It may sound odd to have an article published that takes place months ago. But looking out of my window and seeing an icy-cold mist hovering over Luebeck´s roofs, temperatures going down to below Zero degrees Celsius during the night it might be a kind of relief to read about summer and see some pictures communicating sun, warmth and a refreshing breeze from the sea. It has been a long time though since I found some spare time to work at OLIVIA since my job was occupying me in 2019 full force, so honestly, the events I am talking about today are dating back to June. Summer was in full bloom.

Hot summer´s work: Refurbishing old Teak battens

I was working at the quarter berth of my King´s Cruiser 33 and motivation was very high. If you have read one of the earliest articles in this blog you might know that I originally planned to seal off the quarter berth completely by means of a new bulkhead and use it as stowage: Read here the article. I was very happy to having decided not to further pursue that plan and having the Captain´s berth fully restored instead. In this, like with the rest of the boat, I not just wanted to rebuild the original status quo (with just some covering faux leather) but to add a “shiplike” appearance: I needed a full-fledged Teak ceiling.

Ceiling for the Captain´s berth

So after nearly finishing my works in the fore cabin with a complete set of freshly bought Teak battens for the ceiling I still had the old battens at hand. Though these battens had already been lacquered and featured some old boreholes, I found it sufficient to re-use them. So I went out to the cockpit – and into the burning sun – and sanded down each batten freeing the wood from the 45 years old glossy paint. What a job! But the following job was even worse – wearing just some short pants I went down into the boat to attach the battens.

Tedious work: Checking each single batten

What a work this had been! For each and every individual batten I had to go down, crawl deep into the querter berth, position myself sufficiently and take some measurements of how to cut the end of the batten. I then went up to cut off the end of the batten and have it sanded. Then, down into the quarter berth again with that batten and taking the measurement of the other end of it – up again – cutting and sanding – only to go down a third time to see if my work was done right.

What. A. Hot. Day!

With temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius in the outside shadow you may imaging how hot and sticky it was inside of the boat. Sweat was running down my body so that my glasses were sliding off my nose and ears each time I looked down. But the hustle paid off: I managed to fit the ceiling very nicely with a very fine curved line at the ceiling´s front right next to the aft porthole windows beside the chart table.

Nice work, though

I think having re-furbished the old Teak battens not only saved a lot of money but also conserved some of the original material from the boat. Having still visible the old boreholes here and there might add some history to the area. But it was a very hard day for sure: After that working day, I remember still very vividly, I drove straight to the nearest gas station to buy two litres of ice-cold beverage and having it devoured in minutes …

Fitting of the newly made Cabinet

One week before I already began working on a two story cabinet for the quarter berth. I think that you cannot have enough stowage, especially near the chart table which is the main working space for the skipper. Since the overhead space of the quarter berth offers large volume I wanted to utilize that space at least in the front. With the newly made cabinet now dried and ready for fitting, that was the next task to tackle.

Fitting of the cabinet

The cabinet is made of plywood and massive wooden parts so it weighs in some 8 kilograms. That can be somewhat heavy if you have too work laying on your back, holding it up – exactly in a defined position – and trying to drill in some screws into pre-made bore holes to have it mounted the right way. Again, sweat was flowing and that day I was happy to being more clever: I´ve had some water already available at the boat. A simple task such as fitting the cabinet was very exhausting.

Looks great – except for the open upper part

What a nice sight! Really happy I was that my initial plan worked out so fine. The new ceiling was very appealing and the idea of adding the cabinet paid off nicely. But something was missing: Looking into the quarter berth with the new wooden intarsia and the freshly white-painted walls I quickly got the impression that the quarter berth´s upper part didn´t look nice: The underside of the cabinet and the still unused overhead volume in the back formed a gaping hole. Not so nice.

Making the roofing panel for the quarter berth

So, again, another roofing panel would be needed to close off this area. That´s apparently the status quo I left the boat some months ago. The roofing panel for the quarter berth is already cut in size and I have begun to add Teak battens for the sides. In another step the panel needs to be painted in white and the attached to the quarter berth. Then this chapter can be closed and finally the Captain of OLIVIA will have a nice, cozy place to find a good night´s sleep or at least some recovery time in between watches here. I think one or two working days will do – yet I don´t see two free days coming up the last months. What a shame!

What to be done next (year)

So OLIVIA is still on dry land, now for the fourth season and whilst just 450 working hours had been spent by me on the refit of this boat I feel that in total I need more spare time on the boat so that I can hopefully finish the works in 2020 and finally have the proud King´s Cruiser back in the water and sailing again. For now, the plan is to finish the quarter berth as told. I then need to re-attach the side panels to the chart table. In this it is essential to find a “mysterious” leak: After rain is gone there´s water in the drain near that area but I cannot find the hole where it enters. Sherlock Holmes needed …

Where´s the mysterious leak?

It´s a nice reminiscence to see these pictures: The on the one hand remind me of this beautiful summer of 2019 which was rich of nice and warm weeks, spare time and some very nice jobs mastered aboard OLIVIA. It was also a summer of hundreds of beautiful sailed miles through the Baltic Sea and hours spent with friends on boats. I hope I can manage to be working more on the yacht in 2020 and quit some of the working stresses in my job. Next stop: Quarter berth finished!


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