Bimini, Cabin Top and Cushions

Northern Cross is back from the upholstery shop.

Check it out:

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Cabin top in stormy weather configuration, buttoned down for the night.  The vertical bulkhead panels are velcro’ed around the edges.  

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The cabin top secures with snaps…

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wrapped down around the cabin walkway.  

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I wanted a longer flap than normal on the front filler board, to keep water out of the cabin when driving down the road.  

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Cabin entrance with rain panels removed. The bug panels also remove by unzipping from the cover at the top edge.  

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The bug netting snaps back out of the way for easy entrance.  

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Bunk cushions were made from 3″ dense foam.  They fit beautifully and still allow great access to storage below.  

Now for the Bimini:

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Bimini in the up position.  It rests across the hand rails of the motor cover when traveling.   I also have a travel cover that fits over everything that I’ll show in a later post.  

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Bimini in the up position.  I held the Bimini forward in the cockpit to offer more protection when standing and motoring.  It’s about 6′ in length.  

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After looking things over, we decided the best place to mount the Bimini, was directly onto the oak handrails.  This widened the Bimini and kept the bars out of way of my elbows while also providing a little more shoulder room.   It should also keep a little more water out of the boat.  

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Stainless fittings secure the aluminum uprights.  I applied lock tight to the screws to prevent them from vibrating out when traveling.  

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The Bimini was secured by screwing the webbing directly to the tubing.  Though this might work fine , it didn’t seem secure enough to me.  

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Instead, I decided to wrap the webbing around the tubbing with simple knot.  

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I then replaced the screw to keep the webbing from shifting up or down the tube.  With the webbing wrapped around the tubing, it’ll be much more secure.  

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I used stainless pad-eyes to secure the forward webbing straps.  

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The aft strap was secured in a similar way.  

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And, there you have it.  Secure and solid.

Summary:

I’m now adding a compass to the bulkhead and a tow hook to the transom (for rescuing stranded ski boats on the reservoir).  I’m all but done folks and it feels so good.  I’m looking to get back on the water for the official launch early next month.  

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Filler Board Work and Cabin Layout

After a quick dinner, I slipped out into the shop for the simple task of sanding and glueing parts to the front filler board.  Building this boat is a series of small daily tasks.  If you touch your boat daily, things seem to fall into place.

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You don’t need much clamping pressure when glueing with epoxy.  In fact, you’ll just dent the wood if you over tighten.  Light pressure is all that is needed.

I decided to add a bottom piece to the top filler board which will slip over the lower filler board.  This will create a shingle effect and keep the boards in the same plane.

Jennifer and I spent an hour just sitting in the cabin tonight, seeing how we would like to configure and use the limited space.  We made several decisions:

  1. We decided against the curtain rods and holders.  When you lean back against the side of the cabin, the curtain rods would definitely be in our way.  Furthermore, the top seems to be plenty strong without them.  And, in the end, they will offer very little privacy because the curtains won’t hang tightly against the window.  So, we’re nixing them.
  2. We want to utilize the forward side of the aft bulkhead to organize our personal belongings like:  book, cell phone, 2 way radio, head lamp, water bottle  etc.  I’ll now design something that won’t take up much space, but help to keep us organized.
  3. We will utilize the walkway between the bunks as a bathroom area when needed.  Details to follow.
  4. We want at least 4 large pillows in the cabin area for comfortable lounging.  This allows you to sit in a number of different positions comfortably.
  5. We want to rig up a simple line to hold the bunks lids open for hands free loading and un-loading.
  6. We want to design and build 2 small lap trays to be used as a multi purpose tools for tasks like:  Cutting cheese and salami…to support my travel journal when writing…as a lap desk when playing cards or looking over a guide book, etc.  Basically, a lap organizer tray.  They will store under the bunks up against the bunk longitudinal out of the way when not needed.

Summary:

Lots to think about when it comes to being comfortable on a boat.  If you spend a few hours just hanging out in your boat, envisioning how you can use the space, things start to come to you and systems can be worked out.  I feel our time on the boat tonight was well spent and it has given us several ideas which we can now incorporate.  

Have you hugged your boat today?

 

 

Filler Board and Port-Light Frames

You get pretty efficient at epoxy work while building a wooden boat.  Today was more of the same as I epoxied the front filler boards and port-light frames.  Check it out:

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After I get one coat of epoxy on all the pieces, I’ll add the mahogany and apply 2 more coats.  I want these parts very well sealed, they’ll take a lot of weather.  

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The port-light frames need to be well sealed as well. 

Thoughts:

I’m dreaming of some sort of cabin galley complete with wine glasses and bottle holder.  This, even though I don’t drink.  But, I could store a fresh bottle of Welches grape juice, for casual cruising.  When you think about how this boat will cruise from 8 – 15 mph, all these thoughts come flooding into my mind.  Skiff America allows you to enjoy the sailing life style without reefing the sails and tending the sheets.  This might just be the best cruising vessel the common man can own.  It surely seems to have a lot going for it.   Those of you who already own a Skiff America can comment…am I wrong?

Stowing the Front Filler Board

One of the biggest considerations for the front filler board is where to stow it.  I originally thought maybe the front bow area would be a good place, but after looking things over, I realized the front filler board is too large to fit reasonably well in the bow.  That left the cabin.  Here’s the deal:  I hate stuff laying around when I want to lie down for a few minutes.  Furthermore, I didn’t want to stow the front filler board under the cushions, because that would create a bump, and I don’t want a bump under my cushions.  So, that left under the bunks, but the filler board is too big.  OK, how about building the filler board in 2 halves like on a sailboat companionway?  Now were coming.  This way, both pieces could easily fit under the bunks and out of the way.

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Here’s the top half of the filler board (the bottom half is boring, so I didn’t photograph it).  I planed the top mahogany piece down to 1/2″, because the 3/4″ looked too thick.  I also left it quite wide, around 4″.  I want my soft top to wrap over this piece with plenty of overlap (to keep highway speed rain out of the cabin).  I also built a lower piece to overlay the lower board.  It will act like a shingle and keep both boards in the same plane.   I also beveled the mating edges of the plywood boards to help shed the rain.   

Summary:

The 2 filler board system provides the following advantages:

  1. 2 small boards are easier to maneuver in tight quarters than one large board.
  2. 2 boards allows for partial wind block by using only the lower board when cruising.
  3. Enhanced visibility from the cockpit when using only the lower board.
  4. By easily raising the upper board at anchorage, one could get a glimpse forward of the oncoming storm or general surroundings.
  5. And, finally the best reason:  2 filler boards can neatly stow below the bunks, out of the way and off the cushion tops.