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Emerald Tales
Summer 2015: in the Greek Ionian
The Princess and the Pea bed
Nichola / its raining again....
09/05/2012, Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex

so named because of its many layers! The refurb of the bed in the aft cabin is now finished, so here is the saga of what we've done.

Our aft bed sits above an empty space over the hull and it gets very cold in the winter, even with a 12cm piece of foam mattress. The old mattress was in two pieces and the ends of it touched against the bare hull where it curves up at the stern. Due to the very cold air underneath the bed base and our warm bodies, we used to get a lot of condensation, particularly down the end where there wasn't so much air flow. This resulted in the evil mould taking hold in the hard to get to places. It was decided it was time for a new foam mattress and after much deliberation this is what we came up with:

LAYER 1: Bed base - 1 inch think underfloor insulation has been fastened under the plywood bed base, rotted panels replaced and the whole lot painted white. Where the bare hull is visible where it curves up at the stern we put insulation over the bare sections of hull, covered this with plywood and cut the bottoms of the cupboards around the bed to accommodate the insulation and ply. The picture here shows that job in progress.

Insulation over bare hull

LAYER 2: wooden bed slats - these are curved wooden slats joined together with rubber strips available from IKEA. We already used these under the old mattress to create an air gap but they'd got a bit of mould from sitting in pools of condensation. We use 2 of the type for single beds so that we have one under each sleeping position and so we could cut the ends off the slats to follow the shape of the bed where it tapers towards the bottom. The slats have been cleaned and painted (they were varnished but not very thickly) to protect against the evil mould. The slats lift the mattress off the bed base to provide an air gap and prevent any condensation that gathers on the bed base from getting the mattress wet.

LAYER 3: This is a sandwich of wiry stuff between the IKEA slats and mattress and provides an additional air gap to aid ventilation.

LAYER 4: a new piece of 7cm thick, firm foam in two pieces to allow them to be easily moved and proped at the side of the bed if we want to ventilate underneath. I made new covers for the foam.

LAYER 5: a single piece of king size, 5cm thick memory foam sits on top. This is the first time we've had a single mattress piece across the whole bed and means we can finally sleep in the middle without falling down the gap between the foam pieces! We decided to have this memory foam layer separate from the other foam so that if the memory foam wears out we can just replace that piece without the cost of replacing the full 12cm thickness of foam. It also meant we could have a single piece rather than 2 pieces and so make it like a proper bed at last. The memory foam layer can be rolled up and put to the side when we want to ventilate underneath.

After a couple of weeks of use it is such an improvement over the previous bed. It's no longer cold (we have had a couple of nights at nearly freezing outside - yes in May!!!) and is so comfy that it's very hard to get out of it in the morning, especially with the rubbish weather we're having.


2011\12: Winter jobs at Brandy Hole
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Maybe useful for anyone planning a sail to Scotland?
Nichola / Hail!
11/04/2012, Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex

Just a quick blog to say that we have our charts and pilot guides from our trip round the UK for sale on Ebay. The items are as follows and you can find them all at this link:
•Imray C68 Scotland Cape Wrath to Wick and the Orkney Islands 1:160,000 2008
•Imray C67 Scotland North Minch and Isle of Lewis 1:155,000 2009
•Imray C66 Scotland Mallaig to Rubha Reidh and Outer Hebrides 1:155,000 2007
•Imray C26 Ijmuiden to Die Elbe 1:345,000 2009
•Admiralty SC5611 Leisure Chart Folio West Coast of Scotland (Mull of Kintyre to Point of Ardnamurchan) 3rd Edition July 2009,
•Imray Irish Sea Pilot, David Rainsbury 1st Edition 2009
•Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions Part 2: Kintyre to Ardnamurchan Dec 2009 edition,
•Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions Part 3: Ardnamurchan to Cape Wrath May 2010 edition
•Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions Part 4: Outer Hebrides Sept 1995 edition.
•Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions 5: North and North East Scotland and Orkney Islands 2003 (Revisions to Sept 2008) edition
•Imray Yachtsman's Pilot: Clyde to Colonsay 5th Edition (2007)

We will post a proper blog soon but not much has been happening, plugging through the boat job list slowly.......... Working on replacing the genoa track at the moment.

