Sunday, November 11, 2018

Albin 28 Upgrades

We've had Compadre for a bit over a year and have been enjoying our Island Commuter quite a lot. During this time I've made some additions to the boat that make it more suitable for our purposes and I thought it would be good to share them.

Compadre at her home port of Two Harbors
Last spring we hauled the boat at Sunset Aquatic Shipyard and applied a new, still experimental paint called Awlgrip HT. With really great support from our Awlgrip rep, Stan Susman, the boat turned out beautiful. While it was on the hard I had the prop tuned up and repaired the exhaust thru hull, which had small leak in it.

Freshly tuned prop.

We wanted a really good tender for the boat, one that would plane. The problem is that a dinghy and motor of that size is difficult to fit on a 28 footer. The solution was an 8'-6" RIB with a 6hp outboard. When we're not using it, the dinghy rides on the swimstep and the motor lives on a custom-made bracket. To make life easier, I also built a hoist so we could store the motor in the cockpit and then swing it out over the dinghy.  But I didn't want some clunky-looking crane permanently mounted  on the transom so I made it collapsible, so it would stow in the cockpit when not in use.

The dinghy rests on the swimstep when we're underway. It's light enough that I can
pull it up on the step without any assistance.

The bracket is designed and located so nothing interferes with the bait tank, mooring cleat or fuel fill. The dinghy planes easily with two aboard the dinghy.

The frame is welded 7/8" stainless tubing and the wood part is made of varnished teak.

I added 1/4" StarBoard to protect the varnish.

When not in use, the hoist stows neatly on a rod holder.
I fabricated the upper and lower mounting brackets from fiberglass. 

The vertical part of the hoist slides through the upper bracket and fits into the
lower bracket.
After I set the upright part into the brackets, the arm pivots up to about 30 degrees above horizontal and is secured to
the top of the upright. To make it easy to raise and lower the motor I added Harken blocks to make 4:1 purchase. One of the blocks is a ratchet block for security.

The block and tackle. The rope is led to a cam cleat on the upright.
When  the dinghy is in the water, the motor swings out far enough that it lowers almost directly onto the dinghy's motor mount. The geometry is such that it works if the dinghy is situated at the stern of the boat or alongside. Very convenient.
It takes two of us about ten minutes to deploy the dinghy, set up the hoist, drop the motor into position, and connect the fuel line, and we're ready to go.

Another fun project was making a nice looking footrest for the helmsman. I glued a couple of pieces of teak together, cut it to the proper shape and mounted it with a couple of hinges. I added a second aluminum footrest because when we're socializing, we often turn the seat around to face the cockpit and it's nice to have a footrest facing that way too.

The footrest hinges up out of the way when servicing the engine.

The nonskid adds a bit of security when it's rough.

We are often at anchor or on a mooring five or six days at a time and found that fresh water can run low, especially since our boat is set up with freshwater flush for the toilet. So now we use tank water for washing dishes, freshwater rinse after swimming and, of course, flushing. For drinking water, I build a shelf in the galley that fits the 2.5 gallon water containers from the grocery store.

The shelf is mounted high enough that we can fill a tall glass of water from the spout.

I discovered the hard way that a bit of nonskid under the container prevents it from falling out of its perch when it's rough.

When we got the boat, the rubber coating on the steering wheel was a bit gummy and I couldn't find anything that would fix that. So I found a leather wheel cover kit online. Problem solved.

The supple leather cover feels great and shows no signs of wear after a year of use.

It was a bit of a chore to get the stitching right, but well worth the effort.

My next project is to add a pair of solar panels on the cabin top. After three or four days at anchor, I have to run the engine to recharge the batteries. The solar panels will make Compadre electrically independent.