After roughly three weeks not having visited the boat due to my summer vacation in New York City (you may have read the various articles), and so today I had the pleasure to see her again. It is always a big moment, driving to the shipyard, as you can imagine, especially for the kids. As building had sped up after another Omega 42-project has been finished and left the yard, things get pretty exciting now.
After the crew of Heiner had undertaken quite an interesting task to get the hull placed on an exact position and balanced the hull, it is now fixed in a perfect equilibrium and the boatbuilders, namely the carpenters, commenced their amazing work. “Amazed” – that´s the right word to describe what I was happy to see today in the yard.
Forward bulkheads are roughly fitted
As I enter the shipyard complete quietness welcomes me: As tomorrow´s Tuesday will be a bank holiday in Germany, this Monday is taken off by most of the companies I know. Same here for Mueritz Bootsservice. So I am alone, no sound, no people, just myself (and my kids) and all the time for us with no guilty conscience to abstract somebody from work.
I take a first picture standing next to the boa, looking down into the hull: All of the principal bulkheads of the forward half of the boat had been produced and custom fitted to the shape of the hull. The guys had planted them precisely onto their designated positions, fixing them with screw clamps in place. Step by step, more and more joinery is added, the puzzle starts to look like something now.
Starting to think about the head
I go down the makeshift ladder from the stern into the hull, the complete stern section later housing the Diesel engine, the pilot berth (port side) and a huge locker to starboard side is still empty. The first bulkhead I see is on starboard side the aft bathroom-wall. The yard utilizes some 3 centimeters thick boatbuilding plywood: Rigid, waterproof impregnated and reasonable in price.
The complete cabin of the head has already been assembled: The walls, the huge part making the GRP-floor. Time to think about the head: How much luxury do I want to have? I am a huge fan of electric toilets and I always strongly suggest those to my clients in their boats. For my own boat I refrained from fitting a Jabsco Quiet Flush for now and already delivery a standard pump WC to the yard: I want my boat as simple as it can be. Nevertheless, I am still not fully convinced: Maybe a Masterflush by Dometic (a brand I really like) or a nice Tecma, connected to my fresh water tank to avoid seawater-degrading and the awful stench, is the better choice?
What I surely do not want to have is an electric pressurized fresh water system. For the tap I will go for a foot pump and refrain from adding a hot water boiler. Most of the time when in marinas we will be able to take a steamy hot shower in the facilities provided (and paid for) in the marinas, thus keeping my boat simple. In this, no shower as well in my head, just a tap and a small sink. Easy. Also, gratings is a must for this area: After our dress rehearsal in an Oceanis 30.1 with CNC-sawn gratings I will surely produce those.
The salon takes shape
A nice detail takes shape adjoining the forward bulkhead of the head: As we have changed the original Peter Norlin layout of the boat´s interior to have the bathroom moved from the forward section aft right next to the entryway, the classic – and very beautiful – chart table and navigation station was to be sacrificed. At least a “nav corner” will be apparent in my boat.
Right at the bulkhead a small chart table right where the main switch panel will be located is already fitted. Underneath the guys have made a gauge model for a 4-drawer cabinet where essentials like flags, binoculars and navigation-related equipment will find its place. On the chart table I will be placing the logbook or my laptop to check the latest weather reports: Standing up, not being seated, of course.
Vis-à-vis this little “nav-corner” the carpenters have already begun to fit the ship´s galley, which of course will play a significant role for this boat. As you may know, the very limited cooking-capabilities of my last boat turned out to be a big problem. That is because I love cooking aboard and that simply wasn´t possible with the (otherwise ingenious) Jetboil one flame cooker aboard GEKKO. Apart from that, I have an Italian girlfriend: Trying to impress her with the daily canned food-parade is futile: “I love you. I will sail with you wherever you go: But please, get a boat with a kitchen!”, her eyes begged me. Well, here we go …
A proper ship´s galley
The galley of my Omega 42 is decent sized: It´s a classy L-shaped galley featuring (from right to left) a 3-flame induction cooktop, a large top-loader fridge (no freezing capacity for me though) and a sink. The sink, again, just a tap with a foot-operated mechanical water pump. Maybe Heiner will persuade me to fit a small boiler for hot water, I am still not fully sure.
