a few things I've learned

john martin <symoondog@...>

Dear Amel Owners Group,

I thought Id write about a few things Ive learned after 2 years as a proud SM owner.

I have installed burglar bars in all my deck hatches. I used 3/8 stainless rods (aluminum would work also) and had them welded to small rectangular mounting plates on each end. I installed two on the inside rim of each deck hatch, except for the forward head hatch which only needed one. I had mine powder-coat painted white and they really look nice. (Powder coating, often used for outdoor furniture and antique car restoration, is a very durable, hard and attractive paint finish.) If you are worried about evacuation during a fire, make sure there is the appropriate screwdriver in each cabin. If you are worried about the burglars unscrewing them to get in, you can get screws with special screw-heads requiring a special tool to undo.

I also made a burglar proof companionway screen out of flat 3/8 thick 1 wide aluminum stock. It slides into the same slot that the heavy wooden vertical hatch door uses. It has to be in two sections or it is too tall to slide vertically up and out of the slot (itll hit the hard dodger). I added vertical cross bars about 8 apart to make it person proof. Mine needed a wooden trim piece at the bottom to level it all up. With the burglar screen in place in the vertical hatch opening, slide the top horizontal hatch shut. Install a barrel bolt or other type of lock on the forward end inside the hatch top. Now you are securely safe in your boat and yet air can flow through the companionway. You can glue insect screen to the burglar bar units, or you can get fancy and can have a machine shop cut a groove around the perimeter or it and have a storm window shop install a screen in the slot.

Many yachts in the Caribbean have their dinghies and/or outboard motors stolen. It is no wonder as everyone is so proud of their equipment and keeps them in such pristine condition. The thieves just ride through the anchorage during the day picking out the best looking gear, and come back at night to steal them. I have always personalized my dinghy and outboard so that no one in their right mind would want them. As soon as I get a new engine, I remove the brand name sticker with a heat gun. I then sand down the engine cowl, prime and paint it a custom color and put some personalized decals on it. Now the thieves dont know the brand name or HP of the engine. I also paint a dinghy name and some artwork on my dinghies. I dont think my dinghy or outboard will ever be stolen !

For those who have the deck shower in the cockpit locker (where it gets tangled up in everything else in that locker): I bought a piece of large PVC pipe, about 6 diameter and about 18 tall. I placed it in the corner over the hose valve. The hose can then be curled up in the pipe. I then bought a 25 self-curling hose and did away with the straight hose. It makes a real nice arrangement. You do have to change the fitting in the cutoff valve as it is and you need one that goes from to pipe to fit the hose.

The following good idea came from Ralph and Ann on Harmonie. If your chain wash-down system doesnt quite do the job in real muddy areas, replace the hose in the port bow locker with an 8 piece of garden hose with a straight brass spray nozzle. You can really clean the chain with this rig ! Remember that the chain wash down pump doesnt have a pressure release on it, so keep the nozzle open when you turn on the pump or it will pop the circuit breaker in the engine room.

I used Peter Grimm, Super Sails in Fort Lauderdale, 954-522-4663, recommended by Joel Potter, to build a 110% genoa for the Caribbean. It was the perfect sail for the tradewinds and Christmas winds down there. I really loved it. Full genny, full mizzen, no main, 25 kts on the beam, and no problem !

Changing oil in the Volvo engine is easier if you buy a cheap throwaway aluminum turkey pan. Lay a couple sheets of the oil-dry cloths in the bottom of the pan, and place the pan under the filter before changing the oil. I keep the pan under the engine all the time with a clean white oil-dry cloth in it, this makes it very easy to spot water or oil leaks.

For the chronic smoke streak from the engine exhaust, I found a product called Roll Off at the Annapolis Boat Show. Im impressed, it is the best Ive found to remove the smudge. HDB Marine Distributor, 7026 Boston Ave, North Beach, MD 20714. 301-855-3851. They had very small spray bottles you could buy to try it out. This shows their confidence in their product.

If Im in a marina for any length of time, I cut off my salt-water intake, clean the sea chest, and leave it off, as marina water is usually filthy. I use my shower nozzle to provide fresh water to flush the toilets. You can also put a fresh water hose into the sea chest and start your engine and generator to flush them both out with clean fresh water.

I bought thick rubber doormats and cut them to fit the bottoms of all my deck lockers, especially the life raft locker. This keeps the gear off the locker bottom in case of any leak or condensation. Also, be aware that the handle for your life raft can be put on either end of the raft. Be sure the end with the gas canister is on top where it is more likely to stay dry.

A rain cover over the stern hatch can easily be installed. Screw a 3 long piece of aluminum canvas slide on top of the hatch. Attach a piece of canvas in the grove with grommets to tie back to the rail and sides. Now you can go ashore without worrying about the rain and a hot boat when you get back, and you dont have to jump up in the middle of the night when it starts to rain.

A forward hatch rain cover can be made of a large triangular piece of canvas tied to the railings and lifeline. The forward end needs to be lower than the aft, to prevent the wind from driving the rain into the hatch.

Keep an eye on the health of your pole topping lift. It is cheap to replace, but when it breaks youll have quite a fire-drill and the potential to do a lot of damage to your boat and the pole.

If you dont use your freezer routinely for frozen goods, you can store drinks in it and only turn it on when youre using your generator or motoring. This gives you cool drinks without any battery drain.

A dinghy roller can be installed in the hole where the center stern railing post fits. Buy a rubber roller from a boat trailer equipment shop, about 10 long. Weld it to a stainless bracket with a stainless pipe on the bottom the same size as the railing pipe, only 3 or 4 inches long. Stick this in the hole and pull your dinghy up over the transom onto the top of the aft cabin.

The original Amel carpets seem to stubbornly hold on to hair, even the most powerful vacuum cant seem to pull the hair off the carpet nap. We found a product called Gonzo, a pet hair lifter, that works great to get hair up. It looks like a sponge and can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Anyone who is handy with woodwork can easily build some nice shelves in the back of the forward and aft hanging lockers. There is plenty of room as there is ample depth. There are two stringers in the back that the shelves can rest on. All you need is the side pieces to rest the shelf on and youll have yet more storage space !

All the best,

John Martin
Moon Dog SM 248

Homeport: Chesapeake Bay area for now
Email: symoondog@hotmail.com
Home phone: 410-230-0504

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