Friday, August 10, 2012

Under the companionway

Like most small boat owners and the owners of larger boats for that matter, there is an endeavour to optimise the space available. Here you can see how the space under the companionway is used on Little Grace.

The flare, in a handy position protected from my big feet by an overhang, is white. The black round shape you can see is the back of the Whale pump, which is accessed from the cockpit. The rescue line is held in place by a fire extinguisher holder.

The step is also the cover for the battery and a convenient place to stand a water bottle when poring water from the tap at the bottom. The step and the bilge access have Treadmaster on but the rest of the sole is varnished for ease of cleaning. The fire extinguisher and fire blanket are away from but within reach of the cooker and, like the other things here, can be accessed by reaching in from the cockpit.
When Little Grace was purchased she had a water tank under the cockpit with an external inlet. The tank was condemned for use as storage for drinking water and in its day its weight, when full, must have altered the trim of the boat in an undesirable way. Added to which filling it up would have meant getting alongside where there was a hose for drinking water.

The old water tank was removed and we use the 10L cans you can see, which can be carried to the source of water if necessary. The water inlet is now used for the fuel pipe or capped when the boat is unattended (Open story in new window).

As the water bottles are portable they can also be used as movable ballast, namely moved to the cabin sole between the cooker and the Porta Potty to bring the trim forward when pushing through waves. If you click here you will see a cutaway in the edge that retains the cabin seats at the aft of the cooker and Porta Potty boxes. If the water is moved forward a wooden strip, normally kept in the quarter birth, is placed in them and therefore across the cabin to restrain the water bottle and anything else placed in that area. This arrangement has only been used once so far but in terms of practicality it worked well.

There is enough space for the addition of bottled water or soda. Although this can easily be stowed elsewhere there it is both secure and easy to access. The Clear pipe is from the electric bilge pump, which is located under the bilge access hatch you can see in the first photo.
From the shape of the wood behind the separate and removable step that fits over the battery, you can see that the water bottles are very well restrained and not likely to move from their position. (Click here to open a photo showing the basicstructure in a new window)
The switch for the Whale hand blige pump is located on the port side, you can just see it in the first picture. Whereas the electric pump is centered under the cabin sole each of these pipes goes to the glassed in and painted keel heads, which are lower than the rest of the bilge.

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