The last in our Winter/Spring 2015 series of changes

to make life on our lady more accommodating.

This one addresses one of my biggest beefs

…the companionway door.

It’s awkward, cumbersome and a pain to store.

Boat modifications seem to be one big chain reaction…

We had a rubbing problem…

Companionway hatch was wearing away the gelcoat…

Solution, via more great social media group suggestions,

apply tephlon tape.

And since we had to remove the hatch and rails to apply the tape,

why not replace the white rails with wooden ones?

And since we were replacing the wooden rails,

why not re-design the companionway door.

…and so on and so on…

Plexiglass was considered…nice modern touch,

but Captain loves his wood accents

and we were definitely on a wood path.


…our final Winter/Spring project #5…

…Francois first measured out the bristol board template.
…a glass of wine (lower right corner) always helps the creative process.
…confirming the correct dimensions
on a sheet of 3/8″ baltic birch.
Condo life has its advantages as we can lock our door and leave for indefinite periods.
..but although François would kill to have the space for a proper workshop,
he has made good use of our kitchen,
living room,
dining table
and little guest room
for our winter projects.
Using a skill saw and improvised wooden guide
he made the intial straight cut.
…then back to the boat,
making sure the overall shape and dimensions were correct.
…the porthole…
oh, how I do love this idea!!!

16″ x 8-5/8″

…to be installed in the upper half of the door.

with a 3/4″ backing plate to strengthen the structure.

Then back to the boat to make sure all the pieces fit…

…the main door components now in two sections.
…with 2 additional screened sections.
…a little mix of this…
…with a little match of that…
…then back home to the guest room ‘workroom’
for stain and Cetol.
After 4 coats of Cetol,
the project is moved to the kitchen ‘workroom’
for cocktails…
…and installation of the porthole…
…countersunk holes…

…Butyl caulked screws…
…for a good water tight seal…
For the screened sections…
Francois chose aluminum mesh for more strength…
…secured with stainless steel staples…

…mitre-cut oak trim, stained to match…

…covering the staples to make a cleaner finish…

1-3/8″ oak overhang on top section…
…with weather stripping for a little added seal…

…all ready to go back to the boat.

All that hard work needs protecting when not in use,
so I found a travel bag for $15
and a yoga mat for $10
that I cut up to fit between each piece.

We couldn’t find a lock that suited the Mac,

so instead of re-inventing something that would fit,

we used the one from the original door.

Porthole, the perfect size….
….for all those important small things!
Galley Kat
Major Pig (ret’d)



Sunny cloudless skies,
24 ° C (74 ° F)
One last task that has to be accomplished before R.E.D.
goes back in the water for the season.
First a cockpit breakfast…
Then I masked off the perimeter….


François roughed up R.E.D.’s belly…
…really nasty stuff…





…about one hour of prep time…



…as with last year, one quart of Micron CSC does the job.




…and about 2 hours of careful touch up…



…now she’s ready to go back in the water


BOAT MODIFICATIONS – Companionway Hatch and Trim

BOAT MODIFICATIONS – Companionway Hatch and Trim

This next project was more necessity driven
than just making little cosmetic changes or
modifications to make living on R.E.D. more convenient.
Opening and closing the companionway hatch was wearing the gelcoat,
in some places almost exposing the porous fibreglass.
Back to the internet forums for advice,
we discovered that some boat owners had remedied the problem
by applying teflon tape to protect the surface and to prevent further damage.
So when the winter weather started to improve,
we headed back to R.E.D. to remove all the strapping
to be able to remove the companionway hatch…

We purchased the teflon tape and marine adhesive…

…and brought the companionway hatch back to the workroom,
AKA our livingroom…
…it was also a good opportunity to paint the underside of the companionway hatch
with Captain’s new friend Bilgekote,
making it smooth as a baby’s bottom and easier to clean.
…teflon tape applied to the hatch edges…
…then back to apply the strips to the boat.
We needed temperatures above 4 ° C for proper curing time.
~ ~
The second part of this modification was more cosmetic driven…
During one of our first outings on our brand new boat two years ago,
my daughter commented that yes, it was a pretty boat
but ….
(just what every proud boat owner wants to hear is a ‘but’)
…’but boats with real wood are so much nicer’.
We had to agree that real wood trim is really beautiful,
so when it came time to tackle the companionway ‘rubbing’ problem
we decided to replace the white strapping.
Captain’s choice: white oak…
…out with the (no so) old and in with the new…
…wood primer, natural oak stain and Cetol (4 coats).
…givng results the colour of a fine single malt.
We then grabbed a small weather window,
a beautiful 15 ° C clear sunny day,
to put it all back together…
…This is my new favourite boat friend.
I had heard of Butyl tape
but not until attending a workshop recently in Rhode Island
did I realize how useful it really was.
It provides the adhesive power of tape with the sealing power of caulking.
Captain remarked that this alone was worth the trip.
…a small amount around the screw head…
…and under the strapping to give added protection,
…and a good seal
between the wood and fibreglass.

All the hardware is back in place…

Now onto the next project…
…designing the companionway door.