Long, Rambling Musings on P26 Improvements
I probably wrote this as much to help clarify my own thoughts (which are pretty jumbled by all of the options) as to bore anyone else with my conundrums, BUT....
If any of you have the time and inclination, I'd appreciate your thoughts and opinions on some changes and (hopefully) improvements I'd like to make on our Pearson 26. Typically, the boat is used for overnight or weekend trips for my wife and I, and we'd like to do one or two two-week long trips each year in the future. We VERY rarely have guests, and when we do it's always been for a few hours' day sail, so keeping comfortable (which is already a stretch) sleeping accommodations for four or five people doesn't really factor into our goals for the boat; we'd like to turn it into a nice little practical pocket cruiser for the two of us on a budget. The headsails are hanked on, the main and headsail halyards are not led aft, and we don't have an autotiller or tamer; let's leave the "make it easy to sail" discussions and goals for another time. She sails well as is and, although I'd like to single hand very soon, right now I'd just like some help with living ergonomics.
As it seems with all things I've done so far on the boat, trying to improve one small thing seems to snowball and require doing something ELSE first to make that initial improvement possible. Here we go...
1. Installed Thetford MSD porta-potti w/ pumpout and vent fittings. HIGHLY recommended. No holding tank issues, good for 40-50 flushes (never came close, and don't plan to). Works great.
2. Got freshwater system working. New fittings on tank, new hand-pump sink faucet, new hoses.
1. Install permanent two-burner alcohol stove. My Coleman dual-fuel stove makes me nervous on board. Just scored an Origo 4000 on eBay in decent shape for a good price; cleaned it up and just made my morning coffee on it. Worked great. Heated a quart of water to 210 in under 8 minutes. Psyched.
2. A better way to keep food cold/cool. We currently use a very large double-insulated Igloo cooler which works great, but it lives on the sole or quarterberth 'cause it won't fit anywhere else.
2. Install some form of solar charging. Just got the Renogy 50w starter kit, and it's currently charging my motorcycle battery (as a test.. non-boat related) beautifully and surprisingly quickly on a very cloudy day.
3. Move lame 1" funnel-type RV water fill currently located on hanging locker inside cabin to a deck fill location. The easiest place to do this would either be through the deck into the hanging locker, or on the opposite side of the boat near the head.
In the first pic, QuarterAftAngle, you can see what is currently on the boat. The small sliding table atop the nav table/cabinet was there when we bought the boat, and I can't figure out what it's for. Too small to mount a stove, except maybe a single burner. I know the boat had an alcohol stove as a factory option; was it a single on that sliding table? You can also see the main battery switch and fuse in the black panel on the side of the cabinet. If you look closely, you can see a partially drilled 2.5" hole to the right of the panel, but I guess the P.O. changed his mind halfway through drilling it. Way to plan ahead. You'll also see a hole in the fiberglass underneath the switch panel above the table; the guy the previous owner hired to install wind instruments decided it was easier to drill a big honkin' hole there and just leave the wires draped around the cabin than to spend the 10 minutes it took me to route them through already-existing pathways that kept them totally hidden. Beautiful.
OK.. here's where things snowball. Initial plan was just to do away w/ the sliding tabletop, cut the cutout for the stove in the nav table, and call it good. However, that black panel that houses the battery switch extends too far into the space under the cabinet and will interfere with the stove. Don't like a metal stove that close to exposed electrical contacts anyway. Actually, I'm not real fond of the exposed wiring and contacts, period. See the pic called Wiring.jpg. Soo.. gotta make some changes, and the boat should be rewired, anyway.
Next thought... Make a new cabinet like the current one (just two sheets of plywood, really.. not difficult), only about 6" wider so the stovetop can be mounted parallel to the centerline, then build a box for the battery switch (and maybe switch panel for the lights, radio, instruments, etc.?) and mount that on the shelf at table-level. See DanBox.jpg for switch box location idea.
Then, after searching around FOREVER for more ideas, I can across a pic of a P26 interior where someone had taken this a step further and turned 1/2 the quarterberth into a stove and icebox (maybe an actual refrigeration unit.. can't tell), with access to the locker underneath via side doors rather than the large opening top covers. See P26Galley.jpg. That person also put sliding door access to the shelf along the outside, and probably opened up the area to the outer hull. I don't think I want the expense and hassle of a refrig unit, but was wondering about a built-in icebox. Seems like the stove would be better towards the companionway/hatch, just for ventilation, and the icebox on the other side, no? I easily stand to lose 1/2 the quarterberth. Thoughts?
