Securing the Coolers

I always had a plan for the 2 small coolers that were designed into the U seating.  Today you can see the final outcome of this idea.

Here it is:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The basic bungie ties off behind the seat longitudinal and snakes up and over the Igloo logo on the cooler.  This logo causes the bungie to place downward pressure on the cooler and keeps it properly located.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The seats hang into the cockpit a few inches, hence the coolers tuck under quite well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking straight down off the cockpit seats.  

I plan to use one cooler for cold drinks, the other for snacks and sandwiches.  

 

Advertisements

Helm, Controller, Cables and Seats

After test mounting the helm, controller, cables and seats multiple times, today was the final show…and they all got mounted permanently.  What a great day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’re the pieces of the helm assembly.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The No Feedback Steering Mechanism mounted through the console.  You get to determine the positioning by rotating the mechanism to different hole patterns.  Through bolted to the console, it feels very secure.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And, here’s the helm.  Mounted in all its glory.  I plan to build a small cover cap to hide the center bolt.  With the helm mounted, I can install the steering cable. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cover cap and mounting hardware look great.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next up, the  controller.  It’s through bolted to the Shifter/Throttle Mount.  This creates a very solid feel to the controls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see the steering cable running up under the console and the other end of the steering cable with protective cap installed.  Also, note the bundle of plug ends coming out of the controller.  I’m not utilizing any of these, so I’ll tape them together and tuck neatly away.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wanting to minimize the number of exposed visible cables, I ran the electrical cables under the seat.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Access hole for electrical cables.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The electrical cables for both sides of the boat come together up into the motor well through a hole drilled near the top end.  The entire motor well will be covered by the motor cover.  Also, note the shifter, throttle and steering cables coming through the Starboard slosh well. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I held the captains seat off the gunwales a few inches to allow room for the cables.  This also increased seating comfort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I leaned the seats back 3/4″ by placing a shim under the front edge for increased comfort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was worried about how the cables would look visually running aft.  I now think they look just fine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Parting shot.  

Summary:

Today seemed to pull together many loose ends.  It was a ton of fun seeing all these different components come together as planned.  I can now focus on the electrical cable that runs to the battery, designing the motor cover and building the boarding ladder.   I’m very glad I decided to build this boat.  

Varnishing the Cockpit

After drilling a few holes to run the cabling and electrical wiring, I cleaned everything up, taped off the bottom line and rolled on a coat of varnish.  Up to this point, the cockpit had been epoxied, but not varnished.

Hard to see the difference in the photos, but I’m very pleased with the results.  

Check it out:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Summary:

I’ll apply one more coat before bedtime and then one final coat tomorrow morning.  I’m then off to Yellowstone with my wife for a weekend of Nordic skiing and hot tubing.  Life is good!

Cockpit Seating and Ergonomics

You can build a boat…but can you make it comfortable?  This is the question I was wrestling with as I attempted to layout the cockpit benches, the seats, the helm console and the throttle/shifter controller.  The sequencing started long before today, when I actually test mounted the seats.

Here’s a look at the steps I took:

  1. First, I held the front edge of the bench back 22″ from the bulkhead (this is 2″ more than called for in the plans).
  2. I then made the helm console as narrow as possible, while still being able to mount the steering mechanism.  I shaved off 7/8″ be snuggling the steering mechanism tightly against the bulkhead.
  3. I then mocked up the throttle/shifter mount.  The governing measurement with the throttle/shifter controller is to allow a gloved hand on the throttle to miss the steering knob when motoring at full throttle.  This scenario dictated how closely the controller could be mounted to the steering wheel.  I marked its proper location with a pencil.
  4. Once these two mechanical devises have been factored into the equation, you can position the seats and determine their placement for proper leg extension (making sure your shin doesn’t hit the steering knob with you leg extended, resting on the foot rest).

I originally planned to have the seats swivel, but reality got in the way.  In order to swivel the seats, it would required me to mount them too far inboard (it takes a lot of room to swivel a seat). This inboard location would prevent me from using the gunwale as an arm rest.  Plus, it was determined that there’s little merit in the having seats that swivel, so I bolted them down tight.

Here’re the photos:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jennifer sat on the seat while positioning her feet on the footrest and bunk top (the bunk top makes an excellent place to rest your inside foot).  This is where she wanted her seat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My positioning looks to be further forward, but it’s not.  The camera angle disguises it’s location.  It’s also back a couple of inches from the front edge of the bench.  I held my seat further off the gunwale to make room for the the cabling and throttle/shifter controller.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We noticed the seats needed to be tilted aft for better comfort, especially once we dawned the PFD’s.  So, I built a 3/4″ shim from white oak and placed it under the forward bolts.  This made the seats significantly more comfortable.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, there you have it.  Both seats test mounted in their proper location.  

Summary:

I’ll now mount the throttle/shifter controller and then make sure all the cabling works.  I feel like I’m breathing a little more life into my boat every day.  

Throttle/Shifter Mount

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After mocking up the helm and seat for proper fit, I determined the height and fore/aft  location for the Throttle/Shifter Mount.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By screwing through the back side, I was able to secure the mount while the epoxy cures.

Summary:

Tomorrow, I’ll test mount the Throttle/Shifter controller by through bolting it to the mount.  I’ll then begin to test mount the seats and add the swivel base.  Tons of fun!!

