22 November 2013

Outboard gear lever

On the whole I am very pleased with my 6HP Tohatsu outboard. But I don't like the gear lever. It is a little plastic projection right down on the starboard side at the bottom of the engine head. Changing gear always involved almost getting down on my knees to find it. Not a good idea in a difficult situation where you just want a short burst of reverse to save the day. Last year I fitted an extension to it made from a tiller extension arm I had made earlier. It proved the concept, but was terribly wobbly and imprecise. I have rebuilt it completely. Same tiller extension, but shortened and bolted more firmly to the lever. In addition I fitted plywood side cheeks, which surround the plastic gear lever. Finally I filled the hollow plastic lever itself with thickened epoxy resin, as it was a bit flexible. Finished the whole thing off with two primer coats, two under coats and two coats of gloss black enamel I had lying around for some reason. It looks almost like it is meant to be there, and works very well. I just hope it stands up to real world use.
I gather the current Tohatsu outboards have the gear lever on front, which is a much better idea, but my engine is quite new, so I wasn't planning an upgrade.

11 November 2013

Cockpit floor supports

Last season I experimented with propping the cockpit floor boards up on the edges of the flat fenders, to give me a raised, high level platform to use at anchor. It was very successful and I had the floor up like that most evenings when I was on board. Also nice for lounging in the sun. But getting them up and the fenders into position was quite a hassle and I probably came nearer to falling overboard raising and lowering the floor than doing anything else.

So I have fitted some permanent 18mm plywood brackets on each side of the cockpit which I can just lift and drop the floor boards onto. They took a little fitting, as I needed to glue backing pads for them to screw through into. One of the end brackets doesn't have such a pad as I simply could not reach down inside the quarter berth and behind the bilge pump to fit it. That bracket is on large, short screws just into the cockpit side, but I think it will be fine. I had thought of fitting a single long strip down each side, but the backing pad problem would have been even greater for those.

I am very pleased with the result. It takes only seconds to lift and fit the boards and they are very solid. I can almost lie across the cockpit, and certainly can lie out at an angle, so camping in the cockpit is now a possibility.

10 November 2013

Boarding ladder extension

I made a single rung rope ladder extension to my boarding ladder this year, to get it deeper in the water. Forgot the simple fact that wood, even plywood, floats. Remarkably difficult to get your foot onto a floating rung. I have now modified it by the simple expedient of fixing a length of old galvanised chain under the rung. I tested it in a water butt and it seems to sink satisfactorily, but I can only test it for certain when it is really warm next year, and I can face getting into the water. I have seized the ropes to the ladder as I couldn't figure out how to splice braided rope around a tube.

8 November 2013

Modifications to outboard well blanking plate

The blanking plate I fitted last year, in replacement of the plastic flaps, over the outboard well worked well, but was quite awkward to fit. There is not much room under the outboard itself when tilted up, and the projecting cross bars I fitted to the plate to stop it going right through the hole really got in the way. They catch on everything and I had to develop a very proscribed sequence of movements to get it in and out. Not an easy thing in a seaway.

So I have removed the bars and used two strips of thin ply across the underside of the well itself. These form ledges at the front and back of the well that the plate fits against. There will be slight increase in turbulence due to these plates, but they are very thin, so I think it will be negligible. The strips actually come from the plywood covers which originally held the plastic flaps in place. They already have CopperCoat on them. It is much easier to fit the plate now, although I can't test it in anger until next season. I am not planning to go back to the flaps.

7 November 2013

Cooker box complete

I have finished the cooker box and I am really quite pleased with the outcome. It holds all the bits I want it to hold and it is easy to move them all around the boat. This first picture shows it undergoing a well advised "CaptainParish" scorch test. I have filled the pan with water and heated it to boiling. The handles get warm, but that is all. I can actually pick it up with the flame at full blast, although I wouldn't recommend doing that. So I don't think there is a high scorch risk, but I will keep an eye on that.

The second picture shows it in place over the basin. I have painted it rather than varnished, because firstly I am useless at varnishing, and secondly it is made up of disparate bits of scrap wood, so they look better painted rather than bright

The third picture shows it outside on a cockpit bench, which is where I would place it when cooking. Apart from the risk of CO fumes, the burning meths stinks to high heaven.

6 November 2013

Head protection

Not a dramatic piece of work, but one I am glad I have completed. When I bolted on the new winch and halyard stoppers on the cabin roof, I had eight bolts protruding from the ceiling below, in a position where I could easily rip my head open. I have hacksawed back the long ends of the bolts (not that easy as I had to crouch whilst doing it) and then fitted a plywood cover over the remaining nuts. This is just an 18mm piece of marine ply, which I hollowed the back of using a plunge router. The ends of the ply are rounded off, so now I might still bump my head, but my brain, such as it is, might be left intact a bit longer.

1 November 2013

Cooker box under way

I have fancied the idea of a simple cooker box ever since I got the Origo alcohol stove. I always move it out into the cockpit to use, which means moving the cooker, then looking for the matches, then for a fork, then for cooking oil, salt etc. I want to put everything into a simple container that I can just pick up and move.  Finally got round to starting on it, using scrap wood and plywood lying around the. The base is 9 mm ply. The two handles are made from a redundant dingy thwart. The rest of the wood is a rather nice thin plank of oak I have had for ages and never found a use for. I am sure that tomorrow I will find the perfect place for it, but it is sawn up now. This will just be a glue and paint job in the end.