Miscellaneous Small Projects

 &  & 

Note: click any images to enlarge

Rigid Windscreen & Sprayhood (1999)

When we purchased Maringret she had an old canvas sprayhood which we are very glad we don’t have a picture of. It possibly was the original in which case it was doing quite well. The material was quite stretched and so quite ineffective when raised. The transparent material was not (effective), so when it was raised the forward deck and anything in front of it disappeared. We found out that Ö-Metall who were the original supplier of the rigid windscreens for the Maxi 95 still had some available.

Friends cautioned us that it was fool hardy to fit a rigid windscreen: they claimed it would fog up and block any view. Well after 4 years it has never fogged over when mooring. I suppose if we put a boiling kettle immediately behind it then it would fog over but we don’t tend to do that when we are mooring.

After 4 years we are very pleased with the rigid windscreen. On long passages it blocks the wind on the body much more effectively than the old collapsible windscreen did – perhaps this is because being rigid it deflects the wind upward and away from the cockpit area. The result is that any crew are much less tired due to exposure, when standing behind the rigid screen your body is effectively sheltered. And when we occaionally take green water on the foredeck, any making it as far back as the windscreen is efficiently deflected outwards and away. Additionally the rigid screen provides a solid grab point when coming from or going onto the foredeck – as it is a big step from the foredeck down into the cockpit on a Maxi 95. When we lead our reefing lines back to the cockpit we placed the windscreen on teak with gaps cut into them to allow the lines to run through.

When we ordered the rigid windscreen there was an option to order, from a different manufacturer, a canvas sprayhood. We ordered this rather than try and get one made to fit. The supplied sprayhood was not as good a fit. We tried to discuss this with the sailmaker who had made it but they really weren’t interested. It has fatigued through in a couple of spots which we patched. The tubing used in it is 12 mm. When we have it remade we will specify that the tubes are to be converted to at least 25 mm as the upper edge of the sprayhood becomes a handhold for leaving or going to the foredeck. 12mm tube is slightly too flexible. When our cockpit cover was made it was with 25mm tubing and that is much more rigid.

New Mainsail With Reefing Lines (1999)

We decided to have a main with reefing lines lead back to the cockpit for safety while cruising. Also the mainsail that came with Maringret when we purchased her was quite “long in the tooth”, there wasn’t much structure left in the fabric so we decided to replace the sail when we replaced the boom. The new boom we ordered was actually for a Maxi 1000 and had the reefing lines fitted inside the boom. There was nothing wrong with the original boom other than we decided we wanted the ability to reef from the safety of the cockpit. We fitted a stainless steel collar around the base of the mast which had a number of eyes welded onto each side. These eyes took shackles to blocks that then directed the lines from the mast base back to jammers fitted in front of what had been the genoa winches but became the main winches for everything except the spinnaker (see the subsequent project to fit backing plates to the winches).

Lines Lead Back to Cockpit (1999)

Leading all the lines back to the cockpit required a number of different alterations: turning blocks were required at the base of the mast; the rigid windscreen had to be lifted enough for the lines to pass underneath of it; jammers had to be fitted to maintain tension on tightened lines. We fitted blocks of 4 jammers on each side and now wish we had fitted 5 per side as we could use the extra 2 for controlling the guys when we are cruising downwind for long periods. The jammers were fitted on teak blocks that raised them enough to let the lines clear the lip in the deck moulding that the windscreen sits on. One thing we can not handle due to not forseeing the need is being able to maintain tension on the genoa sheet while using the winch for other uses such as taking a reef in on the main. We would need to fit a jammer facing sideways towards the genoa sheet turning block.

Aside from the two short comings mentioned we have been very pleased with the new arrangement. Not having to go on deck in the middle of the night as the boat plunges and the water flies is a true relief. The crew now stays in the safety of the cockpit regardless, this is a major safety issue as the Maxi 95 cockpit must be one of the most sheltered cockpits made. Forgoing such safet seems very questionable indeed.

Cockpit Table Grab-Bar (1999)

We got this idea from Lennart’s Maxi 95 Red Heaven. A length of 25mm stainless tubing is bent in an upside “U” with the top portion additionally bent forward.

