Category Archives: Boat projects, repairs, refitting

New Cockpit Table

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A cockpit table has always been high on our things to do list as a nicety sorely lacking from our otherwise comfy and hospitable boat but it has stubbornly remained in our too hard basket……until now.

Attempts at designing and building my own have always stalled.  Relatively expensive materials/hardware combined with my limited flair for engineering have always left me less than inspired. Likewise local  and international options have generally been ill- fitting, expensive or both.

Then I came across the SnapIt range of cockpit tables. Texas based my initial thoughts again were it would be too expensive and too hard.

Yet as I did some measuring I realised that they actually manufacture a perfect Iolanthe size table, to fit Iolanthe’s pedestal and rail diameter off the shelf for $145 US. Not only would they deliver to Australia, but as they offer free delivery in the US they discounted the international delivery costs appropriately as well. Nice.

Now it isn’t varnished shiny teak, but for just under $200 US delivered to my door I now have a great, snaps in place, stable and good looking cockpit table.

Check them out here (no they didn’t give me any kind of discount for a review…..darn should of thought of that 🙂 )

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Self Steering: Hydrovane or not?

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So we are trying to make some decisions about our self steering.
Our boat currently has a Autohelm st4000+ wheel pilot. Before our last big cruise up to the Great Barrier Reef I was going to replace it with a below deck autopilot. Time and economics got away from me and it was one thing that didn’t get replaced. In fact, I have to confess, it was the one thing that got no attention whatsoever before we left. However now with plans to head further afield, I am looking at a couple of choices.
1) Replace with below deck autopilot (probably Raymarine, although Coursemaster, a local product looks reasonable). My issue with this is power consumption on a long passage, given our pretty modest systems (we have 300ah in the house bank, 200w solar and an oversized alternator). This would be about a 3k project, but might escalate if we need to beef up our power generation.
2) Purchase a new Raymarine wheel pilot. I get why below deck models are better, but our current st4000+ seems to do every thing I need it too. We have no plans to circumnavigate just yet or enter the southern ocean. 1.5K project.3) Purchase a Hydrovane. (I prefer this auxiliary rudder style of vane for our centre cockpit yacht.) and use our existing long suffering st4000+ for light winds and motoring. I like the idea of a vane. This, however would be a 6k project and in reality I am wondering if the couple of long passages we will do justify this cost, also it would mean our st4000+ is still being relied upon some of the time. I would love to do this but it’s a big chunk out of cruising kitty.

So then what????

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are back in Sydney for a while now and before too long we will return to the rat race for abit.

Catching up with family and friends has been good.

It is now time to top up the cruising kitty and figure out what next. We do have ideas, we have some thoughts in terms of the boat and formulating some plans.