Ouch!!! Knees in the Bathroom Door

I noticed on most sailboats that the bathroom door opens the wrong way.  Originally, our door opened with the hinges on the left side when you are facing the door.  The door opened up against the front berth.

Knees In Chest?  Not So Comfortable

I am only 5’2″ so most bathrooms are fine for me.  I have plenty of knee room.  I can even dress in the bathroom.  Dave  on the other hand, not so much.  His 5’10” legs hit the old door.  

Our bathroom door was getting a little rough.  It was buckling at the top from moisture and splitting.   We decided we would replace it at the same time we installed the new dish cabinet.  Dave wanted to cover the dagger board housing with nice white birch as well.  Originally the housing was covered with a sort of carpet type material.

Bathroom door closed.

My Idea Of A Bathroom Door

To make what I had in mind, Dave had to build a whole new door frame out of mahogany.  We used the same 1/2 inch white birch plywood and stains as the dish cabinet.    At first we were going to use the old door as a pattern.  Then I got the idea that if we opened the door with the hinges on the right we could hook it open when not in use.  The door hooks to the trim that covers the dagger board housing.  We also thought it would be great to be able to leave it open while changing. The new door makes a great dressing barrier.    So,  Dave made it to just barely clear the cushions on the seat.  Now I have a dressing room to change in.

Bathroom door open for changing.

DJI Mavic Pro Drone

Dave received a toy drone for Father’s Day.  It was great for learning how to fly but, you guessed it.  It got him hooked on flying photography.  Dave used his usual technique for talking me into getting a professional drone.   He started with how much the grandkids would love it.  Especially, our grand-daughter Millie who is fascinated with remote control helicopters.

Drones That Were In the Running

We started out looking at the DJI Phantom III and the new Phantom IV.  They had everything he wanted.  Problem was we wanted something we could take on the sailboat.  This means it needed to be compact and couldn’t come in a storage suitcase. The Phantoms weighed almost 4 lbs and comes in a large carrying case.    Enter the DJI Mavic Pro.  This little guy comes with a shoulder bag for storage and only weighs 1.6 lbs.

Shoulder bag containing everything needed to fly the drone.

What Sold Us On the Mavic Pro

The Mavic Pro is lightweight, compact and foldable.  It has a 4 K video camera with a battery life of 27 minutes.  It comes out of the case folded up.  You simply unfold it, attach your cell phone to the controller and fly off.

A few things make this drone perfect for life on a sailboat.

  • It is light and compact
  • Has many camera settings and features including time lapse video.
  • Can charge with hub (up to 4 at a time) via 110 or individual batteries charge by 12volt battery charger
  • It is very stable with precision hovering.
  • Collision avoidance means your drone will avoid crashes you don’t see.
  • Compared to other drones this little guy is extremely quiet.
  • Has a follow me feature
    • Will follow the sailboat shooting video and photos.
    • It is also perfect for shooting photo finishes of sailboat races.
  • A return home function
    •  It returns to you with the push of a button or when the battery is getting too low.

You can view the first videos Dave shot with the Mavic Pro and his video reviews.

What I Like About The Mavic Pro , You Tube Video

Dave describes the difference between the Mavic Pro packages.

Watch How Easy It Is To Set Up

These reviews are not paid for in any way. Our opinions are not for sale. If we don’t like something we will tell you why.  We purchased this drone for our own personal use not for review purposes.

First Videos Shot by Dave Using the Mavic Pro Drone.

Fort Jackson In Georgia- Video- Dave’s First

Tybee Island Georgia Lighthouse.  Shot the 2nd day with his drone.

This video was shot after dark because we could not fly a drone over the lighthouse during business hours.  It is a restricted no fly zone.  You can see how great it shoots even after dark.  My Nikon camera was having a hard time getting a reading with these conditions.

A lighthouse still shot taken with the drone after dark.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0021.JPG

Watch the blog this summer for more videos taken from the sailboat and of our clubs sailboat races.

Anchors Away

There is one thing you can’t sail without…well yes, you need sails but I am talking about the anchor.  The problem with anchors is that they are bulky.  By the time you add chain and line they are a real pain.  They follow murphy’s law…if it can get tangled in a heap, it will.

If you have a larger boat you may have an anchor bin or a windlass that rolls it up neatly for you.  In a small boat you have to bring it in by hand.  Then you have to store it.  This is where your problems begin.    Just try to keep all that line and chain from becoming anything but a mess… I dare you.