The instrument pod is mounted here (with the instrument cables travelling up through the stainless tubing. The top of the “U” rises above the top of the instrument pod in order to provide a handhold for entering or leaving the companionway. The grab-bar is fixed to the cockpit floor at the bottom of the stainless tube and also it is bolted to the forward end of the cokpit table. A sturdy ring is welded on this upper mounting bracket to serve as a a clip-on point for safety harnesses.

One minor problem is that we installed a slightly wider model of instrument pod anticipating we would be installing other instruments in years to come (which has not happened). The extra width of the instrument pod is just enough so we are always brushing it as we move by, this had lead to the trim being worn off which effect the water proofness. Other than that it seems that the grab-bar has always been there and we find it hard to imagine Maringret without it.

And yes we did replace those tacky stained teak blocks on the instrument pod with white plastic blocks.

Gas Locker & Gas Cutoff Solenoid (1999)

Our purchase survey highlighted the cooking gas installation as unsafe so we replaced the complete system from stove through to gas bottle fitting.

One addition we made was to have a gas tight locker built in the port side cockpit locker. At its lowest point it has a overboard drain. A second addition was to connect an electically operated gas solenoid. Power must be supplied to the solenoid in order for it to open up the gas line, as it is immediately next to the gas cannister it narrows the possibility of gas leak down to he minimal length of connection between the cannister fitting and the solenoid (all of which is within the gas tight locker). We have wired the gas solenoid on its own breaker so that we can trip the breaker and know that the gas is shut off – when not use the pilot light for the breaker being unlit means that no curent is flowing so the solenoid is closed which means that the gas can not be accidentally left on. A technique which improves this safety level more is when getting ready to cease cooking, leave the burner on the stove (or oven open) and shut off the gas by tripping the electrical breaker (or the switch for the solenoid). This will cause the small amount of gas remaining in the gas line to be burned before the flame is extinguished. A point to be aware of with this installation is that in the event of no electrical power, the gas can not be used as the solenoid can not be opened.

New Rigging & Headsail Furling Gear (1999)

The state and age of the standing rigging when we purchased Maringret was unknown. The surveyor found no obvious problems with it but still recomended that it be replaced within the next year or so due to its unknown age. As we planned to leave for exteneded cruising we felt this was good advice – better to replace it under control than deal with a failed rig in a remote corner of the world. We replaced the furling gear with a Rotostay which has had no problems in 3 years of use. One thing we were unaware of at the time was the option to order a foil with twin grooves which would have allowed us to fly twin genoas from the same forestay when cruising downwind. Whether we would have found this advantageous or not we do not know. Some reports claim that twin foresails lead to increased rolling while underway.

Washboards & Security Bar (2000)

The Maxi 95 as built is fitted with hinged “barn style” doors on the companionway.

We decided to fit proper washboards for both security and sea worthiness. This was relatively easily accomplished as once the doors are removed the inset in the fibreglass moulding of the cockpit holds the washboards very well. Our washboards are 18mm plywood with a layer of teak (as opposed to veneer) epoxied on. Due to weather exposure we oil these pieces of teak rather than varnish them.

The major task is to get a piece of stainless to retain the washboards in place. A certain amount of fiddling is required to get the proper width for the washboards to slide easliy. We found that the moulding thickness is not absolutely constant and so one side might require more shimming than the other. As this will serve as a major portion of physical security, it is best to not used fixings that have accessible heads for would be enterers to tamper with. We used round headed wagon bolts and our metal worker then put a small spot of weld onto them to prevent them turning without major force.

Of course once the locking “barn doors” are gone then there is no way to secure the boat. We addressed this by having a hinged stainless bar formed that hooks under a staple located behind the windscreen and forward of the companionway, runs back across the hinged top boards, the hinge then connects to another piece of bar going down across the washboards to a folding padeye in the moulding below the sill of the caompanionway. An eye in the bottom end of the security bar fits tightly over the padeye and a padlock is inserted. The security bar is 6mm stainless 52 mm wide. Although an angle grindermight get through this (possibly using more than one disk to do so) it would take quite a while to do so.

