V-Berth Airflow

Airflow in our V berth is nonexistent. At anchor, the hatch provides some ventilation for our heads, while our feet remain stagnant. In a rough seaway, the hatch remains dogged down and all airflow stops.  

Thos leads to mold and mildew in the forward cabin, which could all be remedied by better airflow.  

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The plan is simple, add a Dorade box and cowl vent forward of the V berth to bring fresh air into the forward cabin. This should help freshen the cabin and impede the growth of molds. 

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The problem is, waves and rough weather breaks over the bow first, making it critical that the Dorade box work perfectly to keep water from getting into the cabin.  

Stay tuned as the Dorade box takes shape and the airflow issue becomes resolved.  

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Dorade Template

To increase airflow in the forepeak, we want to add a vent. This vent will be in one of the most challenging areas, as well as one of the most necessary areas. 

The cowl needs to only let in air, and perfectly separate out water. Any water that comes through would then drip on our bed. Thankfully I had just finished designing a baffle system that will properly separate out the air from the water.  

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The dorade box fits nicely up next to our inner forestay, while keeping the the cowl in clear air while the sails are down. 

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Space on the deck is a premium, so finding a place that it fits the box well without impeding other deck hardware is imperative. 

Space needs to exist for the windlass to operate, as well as space to stow the sails when they are flakes on the deck.  

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This plywood template served a useful purpose of allowing us to actually see what it will look like on the deck before anything gets cut or glassed.  

Nos that we have found the perfect spot, it is time to build the real deal and glass it to the deck.  

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Failed Dorade Upgrade

The idea is simple, add baffles to our dorade box so that gushing waves don’t pour through and into the cabin.

I built a test box that would allow me to place baffles of different sizes in different positions to try and find the best combination to stop the flow of water while still allowing plenty of air to pass through.

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Tests were very easy to carry out. I used a bucket of water to simulate a boarding wave, and simply dumped the whole thing in as hard as I could. Water would then roar and pour through the system, loosing its speed at each baffle, until it quelled before reaching the end.

Just two baffles seems to be the most effective at stopping water without disturbing air flow. One large one on the bottom and a smaller one at the top closest to the hole that opens for the boat intake.

The plan was simple and I was ready to retrofit the modifications to the old dorades!

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The great ideas all came to a quick halt when I cut open the top of the dorade box. The box ranges from 3/4” thick to 1-1/2” thick of solid (no core) fiberglass. I am a strong believer that any modifications I do to the boat need to be equivalent or better than what was currently there. At this moment, I knew I had failed.

There was no way I could add to this box in such a way that would be as strong or stronger than what is currently there. I simply didn’t have the materials or time on hand to layup a 3/4” thick box with baffles. I was expecting the box to be between 1/4” to 1/2” thick, and probably cored with wood, not solid fiberglass.

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It makes sense that it was so thick, as I frequently step hard on them when the boat heels over. Having a strong foot hold is key in a rough sea way while working on the deck. The thought of making them larger and then more prone to impact means that they should be even stronger than this!

With my tail between my legs, I began to think of alternatives. Suddenly the easiest alternative came to mind: turn the cowl away from the wind when in rough conditions.

Yes, something as simple as not having the cowl face forward in heavy seas had escaped my mind. When I go up to reef, I simply need to also rotate the cowls away from the wind.

I sit here on the deck, looking at this massive hole I need to fill back, and realize that all I needed to do was rotate the cowl.

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Visiting New York

One of the benefits of cruising is that you can afford to travel. Wisdom is currently in the Azores, and to not overstay our visas, we had to return to the United States by plane while she is being repainted. While back in the States, we took advantage of our proximity to New York City for a little city exploration.

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Maddie’s brother lives in New York, so we also got to visit with him! Having a local show you around is always better than wandering around aimlessly. He took us through cool murals and interesting parks as we visited the key sights and experiences that make a trip to New York complete.

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It sure is a different world than the one Maddie and I are used to. Instead of clouds obscuring the sun, it’s the tall peaks of buildings that reach up into the sky. Small streets in tiny ports that we anchor near are a far cry from the busy streets of this city.

All the hustle and bustle is fun for us to visit, but we do enjoy the peace and tranquility that we get when we are at the boat. Being in a busy city sure does make you appreciate the solitude of the open ocean even more.

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Thomas, the Tomato Plant

Ocean passage making is hard on land based plants, but this hardy tomato plant seems to have made the journey!

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Thomas, our tomato plant, was first sprouted in Florida, and has since made the long journey across the Atlantic and over to the Azores.

He started off life with lush green leaves that begged for sun, but with sun exposure also came salt spray. As Thomas grew, so did the concentration of salt crystals in his dirt, until the level in his pot became too harsh for him to thrive.

Leaves started turning brown and his branches became blunted, but Thomas kept trying to fruit. Eventually, little flowers formed and it seems that all his energy went into sustaining them. The remaining leaves withered away as the green tomatoes began to turn red.

Thomas is currently a dried up stick which produced a handful of tomatoes in his lifetime. We plan to make some changes for Thomas II, such as a blocked out container, and to get the plant thriving before we head out to sea.

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