Design Considerations Fo Maximizing Storage
It had been awhile since I last posted a meaningful post. I have been spending the last few months selling off things and preparing to go full-time. Which basically means I have deconstructed "HG".
I knew when I bought "HG", that a 1980 something boat - things would need to be updated. While the teak interior looked grand from the photo perspective, there were significant flaws and defects that if you spent enough time - would be discovered. Rotting and various water stains at the edges where the furniture meets the bilge, indents and scratches, and so forth. I knew it when I bought her, but it was the perfect platform for a vision that I had. Thus, I thought I would share some thoughts, pictures, and ideas for everyone else.
I had to tackle the lighting issue by defining the type of lighting I wanted and how I wanted to control it.
1. Requirement AC and DC overhead lighting. How many times have you had to work on the DC system but not had any other light other than a small portable lamp or a flashlight.
2. Lighting with the purpose of being multi-functional.
For the AC lighting options are confined. Fluorescent is the good ole stand by (avail for DC as well)- but the lighting thrown is suited for spot lighting and per maintenance much more involved with the transformer and the bulb. Recessed bulb lighting a no brainer for not installing as headroom is limited on most vessels 40ft and shorter. Halogen lighting - simply expensive to begin with and the amount of heat put out versus the moisture laden environment makes them impractical except for perhaps accent lighting for areas under where the cabin top is.
A practical solution is using Xenon lighting. They still put out heat (much like CFMs do). That was my selection. Reason being they can be mounted in the overhead and produce heat but not enough to make you sweat if you are directly under one.
Regards to styling. Nothing is worse than the sub par designs we are offered and the prices we are forced to pay for them because "its marine and your selection is limited". Most flush or near flush Xenon lighting can be converted to LED if you are a DIY type and the selections you make - the outcome could be as little as $20 per light. See my sailnet post: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electr...ssive-diy.html
The benefit of Xenon is that if you live in a colder climate - your energy usage can be offset by the heat produced and not having to run AC portable heaters (which most have a lifespan of maybe 2yrs and always cut off at the wrong time). That was my requirement to living aboard - multi function - I would of considered halogens. However, in a kitchen design I did in Redmond, WA - standing underneath Halogen lights immediately raised the temp some 20 degrees over ambient and because they run so hot - any moisture from propane cooking - could make them explode, plus for a low height ceiling (such as on a sailboat) the lighting is TOO bright.
3. Re-think just re-covering your bulkheads and ceilings. Storage is a premium on any sailing vessel as the larger she is the more you want to pack into her.
On "HG" my two aft staterooms (berths) are actually larger than the V-berth, the compromise coming from no vertical storage options. So when guests come on-board for a weekend everything is in duffel bags and those bags are forced to be at the edge of berth or slung into the saloon.
One of the creative options I found - was when I recovered the bulkhead panels that are patterned around the cockpit. Not all boats have those kind of panels, as my Catalina 27 - it was just fiberglass. ON mine it was L shaped panel.
I did two things after seeing the water damage and mold. I used FRP panels from Home Depot ($25 for a large sheet of I think 10'X 6' in dimensions) to replace the ply. The bonus - cost effectiveness as no need to treat it. It is thinner than ply on all fronts and easier to cut to size.
TIP: Use a smooth metal saw blade or a steak knife to cut and trim.
Since I had a 1/4" to work with, I used two layers of Refletix insulation either doubled up on side or one layer on one side and another on the other side. Especially in the aft berths where engine noise is at the premium - it does provide dampening. To secure the insulation - I just used vinyl flooring glue as it it was cheaper than any other glue I could of used.
I then covered both sides with vinyl. And here is the tip I think give a umpff to storage. On the interior / exposed side - instead of just glueing canvas on, the main piece of canvas I sewed in storage pockets. Now guests have room to slide in flip-flops, books, phones, media players etc and have them readily accessible.
Here - I split the cockpit covering in half for ease of install so there ends up being 4 sets of two layers of storage pockets.