The wash boards are obviously more work to fit and remove when coming to or leaving the boat but we feel the security is much better. Certainly once the steel security bar is in place the companionway becomes quite secure.

Cockpit Locker Lids (2000)

When we bought Maringret the cockpit locker lids were surfaced with large pieces of varnished marine plywood. Although more than strong enough these were slightly slippery when wet and very heavy to open or have fall on your hands. We ordered replacement lids from Peter Svahn at Maxispecialisten in Sweden.

The new lids are direct replacements for the originals but we decided to replace our latches with ones that lay flat when undone – the ones fitted to Maringret stuck out when undone and gouged our legs a good number of times.

Saloon & Cockpit Cushions (2000 & 2002)

We had the saloon cushions made by the same person who made our aft cabin cushions. He required a tracing on paper of the profile of the cushions top and cushion bottom as well as the required thickness. We chose a fire retardent material.

We made our cockpit cushions with material from the same person.

Re-soundproof the Engine (2000)

The original sound proofing was pretty well gone after 20 off years. We replaced it with 42mm insulation with two lead-substitute layers to deaden the noise. The improvement was noticeable immediately but we also noticed that due to the location of the engine, most engine now comes out the the inner hull in the saloon. This probably means that increasing the thickness of the insulation would not have an appreciable difference. The table halves are now much heavier to handle than in their previous form which makes them more awkward to maouver when servicing the engine etc. We fitted small stainless steel handles (really handles for kitchen cabinets) to the rear of the saloon table halves. With the added weight of the sound insulation the teak table surface was showing signs of stress when we opened the table up to access the engine.

Saloon Carpet (2000)

We bought what we were told was indoor outdoor carpeting. After about 2 years the backing was either becoming brittle or adhering to what it was lying on. Not being carpet experts we find buying carpet about the same as buying anchor chain in that you don’t know any proper brands of carpet and if you did the saleperson would just say that they were unavailable. It’s the same as chain when it’s lying in a barrel and sold by the meter. You really only have the saleperson’s word what kind of chain it is (other than measuring the size yourself of course). After one year we paid to have the edges stitched so they would not unravel. But after 2 years the carpet was fine but it’s demise was in sight as the backing fell away. We bought off the roll and used brown paper to trace the shape of the saloon and then transfer that to the carpet. It made a very large difference, not only in comfort against winter water temperatures but also in providing better traction when walking on the curved inner hull. We don’t expect the first carpet to see its 4th year but would still defintely put carpet down again – next time we hope to be able to find a better grade of carpet though.

Drapes (2002)

We hung drapes with both upper and lower rods, this is pretty well required due to the tapering of the window. The upper rod is fixed to the headlingwhile the lower rod is fixed to the wood that forms the top of the bookcases. The rods are supported at both ends as well as in the middle. The aft cabin drapes have a top rod only which is fixed to the headlining. We chose a fire retardent material.

Aft Cabin Storage (2002)

Part of living on a small boat is looking for the next storage area. After one season with our new aft cabin cushions, we started to rearrange our use of them so we were sleeping across the cushion instead of using it like it was still the two original cushions that made up the former V-berth. We took out the small “leg” cushions out and placed a heavy duty carry all in place of each of the “leg”cushions. This space had been unused while the “leg”cushions were attached to the main cushion other than things tended to gather there. We endeed up with two large soft sided containers that can be packed and then zipped shut. There is still space above the bags we got for putting loose things or stuff sacks.

