Interior Lockers & Bilge
Phase I was to sand and paint the lockers inside the boat. They looked pretty dirty and would put splinters in your fingers. We insulated the back of some of the lockers where the hull is covered with vinyl with Prodex. We were hoping this would prevent condensation in the lockers and it has to an extent, but there is still some moisture in the lockers. We think we might want to modify some of the lockers or at least the access to some of them. The hatches to get into the back of the settees are really tight and we have an idea for a slide out shelving unit we might try. All this will be Phase II, but depending on how all the other project go, we might wag Phase II altogether. See cabinets and countertops for updates on improvements to storage.
Ramble On came with a thin, moldy, dirty, and generally disgusting mattress. While I would have really liked to get a traditional mattress for the V-berth, they were too expensive so we ended up opting for a foam mattress. I searched the internet high and low for information on the “best” foam mattress for a boat. I had no idea there were so many options and choices in foam. Having no experience with foam mattresses I really wanted to try them out before making a final decision so online ordering was out. I finally found a place in San Francisco that makes custom mattresses so Rich and I traveled to Foam Order.com. They were great, very knowledgeable and helpful. We ended up ordering 4 inch Ever-flex medium-firm foam (density – 2.6 lb/ft3 and indentation load deflection (ILD) – 34) with a 2 inch memory foam (5.3 lb/ft3 ) top. Both layers are covered with medium weight fabric with zippers. There’s three pieces (right, left and the cutout) so we can still access the fuel tank and lower lockers.
We originally planned to buy the Froli Sleep System for under the mattress to increase air flow, prevent condensation and mold. Unfortunately, the Froli System adds about 1.5 inches to the height of the mattress, which means we would have to go with about a 4-5 inch mattress (2-3 inch base and 2 inch top) since we only have about 6 inches from the platform base to the bottom of the tilt-out cabinet door on each side of the V-berth. That seemed way too thin to me. Also, the Froli System is expensive, so we decided to go with a thicker mattress and Hypervent. It’s a 3/4 inch pad of white spun polymer woven into a large open configuration that is bonded to a breathable white fabric layer that sits under the mattress to allow air to circulate. It was about half the price of the Froli System so we thought we’d give it a shot. It’s worked out great. We cut it so it would wrap up the sides of the mattress since they touch the sides of the boat. We get condensation on the side walls of the V-berth (soon to be remedies with a dehumidifier we hope), but the mattress stays dry.
UPDATE: January 2017
We upgraded to the Froli Sleep System. I wrote a post about it here. The Hypervent works fine for moisture, but our bed was starting to make our backs sore. The Froli solved both problems. We bought the Froli Travel V-berth Large Kit with one 12-pack expansion kit and we have a couple pieces left over.
Our first project on Ramble On was to tear out the headliner, rewire and upgrade the lighting, and then put it all back together better than before. We started here because it was obvious one of the previous owners tried (but failed) to repair a leak and we figured this is a project best done before we live on the boat. When we pulled the patched headliner piece down it was completely saturated. Apparently the turtle over the hatch had sprung a leak and instead of stopping the leak, a patch was put over the damaged headliner.
This project then morphed into rebedding the deck hardware. The original hardware is through-bolted all the way to the headliner so the backing plates are visible throughout the boat. We don’t particularly like the way it looks, so we decided to bed the hardware under the headliner. Here’s the problem: we’re not ready to redo all the hardware just yet and we don’t want to finish the headliner then tear it all down again to rebed the deck hardware. So the solution we came up with is this: we’re going to rewire the cabin lights, rebed some deck hardware, put up the new headliner, and put the battens up but we’re not going to finish the trim until we’re done with the deck hardware. The interior will look unfinished for a year or so, but once we’re done rebedding the deck hardware and adding any new hardware, we will finish the trim on the battens. It’s not perfect, but it will have to do.
We’ve heard a lot of pros and cons on insulation. We decided we wanted to insulate the headliner at least. We found closed-cell reflective vapor barrier insulation called Prodex online and decided to give it a try. In the process I learned more than I ever wanted to know about how insulation works. Bottom line is we will not get the R value advertised because in order to get that you have to have a significant airspace between the outside wall and the insulation and we don’t. However, we’re still optimistic that installing some insulation will be better than nothing.
Once the new marine grade electrical wire was in place, Rich cleaned the bare ceiling with TSP (trisodium phosphate), cut the insulation to size, and put it up. Then he cut FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) shims to put over the mahogany nail strips. The original headliner was thicker than new headliner material, which is white matte finish Formica. We cut it to size then tacked it up with little nails. The battens then went back up to hold it all in place. It looks great and the insulation has so far prevented any condensation on the ceiling.
We’re also installed Prodex on the hull in some of the larger lockers and in the V-berth on the ceiling over the forward part of the bed. We noticed that condensation formed in the hanging lockers and Prodex has helped minimize that problem.