Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Seal Harbor, Maine
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Drop-in propane locker for small sail boats?
I am building myself a propane locker for our Islander 28. I am a retired boat builder / composite engineer. I have an older Islander 28 that my wife and I sail along the Maine coast. We want to install a propane heater and convert the alcohol stove to propane. After considering several options I have decided to build a "drop-in" propane locker that will consume the aft 26 inches of the quarter birth. It will accommodate a pair of 5 pound fiberglass propane tanks, regulator and solenoid shutoff valve, be sealed from the interior of the boat and have an overboard drain. It will be installed in the starboard cockpit seat and will have a double hatch configuration that seals the locker from the weather and a second "internal" hatch that seals the propane compartment from everything else.
I am "retired" and enjoy designing and engineering "stuff". It occurs to me that there are many smaller, older, sail boats that suffer from the same lack of space the Islander 28 does for retrofitting a propane locker. I know we will not miss the full length of the quarter birth and I suspect that is true for many other owners.
I want this locker to be "drop in" and easily removable so if it is installed in a location that blocks access it will not create a permanent obstruction. The actual locker will be removable by disconnecting hoses, removing a few fasteners and and lifting it out through its exterior, flush cockpit seat hatch. As I considered this design's application to other small sail boats it occurred to me it might solve this same problem for others.
I am going to build it. I am going to build it as a fiberglass part that is ultimately produced from a mold. I want it to be a "finished" component and am wondering if I should build the molds to a standard that will allow me to produce more than the one I intend to install on Tundra Down.
Does this idea appeal to anyone else?