Monthly Archives: Jul 2016

Carcasses and Electrics

Meeting 21st July

Most of the chaps at the yard had been on a weeks holiday somewhere hot. This either meant that not much progress would have happened since we were last there or a lot would have happened. It was the latter.

First we had a catch up on the battery front, more conversations had been had with the Lithium Battery people and Mick and I had put together a power audit. The audit was based on a winters high usage day. Without running the engine we reckoned we’d use about 82 Amp hours of power. The suggested batteries may be enough as it would be unlikely for us to not run the engine on such a day. Ken and Ricky will put together the prices so that we can decide if we can afford the greater initial outlay.

More fabric samples had arrived and luckily there was one that stood out from the rest for the dinette covers. This and others were taken down to Oleanna to see what they would look like in situ.

A lot had happened since our last visit, although everything was just placed in position for us to see as the floor is still to be laid and the ceiling will go in shortly. It’s most probably best if I talk through photos from the stern.

Carcasses have been made up for the cupboards at the stern. From the furthest back on the starboard side working forwards. The electrics cupboard above a cupboard which is challenged by the swim of the hull, this will be for deep storage. The cupboard door for the electrics cupboard will open above the rear steps.

The next unit will mainly be drawers. Our current boat has drawers that are high enough to hold a bag of flour, so we have two such drawers, a cutlery drawer, T towel drawer then a deeper drawer at the bottom and a cupboard filling what space there is left at the top.

Next will be an undercounter pull out larder unit. Next to that will be a slimline dishwasher.

This is the port side. A long cupboard with hanging space accessible from above the steps. The base of this will be where we keep our second folding bike, which comes out on rare occasions.

The top of this unit will have an open shelf so if/when the heavens open we can pop things there that we want to keep dry. There will be a shelf in the cupboard for the tool kit.

The stern steps are half steps or loft steps. We have these on on NB Lillyanne and really like them as they take up less space but don’t feel as steep as normal treads would. They have however been made with the leading step the opposite way round to our current configuration, so we shall have to be careful for a while. Our standard “Go in backwards, right foot first” will have to change.

Next to the tall cupboard is where there will be a slot left for our other folding bike. This will sit above a cupboard or drawer lifting it as high as possible under the worktop. This is so that the bike can nestle as close to the swim as possible without sticking out too much. We wanted the bike to be in a handy position. Following on from this will be the fridge, then the cooker, then some angled shelves.

Following on from the dishwasher will be the sink unit with the drainer going into the corner. The triangular cupboard will house crockery etc. This will be able to slide along the half bulkhead behind it so that you can get access into the cupboard in the corner.

I’m hoping that the corner cupboard will have a couple of pull out shelves/ drawers to make access even easier.

All these units are on feet and there will be a plinth below.

The cabin sides have been clad with painted birch ply and framed simply with oak. The ceiling has yet to be clad in a similar way. This can only be done when the electrics have been routed to where they need to be.

Between each panel is a joining strip which covers the join, this also allows there to be a small gap for expansion and contraction of the cabin sides. It has a simple detail of a grove down it. Other boats we’d seen in fit out had much more detailed panelling, but I preferred it to be simpler.

Below the painted panels, where visible, it will be clad in plain oak faced ply.

The windows have yet to be cut into the wooden cabin panels. Everywhere apart from the bathroom the liners will be oak. In the bathroom we have gone for metal liners as this will be where the most condensation occurs, which can stain wood.

Here the glazed doors for the side hatch are shown. These sit inside and open inwards, outside the metal outer doors will close to protect these doors when it is raining and for security.

 At the end of the galley the half bulkhead has been made into a 6 inch wide cupboard. This is so that I can store a drawing board and model making equipment. Being here it will be hidden away, but easily accessible when needed. There will be a lid and door on it as my drawing board will need to slide up and out of it’s storage.

The L shaped dinette has mostly been put together.  On the corridor end of the seats is a drawer for a Waeco freezer. Behind the drawer there will be a storage space, only accessible if you remove the cushions.