2011\12: Winter jobs at Brandy Hole
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Attempts to beat condensation and evil mould
Nichola / Mild, rain, windy
22/02/2012, Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex

Pic - the narrow end of the aft cabin - rotten wood :-(

The forward cabin is all finished and Colin did a fantastic job with his usual great attention to detail. The new water tanks are in and held securely in place on the new shelving. Having lined the sides of the hull with insulation and tongue and groove last winter, we've added more insulation under the bed base and at the end of the bed to reduce the cold spots. A new storage cupboard has been made to make the most of the space between the tanks to replace the drawers we had to take out to put the tanks in.

We had a chance to see how well the insulation worked when we had snow a few weeks ago. It stayed cosy and warm in there so now it's time to do the same in the back cabin, where we sleep.

We moved to sleeping in the forepeak and began the job of taking apart the back bed. We were a little horrified by how bad things had got in there and cross with ourselves for not having done anything sooner (although we were doing lots of other jobs too!). Most of the bed base was rotten, so Colin has replaced the worst of it which will be painted to hopefully help protect it better. We'll need new foam and a cover for the mattress as what was there is mouldlyunderneath and the old cover has disintegrated.

Under the bed mattress we use a wirey fabric similar to this: HyperVent to create an air space between the mattress and the cold bed base. On top of this we have some wooden Ikea bed slats that are curved and lift the mattress off the HyperVent creating an additional space for air to circulate. Our old bed mattress does fit quite snugly into the surrounding woodwork so I'm thinking of getting the new foam cut slightly smaller to allow an air gap around the edges.

A design 'feature' of our boat is that at the narrow end of the bed, where the hull curves up at the stern, bare hull is actually touching onto the mattress. The hull is very cold (we live in the UK - perhaps the boat is telling us something - go somewhere warm) and our heat against the cold leads to rivers of condensation forming in that area. This has resulted in rotten wood along the sides of the bed which Colin is in the process of ripping out and replacing. We'll line the inside of the hull with underfloor insulation sheeting (this is what we've used elsewhere on the boat) and also the underside of the bed base.

The insulation we use is this and so far has worked well where we've used it to line the spaces between the hull and the back of cupboards and shelves in the saloon. Condensation will still form against the hull but it should now run straight down into the bilges rather than soaking into all the woodwork as it was before. The insulation is not affected by moisture so should last plenty of years and keep the boat cool once we get somewhere hot.

Emerald in the recent snow
Pic: Emerald in the snow a couple of weeks ago

2011\12: Winter jobs at Brandy Hole
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23/02/2012 | Rick - S/V Godspeed
Damn, I'm cold just looking at the picture. Thank goodness. Thankfully it was 26c today in Austin.
The never ending forepeak job
Nichola / Brrrrrrrrr!
31/01/2012, Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex

Pic: Colin and the weeny washing machine

January is closing on a cold note with our first light dusting of snow this morning, more like icing sugar than snow. The wind is picking up from the north east increasing the chill factor and making it tempting to just stay under the duvet all day.

After our travels to family over Christmas and New Year it took us a while to get back into the swing of boat jobs. Colin is still working away in the forepeak, putting in insulation, making repairs and building a storage locker between the new water tanks, making the windlass battery breaker switch more accessible. I've been doing some sewing repairs and other little odd jobs.

New locker door in the forepeak
Pic: The new locker door in the forepeak ready to be varnished and the new wall sides covering the holes where drawers used to be.