Midship folding cleats (2002)

One of the shortcomings of the stock Maxi 95 is the lack of midship cleats. The number of times we have enviously looked at other boats with there ability to take springs to a midship point – not to mention baing able to distribute their lines over three cleats instead of two. We found out about the Johnson folding cleats through Practical Sailor magazine. We ordered a pair and then took another year to get around to fitting them due to the complexity of dropping the headlining in order to fit the backing plates which are supplied. There are 4 M8 or M10 bolts to put through the deck in close proximity so we wanted to make sure we did the job right.

cleat lying flat outwards

cleat lying flat inwards with chafe strip

cleat upright (ready to be used) with chafe strip

It is not possible to mount the cleats on the side of the deck due to plexiglass for the windows. This means that the cleats must go on the deck which implies that any ropes will chafe on the fibreglass of the deck. To avoid this a rubbing strip of some shape must be fitted to the area which will take the chafe. There are various types of rubbing strips available in different profiles, when we looked we could only find brass profiles so we had a strip of stainless steel polished and drilled. For both the cleats and rubbing strips we drileld the holes through the deck, filled them with epoxy and then drilled new pilot holes for the fitting bolts or screws. We then sealed around the holes with Sakiflex prior to tightening the fittings.

We have been very happy with the midship cleats. We probably don’t use them as much as we thought we would but that is probably because we have not been in marinas where the pontoons have fingers. But when we are moored to pontoons with fingers, the midship cleats are indispensable.

Wind Scoop (2002)

Security Gratings (2002)

Main Winch Backing Plates (2002)

When we lead all the lines back to the main cockpit winches, the load level was increased as well as the duty cycle. This started to show in small fissure or stress lines radiating out from the two winches. We had two backing plates made from 4mm stainless steel sheet. As an added bonus the shop also cut the same size disks in neoprene which served as a shock absorbing layer between the fibreglass moulding and the metal backing plate.

The first views show the backing plate from below – the bottom of the picture is the aft side where we had to trim off the corner in order to fit the backing plate (the pieces of wood to the right are pieces we epoxied to the underside of the deck moulding to recieve the screws that hold up the headlining.

The second view shows the side of the backing plate which allows the neoprene layer to be seen between the stainless steel disk and the fibreglass moulding.

Spinnaker Winches (2002)

MP3 CD Player (2002)

Maringret had previously had a cassette player fitted which was inoperative when we purchased her. We replaced it with a regular CD player which eventually secumbed to the envireonment. When we replaced that unit we decided to do so with an MP3 compatible unit. Click here for a longer description of what the project entailed and why we decided to undertake it. As all 3 stereo units were the standard size to slip into a normal car dashboard cutout there was no real work involved other than joining the 12 or so colour coded wires.

A note on the CD players is they seem to take a lot of power to operate – at least by boat standards. Probably on a car that usually only plays the unit when it is moving (and therefore charging the battery) there is no problem. On a boat sitting in a marina or at anchor it is different. When we bought the MP3 unit we were aware of the power consumption from the previous unit but power consumption was not something we could find on the box, in the instructions or from the salesman. Most of the CD units now seem to have a “memory” function which remembers your settings of balance, fade, treble as well as the stations you had last tuned in or loaded into the push buttons. This causes the unit to remain “on” which means it continues to consume power – 24 hours a day. We would prefer one of the old units where all these items were stored in the old mechanical push buttons and rotary dials but those seem to be a thing of the past.

Outboard Engine (2003)

Once we got around to using our dinghy at anchor, we found out that with a moderate breeze we could not row against the wind with only one person in the dinghy let alone two. Luckily we were in a situation to drift downwind to Maringret when we found this out. We had hoped to avoid getting an outboard engine for a number of reasons, expense, carrying gasoline/bensin, and all the mess and work that goes with 2 stroke engines. I still can’t look at a 2 stroke engine without flashing back to highschool power mechanics when we had to strip and rebuild the things. I didn’t have any problem rebuilding them as long as I could leave a few parts out. But expecting it to run once it was reassembled was what did me in every time. So it was with great trepidation that I resigned myself to taking on another internal combustion “friend.”

We searched the internet and didn’t find much. A help to us was an article in the May 2002 issue of Cruising World magazine entitled “Lightweight Outboards with Kick.” It summarized the outboard market place from the perspective of a cruiser who basically wants them to run the dinghy back and forth as needed. It seemed that quite a few of the outboard engine manufacturers had pulled out of the low end engines which we were looking for. So basically we were left with Mariner (which is the same as Mercury) which makes a 2.5 and 3.3 HP 2 stroke outboard. From the data sheet it seemed that the engine was the same other than piston size(it’s a single piston engine), i.e. same weight, exterior dimensions, fuel capacity. So we decied that we may as well get the bigger size as everything else was the same.

