While my colleagues from the technical department are still working hard to get the Torqeedo electric engine running I take the chance to add some more style and character to my new boat – both improving her outward and internal appearance. You may have read my article on attaching the Gecko-style stickers of my custom design.
Looking at the finished boat I found that something was missing and that there was a slight imbalance between the hull with its many Geckos and the superstructure of the cabin where there was virtually no sticker apart from the Beneteau-sign. So I ordered some more Geckos and had them attached to the cabin: I find the boat looks much more coherent and nice now. But let´s go the the inside and see what we can improve here.
Adding Anti-Skid Stripes to improve Safety at Sea
I love the wide, open cockpit and the racy, low coamings. That is on purpose as the First 27 SE is sailing with much heeling and a low coaming is what we want. Nevertheless, I will also have my kids on board and guests and it was especially the wide step to go down the two stairs into the saloon which bothered me a little from a safety standpoint.
While it might be no problem for people wearing shoes, it can be a safety issue when the boat is heeling much, one is bare footed or – which is often the case with my kids – somebody wears slippery socks which in gelcoat are providing no grip whatsoever. So I bought self-adhesive non-skid tape on amazon and cut it to size.
I also bought (on amazon as well, I know, it is awful, but so convenient …) self-adhesive Carbon-style foil. Both measured and cut so size, fitted with little size-cut non-skid stripes and, voilá, the new, much safer and much more stylish entrance step to the salon was ready.
Knowing exactly this edge directly in front of the step is the most frequented part of the boat when it comes to people going up and down, I also added a second Carbon-foil stripe to protect it additionally. One might find it destroys the clean white look, but I very much fancy the plus in both practical and safety-related terms.
Carbon-foil: A Jack of all Trades
Talking of Carbon-foil, it is really a material that is both attractive, convenient to use, easy to cut to size, a no-brainer to remove, repair and substitute – and it is cheap as well! You may find a ton of offers on amazon or at your local car tuner, I might say it is a real Jack of all Trades. So I went inside and identified another field of use.
Thinking back to my – beloved – memories of sailing on the Class 40 Pogo I remember that, similar to the First 27 SE, the stringers on this boat had been laid out bare, being an integral part of the interior design of the boat. Everybody was stepping on these stringers or – worse – stumbling upon it, adding to a trip hazard. I fitted a large Carbon-foil sticker on either side, which may act as base for another set of non-skid-stripes (if needed) but for now adds to integrate the white bare stringers more into the overall design and the black/white stripe-design of the EVA-foam flooring.
I finally was able to hide away the first scratches. The Carbon-tiller of my boat showed the first signs of wear and tear. The Seascape guys had used my boat for extensive shooting sessions in the Adriatic last winter and in this they had been riding my horse kind of intensively. So the upper side of the tiller was scratching underneath the traveler track. Not very nice, but unavoidable. Instead of adding glossy paint, I went for a Carbon-foil sticker as I would say that I will bring more scratches to the tiller in the course of myself sailing the boat in the future. A quicker, more practical and easier approach of repairing this issue for sure.
Industry Standard Glue: The Gecko is firmly fitted!
My boat bears the name GEKKO which is a very special fact. As I want to get my own kids excited for sailing, I thought it might be a good idea to them choose the name of the boat in the first place. In this, at least this is my hope, I can achieve a firm bond between them and the boat. They went for GEKKO. Now I thought it might be nice if a literal Gecko (a rubber toy) would be the boat´s mascot and “living” in the saloon. So I bought one.
Neither 3M double sided pads, nor power stripes could attach the Gecko toy to the mast stand. No Sika or any other glue I tried. Consulting the internet I found – yeah, you guess it, on amazon – a 2 components industry grade superglue which consisted of a granulate and a catalyzer. Reading through the short manual – ignoring the vast warnings of hazardous odors and corrosive effects in skin, I applied it to the rubber toy Gecko.
It took me just 2 minutes pressing the Gecko firmly to the mast stand (not before I of course cleaned the surface with Acetone) and the mascot finally was attached. Unless one of my boys want to scratch or rip it off, I am sure, it will stay there. Now, if you ever happen to meet me on GEKKO, you are invited to briefly tough his tail, which on my boat will bring you health and us a lucky passage … that´s for seafarer´s superstitions.
Another Appearance of self-adhesive EVA-foam
The bulk of today´s action took place in the fore cabin. I do know that I won´t spend a lot of time here. And when being here, I will probably be unconscious and sleeping. But nevertheless, I find it important that the interior appearance of a boat is inviting, warm and cozy. I cannot say this for the standard First 27 forpeak, which to me always felt a bit “cold.”
As you may already have read I have made a ton of best experience with self-adhesive EVA-foam with which I have upgrade the standard grey flooring of the First 27 SE to a much more pretty and stylish design. I thought that this floor-material might also work attached vertically. Checking amazaon again I found the same quality as the black/white flooring EVA but in a better suiting color.
For the forepeak I decided to have the light grey EVA-foam with white caulking. Trying out the material inside the boat fortified my plan as I think the colors match perfectly. So I cleansed the fore cabin´s walls with Acetone again and went inside and outside a couple of times to cut the 2 by 1 metre chunk into two matching and fitting pieces.
Attaching the foam to the sides was a no brainer as the adhesive power at first allows for multiple corrections. Overnight a firm bond will be formed. The first port side EVA-foam part was finished in a matter of minutes and the effect was astounding! Adding the starboard side some minutes later and unfolding the orange cushion was a clear “Yes” to my idea: I love it pretty much!
My intention was not just to improve the looks, but also the comforts: EVA-foam is kind of insulating thus keeping the precious heat inside and improving sleeping comfort especially at night. I also would say that, when sleeping, it will be much, much more comfortable when laying with one´s back against the wall, also under sails, when the boat is heeling. Seeing the outcome, I am really happy again!
Some nice little Touches: Ready to go!
Going out of the boat, my mates already testing the engine (it is running smoothly!) I returned to the Carbon rigging of the boat. Similar to my HOTSHOT-design of the First 24 SE where I added an orange sticker to the boom head, I wanted a similar effect for GEKKO (of course in green).
Complemented by three small Geckos scrimmaging at the other end of the boom, that adds a nice little geckoesque touch the the boat and expands the gecko-design to the rigging as well. You may also have read my previous post on Gill OS2 offshore clothing and why a Gill-logo is also appearing on the boom, the same goes for Enjoy Yachting, the company and Beneteau dealer I am working for.
Now, last not least, I fitted some green foil to the tips of the twin rudder blades of the boat which will act as a visual “tail end” of the oat but also add more visibility which will make mooring the boat stern first easier, helping to guess the remaining distance to the jetty. All in all, I am very, very much excited and happy with the outcome of my interior and exterior design & comfort-changes and hope this might bring some inspiration to you, dear reader. GEKKO will – if nothing goes wrong – be towed to the Baltic in 2 days and touch the water on 3 days. Exciting times!
Another interesting line of related articles:
Interior Yacht Design, part 1 and 2
My new fore cabin, some initial thoughts
Designing a boat: talking to Javier Soto Acebal