Altamira Aft Cabin Work – August Update

Most of the pieces are in place to see how good the cabin will look and work upon completion. The project has moved to the details, painting and trim phases. The completion date can be contemplated.

Lazarette and cockpit hatch work – Below is a photo of the aluminum hatch surround – description in the July update post. Paint work yet to be done. Hatch is heavy – don’t know why. The hatch will not stay open unless it is tied to the bulwark rail. This is inconvenient, but it won’t fall unexpectedly.

Inverter and battery banks – Photo below of completed inverter 48VDC battery bank B (Port side). Note 4/0 cables (to inverter 48VDC circuit breaker). Arranging the series connected bank batteries in a line is a safer arrangement – the full voltage/energy terminals are separated by almost six feet. I use the “old school” conductor insulation color for negative DC, black. Using copper bar for the battery interconnects eliminated twenty expensive 4/0 crimp terminals, twenty feet of 4/0 marine cable, and labor. The wired interconnects would complicate access to the cell caps, and the copper bar has a much higher current rating than the 4/0 cable. The inverter works fine – full load (3000 watts) is about 62.5 amps @ 48VDC.

Veneer plywood problems and solutions – Marine trader used a lot of quality plywood for interior construction. Most of it is about 1/2″ with an about 1/8″ teak? veneer plywood glued to the 1/2″. Looks great (but is dark in color) and low maintenance, but does not hold up well (discolors and eventually delaminates) anywhere it gets wet repeatedly from rain or spray, typically around companionways, windows, and doors. IMHO, problem areas can be repaired with epoxy and painted or covered with something else. The source of the water ingress should be addressed, although this can be difficult. In the photo below, both of these methods are shown. The veneer around the companionway was too far gone for repair – it was covered with 2″ wood strips and painted. The port and starboard sides were repaired using West epoxy with sanding filler and painted. Personal preference, I prefer the lighter color of the paint to the darker wood.

Veneer plywood repairs – A few more words on the veneer repairs using epoxy. I have repaired delaminated sections up to two square feet. Remove all loose laminate and coat the plywood beneath with neat epoxy. Then build out the area with epoxy filler using a fairing type filler. Two or more applications with powered sanding between to get a fair surface for painting will be needed – Google is your friend for this technique if you need it. Then prime (minimum 1 coat) and paint (minimum 2 coats) the whole section – polyurethane (Pettit or Brightside) recommended – provide for adequate ventilation during application and for drying – this is an oil based coating, and the volatile organic compounds (VOC) released are not pleasant or worse. Follow safety and application directions on paint container.

Painting colors – Blue is Pettit Blue Ice, white is Brightside White.

Photo below show inverter DC and AC circuit breakers, the neutral/ground bonding relay, and a part of the front of the inverter with the status indications.

Here’s a detail of the ventilated access cover for the circuit breakers and the inverter. There are more vents high on both sides of the cabinet. The inverter gets warm recharging the banks.

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  1. your hatches are heavy because they are most likely water logged . did you have to replace the aft cabin bulkhead ?

    1. Tim, Sounds like you are familiar with Marine Trader decks. I figured the same, but I have looked deeper. The hatches are heavy because they are just a layup of many layers of polyester resin and mat in a gel coated mold – basically same construction as the hull – just much thicker. Such layups are heavy. Don’t know why the builder didn’t use a core like the decks – just another instance of “we have plenty of resin and mat ….”. The aft cabin bulkhead above the cockpit deck elevation was structurally OK – didn’t have to disturb the nice teak joinery at the aft companionway.

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