Saturday, April 25, 2020

Salon and Galley Cabin Soul Hatches and Flooring

 January 2019 

Wildthing originally had teak and holly cabin souls(flooring). The souls were all original and some had been damaged by water so we decided to update them all. There are many options when looking at flooring products these days. The new composite and waterproof vinyls are very popular now.

We chose a synthetic vinyl product that looks like teak. I come in strips which are four feet long, 5 inches wide and about 1/8 thick.

The material is easy to clean yet it has a texture so it is not slippery when wet. We thought we added enough wood on the interior so the synthetic flooring saved us from doing additional maintenance.

The complete soul of the boat was rebuilt using 3/4 marine plywood.  This is very dense with no
voids. The pilothouse and aft cabin had been previously rebuilt a few years ago.

The main sections for the galley and the main salon were cut and secured to the existing beams and support structure of the floor. In the main salon seven floor hatches were built to allow access to water tanks, thru hulls and the mast step.

The floor hatches and openings were all trimmed out in strips of teak.  This provides a nice accent
and also protects the edges of the hatches.

The strip were cut to 3/8 wide by 7/8 high.  These were all given three coats of Epiphanes gloss varnish to provide a hard and durable surface.

The teak strips were then attached to the four sides of each hatch with glue and secured with stainless finishing nails.

Before the flooring was glued on the recessed latch was cut in using a router and a template.

The flooring was then cut to length and glued down with normal vinyl flooring adhesive.

The seams of the vinyl flooring on the hatches was matched to line up with the rest of the floor. This little detail made it look great.

Once the flooring was attached the latch was traced onto the flooring and cut out.  The latch was then attached with brass screws. The recessed brass latches are a striking detail in the flooring system.

I have been on so many boats that have lose or squeaky hatches as you walk around the boat. To prevent our hatches from squeaking we added little felt cushion under each corner which prevented them from making any noise. You can also use these on cabinets and drawers to quiet them down. You can find these at most hardware stores.
Salon floor dry fit

Salon floor

Rough fitting hatches

Salon before flooring

Salon hatches and flooring

Gluing on the flooring

Flooring glued onto hatch

Salon and gallery flooring

Gallery flooring

Outside corner

Inside corner flooring detail

Galley floor hatch

Trimmed flooring around mast
Pilot house looking aft

Aft cabin looking aft

Pilot house looking forward

Pilot house looking aft
Another project complete!

***Sail On*** /)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Hydraulic Steering, Autopilot and Mechanical Steering Integration

Our Pan Oceanic 46 pilothouse sailboat came with conventional cable steering on the pedestal in the cockpit. A second hydraulic steering station was located in the pilothouse. The pilothouse configuration was one of the reasons we purchased the boat. It provides a nice warm place to steer the boat in rainy or cool weather.

During the refit all the old copper tubing and controls for the pilothouse hydraulic steering system were removed.  New hydraulic hoses and fittings were purchased to rebuild the system.

Hydraulic Steering Pump
The wheel driven hydraulic pump in the pilothouse is a Teleflex Capilano 1275v. The pump is mounted on the helm station in the pilothouse.  When designing a system make sure your steering pump is sized to handle the pressure and volume ratings of the hydraulic cylinder.

As the wheel is turned the pump drives fluid through the two main lines to drive the hydraulic cylinder either in or out to move the rudder and steer the boat.

Hydraulic Cylinder
The hydraulic cylinder we have is a Teleflex BA-200-7. We had it rebuilt so all the seals and O rings were replaced. It has a 7 inch stroke and will handle 13,200 inch lbs of torque at 1000 psi (70bar).  This cylinder will be driven by the pilothouse hydraulic steering pump and the electric autopilot pump.

In the picture you will see the hydraulic cylinder with the mechanical connections on the right and left sides. The left side will be connected to the rudder quadrant and the right side will be fixed to a bulkhead near the rudder in the aft end of the boat.

The green handle is a manual bypass valve and the black square is an electric hydraulic solenoid bypass valve.

The hydraulic hoses connect to either side of the cylinder on the brass fittings.

Having both a manual cable steering system and a hydraulic system has it's complications. In normal operation the main mechanical cable driven wheel steering will be used to steer the boat from the cockpit. In this configuration the hydraulic system needs to be bypassed to allow the fluid to flow around the cylinder. This will prevent drag on the manual steering system and motoring of the hydraulic steering wheel.

When the autopilot is engaged or if the pilot house hydraulic steering is used a bypass valve needs to be closed to allow the fluid to drive the cylinder.

