On sailing a Folksong – update

The removal of old trim, the rounding off of wooden edges and a first coat of white paint has transformed Blue Mistress’ main cabin.

So much so that she has become a different boat.

Up to now, I have gone along with the cosily unfinished state below decks. It was always going to need more work but, on the whole it was ok.

Now the work is being done, which means decisions have had to be made.

The first was whether or not to fit a proper sea toilet (Jabasco compact) instead of the portable loo which was boxed-in midships in the entrance to the fore cabin. The traditional bucket would have suited the skipper but he had to fall in with the expectations of those guests who prefer a more conventional approach. It did occur to him that one way of weeding out prospective crew would be to note their response to “By the way, you’ll have to use the bucket . . .” followed by a long pause. On the other hand, he remembered that he rather liked some of those who might turn their noses up at it so the least he could do would be to see whether something more formal was possible.

As there is little head room immediately forward of the bulkhead, the only feasible plan would be to shorten the port-hand bunk – (in effect, remove it), and install the device at the forward end, immediately this side of the bulkhead. He designed a box to contain it which would have a double hinged lid level with the shelf behind. This would be useful as a worktop – (and somewhere to put down a mug of coffee). Painted white with the rest of the cabin, it would only be slightly intrusive – even if we had lost the widest and most comfortable bunk.

At the same time, there is no chart table. The “thunderbox” lid could be used as one but would require the occasional removal of everything on it, whereas if we used the middle part of the bunk space for a regular chart table with chart storage and lockers beneath –  keeping it level with the aforesaid worktop and varnishing it as contrast, then we would add considerably to the facilities aboard.

By leaving space at the aft end for one person to sit facing across the cabin while being able to twist round to use the table –  (there would need to be some space beneath this end of the table to accommodate knees), it would still be possible to enjoy a convivial evening. The design also intended there to be a pull-out table for those sitting on the starboard bunk.

Moving the heads would have opened up the entrance to the fore cabin which had been tricky to enter because of the way the portaloo was boxed in and the lack of headroom just inside the forecabin.

But we’re not doing any of that.

Why? Cost mostly – and time. In doing the planning, I discovered where the limit lay. (This was before the economic crisis had taken hold. I’m even more sure now.)

What we are doing is less complex, and, by the look of the work completed so far, the result will be better for it.

More on this in a later post.