This is the final installment regarding the cabin makeover. I must say, I really REALLY like when things work … and the new head works very well! It took a little time to cut, position and connect all of the hoses but it was well work it! There were a couple of stressful moments as the wires were connected because nothing seemed to work correctly. The installation instructions were certainly not very helpful (par for the course now a days). There was an unexplained wire that was ignored in the instructions along with no mention of a necessary connection or two. In the end, all was well and I was able to successfully test all 4 flush options and there were no leaks anywhere. The head is now bolted to the floor and the control panel is mounted in an accessible area. This project is officially complete. I only have photos of the “After”. I thought I had taken some photos of the “Before” when I bought the boat last year but apparently I did not. You are just going to have to take my word that this is a huge improvement! I am now much more motivated to plan those overnight trips!
The new cushions were a little challenging to make and they certainly are not perfect but they look much better than the old cushions. I used 4″ open cell foam and sleeping on these will be no problem. I have zero experience with a sewing machine and putting fabric together so this was not the easiest thing for me. The sailrite.com video on how to make V-Berth cushions was extremely helpful and they made it look so easy. I had to rip a few seams after some initial miscalculations but in the end, I’m relatively happy with the result. I learned the hard way on what side of the seam ripper points down. My wife can attest to the string of colorful language that filled our living room when I realized that I not only ripped the seam but also the piece of fabric that I had so carefully fabricated to the necessary precise dimensions. The language got even more colorful when I realized that one of the cushions I made was for the wrong side meaning more seams had to be ripped. One day, I may revisit the starboard cushion and redo the zipper side that goes against the starboard side. Nobody sees it so I guess it really doesn’t matter but I know it is there … and now you do too. The rectangular cushions were a piece of cake to make in comparison to the v-berth cushions. The old life jackets had served their purpose and I decided to buy new offshore rated life preservers. I wanted the life jackets mounted in an accessible area. I used velcro to attach them to the starboard and port sides of the cabin. They can be easily moved and released if necessary. I have 6 adult sized and 2 child sized preservers. This should cover the majority of configurations that my boat will encounter. The photos below show the final results.
All in all, I am very happy with the end result in the cabin. I may hire a finish carpenter to patch up some of the awkward transitions with the tongue and groove maple. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it can be finished a lot better than my skill set allows. I guess the other option is to get out the old dremel tool and see what kind of creative ‘shaping’ I can do in order to better finish off the transitions. I could probably mess with some of these things for a very long time but I’m ready to go fishing .. the tuna are knocking at the door!!
Speaking of fishing, and that is the underlying purpose of all of this work, I added an electric Scotty down rigger to the stern. It’s all wired up and ready to go. For those of you not familiar with a down rigger, a down rigger is a device that allows you to get the ‘bait’ down to the depth where the fish are holding while trolling. Most trolling lures work the top of the water enticing fish to come up and hit them. There are lures that are designed to ‘swim’ down to a depth of up to roughly 20′ or 30′ but what do you do when the fish are holding at 100′ or 200′? A down rigger has a weight (varies but 12 pounds is common) that connects to the end of the wire line. A special clip is attached to the line near the weight that holds the line from your rod. The clip holds the fishing line snugly but releases the line when a fish takes the bait. The weight with the clip is lowered into the water and the wire line is released from the down rigger using gravity and a brake. When the wire line reaches the desired depth, the brake is fully engaged so that the weight and the clip are at the desired depth. If a fish hits the bait, the line releases from the clip which is attached to the line holding the weight and you are now fighting just the fish. The weight can be reeled in by turning a knob to the on position. There is a special snubber on the wire within 5′ to 6′ of the weight. When this snubber goes through the pulley, the down rigger automatically turns off. The rest of the line can be raised by pushing and holding down a button. Raising the weight after getting a fish on is important because you don’t want the fish to get tangled into the wire line as he gets reeled in. The down rigger can be a very effective tool to use when the fish are reluctant to come up and hit topwater lures or baits. It gives an effective option when trolling. When the fish are located, everyone can then throw their jigs and heavy lures to the depth holding the fish.
So what is next? There is really only one other project that I have on the docket. The existing enclosure has vinyl that is fogged, scratched and difficult to see through. I’ve got all the material to sew up a new enclosure so I’ll be taken the project on now. I expect this project to take about 2 weekends of work. It’s nothing that will keep me off the water while I wrap up.