Minor improvements and maintenance that make a difference to living aboard

It’s been a little bit quiet on Mariadz over the last few weeks with a number of the big jobs having been completed during the summer and a few last pieces of stainless steel being finalised. I thought it may be worth highlighting some of the minor changes that we have made on Mariadz to modernise her, fix some issues and make her more comfortable.

The first of these was required because of corrosion on the original taps when we got the Moody. 20171017_124534We needed to replace all of the taps as part of the initial fit out. We decided to go with good quality domestic taps and found ones for the bathroom that had a “water saving” feature, which was as simple as a stop when the tap was half open! Still every little helps. At the same time we changed the plugs to push in which again stopped any problems with lost plugs or disconnected chains. Unfortunately it was only much later that we discovered that these had been fitted without PTFE tape and we unknowingly had a leak from the sink waste which was responsible for some of the water in our bilges. Now corrected, this area is bone dry and doesn’t contribute any more water below the floorboards.

The water saving theme continued with the shower where we found the Ecocamel Orbit Shower Head, which whilst expensive, IMG_6895sucks air into the showerhead to make the best of the water power. We found a noticeable difference when using this compared to a standard shower head. Apparently the water comes out as bubbles which explode on your skin…..if you believe the marketing. 🙂 but it does seem more powerful than the old basic head.

There was more corrosion on the shower door handle and even with our daily use the mechanism was always stiff. Early in 2017, this had got extreme and the metal bar that connects the handles together sheered! IMG_6896In the short term I had to put some string around this area to act as a door handle, potentially a sub-optimal solution to the problem as Maria very clearly and robustly pointed out. The replacement parts are made by Southco and this is an exact match for the broken part. Originally I tried to order these through EC Smith but due to some confusion and despite almost fortnightly reminders, these still hadn’t been ordered three months after my request. In the end I spoke to a very helpful lady at Zycology who had the part I needed in stock and got it to me within a couple of days. Fitting was easy and it was nice for Maria to be able to have a shower without the risk of being locked in there by the broken door mechanism – not much of a risk but it would have been hilarious for a few seconds before I was punished. You have to get your fun where you can.

Moving into the galley, we bought a new mixer tap with an extendable hose. This took a lot of choosing and in the end we bought it from our friend Richard Davonport at Davonport Kitchens. Definitely a quality product although fitting it was difficult with the limitedx room under the sink. We also had some leaks from this but now I know how to tighten up the pipes if they work loose.

In both the galley and heads (shower rooms), we fitted liquid soap holders. 20171017_124514This was another idea we loved from the Moody 49 Mornin’ Gorgeous and I am sure they didn’t mind us stealing it. These are wall mounted and you often see them in pubs and clubs. It means that soap is always available, even when healed, with no soap bars lying in wait on the floor for the unsuspecting to fall over.

We, of course, had to make some changes to the boat to make it cat friendly. I remember Milton Jones, the comedian, telling all cat owners that their homes stink. Hopefully Mariadz isn’t too bad for this. We tried to reduce the cat smell by putting the cat litter in the shower cubicle of the forward heads. This is great but of course the cats are going to struggle to open the shower door to do their business, although I’m sure Maria would love to try and teach Clyde to do this. To overcome the door problem, we fitted a cat flap in the shower. This means that the shower will still work like normal (if the cat litter is removed) but also means that the smell is mostly contained. We do however immediately clear the box if it is used for “number 2s”! We still don’t understand how such a foul smell can come out of such a pretty cat. The last part of this was to allow permanent cat access to the forward heads which was achieved by adding a retaining hook to hold the door open a few inches. This gives the cats access but as an added bonus ventilates the room which could get stale if left closed for a long time.

I have mentioned before that the boat hadn’t been looked after for some time before our ownership and so corrosion both inside and outside has been a major problem. img_6788There are numerous blogs on how this has been addressed, particularly on the outside but in the forepeak we have some cupboards with retaining catches. These were either broken or extremely rusted. It was difficult finding where to source these. Our Moody was internally fitted out out by Princess Yachts and having found the shower handle at surmised that other parts may have come from the same manufacturer. They also had the catches. This items were supplied by EC smith from stock. They arrived quickly and I set about fitting them. How difficult can it be to remove one and replace it with a new one…. one of the things I have discovered on boats is that even the simple ten minute jobs can bite you and this was no different. IMG_6897The catches were very different although they did the same thing, in fact the Southco catches are very professional and robust, looking a much more quality part than the original. With these catches, the mechanism fits on the door and there is a bar that it hooks onto on the frame. The bar on the Moody is angled because of the angle of the curved door and the one supplied is a right angle. Hmmm. Let’s just see how they fit together. Reading the instructions, it is clear that the catch is designed for a 90 degree door to frame angle. By trial and error, I work out that the right angled bar is just too long because of the extra angle of our cupboards. If I can file down the protruding part it will still hold the mechanism but when the catch is opened it will clear the bar and the cupboard will open. I discovered this the hard way by closing the cupboard and then being unable to open it, fortunately I had only put a retaining screw in and so I could shift the bar to the side to free up the cupboard. Otherwise, it may have been a case of “sorry dear, I crow-barred the door of the cupboard to get at the contents”. Boat jobs have a habit of catching you out like that. Fortunately, our friends on Valentine had an angle grinder I could use to file down the six retaining bars, otherwise I would have been hand filing the stainless – that would have been fun! With the bars down to half of their size, I fitted them again, and after getting the offsets right on the door and frame, it worked perfectly. Putting on the other five will be a proverbial piece of cake….of course not 😦 . Some of the screws wee so rusted that the screw dissolved when I tried to unscrew them. Fortunately, after much very careful effort, I was able to get all of the old bars off and throw away the rusty screws. Fitting was fine, with some minor adjustments needed to make sure that each catch fitted how it should. And we were done, a ten minute job had taken a shade over two hours! No surprises there then.

I think that brings us pretty much up to date and hopefully gives some suggestions for others.

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