My Impressions

Page 2










When it is time to put up the curtain just moving the corner magnet  near the mounted magnet causes it to snap into place and hold tight. To remove the curtain just grab it and pull and the magnets will release. When it is time to stow the curtains the corner magnets will grab each other assisting in folding them straight. This has proven to work very well. No sore thumbs trying to make the snaps click in and no torn cloth when trying to remove them.  I expanded on the idea and also made similar covers for the berth portlights.


Magnets purchased from Applied Magnets.



Privacy Curtains


Another feature that has worked well is the attachment of the privacy curtains on the sliding forward doors and across the windshields. When moored at a marina or such it is common practice to use a curtain of some type to block the view. As mentioned before we didn't want permanent drapes because of their bulk when in the open position. The removable curtains I have usually seen often use snaps hold them in place. These work but I am not a big fan of snaps in this situation as they can sometimes be a problem to both fasten and remove. Plus, reaching to the top of the windshields was going to be a stretch anyway.


I decided using magnets might be a suitable method. I knew nothing about magnets other than the one for the windshield would need to be very strong since the cover is fairly large. But the web provided the education I needed and I located some very strong 1/2" round by 1/8" thick magnets. I ordered half of these with a tapered hole in the center to accommodate a screw. The other half were just flat disk.


The photo above on the left is the top corner of one sliding door. Because I needed zero clearence so they would pass behing the weather striping I installed four of the magnets by countersinking them flush in a 1/2" hole. A screw was used to hold them in place.  On the doors curtains I sewed one of the flat disk into the material of each corner.  The one piece windshield cover has 12 magnets sewn in (yes, I have my own sewing machine).



Photo is looking down on top.  Drip rail is to the right and folded down VHF antenna is to its left




Drip Rails

An item I omitted when building was drip rails. Why I didn't do this while in the shop is beyond me. I think I convinced myself they wouldn't be necessary. The very first time we were in a light shower my mistake was obvious.  I decided a simple fix would be to add a small runner down the saloon top near the edge. Not only would it channel water aft but could also serve as a handhold when standing on the side decks. 


I really didn't want to drag out the epoxy and paint to make 10' long wood strips so I looked for an alternative. I decided on a 1" x 2" x 3/4" made from PVC. This type of material is available at lumberyards and is use as a substitute for exterior wood molding. It is paintable but had a semi-gloss white finish that matched very well so I didn't bother. I ripped off the two outer edges for use. The cut edge was placed down, chalked and the whole thing was screwed in place. Solved the drip problem and rain water is allowed to run off the top aft once past the windows. 




Manual Wiper

Another problem had to do with windshield wipers. I had originally installed an electric wiper on the helm side but trying to control cost a little I decided on a manual unit on the other side. From the pilot's seat you have decent vision out the single windshield so I didn't feel the need for another $100 wiper if it didn't benefit me

But the "me" in that statement was the problem. The Admiral decided if she was going to sit there she too wanted a clear view AND a manual crank handle wasn't going to get it.

Enough said.



And talking about the Admiral's needs bring me to the next omission. My time spent in the Cabin Skiff may somewhat have distorted my thought process concerning what is needed compared to what isn't. One item I decided wasn't necessary was an inverter. I reasoned we had a generator and on the occasions 120v was needed we would just run it. Why deplete the batteries if there was an alternative? Plus we have a small plug-in 100-watt unit and it will power the 19" LCD TV we have onboard. What else did we need?


But this logic soon proved faulty. The main problem is I am very conscientious of the noise created by the generator. In the mornings if we are anywhere near other boats of even homes on the shore I will not run it. Just don't want to disturb anyone, as I know how aggravated it makes me when I am on the other end of this situation. So  we were finding is at least 50% of the time I would not run the generator and we went without the use of 120V. My wife is a trooper and she said it was no big deal but still I could tell she was disappointed. She likes a morning cup of coffee and/or heating up her hair rollers if needed. Since I do not partake in either coffee or tea (or hair rollers!) the need was completely overlooked in my planning. I came to the decision although not "necessary", her stay on the boat would be much more enjoyable if we had one. That alone is enough to justify the cost. I added a 1500-watt inverter. 







