20 April 2015

Three Weeks in a Cubic Meter

Eric working in the stern locker.
As an example of what we have been doing here on Katmai these last months, we would like to share some details from one of our larger projects which took place in one of the tighter/smaller physical spaces on Katmai. (This is probably why this work was last on the list!)

The stern area on Katmai contains fair bit of complex equipment:  The NKE autopilot hydraulic ram, the quadrant at the top of the rudder, the Webasto heater and related glycol tanks, the SGC antenna tuner and related equipment, as well as a lot of ’boat plumbing’(various hoses and wiring).  The space is also very small, therefore needs to be well organized and of course very sturdy for items like the hydraulic ram which mechanically turns the rudder and is under a great deal of lateral force.  The space is so small to work in that Eric, and I to a lesser degree, have become contortionists. 

There basically is room only to sit, or kneel in a contorted way, and of course reach here and there, grind, fiberglass, turn wrenches, screw drivers and cut.  Working in such a small space is very tiring to say the least, and brutal when it is hot and sunny.

top of the rudder post with attached quadrant,
rudder angle sensor and business end
of the NKE ram that drives the rudder. 
Eric basically removed the heater, auto pilot ram and all related equipment and rebuilt from scratch their supporting structures.  This entailed building new marine plywood for-aft bulkheads and using fiberglass to secure the bulkheads onto the boat structure for strength.  A new platform for the autopilot ram was then constructed, the ram bases (we have a spare ram) mounted with substantial backing plates etc.

Heater the starboard side of the locker. 
White cylinder is an 'ugly balun' that Laurie
made for the HF antenna feedline.
The Webasto heater had been out of service for the last couple years as we needed to move the glycol storage tanks when we installed the generator.  The heater was also due for a major maintenance/rebuilt  as well.  

Largely, this was an Eric job, although I spent a several long days in the locker myself doing the related wiring jobs that the heater and autopilot ram required as well as many hours working on our High Frequency (HF) radio installation.  We’ll write another entry about radios one day, but it certainly has been fun as I learned a great deal about marine single side band (SSB) and HF radio installations.  Fun in a very technical, geeky sort of way!  All working great now!

Fortunately, we are done in the stern locker, the seat cover has been re-installed and we are on to other details of our preparation to leave for Indonesia in mid May.  -Laurie

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