Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bulkheads and Bunk Levels

Yesterday was rainy and cold, limiting the amount of epoxy work I could do, but I'm slowly prepping the bulkheads (6 for each hull) by making and installing the bunk bearers that the bunks will be fastened to, and getting the first coats of epoxy on them. The bulkheads shown above are the number 4 bulkheads for each hull. These are the bulkheads at the forward end of the cabins, just aft of where the mast beam crosses the deck.

I'm making a slight modification in the cabin accomodation area by raising the bunk levels three inches (75 mm). Because the hull sides flare outward, a slight height increase of the bunk levels also creates bunks that are slightly wider. This is a change I had long contemplated as I thought about building the Tiki 26, mainly because I wanted a little more elbow room inside as I am 6' 2" tall, and having been inside a few standard Tiki 26 cabins, this seemed like a fairly easy and logical modification. Of course, the cabin tops will have to be raised a corresponding amount to have the same amount of headroom over the bunks, and I've worked out two different approaches to this that will work without greatly altering the outward appearance of the boat. This amount of height increase will not be enough to increase windage in any significant way, but will give me just a little more breathing room down below for those times when I might be confined in one of the cabins by weather conditions.

You cannot think of interior accomodations on a small Wharram in the same way you think of more conventional sailboat interiors. You don't live in the cabins while cruising, but rather on the whole boat and most of the time on deck. I certainly plan to incorporate some sort of deck tent into my cruising set up when the boat is complete, possibly along the lines of the dodger/tent combination used on the new Wharram Tiki 8-meter design. The main requirements regarding the cabins as I see it for offshore and bad weather sailing are: dedicated dry bunks that are ready for use without major rearranging of stuff or set-up, a galley set up that allows cooking and brewing coffee, etc. while underway, a place for spreading out charts and other navigational tasks that is protected from weather and spray, and a comfortable place to sit inside each of the cabins with the hatch closed. These can all be achieved in the Tiki 26 as designed, and that's what makes this boat ideal as the micro-ocean cruiser that Wharram calls it.

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