When we replaced all the house batteries and slightly modified the battery compartment on our boat, we decided to install a remote battery switch. The remote switch replaces the familiar big red & black rotary switch found near the battery compartment on almost all boats. It is essentially a very powerful “relay” that can be operated by way of a much smaller switch located in a more convenient place on the boat. Since the relay does not have to be physically accessed to operate, it can be mounted inside the battery compartment along with the batteries using very short cable runs. It has worked great for several years now, but left us with a small cosmetic puzzle to solve.
With the old switch now inoperative and no wires going to it, we wanted to remove it so as not to confuse any mechanics or crew who wouldn’t be familiar with our modification. However, simply removing the old switch left a big gaping hole in the panel on which it was mounted, with some high current wires visible just behind the panel.
We though about removing the entire panel and replacing it with something decorative, but the bilge pump switch, light, and labels were mounted very neatly on the left side of the panel and we didn’t want to disturb them if we didn’t have to.
We turned to Paula’s Dad, who has provided a number of clever decorative solutions on the boat for problems just like this. After providing him some careful measurements, he designed a beautiful wood overlay that covers the entire panel, but has a cut out for the bilge pump switch & lights. The overlay is also routed out 1/8th of an inch on its reverse side so that the original metal panel (which will remain in place) will be inset in the back of the overlay piece. That allows the edges of the wood overlay to be flush with the surrounding fiberglass surface.
To add some nautical flavor and additional functionality, he cut a round hole out of the center of the overlay so that a small but elegant barometer could be mounted flush on the surface of the panel.
It looks great and, as it happens, is located right next to another of his creations – a frame and protective cover for an additional breaker panel.
Since moving onto on the boat, and spending a lot more time in the main salon, we wanted a convenient place to set down drinks or snacks when sitting on the forward end of the starboard settee. This location is a favorite movie/TV watching position. This is the same area where the dining table folds down, and we thought there might be a way to use the bulkhead mounted “box” that supports the dining table to also hold a small snack table. The trick was to make sure it didn’t interfere with the operation of the dining table or when extending out the settee for use as a berth.
We used some cardboard to make a model of a small folding table which would not only meet the above two requirements, but would be nearly invisible when stowed in place. The first set of pictures that follow show our simple mock-up of how the table would work and also how big it would be.
At this point we enlisted Paula’s Dad again to take advantage of his woodworking expertise and cleverness in finalizing the design. We also wanted the tray to have fiddles and a simple way to keep the tray captive in its stowed position. We didn’t mock-up either of these items. He made the tray and support arm from 3/4″ teak stock as well as the fiddles. A clever turnbuckle made from teak to keep the tray in its stowed position rounded out the design. Below are pictures of the unfinished tray mounted to test the fit.
With everything fitting nicely, we unmounted the parts for finishing. Paula was in charge of that and did a very nice rubbed oil finish. I felt a little guilty at this point since it turned out so nice and I hardly did any work!
A few years after we got the boat we found we needed to expand the 12V electrical system beyond the original installation that came with the boat. To that end, one of the first things we did was install an additional 12V circuit breaker panel, the subject of one of the very first posts to this blog site ( Additional 12V breaker panel ). Recently, we discovered the need to expand the system even more. A problem this time however was a lack of available space to mount another breaker panel near the existing ones. The original 12V system on the boat included a small fuse panel mounted near the floor under the Nav desk on the forward side. Because of the proximity to the battery compartment, this was a good location for a new panel. We wanted to use the same exact spot as the existing fuse panel, so the new breaker panel had to have enough breakers to replace the fuses we were removing in addition to supplying power to the new circuits we needed.
Everything went well with the installation and the panel works great, but we have had one nagging issue. While the location for the new panel was ideal from a wiring point of view, occasionally some of the breakers would accidently be tripped by our feet when getting into and out of the nav seat.
We needed some sort of guard or cover for the panel that would prevent our feet from kicking the breakers, but still let us see the state of the breakers from a distance. We tried a few simple solutions but they were either ineffective or aesthetically ugly. So once we enlisted Paula’s dad again (see all the “MortMade” posts in this blog) for both some ingenuity and beautiful woodwork.
His idea was to build a teak frame that would surround the panel such that the panel would be inset behind the frame and the frame would be flush with the surrounding wall. He would also carve a channel in the top and bottom parts of the frame so that a piece of clear plexiglass could slide in from one side of the frame and cover all the breakers. We made a paper template of the panel for him to go by and sent some pictures of the area where the panel was mounted. A few weeks later we received a great looking teak frame with pre-drilled mounting holes that fit perfectly over the panel. The teak was unfinished, so Paula set about to wet sand in eight coats of oil once we got it back to the boat.
The result is a gorgeous breaker panel cover that is not only perfectly functional, but adds unexpected additional beauty to the interior of the boat.
There is a perfect place for a spice rack in the IP420 galley under the companion way and against the wall separating the galley from the aft cabin. This custom rack can hold 16 large spice jars and displays three nice nautical themes on the side which faces into the main part of the cabin.
You know that place at home where you put your wallet and keys and loose change and other small but important stuff? This beautiful sea chest is perfect for that and also makes for a very interesting conversation piece.
The space around the toilets in each of the heads in our boat does not lend itself to a typical home sized bathroom trash bin. What we needed was a “skinny” enough bin to fit in the small space between the toilet and the wall, but tall enough to overcome the lack of volume from being skinny. Each of these bins was built with a purposely heavy inset lid that won’t fly off in a seaway.
When we bought the boat, there was a hole cut out of the base of the starboard settee that appeared to once house a stereo speaker. We needed something to cover the hole, and asked Paula’s dad to be imaginative. The result is a lovely little plaque with both a compass rose theme as well as a pictogram of the name of our boat (C Ghost).