You can spend all your time trying to get the chain untangled , so you can deploy your anchor and go for a swim.  Or, you can come up with a better way.  At first we stored our anchors in the back locker in a heap, then an instructor showed us a better way.

Enter the Five Galloon Buckets

We took lessons from an instructor who taught us to put each anchor in a five gallon bucket so you can lower it down into the front hatch.   You will want to add the  line and chain to the bucket as it comes out of the water.  In other words the anchor sits on top of  the line and chain. You will notice our anchor buoy ball sits on the very top.   When you are ready to deploy the anchor it  comes out of the bucket the same way you fed it in.   Best of all no tangles.  

When we are off swimming or sleeping at night we clip the rope handles onto the halyard lines.  This way we don’t lose the bucket due to wind or waves.

The anchor buoy ball is a marker to let other boaters and/or  jet skiers know where your anchor is located. Without it, someone could get tangled up in your anchor.  Trust me those river mosquitoes do get that close to your boat.

Float ball on anchor line. Bucket clipped to front stay.

Where to Store the Anchors

We store the anchors in the locker when someone needs to sleep in the front berth.  When we don’t need to have the mattress in that area,  we drop the anchor buckets down thru the front hatch and into the berth.

Dave lowering the anchor bucket down through the front hatch.

We can push the buckets over to the side and take them out the same way.  They are easy to reach right inside the hatch door.  Dave  painted the bottom of the buckets with liquid rubber so they don’t slide all around the berth.

The original metal handle didn’t give enough.  Rope handles were the answer.  They make it easy to maneuver the bucket in and out.  Dave drilled two holes in the bucket and made a rope handle for each.

Weight Distribution

Remember when you are deciding where to store your anchors that weight matters.  Those anchors, chain and wet rope are very heavy.  You want to take into consideration weight distribution at all times.  The boat will heel with wind.  To keep it upright and stable you want all the weight onboard to be as evenly distributed at possible.  We have one battery on each side of the boat. We put the anchors on the opposite side of the berth as the water jugs.  See where I am going with this?

It takes time to get things just the way you want them in your boat.  Don’t get discouraged.  Hang out with other sailors and  see how they do things.  You can’ t have too many options or opinions. Okay, maybe too many opinions,  if they are coming from your in-laws,

Happy Anchoring!!!

In the next few months we will be doing blogs on:

  • How We Built The Cabinet In The Bathroom
  • Building and Installing Storage Drawers
  • Product Reviews
  • Rebuilding and Organizing Our Locker
  • Adding More Storage
  • How We Organize Our Stuff
  • How We Built The Wooden/Glass Companionway Door
    • To replace the fiberglass door.
      • AND MUCH MORE!!!!

We Needed Fresh Safe Water

There Was No H2O

When we bought the boat there was a hand pump faucet,  but no water storage tanks.  Remember, Seabreeze was previously only used for short day sails.  We needed fresh safe water and somewhere to store it.

Our plans have always been to take long trips on Seabreeze.  There is just not enough room to take gallon jugs for cooking,  drinking and washing. We would need about a gallon of water,  per person,  per day.  Besides, who wants gallon jugs rolling around the cabin.  Using drinking bottles created too much garbage.

We purchased a 5 gallon plastic tank in the camping section at Walmart.   It held enough water for a long weekend and we could always refill it.  In our town we have a place that fills 5 gallon jugs for the kitchen type water dispensers.  They sterilize and fill them for about $2.50 each.  This way we are sure our water tanks are clean and safe.

Dave hooked it up under the sink.  This caused two issues.  It took up a lot of valuable storage space under the sink.  Plus, every time  the boat heeled the container tipped over and it ended up leaking.

We Needed A Better Solution

We tried putting other things next to the water jug to hold it upright. But it  always seemed to find a way to  spill.  Not to mention  the tank was difficult to get in and out of the space under the sink. By the time you tilted it enough to get it in place,  you had spilled part of your water supply.

We knew that the front berth was not going to be used unless the grandkids were staying with us.  There had to be someway to secure the tanks.  But, they had to be easy to access so we could fill them.

Dave decided we could mount them on the wall and they wouldn’t be in the way even when we needed the bed. He built a little shelf on the wall  higher than the sink so gravity would siphon the water for us.  We  did not want them sitting on the mattress sweating.  Again, a possible mold issue.