The hydraulic solenoid bypass valve is normally open, but when the autopilot is engaged the electric solenoid bypass valve will close allowing the autopilot pump to drive the cylinder and steer the boat. The manual green lever is a backup for the electric solenoid bypass valve and basically does the same thing.

In the case when the pilot house steering is used a separate switch was installed to engage the electric  solenoid bypass valve which will allow the pilothouse steering pump to drive the hydraulic cylinder.

Hydraulic Hose
The old hydraulic system was put together using copper tubing.  Solid tubing is good in that it does
not flex and cause the steering system to feel spongy. As it ages it may become brittle and break if flexed too much. Most modern systems now use high pressure plastic tubing or hose.

We chose to use flexible hose because it is easy to cut, make connections and route through the boat.  Flexible hose is readily available at any hydraulic store. The connectors are reusable and are easily screwed onto the ends of the hose.

Autopilot Equipment
A hydraulic autopilot system was integrated into the hydraulic steering system. A Raymarine Type 2 autopilot pump was paired with the existing Teleflex hydraulic cylinder which will drive the rudder.

The boat weighs 34000 lbs so the larger Raymarine ACU400 autopilot unit was needed.  This can power either a mechanical linear drive or a hydraulic pump as it does in our system. It is powered by 12 volts and requires a 40 amp breaker and the appropriate conductor size.

The ACU400 is tied into the NMEA 2000 network and can be configured to power the network as we did in this case. The ACU400 can be purchased online at several sites for about $1300.

Another item needed for the autopilot system was the Raymarine EV-1 sensor core. This is a solid state 9 position sensor including heading, roll, pitch and yaw for the autopilot to let it know the boats orientation to the world.

This sensor is connected to and powered by the ACU400 through the NMEA 2000 network.  It can be found online for about $500.

We selected the Raymarine P70s for the auto pilot control head. This one is often used in sailboat configurations. The autopilot control head is the main interface to the autopilot. It was connected to our new NMEA 2000 network which also powers the unit. The Raymarine Axiom chart plotter can also be used to control the autopilot.

The control head has buttons for turning the autopilot on and off and adjusting the course of the boat. If a wind instrument is installed it can also be set to keep a course compared to the wind. These are for sale between $450-500 on line.

The Raymarine Type 2 hydraulic pump was needed for our larger boat. It is electrically connected to and controlled by the ACU400.  The pump will handle cylinders from 14-21 cubic inches. This pairs nicely with our Teleflex hydraulic cylinder which is 18.9 cubic inches. The autopilot drives the pump in either direction to move the cylinder in or out to steer the boat.

There are three hydraulic hose connections on the pump. The left and right connections are connected in parallel with the main lines to the cylinder and the pilothouse steering pump. The center connection is connected to a third hose that goes back to the pilothouse steering pump reservoir overflow.  These pumps can be purchased online for $750.

The last piece of the autopilot system is the Rudder Angle Sensor.
This is attached mechanically to the rudder quadrant.  It electrically provides feedback to the autopilot unit on the angle of the rudder.  These can be purchased for $210 from several places online.

We set up a new Raymarine NMEA 2000 network to allow all of the new equipment to talk to each other. NMEA 2000 is the newest communication protocols which is standardized now between all major marine manufacturers. The diagram below shows how we connected the devices into the network. We did power the network from the Raymarine ACU400. It shows that it could also be powered with a power cable at any point in the system. It is best to power the network in the middle if you can to spread the loading. We purchased the Raymarine NMEA 2000 starter kit and some additional cables and connections for about $200.

NMEA 2000 is a simple plug and play system which makes it easy for the new generation of marine electronics to communicate efficiently.

I hope this post help others who may be struggling with how to integrate two types of steering systems with an auto pilot. It takes a bit of design to get it all to work but we are happy with the results.

That about wraps up our steering system rebuild. It is more complicated because of having both mechanical and hydraulic steering. I guess we could have went with an all hydraulic system but we never considered that.

The advantage of having two systems is that we can always run on autopilot or hydraulic steering if our mechanical cable steering system fails.

***Sail On***/)


Friday, April 10, 2020

Aft Head Cabin Headliner and Cabinets

January 2020

After making great progress on the galley and main Salon we moved onto the master cabin and aft head.

The master cabin has a nice queen size berth in the aft port side of the boat under the bridge deck just behind the pilothouse.  The master has a separate head on the starboard side.

Much of the tambour, cabinets and drawers had been completed several years earlier but the headliner for the master needed to be redone.

We first needed to remove the old support structure for the headliner to replace it.
We used 1 1/2" X 3/4" inch poplar to build the new support structure. These were screwed into the fiberglass using stainless steel screws. The supports had to be placed around the entire perimeter of the ceiling and across the area to allow us to attach the headliner panels.