I did the same with the coaming under the settee sitting:
3. There is hidden storage available - be creative!
Even on my Catalina 27 - there was a huge hidden storage potential. On Catalinas they are two piece designs. The hull and the interior that inserted into. Note - never design to attach to the hull as a hull flexes and will put stress lines on the hull (especially on the vertical place - horizontal ok - but never a long strip). My rule of thumb is 1/2 inch or an inch if you can do it.
ON "HG", it is a full FRP design, meaning that the interior is synonymous and integral to the hull. But, within all the cabinets etc - they have hidden space, and the aft berth hides a ton of hidden storage if you realize how often it used and where it is.
ON "HG" the storage in the aft berths is where the bedding meets the upslope of the hull. There is a small crevice created for storage - but it can be built up (my current project). In the saloon - the wall cabinets were originally on target of about 75% on optimization of the storage available. Reason why - still a mass produce boat, albeit hand crafted . 3 feet was lost horizontally to allow easy in and out of the storage cabinets.
One of the things I did to support new Waeco refrigeration was increasing the height of the saloon seating to 38". I also extended the L shape where seating runs toward the centerline.
Additional insulation and using PC fans - to allow better airflow were included - no pics at this point as I am finishing the install. I also saved up because I did the saloon seating with balsa wood and fiberglass and did a faux wood paint job to it. It almost looks as good as the real thing. More pics later.
A additional thing on storage. Aft berths - calculate the amount of useable space if you were to sleep there. You can extend a nav station, a head, or galley by being creative and inserting a cabinet that doesn't conflict with sleeping room and disguise it cleverly. For instance the galley on the port side. Will be taking a insert to create a coffee make insert with additional storage.
If you have the patience you can follow my trials, tribulation, progress and the final results on my blog link in the signature.
My diesel Arctic heater works ok. Beyond the intial start-up smell, it works but is not routed into the primary areas well enough - such as the v-berth has no outlet, but the forward head becomes a sauna. I used last year, two ceramic heaters and electric blankets. Problem with the heaters - they are in the way one rock and roll by a passing vessel or wave they shut off.
For heating - while only AC (but I have a generator) was a $199 electric fireplace heater. It'll be built into the starboard side cabinetry of the starboard saloon. It'll provide both ambiance as well as 4200 BTUS of heat. I'll install a new set of ducts with PC fans to direct the airflow to heat the areas not easily heated providing a complete coverage and without the moisture produced by diesel or propane.
Lastly the lighting. I covered why I went with Xenon lighting and using them for both DC and AC applications. I am also using RGB LED strips in the following applications:
1. 76 foot for exterior lighting of the hull. Most of my transits are usally at night. Its what I call chill time and less traffic but I want to be really visible. RGB lighting allows me to configure the lighting scheme according to fog, rain, boondocked or entertain purposes. Additionally the light needed when attempting to dock.
2. Mood / accent lighting - same as above, but being able to toggle the lighting in terms of color and intensity based on in port or underway saves tons on the current "switchable lighting only available in red and white and almost a $100 a pop (or more)".
3. Critical but battery aware lighting - again - to maintain a mode of the conditions.
Currently about $1700 in strip and module lighting but considering about 60% less than norm. Last year I spent about $1200 just on single light / color LED fixtures that I am now replacing with RGB.
Well, long post - some ideas etc.
Light where you need it
While not yet a boat owner I've found that a head mounted lamp follows you around to almost any position. Ambient lighting for some reason is always behind you and throwing precisely what you want to see into shadow.
Some companies sell head mounted lamps but I found two sealed 6V lead acid batteries put in series will push a 12V 10W bulb for 2 hours (about as long as I am willing to hunch over something before throwing a fit) or a 20W bulb (bright enough to bicycle at night in a dark rain swept forest.)
I love the ideas for LED ambient lighting that changes between navigation and entertaining. I'd say the idea is "brilliant."
I sit on a hill where I watch commercial ships and tugs transit between Vashon and West Seattle.. - they are always lit up like a xmas tree. If I can can detect them 20 miles out from land - imagine what it does for your visibility otherwise. Plus being able to program it... Blue BTW - is the most eye catching. Something in terms of lighting I use on my airstream as well.
More shots etc of it all in action later..
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