We ran in the engine for its first tank of fuel with a mixture of 25:1, the fuel tank seems to be about 1.7 litres and in average use it seems to burn about 1 litre an hour (these figures don’t seem to show up anywhere on the data sheet, owners manual or web site. It seems to start pretty easy, there is a bit of a dance between the throttle and choke – we were expecting more like manual choke on a car where you enrich the fuel mixture to start a cold engine and then thin the mixture back to run more efficiently. The Mariner choke doesn’t seem to work quite the same, in order to increase revs (and therefore dinghy speed) you need to adjust both controls in unison or the engine will stall. Perhaps this is part of using a 2 stroke instead of a 4 stroke engine like in a car.

Relocating Engine Kill Switch (2003)

When we re-engined the engine control panel and kill switch were moved to the inside of the companionway as we felt that this was more convenient than the original location where they were under the wheel. The kill switch had been mounted below the panel and inside the head the cables made it impossible to do anything with the backside of of the companionway partition. We relocated the kill switch to the very top of the partition which made it easier to reach from the cockpit and cleared the control cables to the edge of the partition on the head side.

We were then able to put up a place for hanging the auto-pilot motor and control box. Previously they had floated around the saloon when not in use.

Oil Storage Shelf (2003)

Long Handled Tool Storage Rack (2003)

We don’t quite know what the proper name for this is… Anyway, we needed to store the boat hook, deck brush, oars for the dinghy, mooring bouy rod etc. This piece of teak is bolted through from the wet locker, and then the plastic clips are screwed on it. The most time consuming part about it is sanding the teak to fit the (not quite so fair) moulding inside the head.

empty fully loaded

Compression Post Cover with Pockets (2003)

After seeing this idea of on other boats we finally got around to fitting this ourselves. Without a dedicated nav table the Maxi 95 pretty well has have its charts on the saloon table. This implies that all the accoutrements such as pencils, erasers, dividers etc. follow the charts and lie around on the table. Also while living in harbour the various items of everyday life also seem to accumulate on the saloon table – pencils, pens, scissors etc. This easy to fit attachment gathers them all up and keeps them both out of the way and organised.

The white box on the aft side of the compression post is our digital barameter – right where you can see it when updating the log while underway. The Betty Boop figure is a bottle opener which is indespensable in harbour. The satinless steel kerosene lamp is of Danish manufacture and gimballed in one direction. The picture is a bit unclear becasue the stainless steel bars from the shrouds appear immediately behind the lamp and tend to look like they are part of it.

Cockpit Speakers (2003)

After 25 years our cockpit speakers were on their last legs. The old ones can be seen where they were mounted in the forward corner of the cockpit. After over 20 years ( we are not sure when they were put in) the grills had become very brittle. Finally the starboard one stopped working so it was time to replace them. When we removed the old speakers to install the new ones we found out that by coincidence we had ended up getting the same speakers as we already installed. In 20 years the Poly-Planar speakers had got slightly smaller in diameter but the power and impedance were the same. Now that the new ones are installed we find them a bit softer however.

We decided to install the new speakers in the cockpit “cave” lockers as one of the problems with the other installtion was that the speakers kept getting knocked and made sitting in that corner awkward if you happened to get one of them at the base of your spine. We have left the old speakers in place until we can get to a place where there is a fibreglass specialist who can not only fill the hole but also colour match it. We found one such fellow in England and he filled in the holes from the original instrument in the cockpit forward bulkhead flawlessly. So the speakers are still physically there but electrically disconnected. We “painted” the grills with epoxy to make them a bit more resilient until the whole units can be removed.

© The contents of this site are the copyright property of the authors.  Visitors may read, copy, or print any material for their own use, free of charge.  No material printed or copied from this site, electronically or in any other form, may be sold or included in any work to be sold without explicit permission from the authors.