Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, July 2, 2017

V Berth Compartment - Part 1

With the initial interior mocking up completed and the cabin profile verified, I could finally get started on the next section in the boat. The plan is to work on the cabin interior floor and cabin fittings for a while and then eventually move to getting the fore deck installed. It will take some time to get the cabin interior done even though I will only be working on the basic fittings for the time being.

This means the floor and and it's supporting structure, the V berth including the aft section of the berth (which doubles as seating), the head box, and the cabinet box. Additional trim and fittings will come later after the fore deck is completed. I may also work on getting the cabin housing structure designed and built before returning to the interior. We'll see on that.

What I've been working on for the last few weeks is the V berth forward compartment. There are two areas of concern that I am tackling for now. The V berth platform which forms the forward part of the sleeping berths as well as it's support structure, and the area below the platform.

The plan for the forward V berth section is to use 12mm Okoume plywood for the platform, supported by a mahogany structure underneath. I want the platform to be strong enough to support two people's weight while sleeping and one person's weight if they are standing in the overhead hatch.

Additionally, there will be access panels in the top to allow entry into the area below. This area below is sort of a free area for now as I am not really sure what I can use it for other than storage. For that reason, I have decided to make the platform removable as well. This gives me flexibility to make changes in this area in the future if needed.

The picture below shows the mock up of the platform in position. There will be a 4 inch foam cushion on top of the platform which will end just below the hatch opening in the forward bulkhead. You can also see that the chine blocks extend up the sides above the level of the platform, so there will need to be allowances for this.

On the aft end of the platform, there is a vertical panel that will drop to the level of the floor. In this vertical panel, will be an additional hatch to access the compartment from this direction. All of this is between frame 5 and frame 6, a distance of approximately 3 feet.

In order to provide the necessary strength to the platform, in addition to it's 12mm thickness (approximately 1/2 inch), there needs to be a supporting structure which I have made from African Mahogany. It consists of a cross brace attached to frame 5, at the aft end of the platform, supported vertically in two places on both sides of the previously mentioned hatch.

These vertical supports are attached to the cross brace and to the floor timbers in the frame. Where they connect to the floor timber, I created 9mm plywood gussets. Then running forward in two places, are two additional supports which connect from the cross brace to the floor timber on frame 6 (under the forward bulkhead).

The following pictures illustrate this. In the third picture, you can see the gussets on the vertical supports. The second, third, and fifth pictures show the hatch opening and the vertical supports. The fore and aft braces are shown in the second, third, and fourth pictures. The hatch is sized to be narrower than the seat boxes that will eventually be installed aft of this location. The scrap plywood temporary floor shows how big this piece will be. It will extend from frame 5 to frame 3 and is approximately 31 inches wide.

To make the V berth platform removable, I will be adding threaded nut inserts into the support structure and use screws through the platform to secure it to the structure. The fore and aft braces will get additional bracing to support the access panels in the platform, but these have not bee designed yet. The platform has been rough cut from plywood, but still needs to get final fitting done. I delayed on this step because I wanted to complete the work on the section below the platform.

As mentioned previously, I am not sure how this area might eventually get used, so in order to make it usable as storage for now, and to give it the flexibility to be changed later, and to give access to the bilge area below. I have constructed a removable lower floor assembly. This will be secured in a similar manner to the platform above via screws and threaded nut inserts.

The floor assembly also needed a support structure, however not nearly as robust as the platform. So that structure consists of two cleats. One mounted aft on the frame and one mounted forward across the stem. I am still finishing up the encapsulation and painting of these parts but all are made and in various stages of completion.

The floor assembly is made from 12mm plywood and has 1/4" mahogany strips across the sides and forward edges to keep items from sliding off. It is a partial floor assembly and leaves some open areas around it for ventilation. The topside has received a fiberglass cover and the entire assembly is encapsulated with epoxy.

Before installing the floor assembly, I wanted to paint the bilge area. So this was encapsulated with epoxy first, masked off (including areas that the platform structure will bond to), and then painted with white bilge paint. When I complete encapsulation of the floor assembly and forward mounting cleat, they will also be painted with the white paint.

This is where I am at as of today except for some additional design work on the next section aft of the forward V berth.  Most of that will be covered in the next posting, but one area I will cover now is the design of the seat boxes that make up the aft section of the V berth.

These seat boxes have to serve two purposes and allow for several considerations. I'll cover that first and then get into the proposed design.

The seat boxes, when used as seats, must not be too deep but at the same time allow sufficient depth (inboard to outboard) for storage underneath. They also need to have enough width to allow sufficient room for a sleeping person. These two measurements are different. Furthermore, I am trying very hard to maintain an openness in the cabin since it is quite small. This means keeping as large a floor space as I can manage. The 31 inch width of the floor came about by raising the floor and was mentioned in my previous posting about mocking up the interior.

I want to preserve this floor space when the seat boxes are used as seats. Additionally, for consideration of my wife's need to get out of the bunks after sleeping, I want to maintain a narrow area of the floor space to swing her legs down instead of having to slide off the end of the V berth if it extended all the way across the aft section when used as a bed. And finally, extending the bed across the cabin would have required a large platform that would have had to be stored somewhere on the boat. I wanted to avoid that.

So the plan is to make the seat boxes approximately 20 inches deep and have a flip up extension on the inboard sides which add an additional 10 inches of width. This will leave a floor space gap of approximately 10 inches in the center between the two seat boxes.

This flip up extension box needs to be supported on the bottom side when flipped up and when flipped down, not take up any additional floor space. So it will fold into a pocket on the inboard side of the seat box and will have fold down legs hidden in the underside. To use the extensions, they simply need to be folded up to the horizontal position and the legs folded down to support them. When not needed, the legs are folded up into the extension box and the extension box folded back into the seat box.

There will be an internal wall outboard of the pocket for the extension box that will separate the storage area from the extension pocket. Finally, the top of the seat box will also be hinged so that the storage underneath can be accessed.

The drawing below is a concept drawing that is neither to scale nor properly proportioned. It also contains a few ideas that may not get incorporated (folding flap at the bottom of the extension for one). But it adequately illustrates what I am trying to accomplish.

So that's it for now. It's been fun working on this and I've started working out the design for the floor support structure that comes next. Once that is built, I will start on the previously mentioned seat boxes. So until next time, take care.

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