We decided to take a trip to the London Boat Show but we found it pretty disappointing. There were hardly any chandleries there and those that were there were mainly selling electronics rather than the bits and bobs that we were after. We only got half the things done that were on our list and the show seemed much reduced in size compared to our previous visit. There were a few interesting displays including a beautiful boat made with donated wooden items including guitars, cutlery drawers, spirit levels and hockey sticks. You can see more about the project here

Part of the space had been given over to an Outdoors show which I actually enjoyed more than the boat show, not least because I got to have a free go on a 500ft long zip wire with Go Ape! This was my first go on a zip wire - I don't mind heights but I don't like ladders and I had to climb one to get to the launch platform. I chose the wooden ladder rather than the rope one - the way it wobbled when others climbed up that one made my head swim just watching them. Launching off the platform was exhilarating and as I zipped down the wire spinning slowly around I got a 360 degree view of the show. I've since won a voucher for a tree-top session with the same company - top bananas!

Our main excitement of January is finally getting lucky on eBay on our bids for a second hand compact washing machine. We've gone for a Zanussi ZWC1300 which will be installed into a space next to the engine room which so far has been filled with stuff that we've never used and probably never will. So that will be emptied and an access door made in the aft head wall. It's a luxury that we've been thinking about for a while and have been up and down about whether to get one or not but having saved me a cold walk to the launderette this week it already feels worth every penny. It runs really quietly and with its low power consumption and small water usage we think it will pay for itself very quickly.
A frosty morning in Brandy Hole
Pic: A frosty morning in Brandy Hole

Back off under the duvet now!

2011\12: Winter jobs at Brandy Hole
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Winter Jobs Update
16/12/2011, Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex

It's been a while since we last blogged, so thought it time to give an update of where we are with the winter jobs.
We now have a couple of new mini radiators run from the hot water that Rupert (our Reflex heater) generates; one up in the forepeak and another in the aft cabin. Rupert is great at heating the main saloon but getting that heat around the rest of the boat has proved a problem; with these mini radiators we hope to resolve that and so far so good. We also have a towel rail also fed with Rupert warmed water built by Colin in the heads to keep the chill off in there.
Our forward heads used to have two doors - one for access from the main saloon and the second to access from the forepeak so as to provide an en-suite. The plywood panels in the doors were beginning to delaminate due to age and water ingress from having showers. Rather than put new panels in, we decided to get rid of the forward door completely and replace with a solid panel, onto which we could fasten the towel rail on the heads side and the mini radiator on the forepeak side. The inside of the panel we've tiled to match the rest of the heads, on the outside we've put some tongue and groove to match the walls of the forepeak.
For the door from the saloon, we removed the old panels and put in single sided teak ply for the saloon face. On the heads side I've created two mosaic panels which can be seen in the photo above.
Colin is currently connecting the pipework for the new bow water tanks. Earlier this year our stainless steel bow tank started leaking and we removed it in October as it was turning into a teabag. We investigated getting a similar shaped tank custom made but the costs were pretty astronomical. After days of research and measuring a million times to find something that fit the awkward V shape we went for 2 rectangular Vetus solid plastic tanks which sit either side of the space. We've lost a couple of storage drawers but gained some storage between the tanks that we can use for tools and spares. The old tank held 265 litres, the new tanks 220 litres so we haven't lost too much and at a fraction of the cost of a custom tank. Colin has built and fitted flooring and walls to hold the tanks snugly in place whilst we're bouncing about in big seas.
New water tanks in place
Bow water tanks in place

2011\12: Winter jobs at Brandy Hole
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06/01/2012 | Rick - S/V Godspeed
Looks good. I'm still stuck on my heater project, but I did finally open a bottle of my apple wine that you inspired. Damn good stuff... Now to try the blackberry wine!
06/01/2012 | Rick - S/V Godspeed
Looks good. I'm still stuck on my heater project, but I did finally open a bottle of my apple wine that you inspired. Damn good stuff... Now to try the blackberry wine!
06/01/2012 | Rick - S/V Godspeed

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Who: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
Port: No fixed abode
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