A Wall Solution

 

After setting the jugs on the shelf, Dave mounted three flat eye straps, one on each side of the jugs and one in the middle. He laced the one inch nylon cinching strap through the left eye, around the first tank, through the middle eye and then around the right tank. Finally it goes through the right eye and across the front. The strap then cinches across the front.

Now For The Plumbing

Dave ran a section of clear flexible plastic pipe under the bathroom floor to the sink.  Next, the flexible pipe was connected to the PVC section on the wall.  You can use  the flexible pipe all the way through, but he felt the PVC would be sturdier and fasten to the wall better.  The PVC could also accommodate fittings for attaching the clear water hose.

 

Preparing the Water Tanks

Now, holes needed to be cut in the lids for the clear plastic tubing to fit through.  This tubing needed to be long enough to syphon to the bottom of the  containers.  A piece  of PVC pipe long enough to go from the lid to the opposite corner of the tank was slide into each of the tanks. This PVC is just a guide that the clear plastic tube runs through.  It has to be tight so it can’t fall into the tank and get lost.   Without it the plastic tube would just curl up and not suction off the bottom.

When the tanks need to be changed, you unscrew the cap and the clear plastic comes out with the cap.  Once refilled,  you reinsert the clear plastic tube into the  PVC pipe and screw on the lid.

The red tubing is the pipe coming from the water tanks. The clear goes to the faucet from the valve. You can see the bottle for the soap dispenser.

The plastic tubing come out under the sink.  Dave installed an on off valve with an on/off knob located on the counter.  When you change the tanks, you need to pump the water to prime it. Once it is primed it just syphons when you turn the valve on,  you don’t have to pump.

You can see the soap pump as well as the button style valve for turning the water on.

With Sinks Comes Soap

This is slightly off the topic.  My other big complaint in the kitchen would have to be soap spills.  I’ve  had various types of containers for hand and dish soap.  They always seemed to tip over leaking and dripping everywhere.  We found a nice metal under the sink soap dispenser at Home Depot.   Metal will last longer than the cheap plastic ones.  This little 5 minute install has saved me hours of cleaning up soap spills.

You will also notice the clear plastic tubing on the faucet.  The sink faucet was not designed very well.  Water was directed  up the side of the sink.  This plastic hose directs it down into the sink with less splashing.

A Place To Store Dishes

How Our Cabinet Idea Came About

We decided that we needed someplace to store our dishes. I didn’t want yet another tote to trip over.  There were a few options.  We could store them in the area under the sink.  However, it  was not  a place you want to store dishes.  It was more of place to put dirty tools.  Putting them under the seats in the hatches meant that I would have to move all the  seat cushions to get a plate or bowl.  All these options seemed unworkable.

If you have ever been on a sailboat,  you know that a shelf is no option. Anything that isn’t glued down or secured in someway is going to learn to fly.  I don’t care how unbreakable your dishes are supposed to be, they will break.  Nothing is safe unless it is made of rubber and can bounce off the walls.

I sat in the boat and looked around.  There was all this unusable wall space above the sink.  There had to be something we could do with all that. Enter hubby and the answer.

Think Think Think

We tossed around all sorts of ideas. A shelf with a railing to hold things in.  A container on the wall for the plates to slide down into.  I had found these adorable dishes at Amazon, they needed to be seen and enjoyed. 

  So, Dave came up with the idea of a cabinet where they could all be secure. A simple china cabinet, if you will.   Also, you can see how this cabinet actually gave the wall behind the sink more support.

What Floats Your Boat

When working on your boat, do not remove any of the flotation foam located in the walls or ceiling. I know it is tempting to remove just a little so you can fit that cool cd player in,  but don’t do it. When we bought our boat, one of the first things we had to do was rewire. The electrical system hadn’t been used and from age it was all corroded. We had to go into the walls to run the wires. We noticed that some of the styrene had turned to just a bunch of loose balls. It was almost 17 years old. We did replace some of it with new and even added more. It doesn’t hurt to add more, JUST DON’T REMOVE ANY! This is what floats your boat and prevents it from sinking.

The Design For Our Cabinet

I will give you a basic outline of how we built our cabinet. However, it will be different for you. It will depend on the space you have to work with  and the dishes you purchase.

Dave built the basic cabinet outline and then laid out the dishes to see how they would fit and how large each cubbyhole needed to be. This is where your dimensions will differ from ours.