Power Storage Vent



One of my design changes was to lengthen the cabin, as we wanted more living space. As a result, the fuel tanks are located under the deck "inside" the saloon. Knowing the dangers of gasoline fumes I built the two 40 gallon plastic tanks into a below the deck sealed chamber. They are isolated from all electrical sources of spark and passively vented through a vent grills on each side of the hull.


This seems to work well when on the water but I had concerns about storage. Although plastic fuel tanks hold the fuel they are not vapor proof (neither or rubber fuel lines) and fumes will penetrate the tank and be slowly be released into the surrounding air. While sitting in a protected shed the passive ventilation would do little to expel them. And even if the vapors did not reach an explosive level in the chambers I was concerned the odor would leach up into the cabin and make everything smell like gasoline.


To prevent this I decided I needed a power vent that I could attach when stored. I used a surplus brushless 12V-cooling fan I had sitting in the shop. I mounted it in a plastic Wal-Mart shoebox. On the edge if the box I attached foam weather stripping to create a better seal and used a small bungee cord to hook it to the grill. I plugged the power cord in to a timer set to run for 30 minutes and then shut off for about two hours. When on the trailer in the shed I just plug this in and let it automatically exhaust the fumes



Automatic Charging Relay


One of the challenges with a boat of this type is maintaining charged batteries. I installed a 40-amp charger that will run from shore power or the generator. It functions well with fairly fast charge times. But on days when we are underway I wanted to allow the outboard to handle these duties if possible. A little research brought me to the Blue Seas SI-Series Automatic Charging Relay. When installed it acts as a server sending the charge voltage where needed. For example, when the outboard is running and has the starting battery at full charge the relay will then sample the house battery to test it's condition. If below a predetermined threshold it automatically transfers power from the O/B to the house battery. An instrument panel light serves as an indicator when the batteries are combined. The relay maintains the higher voltage until the house bank is totally charged or the O/B is shut down. When that occurs the relay opens and the two batteries are isolated. This prevents the house load from depleting the starting battery.


But the relay is also "bi-directional". When the engine is stopped and the shore power charger is activated the above process is reversed. As the house bank is charged the relay samples the starting battery. If the starting battery's condition is low it will activate and charge it. This is a great feature as one charger can manage two batteries and insure during storage all batteries are kept at full charge. And this all occurs automatically and requires no owner input.


We don't tend to use a lot of power at night but do employ lighting and the LCD television for several hours. So far, if we are running for four or five hours a day the outboard is able to replenish our nighttime usage. The relay added about $100 to the electrical system cost but for us it was a sound expenditure. It goes a long way in helping manage battery charging.





When I built the Cabin Skiff I installed a Bomar hatch in the berth top. I admit it was one of their low-end plastic units that cost about $225 (in 1999) but assumed it would be serviceable.


In reality it has been a continuous problem - it leaks. Not a lot but enough to be very annoying dripping on your chest as you sleep. After removing it and re-bedding it several times over the years I finally realized the problem is with the design.  When closed the gasket built-in to the frame does not totally contact the hatch and will allow rain to seep in. 


Today you can easily spend $600 on a medium quality hatch - and I needed three.  I find this price absolutely insane and decided just to fabricate my own. If they leak I will be no worse off and still have $1800 to spend on something else. 

The hatch in the photo is on SeaQuinn's berth top. I used 3/8" MDO for the top surface and white oak for the frame. On the berth top surface I allowed a white oak "rim" to protrude about 1 1/4" up. The sides of the hatch are sized to allow the top of the hatch contact the rim when closed. Adding weather striping between the two provides a good seal. Plus it is strong enough I can stand on it without fear of damage.







The hinges were made from aluminum angle and uses a 1/4" bolt as the pivot pin. This also allows the hatch to be removed without disturbing the bedding of the attach screws. As an experiment I "powder coated" the hinges white just to see how it holds up.






The hatches are held closed by a window sash latch form Home Depot. These are cast from aluminum and seem strong enough to handle the load. When installed correctly they pull the hatch down when latched and enhance the weather stripping seal.











To hold them open I fabricated sliding hatch adjusters from scrap aluminum bar, round, angle and flat stock I had sitting around the shop. I used standard threaded knobs to tighten a pinch block (made from 3/4" aluminum bar) and hold them in the desired position.  The foam weather stripping is the yellowish line on the inside of the hatch.  It was installed there rather than on the top surface of the rim thinking it would be less susceptible to damage.


