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15 November 2014

Interior Ready for Paint

Overview from forward

Interior Ready for Paint

Our latest strategy was to finish up the interior and get some paint on to hold our gains against encroaching winter. Well... the interior's complete - barring a few deets that can wait for spring - but its sub-freezing and frosting inside the shed! Paint will have to wait for the next thaw or an operational stove, whichever comes first.

So next come the decks. We hope.

In lieu of paint, we've tarped the hull over to keep the ply as dry as possible. But before we did, we took advantage of the rare sun for a few pics...

Kitty-corner Over-views

We're generally using the same layout as LUNA, which worked very well for us.

The entire living spaces are open to one another, as much as possible, to allow a roomy feel, long views with big angles out the windows, and a more or less contiguous social space.

The cook is 'part of the party', and there's plenty of room for a sous-chef. One to a few can lounge in the bunk (Anke likes the little bit of social remove, there)... participating while not being in the thick of it. If someone has had enough and wants to turn in, a curtain can screen it off.

The large side windows (much smaller one LUNA) keep the walls from closing in, opening the interior onto the world at large.

From forward, the main cabin divisions are the bunk, salon and galley (under the raised pilot house).

Looking aft and port
Salon dinette, and galley counter and wetlocker/head on the right

Looking aft and starboard
Salon settee, and galley stove and workbench on the left
Looking forward and starboard
Galley stove, salon leanbank and s'brd bunk leanbank on the right

Looking forward and port
Galley counter, salon dinette, bunk platform and port leanbank on the left

The Bunk

The bunk itself is 6ft6in long by 6ft wide, with wall to wall storage, under, accessed by large platform/hatches. Port and starboard are two full length leanbank/lockers, and an approximately 2ft square window. The 'blank space' over the leanbanks and ahead of the windows will eventually become bookshelves.

Let the Wild Rumpus begin!


This word embarrasses me, actually... sounds so yottie! I'd call it a 'living room', but it seems no more so than the others. Now that Anke has (5ft8in) standing headroom, it's not even a 'sitting room'. So, in the interests of tradition and clear communication, 'salon' it shall be.

To port is a near 3ft wide dinette ('table') and seat/lockers which makes down into a generous bunk for one or a snug fit for two.

Windows above, the entire length
Note the cleats running around the gangway for platform

Opposite is a 6ft6in settee (see 'salon'... it's really a 'sofa' or 'couch') /locker, with a leanbank as per the bunk. The settee locker lid is hinged to a narrow flap... the lid can be slid inboard with the flap laid flat for a full, 2ft single bunk.

Settee... note hinged flap outboard of the seat
Lid slid inboard with flap down to make bunk

Not shown is a removable sole... normally this lies flat against the inside face of the hull. It can be raised to the cleats lining the gangway, and, with the dinette made down, the entire area becomes a single platform, contiguous with the bunk platform. Great for slumber parties or spread-out projects!


 The galley is the most complex space, and remains that with unfinished business.

To starboard and forward is a woodstove mounted in an alcove formed by an L-shaped woodbox. Wood can be added at the top and removed from the bottom. In winter, it holds about a week's worth of wood (at least for previous stoves with smaller fireboxes).

Starboard and aft is a 4ft x near 3ft workbench, with storage under (yet to be arranged). Anke's herb garden (she's got the green thumbs) will live on the workbench top, but can be moved for sun or convenience.

Stove to left with L-woodbox behind and under
Workbench to the right, with storage under

To port and forward is the dedicated galley area, with a 4ft x near 3ft counter, extended by a near 3ft x 2ft flip up counter (see below). Forward will be a double sink, with one basin inboard and the other outboard (these will be built from ply... the designer order a stainless sink too big to fit!). Under will be miscellaneous stowage for big, liquidy stuff (water, fermenting wine, gallons of vinegar and soap, etc.) with cunning storage as needed (the hinged flap is for skinny storage inboard of the sink... toothbrushes?).

Port and mid-galley is under-counter storage with a door closure. The door will have a rack of a dozen quart jars with various dry-goods. Low down is an open bin for large, seldom accessed pots and the like (canning pressure cooker and supplies, hand mill spares, ???... maybe some spuds, too). Over this will be a set of four drawers - two shallow, two deep, and 18in wide x 2ft6in long - to be divvied as seems fit.