What I am sure about though is that I will completely skip to fit a natural gas stove. At least here in Germany you need a 2 year check and operating a gas-stove is always connected to a risk of having a leak or fire aboard. Since “real” cooking for me will always take place when the boat is in harbor and thus connected to shore power, I decided to go for a clean, easy and safe induction cooker.
The galley will also feature some stowage for all the crockery and cookware and cutlery. I will also fit a gimbal and a Jetboil to be able to at last heat up water for a decent coffee or tea when underway or some hot food when sailing through the night. After all, if I discover that I need to cook underway, fitting an inverter and adjusting battery capacity should do the trick.
Forepeak: Quite clear
Virtually no open questions arise when I proceed further to the bow. The main forward bulkhead near the keel-stepped mast is already fitted, as well as a secondary divided bulkhead near the V-berth. In the forepeak there´s already a rough base construction for the slats forming the forward berths. There will be a cupboard running all the way above the berths to the collision bulkhead adding some stowage as well.
Between the large V-bed and the bulkhead Peter Norlin had originally placed the head. Now this whole area is open for alternative usage: As to starboard side the walkthrough and door to the salon will be placed, a large cupboard to port side will be the principal space to stow away our clothing and spare gear. One thing in particular I also start to check out in the coming weeks will be the production of the matrasses and cushions.
Just when the guys finish fitting the bulkheads and basic furniture, saying when those parts are irremovable and set in stone (laminated and screwed), I will bring in specialists for production of custom sized foam matrasses and cushions. And this boat will need plenty of those: The berths (and I will certainly not save money on how I place my 44 years old backbone for a good night´s sleep!), the salon cushions as well as some cockpit cushions. This is something you cannot buy off the shelf, of course.
Closely connected to the choice of material is the choice of colors. For OLIVIA I had envisioned a yellow-white or blue-white stripes design, which I fancy still. But maybe this is too flashy and modern. Maybe some more “elaborate” or classic design is suiting the boat better? Since I am not certain about the boat´s name for now, I find it difficult to stipulate a certain color scheme for the yacht. But there´s still plenty of time, so no hurry.
Carpentry & details
One little story I have to tell you, dearest reader: Some days ago I frantically called Heiner in the shipyard because I wanted to tell him that I wish to have the embrasures for the doors in the boat not rectangular but with rounded edges. He said, calmly: “Lars, relax. I am a pro boatbuilder, there won´t be any sharp edges in your boat. Firstly because one does not do it this way and secondly because I want the yacht to look great.” Instant relief.
Now, roaming in the workshop, I discovered those laminated handles. The French call them “boule mouleé”, basically wooden veneers glued onto each other and shaped in form so that, bit by bit, a thick handle is formed. Heiner produces them as well, which is a lot of work and thus considered “luxury” in modern industrialized boatbuilding. I was happy to discover them because again it shows how much determination and passion goes into the production of my boat.
Nothing is off the shelf, handmade, hand crafted and done by people who take pride in their work. Reviving a sailing legend like the Omega 42 is not something you will see every day: Heiner once told me that in each and every of his boats he takes pride, his whole team takes pride and this explains their attention to detail and their self-evident focus on traditional handcrafting taken to a new level.
Still a long way to go
I spend roughly one hour aboard the boat. There´s still so much to do but I am astonished what the team achieved during my absence. The coming steps will be the further fitting of more furniture (like the port side salon) and the aft section of the boat. I guess this will take another two weeks.
Heiner tells me that when all is principally done, they will haul the deck on top of the boat to check if all bulkheads meet the upper part correctly and maybe apply some changes. Then, the bulkheads will be glued and laminated to the hull, followed by the furniture parts. Estimating the time frame I´d say this process will last well into November, 6-8 weeks. Model gauges of bulkheads still missing are already in place underneath the boat´s hull.
Shutting down the lights and securing the shipyard, I look back a last time and say Goodbye for now: Another great occasion! Every time I come here, new questions arise, new details to learn about and still more pleasant anticipation adding to my good mood. For my kids this day had been much interesting as well, had they been able to check out “their” forepeak and imagine how it would be to lay down here after another exciting sailing day. Yet they have to learn that theirs will be the pilot berth aft …
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