Below the longer section of the dinette are two doors that open when pushed. This means we can access storage here without having to lift the cushions.

The front facia of the long side pulls out and the back of the seat flattens out to cover the storage below. The back cushion will then become part of the mattress for a double bed. This is such an easy way to make up the bed compared to what we have now.

The table will fold away and be stored under the gunnels opposite the end of the dinette.

At the end of the dinette is a small book case. This originally was going to have open shelves, but now we have a ships cat we need some easy access storage that she can’t access hence the door.

Next to this will be a 2.5 seat sofa with a shelf unit on the other side going into the corner with the bathroom bulkhead. A little bit was lost in translation with this unit as it needs to be open to the floor below to be able to store a pouffe that will extend the sofa into a single bed when pulled out.

In the bathroom some of the blue laminate was in position around the quadrant shower tray.

In the opposite corner there is no floor as yet as this will be where our urine tank for the toilet will be. We did some research into calcification of urine, a steel tank would be fine unless you needed to clear any blockage. The best solution to this is to use some acid, which over time would eat away the steel, so we are having a plastic tank which won’t be affected by acid. Better safe than sorry in a few years time!

The tank would last Mick and myself about four days, although we’d empty it long before then. But it will give us capacity for when we have visitors, so that we won’t have to be emptying it every day.

Then the bedroom. The porthole opening has been cut away above the bed. Carcasses of the cupboards by the bow doors were in position along with cabin steps. These cupboards will mainly be shelved, but one will have some hanging space that goes down below the steps. Not much need these days for hanging long dresses. I suspect most of this cupboard will end up being used for folding chairs etc.

The opening facing away from the bow doors is where our vacuum cleaner will live.

On this side of the bed at floor level will be the washing machine. This is mirrored with a narrower cupboard on the other side of the bed. There is a ledge big enough for a mug and books on both sides too.

Three thin cupboards span the width of the bed above the porthole. These are likely to be used for bed linen.

 All the holes are ventilation under our mattress. This is the cross bed. The open section at the back will be for deep storage, winter clothes and duvets, maybe work things.

Under the holes are two large drawers at floor level, one each side of the bed, his and hers drawers.

The holey bit is two layers, the top one pulls over to span the boat to make a cross over bed. The mattress on this will have a hinged section that we fold over during the day and push the base back in to create a corridor.

 Looking out through the front doors the cratch wood work is complete. The well deck on Oleanna is higher than on NB Lillyanne, so we will have to stoop more when the cover is on out there. I suspect on fine days the cover will get rolled right back so that there is more head height.

Front doors looking rather fine with an inset of darker wood in the bottom panel.

The lock looks good and has two more keys than our current front door has. Although when we returned to the boat later the doors and surround had been removed. I suspect they will stay like this for a while to make it easier to get things in and out of the boat.

The front doors in situ with the cratch in position.

After discussing various things inside we sat down to discuss the electrics.

Two meetings ago I had produced our plan for lights, switches and power sockets. This was our suggestion based on how we live currently. Last time we had visited positions of switches was discussed, but there wasn’t enough time to go through everything. Today it had to be done, otherwise it would start to hold everything up. One or two reductions in the number of light fittings, but mostly it is how I had drawn it. Positions for switches and Cat 5 sockets were discussed. With some hunting on the internet I have since found some chrome Cat 5 covers so they won’t look too out of place.

Confirmation of appliances is needed soon. Very sadly the cooker we were wanting will not be possible. We had chosen a 600 deep cooker with a lid, but forgotten that positioning it on the side of the boat would not work due to the gunnels. So we have a mission to find a cooker without a lid that will fit our needs and position. If this had been pointed out earlier the galley would have been designed differently. A similar cooker to our current one is not on our cards as we haven’t had Yorkshire puddings for two years and I dream of having them again with a Sunday Roast.