Port and aft is the wet locker/head topped by a flip up counter. When horizontal, this extends the galley counter, when flipped vertical, it makes a wall for the 'head' (see Getting aHead for a full description).

Galley port side and gangway seen from forward

The gangway has an 8in raised sole, with room for quart jars under. Aft is the battery box, which also forms the first of three steps (incomplete). It extends from the inboard face of the hull 18in upwards (10in rise over the sole) x 2ft7in wide x 18in long. Should have plenty of room for the battery and electrical panels with room to spare for tools.


So there you have it... our humble home to be.

11 November 2014

Getting aHead

By Jo Hudson
from the SEARUNNER Construction Manual by Jim Brown

Viewed objectively there is nothing more absurd than the usual sea-going toilet of the modern production yacht. What expense and engineering, what a profligate use of space and materials, what a baroque concoction of pipes and valves and pumps and skin fittings, what a sop to over-developed human sensitivities, all for the purpose of transferring a small amount of matter a distance of about twelve inches, from here on the inside of the hull, to there on the outside of the hull.

-- From Mingming and the Art of Minimal Ocean Sailing by Roger D. Taylor

Getting aHead

To date, Anke and I have never built an enclosed Head into one of our boats.

Our boats are small to begin with. Partitioning a chunk off for a room that's in use for a few scant albeit imperative minutes a day seems to needlessly cramp our style. The walls block the view (high crime, in our book) and crowd the remaining space.

Anke and I are mostly alone together, and quite comfortable with our nitty gritty. When friends come along... let's just say things are 'up close and personal'.

So a little more privacy would accommodate the sensitivities of our guests, not all of whom are as... um... earthy as others.

On the other hand, the one thing we've always longed for but never had was a Wet Locker; a place to let our raingear drip dry. Heads are traditionally not too bad for that purpose, though their ventilation is often wanting.

To that end we came up with the following:

Note the Head/Wet Locker at the lower, right (port, aft),
outboard of Companionway steps.

What we're looking at is a row of coat hooks along the wall, outboard of a section of flip up counter. This allows space for hanging outdoor gear, especially raingear, where it can drip harmlessly to a well-sealed floor.

The counter, when horizontal, extends the galley counter by (about) 3ft. It also doubles as the port, pilothouse seat, from which we can steer the boat under cover (workbench shares the same role, opposite).

When flipped vertical - hinged along its forward edge, it locks into position to form a partial wall. A curtain may be drawn across the inboard face, and voila! A semi-enclosed head!

It's not as isolated as the typical Head, but visual privacy is ensured. It's positioned under a pilothouse window, so ventilation is better than most. It's still a bucket affair, but a two bucket compost system isn't out-of-the-question. (Here's a great resource on DIY composting toilets from one of our readers).

Set-up and -down take but a matter of seconds, for those in haste.

So this has been a paper possibility for a couple of years, now, and I've been drawing them into Triloboat StudyPLANS. But if anyone's built one, I haven't heard... until now.

So here's a sneak preview of the as yet untried system, at the roughed-in stage. Stay tuned for trial and error to come!

Looking aft into to the portside Galley.
Head/Wet Locker aft.

Looking kitty-corner at Head/Wet Locker

Anke holding counter vertical...
will eventually have a barrel bolt into a small, partial wall outboard
(Mirror on the underside?)

Oh God!

Scrounged hinges...
installed 'upside down' to reduce gluteal hang-up
(the pronounced hinge curl could otherwise bite us in the A**
while sitting on counter)

Sitting Pretty
(and able to look out,, 360deg)

Search Keywords: head marine head nautical head head alcove tiny house bathroom compact bathroom

06 November 2014

Insulating the Hull: Retro-fit SIP

Adding inboard layer of 1/4in ply
Next space to my right has fitted foam ready and waiting
Two areas to my right, the inboard face of the hull is exposed

This guy oughtta be wearing his ear protectors!

Insulating the Hull: Retro-fit SIP

Anke and I recently finished insulating the hull cabin spaces, using ply-foam-ply aka SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) construction.

I can think of five, basic options for SIPping hull sides:
  1. Join pre-fabbed SIP panels to make sides
  2. Build one skin, with framing, then add the second skin in one go
  3. Build one skin, with framing, then add second skin in select areas

    ...Join finished sides to bottom and bulkheads.

