Boat Projects

Over the years we did a number of upgrades to Chaika, such as adding a skylight for the main cabin and a small opening hatch for light and ventilation in the head. Here, all the hatches are open for ventilation, and the boarding ladder is rigged.  The life raft canister is on the hatch turtle we constructed and the new grab rails can be seen on the dodger.

Up in the bows we added netting to keep the foresails (and daughters) on board and stow the boat hook there.

Here is how we would stow the two small kayaks (a.k.a. "deck storage units") and the solar panel when underway.

The boarding ladder in the stowed position showing the tubing we had welded across the top (it was a stock ladder with a big hooked top) and the fitting we fabricated for the genoa track that it attaches to.

One of the first projects we undertook after getting the boat was to lower the v-berth 9" and put a full 1/2" thick plexiglass skylight in the fore hatch. This turned a dark shelf of a berth into a well lit, comfortable cabin.  A favorite place on a rainy day.

We have a block on the end of the bowsprit for a pennant that is used to take our mooring lines and the mooring buoy away from the topsides: it is nice to finally realize a benefit of having a bowsprit.

Chaika needed a full set of sails when we got her so we bought a good sailmaking machine from Sailrite and over the years made a mainsail, staysail, yankee, storm jib, and storm trysail from their kits.

Sail loft in the living room and out the front door. We borrowed the gym floor at school to sew up the mainsail and yankee.

When the time came to replace the old cabin cushions we decided to hire it out to professionals. All this do-it-yourself stuff only goes so far.

Chaika came with a substantial flopper stopper made up of a welded frame with thick rubber flaps.  We deployed it continuously down the coast and it was always worthwhile. We used our whisker pole, shortened up all the way, held up by the staysail halyard, and prevented from swinging using the jib sheets.

The boat came with a traveller across the bridge deck, and after the loaded block almost took off a daughter's finger, we removed it and shifted the mainsheet to the end of the boom and boomkin. Here you can see the clear bridge deck.

We came up with a lifejacket stowage solution we really like: pockets in the cockpit weathercloths allow the pfds to be easily accessible when needed, and to provide comfortable backrests when not.

We traded our 8' hard dinghy for a used inflatable down in Mexico, which was much more practical for use as a snorkeling tender and for the longer distances to shore, but here in the Pacific Northwest we preferred a nice rowing boat. This is a 9'3" dinghy we bought as a kit from Cascade Yachts in Portland that is joy to row with 7' oars and actually stows on the foredeck.

One of the features we liked about Chaika was that it did not come with a staysail boom (or teak decks). The foredeck is clear, and a favorite place to hang out at anchor.

Here is a small table for the cockpit that we rig with detectable hinges. Note the stern anchor roller built into the boomkin and the hawse pipe for the rode.

For shelter from the weather underway we have what we call a "sail awning" that zips to the aft edge of the dodger and extends back to the boom gallows, but at anchor we use the boom tarp pictured below. It has a two section PVC pipe for the forward edge and lashes down to the gallows aft. This photo also shows how we could move around the flexible solar panel.

The boom tarp is particularly nice for those occasionally rainy Pacific Northwest anchorages.

Adding grab bars to the sides and back edge of the dodger was something we had wanted to do for years. The last time the dodger needed remaking provided the perfect time to do it. The welder at the local boatyard did a real nice job with them and we sure like hanging onto them in rough conditions!

We keep all of our electronics dry down below. The laptop (strapped down with a bungee) is plugged into an older Garmin GPS which gives us electronic charting with  NavX software. The VHF and Radar are also wired into the GPS for DSC and to display waypoints.

We recently added a wireless trackpad to control the laptop from the cockpit. It stays in a ziplock bag with a cut down mousepad and allows us to control the electronic charting without stumbling down the companionway.

We are not fans of blocking the companionway with swing out electronics. We had the radar down by the laptop but recently moved it to the overhead next to the companionway to reach the controls. The deep shelf above the flashlight is a dry, secure place to stow iPhones: within reach of the cockpit and when down below.

After years of hauling ice, we finally installed refrigeration. We cut out the old icebox liner with it's minimal insulation and did it up proper: 4 to 6" of insulation all around, even the lid.  We lost half of the inside volume, but the compressor (located in the outboard locker beneath the forward settee seat) draws only a minimum of amps.  We upgraded the house bank to 245 amp hours with two six volt batteries, and the old 32 watt flexible solar panel keeps it all charged up for summer cruising.

We recently completed mapping out the wiring and plumbing on the boat. It is amazing how 40 years of added circuits and plastic tubing can create such a confusing tangle. Getting it all sorted out and cleaned up felt like an important boat maintenance project.