Sunday, August 8, 2010

Coffee Table

The back corner of the cabin is a great spot to sit for morning coffee so we added this little coffee table. Its also big enough for a laptop computer or a toasted bagel on a plate. Constructed from 1" Afromosia (African Teak), it hinges up for access to the little door where you check the engine oil. It removes completely with a couple of thumb screws for when you want to remove the stair and panel to access the engine room. Horizontal support comes from a stop mounted to the stair. An pin is available to hold the table in the up position while working through the small engine room door.

I was lucky to find a piece of Afromosia that was 15 inches wide allowing the table to be cut as a single piece. For now, no fiddles will be added. That may change later depending on how much junk gets dumped on the floor.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cockpit Table Extension

One of the first projects completed on SummerPlace was a small cockpit table that could be used while underway. One of the last projects was an extension leaf that allows 2 people to sit at a cockpit dinner table.

The extension is built from 3/4" plywood with a Formica top surface and teak edges. A square base fits closely into the fiddles on the small table and is retained by a screw-in knob. The whole thing removes for stowage in a few seconds. Its kept in the port lazarette in a case custom made by Sandy.

Shoestring Digital Voltmeter

A 2000 watt Honda generator is used on SummerPlace to maintain the batteries while on cruise but the analog panel meter doesn't help much. I wanted a digital meter but a replacement panel mount unit is ~$175 if one can be found to fit. Harbor Freight often has digital voltmeters on sale for three bucks. I wired this one up to a handy spot in the closet.

Now I can watch my batteries charge up without my checking account draining down.

Galley Shelf

There's adequate countertop space on Summer Place as long as you dont want to get into the ice box or bread box. The doors to those spaces also serve as counter top. While preparing meals, you often need to shift things around to pull something out of the refer. It was a juggling act. To help matters, I added a small shelf to gain a few square inches of precious horizontal space.

The shelf is constructed out of 1" thick Afromosia (African Teak) purchased locally. Afromosia is about half the cost of teak and provides a good match of grain and color. The shelf is supported by 2 small hinges and a hook.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jarrell Cove Sketches

I took my iPad on a recent cruise to Jarrell Cove. I snapped some photos of intersting boats (including SummerPlace of course!) and drew sketches from them on the iPad. Its an enjoyable activity for a cruise and a good way to strike up conversation with the other boaters. Click on the thumbnails above to see the full-size image on Flickr.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Outboard Motor Bracket

I needed an outboard motor bracket for the 8hp. Tohatsu used on the dink. I found two types to be available, a plastic or teak one that mounts at a rail intersection and costing $40 - $50., and one made by Edson that mounts anyplace the cost just under $300. (gasp!)

Having neither a rail intersection nor $300. to spare, I decided to make my own using Starboard. Total cost from TAP: $11.50 using a scrap of teak and assortment of screws from the junk box. Looks decent IMHO.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Swim Platform (Dinghy Davits)

Update: 6/15 - Completed work on the stand-offs the last few days. The project is complete. Tie-downs were also added on the starboard side for gas cans and several hours were spent figuring out how to best tie off the dinghy once up on the davits. I ended up running a line on each side, from below the centerline of the dinghy up to the middle of the stern rail. This has the effect of spreading the load and making the dinghy rock solid while underway..

Like most projects, if I were to do it again, there are a few minor things I'd do differently but I consider this effort to be a success. Now on to some new projects.

Installation Complete - 1Update: 6/1 - Wrapped up installation this morning with final hardware, transom backing, bedding, etc. The platform is solid underfoot owing to the cored construction of the transom and placement of the brackets. I'm pleased with the result. Next step brings the dinghy to the marina for mounting the davits and stand-offs.

Update: 5/30: Started installation yesterday. Progress is slow because of the steady rain. Should wrap up initial work tomorrow followed by disassembly and bedding of the hardware. Taking plenty of time to be sure everything is properly aligned before drilling the holes.

Update: 5/28 - The platform arrived yesterday from Plasteak. Two photos were added to the gallery. I asked PlasTeak to take a few photos of the platform during fabrication but it didn't get done.

The platform looks good although I'm a bit concerned about the proximity of the vents to the place where the davit hooks mount. I would have preferred more solid platform there. Should be ok with use of some good backing plates though.

Update: 5/19 - Added some new photos to the project gallery. The platform was ordered about 10 days ago and should be here in about another week. Meanwhile, I gathered much of the hardware needed to mount it on the transom.

I asked PlasTeak to take some photos during fabrication of the platform and hope to get some interesting shots of the process.


I've never gone swimming in Puget Sound and have no plans to do so. A swim platform is a great way to carry a hard dinghy though - using Weaver Snap Davits

With the boat kitty replenished by the previously reported davit sale, a swim platform is in the works. This platform will be a rehash of one I built of the Nonsuch 26 seen here. This one will be about 18 inches wider and use improved supports. I'll follow a similar prototype process by building a plywood mock-up to confirm the design and fit followed by a custom build by Plasteak.

This is a slow project spanning about two months. The slideshow below shows the progress and will be updated as work is completed. On each photo is a "notes" link below the image. Click on it to read any included explanation. You can also click on the "link" link to open up the full-size photo on Flickr.

Get the flash player here:

Dinghy Davits - Sold

The dinghy davits sold last week to a guy in Ohio who responded to my Seattle Craigslist ad. Packaging them was a serious effort consuming 4 rolls of tape and a dozen sticks of hot-melt glue. Hope they arrive safely.