Before Our Cabinet

 

Before the dish cabinet

On the back wall you can see the old mirror. The mirror was yellowed and cloudy. We took the mirror off and found that due to moisture we had some mold behind the mirror. This was pretty normal and wasn’t a big deal since we were planning to replace this old plywood with something nicer. Dave used the old plywood as a template for the new wall.

For the back of the cabinet we decided to go with yellow birch because when stained it looks the most like teak. It is also light weight.  We purchased a 4x8x 1/2 inch  sheet of yellow birch plywood. You don’t want it too thin, it will warp.   Too thick,  just adds unnecessary weight.  This would need to be finished on both side because, it would also become the wall in the bathroom.  The back of the cabinet wall is 40×30 inches. The acrylic mirror we purchased on Amazon was cut to the size we wanted 16×20. The dish cabinet measures 17×20 1/2.

I wasn’t crazy about this cabinet sticking out over my countertop. Space on a sailboat is at a premium.  Giving up my countertop space would not be a good trade off.  After a few days of thinking about it, Dave had the answer. There was space in the bathroom not being used for anything. It wasn’t going to be in the way,  so Dave built the cabinet into the bathroom about 3 inches. We now have a beautiful wood wall in  the bathroom.  In this picture you can also see the door where the bathroom garbage is stored. We explain how and why we did this in another blog.

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How We Got The Dishes to Stay Put

So, I knew I wanted the dishes to show off. Above all, we wanted the dishes to stay in the holders. Now, we just had to figure out how. The whole dish cabinet measures 17x 20 ½ and is built out of 1×6 mahogony boards. The cubbyhole for the plates has slits cut for the plates to sit in. Dave then built and designed a little spring latch to keep them in place until I wanted to use them.  He used a small strip of teak wood with a hacksaw blade embedded into the top to give it the spring.  He also put a notch in the spring holder so it would catch on the first plate and hold it in place.

A Place For The Bowls

For the bowls he stacked them all behind the fold down door.  You simply open the door and there are your secure bowls ready to use. This measures just slightly larger than the bowls.  This carrier worked better than grooves for the bowls.  To hinge the door he used a piece of stainless threaded rod fit into embedded stainless steel nuts, so it can pivot. Always use stainless on a boat.  Rust stains are not a pretty decoration.

Cups Can’t Roll Around the Cabin

Next,  the problem  became what to do with the cups.  I didn’t want them swinging from hooks only to fall and break.  Dave used a hole saw and chisel to make a little rim for them to fit. They are really tight and have so far gone nowhere.  The indentations are deep enough to keep them  safe and secure.

 

The Silverware Was Too Pretty To Store Away

 

Our next challenge would be the silverware I found with a nautical pattern on it. I had to show that off too.

So he built a silverware holder at the bottom of the cabinet. This holder measure 9 1/2x 4. He cut a notch for each piece of silverware using a scroll saw.  Each piece of silverware slides in sideways then turns to sit in its own groove.

Dish cabinet

Too Much Space…Not Enough Cabinet

We were almost done. We didn’t need the dish cabinet to cover the whole wall but, we did need something under the cups.   Plus, the old mirror did reflect some light back into the cabin to brighten things up a bit.   It just made sense to measure the leftover space for an acrylic mirror and mount it next to the dish cabinet with 3M Spray glue.   We ordered a safety acrylic mirror from Amazon. Some places online called them play area mirrors.  They will flex with the boats movement and not crack. 

Seal It!!  Mold is Not Your Friend

Remember that you will want to seal the wall behind it to prevent mold. So it is important to finish this area with stain and/or polyurethane before you install the mirror. For the stain we used Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain.   To get the teak look we wanted,  Dave wiped on the Colonial Maple and then went over it with English Chestnut while it was still wet.

We used a clear gloss indoor/ outdoor  polyurethane made by Helmsman.  You will want to make sure you use a high end marine polyurethane.  No, the cabinet will not be in direct contact with water but the moisture that collects in a boat can cause cheaper polyurethanes to bubble and peel.  Not a good look for your new gorgeous dish cabinet.

When you are staining and applying polyurethane on your wood don’t stop with what you can see. Make sure you get it on every edge you can’t see. Trust me moisture will find it’s way in and cause it to buckle up or worse yet grow mold. By sealing even the edges you can’t see,  you will have one less thing to worry about. We ended up putting about 6 coats of polyurethane on the cabinet.

My dishes can be enjoyed and used on a daily basis.  They do not slip or slide even when we are pulling the boat.  Trust me the roads in Illinois can be rougher than most lakes.