Monthly Archives: October 2015

FWD cabin cabinets…. round 2

The very first blog on this site was way, way, way back in… 2013.  All right, so maybe the site is not that old but you have to start somewhere.

That blog covered the replacement of the factory installed vanity seat with a full size cupboard, complete with sliding drawers.  It has been a god send in terms of storage and led us to question the functionality of the shelf on the port side of the same cabin.

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old shelf with overhead light

In the 2½ years since that project my wood working skills have not improved beyond butchery and we therefore reemployed the skills of a local carpenter.

I had a couple of design requirements which I discussed with him and these included…

  1. Replacement of an existing bookshelf that was installed post boat construction.  The existing shelf was one tier and did not fit with the original build.  It was attached to the bulkhead dividing the cabin from the forward shower.  The new shelf would have 2 tiers, one for larger books and one for smaller.
  2. Strengthening of the original port side shelf that runs the length of the cabin against the hull.  It is 55 inches long and only supported at either end.  It had been carrying large books for over 20 years and had bowed in the middle.
  3. Build out of 2 cabinets on top of the newly strengthened port side shelf.
  4. Cedar lining at the back of the cabinet to keep clothing “fresh”.  It would also prevent any sweating of the hull during cold seasons from reaching the clothes.
  5. The cabinets should leave full access to the chainplates for any servicing in the future.
  6. All woodwork to match the existing cabinetry.

I decided to carry out the removal of the old book shelf and strengthening of the port side shelf as that did not require any finishing skills 🙂  I removed all the books from the port side shelf and left it to settle for a week or so.  I then propped it up from below until it measured level and marked the height of the underside of the shelf on the foam backed trim that is glued to the inside of the hull throughout most of the boat.  With the shelf removed, I cut a section of the trim out which matched the size of teak support that I was going to use for the underside of the shelf.  I removed all the backing foam, sanded and prepped the hull wall and mixed up my epoxy.  I attached the teak strip and let it set for a few days.  Once dry I tried to “tuck” the edges of the trim in as neatly as I could around the teak strip and reattached the shelf.  It left as little puckering but not too much.

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With that work done I handed over to the real wood worker and the results can be seen in the following pictures.


Autopilot Mount

The autopilot drive unit in Sol Purpose is an old Smith Industries unit that dates back to 1993.  As the boat was built in 1994 I have to assume that the unit is the original unit that came with the boat. It is built like a tank and so was never replaced when we overhauled the electronics back in 2013.  When installed, they cut a section out of the upper rudder bearing support structure to allow the drive unit piston access to the quadrant.  The autopilot mount was then  attached to this structure.  This wooden frame that is more implied than shown in the diagram below.


Over the years, the constant action of the autopilot has flexed the support structure enough times that the motion is greater than I am comfortable with and so I decided to attach a secondary mount to the hull outboard of the current support.  This was made easier by the fact that the bracket that supports the drive unit is much longer than needed and almost reaches to the hull already.

I fabricated a mount out of marine ply and covered it with three layers of woven and chopped strand mat.  I then removed all the bilge coat from the location on the hull that I intended to place the mount and glassed the mount onto the hull so as to sit beneath the support bracket.

With the dry fit of the support bracket checked, I then gave it several coats of bilge paint and reattached the support bracket, drive unit and assembled all wiring.

Once completed, the admiral ran the unit through its paces and I verified that there was no longer any flexing of the structure.  We might even find that the autopilot tracks more accurately as the lack of flex should give better feedback from the heading sensor to the course computer.  Only time will tell…