  4.  Build inboard skin, framed and joined to bottoms and bulkheads, then add foam and outboard skin in one go
  5. Build outboard skin, framed and joined to bottom and bulkheads, then add foam and inboard skin in select areas
We decided the first three had some problems for us.

Building remote, we didn't expect to have the muscle to raise heavy-ish, completed sides into place. Short-handed lifting with mechanical assist takes time and ingenuity.

The first presents framing challenges, since many framing pieces internal to the SIP extend beyond a single panel. No go.

Two is better, and straightforward. But all transverse bulkheads and dividers meet the inner skin...

To join sides to bulkheads, in this approach, fasteners must be on the long side (to reach through the SIP with enough left for 'bury') - expensive. Alternatively, shorter fasteners may be inset and plugged - time consuming. Tape n' glue with judicious use of resin welding (tape n' glue minus the tape) is an elegant solution, but messy, toxic and generates lots of heinous garbage.

Method three addresses these problems, but there's a quandry. Transverse dividers must either:
  • Contact the outer layer (complicated) - SLACKTIDE, with her minimal furnishings, was manageable, but with the many sub-girder furnishings this round, this approach gets out of hand.
  • Attach inboard of the SIP - If using a cleat, then that needs something in the SIP to fasten into (double framing). Resin welding looks preferable, in this latter case, but with resin's downsides.

Method four is intriguing, but we were ultimately uncomfortable with many of its questions and consequences.

For example, which to put outboard; the thicker layer or thin (1/2in vs 1/4in ply)? Thicker outboard makes for better protection against the cruel world. But inboard, it affords more structural integrity and a strong backup to outer skin failure.

Our window framing (2x stock) doubles as structural reinforcement AND we want to see its clear, red cedar in the interior. This implies we want it on the inboard side of the thicker layer.

So number five it is - Retro-fitting foam and ply on the inboard face of a fully functional hull. QED. All framing (2x2 or 2x4) doubles as spacers for 1 1/2in foam (blue-board). Light 'firring' (non-structural spacers) from 1x2 fills in where there's no framing.

A big advantage of this approach is that all transverse panels (bulkheads, partial bulkheads and furniture faces) meet the structural skin of the hull. Not only is this strong, but short (generally 1in fasteners) suffice for the 1/2in ply skin.

Another is that most, if not all inboard panels are relatively small, bite-sized glue jobs. Divide and conquer, with every juncture fully visible until completed (i.e., don't have to try to remember where we put that framing inside the SIP!

So how did it go? Pretty durn well!

In our salon and bunk areas, the surface of seats and the bunks are all the same height. In the galley, all the counter levels are the same height. In a box barge, this implies parallel spaces between framing. Foam and the inner layer of ply can be cut into strips, then lopped off for the necessary length... efficient in both time and materials! Even over the end-curves, we start with the same strip for a given space, and cut it down further to match the odd shape.

We used TiteBond III through the summer months, switching to Gorilla Glue as the days grew cold and damp. This is supplemented by DAP Alex Plus ('siliconized acrylic'... basically a latex window caulk) to fill any larger voids. For whoppers, consider wood or foam shims, and for small ones, consider a bead of (expansive) Gorilla Glue.

TIP: For nice, tight FOAM fits, consider using a tick stick (a stick which is held in place and lengths 'ticked' directly from the structure, then transferred to the material). This is much more reliable than measuring. The tighter the better to exclude air.
 TIP: PLY is easier to fit (and caulk) if it's loose around the edges. Too much accuracy, and you risk wasting time needlessly fighting the material into place. Consider erring on the side of looser.

Standard Operating Procedure is to dry-run and prepare. Take a deep breath. Then...

Slather glue on the inboard face of the hull and framing / firring faces (those abutting the foam). Insert foam working toward one corner to release air (may have to relieve air pressure with a knife, inserted through the foam and given a slight twist). Slather glue on the outboard face (foam side) of the inner ply cover. Nail into framing / firring.

TIP: Consider penciling guides to framing on the inboard face of the inboard layer - 1x along this edge, 2x along that one, nailer line across here, butt-strap along there, etc.. Once you've covered it over and started nailing, it'll be these or your memory to guide you.

We use this order to ensure that plywood faces interior to the SIP are encapsulated by glue, in case of voids. Moving quickly (especially in the case of Gorilla Glue) allows both layers to be completed in one go, avoiding clean-up between layers.