Version P

Putting the drawings round the right way and nudging the washing machine should have been an easy thing. But on the originals I hadn’t added any tolerances for appliances, this meant everything was getting very tight. Julia had suggested looking for a narrower washing machine to bring the bedroom/bathroom bulkhead back to where it should be.

Looking through machines took time and then the conclusion that there isn’t a smaller washer/dryer available than the one we’d already chosen. What else could give cupboard wise. Not much as when you come in through the front doors you need to be able to stand somewhere.
In the end we had two choices.
1 only have a washing machine not a washer / dryer.
2  reduce the size of our bed from 5ft to 4ft 6″

We have lived with a 4ft 6inch wide bed for the last two years tucked under the gunnels, so as a cross bed it wouldn’t actually give us more mattress, but more space to one side. Living without the option to be able to dry clothes in the winter wasn’t good. So after chatting it through for a while we were both happy to go for a narrower mattress.

Since doing the original set of drawings we had changed our mind about which fridge we’d want. The new one is that bit narrower than the original, this meant one side of the galley could have more tolerance for our folding bike storage.

We put together a long list of important drawer and cupboard measurements, scanned the drawings and emailed them off before Kris in Sheffield started work on Monday morning. This had taken most of a weekend. Just a shame that we put some measurements of depth in the height column! Ricky raised a question about our galley cupboards which made me realise our mistake. An amended list was put together and resent.

Whilst I was busy drawing, Mick was researching Lithium Batteries. Thank you Adam for your comment.

Panel dimensions and ballast

Meeting 1st July

We were called back to Sheffield earlier than we thought we would be, various questions had arisen since last Thursday and it made sense for us to meet face to face. So we caught the train from Saxilby for a morning meeting.

Ken, Julia and Ricky were on hand to chat things through. Lots of research had been done over the week and one decision was needed asap. We had been wanting to have an Alde 3020 gas boiler along with a Bubble Stove with a back boiler.  Our heating needs tend to be mainly covered by our solid fuel stove in the winter and we were wanting to be able to harness some of this energy to heat our bedroom. The Alde boiler would mainly be used to help take the edge off on spring and autumn evenings, or first thing. Ricky had chatted combining both systems through with the main man at Bubble and several engineers at Alde.

The overall consensus was yes it was possible, but very complicated, much better not to bother. The Bubble chap went into details of a system with gradually rising pipes (these would all have to be hidden behind the cabin sides), thermal storage to help bleed off the heat, pumps as you can’t have the boiler boiling in the stove. The Alde engineers at first were positive, then with more digging and another two conversations with engineers who understood the scenario it got more complicated. A special calorifier would be needed with four coils, one for the Alde boiler, 1 for the back boiler, 1 from the engine and 1 for the radiators, avoiding copper in the system too. All sorts of details were talked about, yes they could do what we’d asked but it would be another extra onto our budget. We needed to talk it over between us and give a decision before the end of the day as this would effect things next week.

Conversations turned to the urine tank below the floor. As space on Oleanna is tight this has to be below the floor, which would make it hard to lift out to empty. Ken a while ago had suggested having a larger tank with a built in pump to empty it which now seems like a good idea. We had asked for a manual back up should the pump fail. They would provide us with a second outlet on the gunnel which we’d be able to lower a hose from a hand pump. This all works for us.

Then the upgrading of the alternator and batteries was discussed instead of having travel power. Ken had been looking into Lithium Ion Batteries which work in a different way to wet cell ones.
Mick here:
In order to save a few thousand pounds we had decided not to have the Electrolux Travel Power system installed but instead spend a few hundred on an upgraded  24v 100 amp leisure alternator. On chatting to Ken about this he suggested looking at having Lithium ion batteries in the leisure bank instead of the usual lead acid bank. On paper this sounds like a good idea. Lithium batteries can be run down to over 80% discharged without causing damage to them unlike to maximum 50% of a lead acid. Lithiums also charge back to full charge much more quickly than lead acid. The other main benefit is that the life of them is up to 10 times longer than a lead acid. Of course the downside is the price, they are MUCH more expensive but because of their longevity they should work out cheaper over an expected 10 year life span. Trouble is we would have to pay now instead of over 10 years!
If we went for these then we would need a different MPPT controller for our solar panels, a much more expensive one, but Ricky was waiting to hear back from Victron to see if their inverter/charger could also double as a solar panel controller. They have also asked Beta whether the 100 amp alternator can be configured to output the slightly higher voltage that the lithiums need to charge.
We need to think about this more. Any comments from blog readers?