For each hatch I had to buy the sash latches and the threaded knob - the rest was fabricated from scrap. The total cost per hatch was about $10 and none of them has leaked a drop.





I added this item to this list because I found it somewhat bazaar! Without air conditioning fans become an important part of personal comfort. I wanted to permanently install at least four (two in the berth and one each at the helm and Admiral's seat) and perhaps two more in the saloon. And like all things marine, fans sold for boat use come at a premium price. Eventually I may go with the higher end fans but for now I decided just to use standard automotive units. In looking at these I was surprised at the limited selection available.  I decided to buy a couple at Wal-Mart - easy to return if didn't like them. 


For $11 you can't expect much but it appears they are a reasonable value. What I found interesting, when I was messing with mounting one at the helm I swung the cord across the compass. The card rotated. Since it wasn't plugged in I thought that odd. Fooled with it a little more and found whenever the wire got near the compass the heading changed. I grabbed one of the neodymium magnets I had sitting there and it "stuck" to the insulated wire. Obviously the wire used to connect this to the 12v source was made of steel! I opened up the inline switch so I could see bare wire and it looked like copper. Apparently, in order to reduce cost they have used copper coated steel wire it this zip cord material. Maybe the stuff is around but I have never heard of it before. Makes me wonder how many other appliances and such are sold with what has to be very inferior if not unsafe cords. 





Swim Platform Ladder


An incidental item that has proven to be a good choice is the swim platform ladder. We had added a commercial swim platform to our former express cruiser and it came with ladder we liked very much. For that reason I decided to add the same to SeaQuinn.


The telescoping ladder stores completely out of the way under the platform, which is nice because it is not a tripping hazard and takes up no top space. We often enjoy just sitting back there dangling our feet in the water and relaxing. Even when extended many top mounted ladders tend to have protrusions make sitting difficult. And although this unit is below the deck it is still easy to deploy from above.


Another added benefit is because of it length it works well for boarding while on the trailer. The hull sits fairly high when under tow but just dropping the ladder down allows us to climb aboard with minimal fuss.


It is made by Windline and is model SM-3XOC. It retails for about $180 but as usual can often be purchased online at a discount. But for us, even at full price, it is worth the money.





Final Thoughts


As I mentioned at the beginning of this section our experience with the boat is still somewhat limited. Ninety hours is not a lot of running time but combined with 18 days of living onboard it has given us a taste of what lies ahead - and we like it!


For me it has opened up an entirely new type of cruising. With the Cabin Skiff it almost always seems to be a race. I set a travel goal and then run hard to get to the destination an often after just a short stay turn around and return. Don't get me wrong I truly love doing this but I am finding there are other ways to spend multiple days on the water.


With SeaQuinn the experience becomes very laid back. The slow pace allows more time for just relaxing. For example, little happens fast when going 7 MPH so the Cabin Skiff's constant vigil of scanning the water ahead for debris is greatly reduced. Also, because of the slower speed we tend to not have a set destination. Our favorite cruising ground is Kentucky Lake / Barkley Lake. We normally just drop the boat in and then say, "Where to?"

We just cruise from marina to marina, stopping for a meal or just touring the slips and looking at the wide variety of boats. Along the way we often run close to the shore and look at the many beautiful lakeside homes. If it is hot we may stop and swim for a while. It is not unusual to run 8 hours a day but still not really go anywhere.


At the end of the day we anchor out. Often we will sit in the open cockpit and read while we watching the sunset and then move to the saloon and watch something on television. If we are not in antenna reception range I have my small netbook computer loaded with a selection of movies and we connect it to the TV and watch. 


One of the boats features I think we enjoy the most is the shower. Nothing feels better at the end of a hot day than a shower. With only six gallon of hot water we can't take LONG showers but we have found it totally workable and have yet to run out. Also, having a stocked refrigerator is nice too and not having to worry about ice and coolers is a huge plus.


So I guess you get the idea we are really enjoying the boat AND the different type of cruising it brings. I had these goals in mind when I started the project but had no guarantee how well the True Grit would fulfill them. Now the jury is in and the verdict is SeaQuinn is guilty of exceeding my expectations.