The headliner material is a plastic product called Sintra which comes in 3 ft by 8 ft sheets. It is only 1/4 inch thick and was cut into smaller panels to allow easy access to deck fittings and hardware as needed.

The panels have a groove cut in them so the trick is to get the grooves to all line up as you look down the ceiling. We made some templates out of 1/8 luan plywood or door skin material.

The plywood was cut in 3 inch wide strips and a hot glue gun was used to glue the pattern pieces together.  The pattern was then marked to make sure the lines lined up.

The template was transferred to the sheet and cut out to create the panels for the headliner. We used 3/4 stainless steel screws to attach the headliner to the support structure.

Headliner in aft cabin

Headliner aft cabin hatch

Once all the headliner was cut and fitted we move onto the teak trim pieces.  The seams and perimeter of the ceiling were all be trimmed out in teak strips. These are 2 1/4' wide by 3/8' inch thick. The edges are routed to make a nice round over edge. These are attached using 1" stainless screws.

Starboard Side aft cabin

Aft cabin looking forward

Aft cabin bulkhead

Aft cabin port side
Once everything was rough fitted we took it all down to paint the panels and varnish the teak trim.  It is a lot of work but the finished product looks amazing.  I can't tell you how many man hours have went into just the headliner alone. There are probably quicker ways to do it but when done it has the old classic look that we wanted to achieve. Below is a shot of the completed headliner in the main salon.

Main Salon finished headliner
We move onto the aft head next. The headliner process was pretty much the same. We had to build one additional cabinet above the sink and add some maple tambour to the face of the cabinet. We cut some solid surface for the counter top and installed the sink and faucets.
Aft Head ceiling panels roughed in

Aft head Teak attached

Aft Head

Head door view

Aft Head Cabinet maple tambour fabrication

Cabinet trim above sink

New cabinet with face frame unpainted

Aft head cabinet roughed in

Now that it is all rough out we will take it all down to paint the headliner and varnish the teak trim. More pictures to follow of the completed headliner when we put it back together.

Stay tuned for more projects!

***Sail On*** /)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Salon and Galley Doors, Drawers and Headliner

January 2020

I was back to Wildthing in the month of January 2020 to finish up a few projects.  In December, I had come down and completed most of the electrical upgrades. See the previous post to see all of that work. With those projects out of the way there was still much work to be done on the interior finishes.

Salon Cabinet Doors

All of the bulkheads and flooring were completed in the main salon in January of 2019. To finish up the salon all the frames and cabinet doors had to be installed.

The doors were all built during the cabinet build project and had been varnished to perfection by my brother Brad.  The process for installing the doors started with first installing the frames. The frames were glued and secured with screws from the inside the cabinets. 

Next came installing two hinges on each door. Each hinge had to be custom fit by chiseling to recess the hinge. Custom back stops were also added to prevent the door from going in all the way.  Each of the doors has a brass push button latch. Holes were drilled in the doors and the ring and latch were installed. 

Two doors were fitted on each side of the salon settee area. Two upper cabinets were fitted with doors and hinges also.

Port Side Cabinet Forward
Port Side Main Salon
Port Side Main Salon Aft

Main Salon Port Lower Cabinets Doors
Main Salon Starboard Lower Cabinet Doors

Galley Bulkhead and Headliner

The galley was the next area to finish up.  The solid surface counter tops had been in place for many years.

Cabinet face frames and drawers had been installed on the sink cabinet.

It was now time to clean up the remaining bulkhead between the galley and the pilothouse. We had previously attempted to tile the galley but decided to use something easier to clean.

The old teak veneer was scraped off and the surface was prepared for the new solid surface application.

We decided to use some white solid surface material on the bulkhead above the sink to prevent water damage.  This is the same material we used to make the head counter tops and salon shelving areas.

The material was cut to fit and then the woodwork above was miter cut to allow the solid surface to fit underneath. It turned out better than butting the material up to the woodwork.

Once the galley bulkhead was completed the headliner was installed. The white headliner panels and trim had previously been cut to fit, painted and varnished. Two lights and a fan were also added in the galley.
Port Side Gallery Headliner

Galley Headliner Trim installed

Gallery Port side

Microwave Installed

Galley Solid Surface above Freezer

Galley Face Frame and Drawers
Hatch Frame Installed

Finished Galley Cabinets and headliner
With the cabinet doors hung, solid surface and headliner completed, the Galley and Salon are looking close to being done. Stay tuned for more updates on Wildthing. 

***Sail On***/)