Another Look at the Improvements.

Below, you can see the functionality of the night stands and how I intend to use them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The wool tote allows customization of the area.  Notice how the Yeti mug keeps the tote in place.  I also cut out the back corner of the stand to allow me to run a charging cord up the back into the tote to charge small digital devices off the battery (which sits directly below this area).  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I held the stand off the companionway and rounded the corner to keep it trim and non intrusive.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now I have a library (something every real boat should have) and an area to keep me organized.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here you can see how the side step functions to provide foot support.  Being kept narrow, the support doesn’t intrude into the floor area and hence takes noting away from the original design and existing floorspace.

Summary:

In mounting the night stands, I screwed through the cockpit side of the bulkhead into the 3/8″ horizontal plywood of the stand.  You must pre-drill the plywood or the screw will split the plywood.  This worked beautifully to secure the stand while the epoxy cured, after which I removed the screws.  I then laid a small fillet all around the stand…it’s rock solid.  

I’m now ready to begin varnishing the cabin and bow areas of Northern Cross.  

Building a Foot Support

The sides of Skiff America where the captain and first mate sit are sloping inward dramatically.  In mocking up the chairs, I noticed how awkward this sloping side wall became.  There’s just no place to put your foot.  It reminded me of our Chevy Astro Van, which we have now sold, only the Skiff foot problem is even worse.  

In thinking through the issue, I came up with a simple solution.  I decided to build a foot support.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking straight down on the foot support.  I kept the support narrow as not to intrude into the floor area.  It’s about 4 1/2″ wide and made from 1/2″ scrap plywood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Side view of the foot support.  I used cleats along both forward and aft edges for a secure, level installation.  I also built a brace which I placed under the center of the support.  This should now be strong enough to allow me to stand on the support.  I laid a nice fillet all around the support.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cushioned seat will be placed at the forward edge of the seat top.  This foot support will allow me to move my foot forward and aft, for a change of body position.  I placed one on both sides of the cockpit.

Summary:

They weren’t hard to build or install and I think they’ll go a long way toward improving seating comfort.  

 

Cockpit Seat Tops

This particular step has been very exciting to me.  To see the seat tops resting on the seat longitudinals, defining the space in the much anticipated “U” seating, has been something I’ve envisioned for a long time.  Without any further ado here it is:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One sheet of 1/2″ plywood yields both halves of the seat top with only one seam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Showing the access to the storage compartment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Both sides cut out and fit into position.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The seat top is 16″ deep on all sides, with a 1″ overhang over the seat longitudinals.  I applied an 1/8″ round over to the top and bottom exposed edges.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking aft into the open storage areas.  These areas are very accessible by reaching under the back seat and allows for long items to be stored out of the way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cockpit is still surprisingly open and roomy.  

Summary:

I’ll now apply 2 coats of epoxy and prepare for installation.  My next focus is to design the instrumentation console.  I want a small console on each side for miscellaneous items:  sun screen, phone, drink, wallet, keys and sun glasses.  

Seat Support & Stuff

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The back bench needed a joist to support its forward edge.  I had a stick of Vertical Grain Douglas Fir left over from another project.  This was the perfect stick, it allowed me to orient the grain in a vertical fashion for maximum support.  I dimensioned the stick down to 1,3/4″ x 3″ and cut off the bottom corners.  After testing it’s strength between two blocks, I was convinced.   Now when my 250 lb. brother in law steps on the bench, I won’t worry.  How much did the joist weigh?  3.8 lb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I secured the joist with 3″ grabber screws through the seat longitudinals and then laid a fillet around each end.  Behind the joist, you can see the cleating for the gas tank.  I positioned the tank toward Port to help balance out the boat…I weigh more than my wife.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The joist fit nicely against the seat longitudinals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I then laid a small fillet behind the forward seat bulkhead and a 2″ glass strip over the outside corner. 

Seat tops, here I come!

Forward Seat Bulkheads

This morning I got out early in the shop and installed the forward seat bulkheads.

Take a look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I used the clamps to hold the panel tight against the seat longitudinal.  Once secured, I laid a fillet and 2″ strip of glass against the hull.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once this dries, I’ll work the edge smooth and lay another 2″ glass strip over the outside edge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This really defines the front area of the cockpit.  I held the seat bulkheads off the cabin bulkhead 22″.   This is a couple of inches more than the plans call for, but I want plenty of room to stand behind the helm.  

Summary:

The bulkheads went in nicely, once I took the time to fit them properly.  Just go slow and make small cuts until they fit properly.  I don’t plan to install rear bulkheads.  Instead, I’m leaving this area open for the storage of longer items, such as:  emergency paddles, roll up chairs or possibly long tent poles.  Now, with the false transom open, the side storage runs all the way to the back of the boat.  I need to give credit to Jennifer, my wife, for this idea.  She looked at where the rear bulkhead was to be installed and made a little frown.  She didn’t say one single word, she just flashed a grimacing look.  Then she went in the house, leaving me standing there to consider the meaning.  After great meditation and contemplation, I decided my wife’s look said it all, “leave the rear bulkheads out”.  And, so I will.  It always amazes me how smart my wife is without saying one damn word.