At this point, press outboard near the mid-point of foam areas. If you hear sucky noises as you press and release, you've got a void. Use one or more struts / blocks / wedges (creatively) to provide and hold pressure. Consider that some glues are setting up, and this step must be completed with dispatch.
TIP: Before starting the glue job, consider pre-arranging strut materials to fit the situation. You may not have time to improvise once glue is setting up!
Once the glue is set up, remove struts and caulk edges around the ply with DAP or your favorite trim-in-a-tube.

TIP: It's messy, but we like to fillet the caulk with a blunt (gloved) finger. This forces caulk deep into any gaps, and feathers the edges along the (now concave) 'bead', making for easy cleaning down the road.

E basta!

In theory, the result is a very rigid, insulating wall with no internal voids to collect moisture or dry-rot.

2x2 Framing along top and right edges, 1x2 'Firring' along left and bottom edges
Struts with protective pad and wedge...
Blocking at other end (not seen) adjusts length against opposite wall or furnishing


In these sad and diminished times, little is as it seems. Consider checking your dimensional lumber for accurate sizing (same thickness as your foam). Too thick and you get voids over the foam (plane or saw your stock to size). Too thin and you get voids over the framing (shim or caulk over framing). Either are a major pain where you sit!

Red cedar seems to be an great choice for framing. It's strong, light, glues well and is naturally rot resistant. Works easily and smells good. Be careful of breathing the dust, though... it will sensitize you faster than most (the allergic kind, not the SNAG kind).

Consider laying out your panels on paper, figuring the most efficient way to to get what you need from what you have on hand. It's time consuming, but conserves material and/or $$. Can be done at home of an evening.

Gorrilla glue seems to spread adequately at a rate of about 18oz / 4ft x 8ft / one side. It gets sluggish and inefficient to spread in cool to cold weather. We warm it in warm water to about body temperature to keep it viscous. Still sets down to 20degF (about -10degC)... as low as we've tried it. Feels a little more brittle if applied in the cold, though. Not sure if or how that affects bond. No failures to date, though, on wide-area bonding.

Cutting foam with a table saw produces neat, accurate edges. But when cuts are too wide for our max fence setting, or for short cross-cuts, we use a japanese saw (thin blade, cuts on pull stroke). We walk a quick-square along as a visual guide for near perfect, right angle cuts. The edge is less smooth, but doesn't appear to matter. A whiz might be able to use a circular saw, but I end up destroying one or both sides of the cut.

TRICK: It's easy to lose track of framing that has been SIPped over. Say you want to mount a sturdy row of coat-hooks... can't just screw into 1/4in ply and foam! Before it's covered up, put a galvanized steel nail at each end. Later, when you've forgotten what's in the wall and where, use a magnetic 'stud finder' (they come small) to locate them. Fasten anywhere along the line between them.

TRICK: The method we use calls for a lot of notches in plywood around framing.To lay out notches, keep small blocks of your framing stock handy. Lay onto plywood in the correct orientation and trace one side, then reposition and trace the other. Much faster than squares and measurement, and more accurate.
TRICK: For the deep end of a three-sided notch, cut the two sides with a saw. Layout the backline between cuts on the back face, and slice deeply along from both faces with a sharp knife. Grasp the 'tab' between cuts and bend back and forth until it breaks out. Clean up with your knife, if necessary.
TRICK: If glue sets up and you believe you have a void, drill into it at one edge with a bit sized for your glue bottle, and one or two spots about six inches away. Inject Gorilla Glue until it wells out your other holes. Repeat as necessary, covering the whole problem area. Plug holes after glue has set up (if you plug right away, the expansive glue will likely blow your plug). It helps to cut your nozzle square for this job. Old caps may be saved and used for this.


About Me

My photo
Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, our T32x8 ketch. We sail by wind, tide and muscle in the waters of mid- to northern Southeast Alaska. We try to maximize the joys of life, and minimize the chores. ........ We live between the communities of SE Alaska, but drop in to visit with friends. Lately, we've worked, every other winter, care-taking Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warmsprings Bay. This has given us a window on Web. ........ We're working toward a subsistence lifestyle, somewhat impeded by addictions to coffee, chocolate and cheese. ........ We think TEOTWAWKI is looming, and while we won't be ready, we'd at least like comfortable seats.