Under the forward seat of the dining area on my boat is a locker, a cupboard. It is a good size, but it is difficult to access anything in the back. Thus one of the first things I did was to install a drawer in the lower half of this locker, the upper half being accessible by lifting the seat. Now I could pull out the drawer and have access to the far reaches of the locker. This became the designated area for storing navigation charts, oversize cruising books (that would not fit on my bookshelf – see previous blog entry) and manuals. It became annoying to have to remove the cruising books to get at the charts, pull out the chart I needed and then replace the books. (Even with GPS I always keep the relevant chart handy.)
So while sitting at anchor in Garden Bay at Pender Harbor I went looking for the chart for Smuggler’s Cove and thought – I can improve this system.
The way it was.
The way it was, books on top, charts buried below. The little lip on the inside of the drawer is to strengthen the sides of the drawer where the drawer sliders are attached. I can make use of that!
My idea was to make a tray that would sit on the lip at the sides of the drawer. I would give the tray hand holds to make it easy to lift the tray out. To contain the books that would sit on the bottom of the drawer I would make another tray. Heck, let’s make two trays.
This is how it always starts, with illegible notes from my boat book.
Now days I just give a drawing to Alex, our CNC man, and he programs and computer cuts the pieces. The pieces will be cut from 1/4” clear acrylic (plexiglass). I know I said I make the trays, but really I give the pieces to Jay, our Sri Lankan, Canadian lead fabricator, and Jay does the assembly. By the way Jay is a true sailor, having worked for many years on ocean going freighters, and literally having sailed the seven seas.
The computer cut pieces are bent, the sides are solvent welded on, the units are dressed up by flame polishing with a hydrogen/oxygen torch and voila!
And how did it all work out – great! One of the bottom trays holds all the books, leaving the other tray soon to be filled, which will not be a problem. The top tray lifts out easily, holds all the charts with room for a few more, is a big organizational improvement, and looks good to boot. A thing of beauty and a joy forever! Hey it’s my blog and I can wax poetic if I want.
The cover on the upper deck of Morning Star is the perfect spot for sea gulls to land, have a leisurely meal of mussels, or other products of the sea, or of nearby garbage cans, and then leave their calling card. I cannot tell you how many times I have washed the cover down. A simple hosing down is ineffective in cleaning the crud off. And so I declared war on the sea gulls.
My first attempt at keeping the gulls off the cover was aluminum pie pans on cord, strung in various ways across the cover. This was not the way to go. I quickly found that to make the pie pans work I needed a spiders web of cord to hold them in the right position as they always seemed to end up just dangling over the edge. Plus the put up, take down time was excessive.
My second attempt was to make some 2” thick plastic blocks by bolting together 1/2” black Starboard. These blocks could then be attached to the 1” railing going around the top deck of the boat. Holes were then drilled into the block to receive 1/4” round fiberglass rod. The holes were drilled at angles so when the fiberglass rods were inserted they would fan out above the boat cover, preventing the sea gulls from landing. And – it worked! The rods kept the gulls off and my cover remained clean. No longer did I have to remove, roll up, and store a shitty cover whenever I took the boat out. But I was never very satisfied with this solution, which is why it never made it to this blog. While the Starboard blocks could remain on the railing all year, they did not look good, and they had to be removed for the winter cover to be put on, and they were bulky and tough to find a place to store.
So on to my third attempt at building a better mouse trap. At some point I had discovered that the clamps on the upper rail, there to hold the bimini support frame (I have never used the bimini cover), had 1/4” holes, perfect to accept the 1/4” fiberglass rods I was using. From this discovery the current design evolved.
A k.i.s.s. solution.
A length fiberglass rod is inserted in the unused bimini frame clamps on the upper railing. The spring in the rod holds it in place. Attached to this side to side rod, via swiveling plastic blocks, are two fore and aft rods which project above the flat sea gull landing area of the cover. The swiveling blocks allow the whole affair to be rotated so all the rods are parallel with each other, allowing for easy storage.
Bimini FrameClamp with side to side rod inserted in it.
Swiveling blocks, with holes drilled that rods pass through. The black is electrical tape on the rods to position them relative to the blocks.
Amazingly – it works! The two rods are just as effective as the previous 6 in keeping the birds away. Even though the rear sloping part of the cover just has the rods lying on it the birds stay away. (This sloping area was never much of a problem but with the flat part of the cover protected I was concerned the gulls would migrate to the sloped area, but this has not happened.)
After proving up the system I did modify the side to side rod by cutting it in two, and then using a plastic block with a hole drilled in it to join the two pieces together. This shortened the overall length when taken down and folded, and made storage easier.
So come on in, grab some chunks of plastic and let your mind free range. And remember our new address Surrey Plasticworks Ltd now at 12198 86th Ave, Surrey BC.