Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Few More Easy Upgrades

Little stuff, worth sharing.

Nav Station Table
The stock table is too big. You can't walk past it. You can't open the head door. It doesn't need to be that big to work a chart, not with GPS and chart plotters. Some owners have dispensed with the station and replaced the seat with shelves. I wanted and needed a work area and took a different approach.

I keep small parts in 3 plastic bins that fit easy down the right side of the chart cubby. Charts go on the left side. Since table is cut from an old SCAN computer desk, I'm not too concerned if it picks up a battle scar or two, but I'm careful. I even have a small clamp-on vice, which I've used more often with fishing tackle than anything serious. Cost - perhaps $1.00 in varnish.

Kitchen Shelf
There can NEVER be enough counter space. Cut from another bit of the SCAN desk, this was my wife's idea. Brilliant and simple. Lifts off for storage, but in practice is seldom removed. Cost - Perhaps $0.50 in varnish.

Storm Windows
It was COLD this winter and I slept on the boat a good number of nights. You need to look closely at the picture to see the reflection, the only clear evidence. They are simple: 1/8-inch acrylic cut with a plastic cutter, trimmed to size on a bench grinder, and some are fitted with fabric loops to facilitate removal (the larger ones in the cabins and next to the salon door). They fit in the bug screen groove and help just a little with the cold. Cost - $8.00 for a handful of ugly thrift store posters - I threw the posters away.

Draft Reduction
In cool weather the gap between the slider and the cabin roof steals ALL of the heat. I'm told this is where the bugs sneak in in the summer too, though I havn't caught them in the act. These hotdog-shaped rolls solve the problem. Two-per average towel, sewn into a roll. Cost - free. We always have surplus towels that can't stay in the public eye but haven't yet been demoted to oil-rags or pet bedding.

Tramp Area Storage Bag
I use this one for a water filter, anchor bridle, and sun screen. Once, beating up the Delaware Bay for 40 miles in a 20-knot breeze opposed by a 2 knot current (like the Gulf Stream on a smaller scale), I had to remove the bag and put it below, but I hadn't lost anything. It just seem prudent since the front third of the boat was playing submarine. Made from a shoe bag and secured with twist fasteners. Mildewed and ugly, but VERY functional. Cost - Since I made my cockpit sheet bags with the same thrift store bag...
... about $2.00.

Note 2012: the nylon fabric fell apart in  about 18 months, but the concept was sound. I made a new one from trampoline material. Also, the originally twist-lock fasteners used to secure this bag and others proved fragile; I am changing them over to pad-eyes with lashings. Not as neat, perhaps, but sailorly and tough. Still like new November 2012.

Head Trash Can
I hate plastic trash bags hanging from every hook and I hate not having a trash can at hand. This simple can with lid was made from 1/4-inch ply with epoxy and paint, and hangs from a pair of self-adhesive hooks. No holes were drilled in the making of this project, and it's removable when the head pump requires surgery. Cost - about $8.00 in material and about 4 hours of labor - but I like it! I'm sure a suitable plastic can exists, but I couldn't find it. This kept my epoxy skills in tune.

Nothing earth shattering, but these ideas survived a season without me deciding they were mistakes. That's something. They all improve the livability of the boat.


  1. Thank Drew. I love seeing the ideas that other PDQ owners have implemented on their boats.

    Coincidentally, when we were on our boat today I was telling Rebecca that you installed a smaller table in the nav area. Pics are worth a 1000 words!

  2. I still have the original table, but there is zero temptation to replace it; this is far more livable. The width is ~ 1/2-inch more than the length of the supports, and head door clears by only 1/2-inch.