Another, and probably simpler and better, solution to the icebox dilemma would be to relocate my battery box (currently under the companionway step, seen in CabinLookAft.jpg) to the hold against the bulkhead inside the cockpit lockers, and gain access to that hold through the opening under the companionway. Dan Pfeiffer made a really nice folding step that slides out of the way to port behind the sink, but I don't see a reason why I couldn't just hinge the step to the side of the sink cabinet instead of the board underneath the companionway; it would lift up to the side to port, rather than up to aft. Much easer to build, and still gives access to the big opening underneath. Then, glass in two slides with a back stop, and a fairly large cooler could slide under that step partially into the hold, as Dan described on his great page(s). Any gotchas with this plan I'm not seeing?
On to electrical/solar stuff. Our boat, and I didn't grab any pictures of this, does have a shorepower hookup, and a battery charger mounted on the bulkhead inside the cockpit locker in the hold, coupled with an AC outlet on that same panel, and an AC outlet in the cabin. NEVER used any of it; the scare stores I've read about stray currents/corrosion coupled with how bad the regular DC wiring was screwed up by the P.O. (s?) made me even more hesitant to trust anything AC-related. The outboard (8hp Sailmaster) does have an unregulated charging system for the battery, and it works. Load on my boat is very light; VHF radio, wind/depth instruments, lighted compass, LED cabin lights ( three are red/white switchable), LED steaming and deck lights, and regular NAV lights.
Given our usage, I don't think I'd need to go to a two-battery bank, but I'm willing to do so if you think it's a good idea. My current battery, bought a few years ago, is an 80ah group 27 (I think.. I'm sure about the 80ah). The 50w Renogy kit I bought came with a very basic PWM controller, and it seems to be working well. The folks at Renogy told me it's fine to just connect the output of the controller directly to the battery, and it'll play nice with the outboard's charging system as long as the outboard doesn't put out more than 20 amps. It doesn't even come close. There are no fuses built in or included with the Renogy kit. Should I put one in between the positive terminal of the battery and the controller? What would I need to do if I DO ever use the shorepower system? When relocating the battery switch from the cabinet, would it be a good idea to incorporate a battery status monitor of some kind in the new location?
In the CabinLookAft.jpb, you can see two wood panels in the cabin near the headliner, one on each side of the companionway. The one to starboard houses a rat's nest of wires, the switch panel, and a separate toggle switch for the wind instrument. The one to port gives access to the depth meter and compass, and has a switch for the depth meter, a buzzer that doesn't seem to do anything, and a toggle switch for a missing (and not desired) electric water pump. There's also a buzzer located inside the port winch handle locker in the cockpit. Any ideas what the buzzers might be for? I've tried tracing the wires, but can't figure it out.
Re/ mounting the panel - probably off the stern rail, but not sure if I should explore a permanent mount, or if I should just stow it when sailing. The panel is approx. 25" x 22".
Well, those are my dilemmas (dilemmae?). Galley solutions, from simplest to most complicated..
1. Relocate battery switch and wiring, maybe to existing wood panel above nav table, then make cutout for stove in existing nav table, live with stupid holes in side, and call it good for now.
2. Build similar open-style nav table but 6" wider out of two pieces of plywood, cutout for stove mounted parallel to centerline. Better angle for standing with head out hatch while cooking.. no hunching over! Relocate battery switch as above, or build new box for mounting on shelf at rear of table along wall.
3. Build new cabinet per P26Galley.jpg.
What would you do? Any thoughts on any of the other ideas (deck water fill, solar panel mounting/incorporation w/ existing charging system(s), fear of shorepower, companionway step hinge location, icebox/refrig, single vs dual battery, rewiring and locating negative buss bar, panels... anything)?
All this 'cause I don't wanna use a Coleman stove!!!!!!
Thanks for any input, suggestions, thoughts, or personal abuse you'd like to share.
Best to you all,
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Here's to one of the best friends and companions I've ever had; the white GSD in my avatar. Passed away suddenly on Aug 14, 2017, at 9 1/2 years of age. We love and miss you, Mel, and we will be together again.
Last edited by bblument; 09-08-2017 at 01:46 PM.