Craigslist is an amazing tool for the money (free). You do need to be careful not to be ripped off. The best insurance is CASH. I would not have had courage though, as the buyer did, to send a large sum of money to a stranger 2000 miles away on the hope that the merchandise would arrive as promised. But thats me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

High Performance WiFi Adapter

Swantown Marina where Summer Place is moored offers free wifi. Our slip however is far away from the access point and the signal is too weak for the laptop's internal wifi adapter. RadioLabs offers a high performance adapter for $140. + shipping that completely eliminates the problem.

All of the electronics are located inside the antenna module. All you need to do is install the driver software and plug cable into a USB jack.

I like having wifi on the boat for email and internet surfing but also for watching Slingbox and listening to Pandora, the free and excellent internet radio service.

Slingbox is a device that connects to your home video system and home network. It transmits your home TV signal across the internet to any location where wifi is available. You can even control your video system from the remote location

Satellite tv on Dell notebook (note the remote on left side)

DirecTV program guide controlled from remote location
Slingbox at home

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dinghy Davits

Summer Place came to us with a beautiful set of Ocean Marine lifting davits. Its a good setup for lightweight inflatables but not a happy marriage with a Livingston hard dinghy and 8hp outboard - my preferred setup.

Once the dinghy is raised as high as possible, its very difficult to stabilize as the davit is optimized for the tubes of the inflatable.

Rubbing salt on the wound, the length of the boat with the dinghy mounted on the davits, exceeds the allowed length for the 36ft. slip. That forces us into a 40 ft slip for an extra $40/month.

I have a nice set of davits for sale. Contact me if you're interested.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Summer Place has a power device for raising the sail. Its also great for hauling bodies up the mast. Its very powerful - easily capable of doing a lot of damage if used carelessly.

I was wondering why this thing isn't self-tailing like all the other winches?? Could it be converted? The name on the top is Maxwell Nilsson. I went to the Maxwell website where it says that Maxwell winch assets are now owned by an Australian firm called ARCO. (

I contacted them and the story is that this device is really an anchor windlass and cannot be converted. I learned that most Maxwell winches can be converted but not so for the windlass.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Summer Place now has an Autopilot with wireless remote. (Raymarine X5/S100)

Installation is bolt-on simple owing to the elimination of the rudder position sensor from the previous (S-1) model.

I would have preferred a below-decks unit to avoid the wheel-mounted actuator but at triple the cost, I couldn't justify it for the inland use the boat will have.

The remote allows steering from any position on board.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Electronics Refit

I decided to rearrange the navigation electronics on Summer Place. The goal is to open up the view at the helm.

After removing the electronics console and cup holders that came with the boat. I needed a simple mount for the GPS/chartplotter. It had to allow the GPS to be rotated to any angle because when the weather is bad, I stand under the dodger and steer with the autopilot remote control or when sailing, I like to sit on the leeward coaming.

The mount is cut from 3/4" Starboard. 1 1/4" holes engage the pedestal guard and the mount is held in place with 1/4" nylon set screws. A 5/16" diameter thumbscrew can be eased off which allows the GPS to rotate.

The radar display was moved to the nav station below decks. I'm comfortable running in low/no visibility with chartplotter alone except in areas where ships and ferries also operate. With the display mounted below, targets can be spotted by crew, or when single-handing, with a quick step below for a look at the radar picture.

Cockpit Table

A must-have accessory for me is a cockpit table. Many of them are available to buy for lots of money but none that meet all my requirements. So I decided to make my own -- again.

My basic requirement is to have a table that can be used while operating the boat and not interfere with movement about the cockpit.

The table will be an improvement of the one we had on the Nonsuch 26 (photos) with the main difference being material. The previous version was built of plywood with Formica laminate and teak trim. This one is built of white Starboard, a solid plastic composite, and teak trim.

The small "day-use" table remains attached to the pedestal all the time. If a larger table is desired for cockpit dining or socializing, a clamp-on leaf is available. The larger leaf (about 24" x 30") is stowed away when not in use.

Since the cockpit/helm arrangement on Summer Place is different than the Nonsuch 26, I decided to build a prototype out of some scrap plywood.


click here to see more pics

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cockpit Cover

The Nonsuch cockpit lends itself to a simple slant-back cover. No bows or supports are needed. It keeps the cockpit clean and dry. In the first photos, Mike uses the finished fabric to mark cutting points. That is mated with a detailed pattern made on poly sheet the indicates snap locations and places where clearance is requird for deck hardware. A soft material was added around the edge to prevent chafing of the canvas against the teak cockpit eyebrow. The last photo shows the cover in use. The port-side zipper is opened up about half way making for easy entry and exit. A worthwhile addition.

New Dock Lines

I love new dock lines. They look good, feel good, and secure the boat well. I saw a Craigslist post for these top quality lines the other day and jumped at the chance to get them at a really good price. (Thanks Erik)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dish Box

I like an out of the way place to toss dirty dishes so they're not lying in the sink or on the counter top. Summer Place had no handy spot to do it so a little remodel was done in the undersink cabinet.
Before -- Space but no organization. Galley supplies are free to fly arount while underway.

A box (right) was assembled that supports one side of a shelf while holding galley items upright and in their place.

After -- A convenient and out of the way spot to throw the day's dirty dishes

The shelf lifts up to acces the through hull valve and additional storage below.