The problem with the positioning of the freezer has been overcome and it will be possible to have it in the dinette on runners.

In our galley we will have a stack of drawers. The original thought was to have Shaker fronts to cupboards and doors, but I am not so sure of this now because of the 5 drawers one above the other. A couple of other possibilities were talked about, so some more thought is needed there from us.

In our last meeting we had provided a plan of how we saw the lights and sockets working, we chatted them through with Ricky. We may have over done what we need, so they are going to come back to us with what they would suggest. Although I’m sure not many boaters need extra lighting over their dinette for model making. We’ll see what they come up with. The position of switches was also discussed, a look around the almost finished boat in the yard illustrated where would be good places for them.

We then headed to chat things over on board. The engine bay has been dried out and given a coat of immaculate white paint, not sure how long it’ll stay that way once we get hold of her!

Still in the engine bay water pipes for the heating have been slotted through into the cabin through the tubes. These are just visible in the picture above.

The other side of the bulk head and the pipes run down and into the bilge.


Here they run along a layer of ballast and across the cross members. Joists have now been added to these cross members and another layer of ballast added where needed.

There are gaps in the ballast. The above photo is where the bathroom will be. I think the two dark lines on the side indicate which cross members will need to be altered to accommodate the urine tank. One layer of ballast has been left clear towards the bow as this will be where our cupboards and bed will be, giving this side more weight.
The pipework on the starboard side is for water. One pipe heads to where the water tank will be, the other stopping short at the washing machine. On the port side the four pipes reduce in number once past the solid fuel stove.

Chris the carpenter joined us to discuss the positioning of panels on the cabin sides. These want to look considered, but with the positions of windows not identical on each side the panels will be different slightly. Also as I have more full height cupboards on one side this will also affect the look. But a solution was come up with that should look good.

“How big is the bathroom?” isn’t really the question you want to hear as people are clutching plans in their hands. But as they are still using the plans that I scanned back to front (on purpose) it is no wonder. Our bed which should be 1.5m wide had been read as 1.2m and this made our bathroom vast! It was then discovered that with the end bulk heads, my forgetting to add a bit of tolerance and a side panel to the washing machine the shower cubicle was getting very close to the bathroom porthole. An amendment was needed to rectify this.

I said we’d look at it and possibly a smaller washing machine as I re-drew the plans at the weekend. It had been worrying me that they were still using back to front plans which I could with some time rectify.

On the workshop floor was a large pile of oak slices along with some other darker wood on top. These will be used for the frame work of the panels. When we’d visited back in January we’d been shown a boat that had two different painted panels, oak and birch. The oak shows it’s grain where as the birch is less obvious. I preferred the birch so a sample will be put together for me to have a look at next time.

The plank and pole rack were obvious on the other boat, last time we were here we’d noticed that we had nothing on the roof, but a chrome version will be added to Oleanna at a much later date.

After our meeting we headed to the canal basin for some lunch, a fish finger sandwich and to discuss heating. We were both of the same opinion that spending the extra money and time to get a back boiler to work with the Alde boiler was not going to be worth it. We have survived two winters on board NB Lillyanne without a back boiler and we already know that Oleanna is better insulated. A shame not to be pushing the free heat from the solid fuel stove around, but we still have to think of the pounds. Our decision was emailed through to Julia and Ricky and I suspect the extra pipes for the back boiler were removed that afternoon.