09 February 2010

A Tour of Southern Cross

So, I was going to write more about our first attempt (I am referring to it as a "shakedown cruise"), but I think Darcy summed it up quite well. So, instead I'll give you a tour of Southern Cross. As an update, we're still here in Moyock finishing up some repairs and upgrades. A few more days and we'll be done, and ready for round two.

Southern Cross is an Yachtcraft/Islander 34, built in 1975. Designed by Robert Perry, she's designed to handle almost anything you could throw at her. I'm trying to track down the exact builder of her, but having some difficulty. It's been difficult to track down the exact history of this hull, but from what I can find she's one of the 14-16 boats built by Islander.

We'll start at the bow, in the V-Berth. Normally made up in bed form, this "stateroom" has some of the most voluminous lockers aboard under the cushions. As seen in the pictures, immediately under the removable center section, drawers used to reside. One of the refit projects was to remove these drawers and build top-loading bins, giving us an almost 300% gain in storage volume. Dividers were installed horizontally in between the old drawer fronts, and the drawer fronts were removed and hinged. This allows us to either access these bins from the top or through the old drawer face. Our library, while not pictured here, resides on the shelves seen here as well.

Immediately aft of the V-Berth, on the port side (left as you're looking forward), is the head. Nothing too fascinating here. The sink is plumbed to drain overboard, but water supply into here is currently limited to carrying in a jug of water.

Directly across from the head is a hanging closet and bookshelf. The shelf is pretty much the "reference" section of our library. It also has acquired the storage of hats over time. The hanging closet was yet another refit project. Formerly just a large closet with one rod, and two small shelves in the back, it now houses two deep shelves and a shoe bin in the forward section, while aft of the new partition the hanging rod was reinstalled for a typical hanging closet. LED touch lights were also installed in the shelves, as it is almost impossible to see into them in anything other than optimal light conditions. At some later date, I plan on painting these shelves white (right now they're just poly over plywood) to make them a bit brighter and easier to see into.

Aft of the head (we're back on the port side now), is the salon. Shown here with the new cabin table (another refit project), it's a fairly simple L-shaped settee, with storage beneath. The new table can be used as shown, lowered and locked in to form a double berth, or removed completely. 95% of the time outside of dinner, we have it removed completely and stowed. This gives us MUCH more room to move around the cabin, or dance wildly to videos, or do yoga, or whatever else you can do in 40 square feet of wide open space.

On the other side of the cabin, we have the galley. Equipped with a Force 10 propane stove and infrared broiler, we have plenty of btu's available for cooking. Forward of that, we have a deep stainless sink, plumbed for running fresh and raw water, along with foot pumps for both as well. Right now the only use the electric water pumps have seen is for shock treating the tanks, but we're retaining them for now. As a side note on our consumables, we carry 40 gallons of fresh water in two tanks, along with 14 gallons on deck, and 10 gallons in jugs in the bilge. Propane is contained in twin 40# tanks stored on a platform off the transom. Anyway, aft of the stove is the ice box, which has been divided into sections for ice and food.

Moving on to just aft of the ice box is more storage and some tools. This used to be a quarterberth, but is now a resting place for one of the twin diesel tanks, thus rendering it too short for sleeping. Even for me. In any case, this whole area is now used for storage. A locker under the former berth is used for maintenance stuff, two totes hold crushable food items (and currently, all the books), the ditch bag, tool kits, flares, and first aid kit reside on top of the berth.

Aft of the salon (yes, we've zigged and zagged back to the port side again) is the nav station. Navigation aboard SC is pretty basic. GPS coordinates are read off one of the three handheld GPS units aboard (two Garmin Legends and one Magellan 315) and plotted by hand on paper charts. Other electronic navigation aids aboard are a depth sounder and Pathfinder RADAR system. I'm currently designing and building a NMEA network that will connect all these devices to a central PC. This will allow us to plot courses and waypoints on the PC, transfer data back and forth between the PC and GPS, and in the end, link to the autopilot (ST2000+ TillerPilot). Essentially, my end goal is to be able to plot the course and have the boat handle itself via autopilot while showing a realtime location on the PC. But of course, positions and course data will ALWAYS be logged and charted by hand on paper. I like my gadgets, but still don't fully trust electronics in a marine environment. Anyway, I'll be doing a post later on all our navigation practices and equipment.

That's pretty much the entire interior. Not much to it, but more than enough to get by.

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