine new clock with matching barometer, along with essentials like the radio and water pump. Steve had reserved a lovely piece of teak (salvaged from an old wardrobe a couple of years ago) for the chart table and was ready to get to work on designing and building the galley, chart table, electric panel and storage.
Chilly winds and rain often drove us back to Derbyshire in the past, but don’t stop work on the boat since our purchase of an ‘upgraded’ Adria campervan in 2019. The winter cover provides excellent protection for Steve to work on board. Bev finds plenty to do in the spacious (and warm) new van and we retire for a warm and cosy evening with the heating turned on, leaving the boat as a workshop! After several re-thinks, re-wirings and re-designs, Steve’s ready to finalise everything, complete the wiring, fix the back boxes and front panel in position ready for final testing. The chart table will have a set of cupboards and drawers behind it. Meticulously constructed in the shed at home, from carefully drawn plans, the door fronts were varnished on the kitchen table as the weather got colder and set into the frame. The set of four drawers were also made from the reclaimed teak using drawer backs salvaged from our old kitchen units at home. We now have storage space for all the pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and everyday ‘culinaries’! At least three less bags to trip over in the cabin.
We decided a long time ago to have a water tank, rather than water carriers. Installing the foot pump and faucet came to the top of the ‘to do’ list after several discussions and trial runs about where to site them. After connecting the foot pump and experimenting with the faucet, Steve came up with the ingenious idea to secure it to the bulkhead where it’s at the right height and can be twisted out of the way when not needed. After a bit of testing for water levels, the pump works perfectly to fill the kettle and washing up bowls. We’re not having a sink with plug hole. We’re not re-installing the heads either, to keep the number of ‘through the hull’ holes to a minimum.
Strong winds hamper some planned work as we venture back to Woodbridge during a respite from ‘lockdown’ 2020! It’s warm and sunny though and the new camper an is a ‘safe haven’ from the winds, rocking us to sleep at night. While the wind whistles round the masts and rigging, Steve finds plenty to do to improve the galley and there’s the newly renovated fridge to install. It’s over 15 years old, rescued in a sorry state from the sinking in 2007 and sitting at home ever since as a ‘non urgent’ project. With a few parts secured on eBay and some fiddly electronics, it seems to work OK using the solar panel for power. However, after a few trial runs it’s likely to drain the battery so we decide against having it and take it out again.
Steve’s been thinking about storage options behind the stove for a couple of years and there’s been various temporary arrangements. With sailing thwarted by bad weather in August 2021, the wood is purchased, templates made and it’s all done by the end of the summer! The design includes an ingenious removable box behind the Taylors stove and eventually there will be a device to stop anything slipping down into the bilge! The chart plotter is also installed and has an ingenious swinging bracket allowing it to be used inside and out.