Last month I mentioned several projects that were ongoing even while we used our boat. This included stopping leaks from the window frames and changing fuel filters.
Another project that we started was eliminating the sink located behind the helm and above the outside refrigerator. We have never used the sink as it is intended, using it only as a storage area. The sink project got held up when Hurricane Dorian parked itself off of Florida where a company makes marine products, including drawer units that we purchased to place where the sink was.
Eventually the drawer unit arrived and we continued on with our efforts to utilize that sink area in a better way. While waiting for the drawer to arrive I had gone ahead and cut out the sink, leaving a hole about fifteen inches square that would be covered by the flip top that covered the sink. Then when the drawer showed up, my wife and I went out to install that. While I cut the opening, my mate would use the vacuum to keep the fiberglass dust to a minimum and stop it from spreading all over the boat. The old term “measure twice, cut once” sure came into play here. I had very little room for error. If I went too low the frame of the drawer would cover the top edge of the refrigerator, making it necessary to remove the drawer unit from the boat if we needed to remove the refrigerator. Just creating more work! If I went to high the top edge of the drawer frame would be on a curve, leaving a gap between the frame and the fiberglass. So, many measurements later I had the area to be cut marked and taped off.
I used a drill bit that was slightly larger than the jig saw blade I would be using and drilled the four corners of the cutout. Then using a Dremel Tool with a small diameter bit, I cut many holes along the lines marking cutout. This was to make the sawing easier. I did not do this when I cut the top and that made it much harder to cut out. Once I used the jigsaw it went very quickly and right on the line. My wife was able to move the vacuum hose along with me as I cut, keeping the area relatively free of dust. A small amount did get on top of the refrigerator and the seats but that was easily taken care of.
It was now time to fit the drawer unit into the hole and see if needed make any more cuts for clearance. But it fit right in with no problem. The maker mentioned supporting the back of the unit if it was over a certain size, and mine was just under that. Better to be safe than sorry, so before I drilled the holes to install the unit I made a support out of some wooden blocks and shims I had brought with me for that purpose. They sat right at the back edge of the refrigerator held in place by some adhesive. Then the drawer unit was put in place and the mounting holes were marked for drilling. Once they were drilled the drawer unit was mounted in place. We both are very happy having the extra and lockable storage.
I still had the hole where the sink was originally, and had planned to just screw the top down to cover that area. Then I started thinking about it. Why not build a tray for that spot, and utilize the opening cover? So I went home and rummaged through all the pieces of wood I have saved over the years telling my bride that yes, I will in fact find a use for this! It turns out I had some nice redwood one half inch by four inch boards originally cut by my friend Hank for use on the NPS vessel Seahorse when we built her in 1993. I found a nice piece of finished plywood I had left over from the kitchen island we put in a few years ago. With that I started designing a tray for above the new drawer.
I had taken the measurements for the tray the last time we went out for a ride. After it was done and I had applied a few coats of polyurethane to the redwood, we took it out to install. It was not exactly dropping into the hole, and I had to break out my trusty Dremel Tool and a nice high-speed grinder to clean up the original cut I had made when removing the sink. Getting the corners to fit was the hardest part, as I had rounded them off. But again, with me cutting and my mate using the vacuum we had a nice interference fit with hardly any dust at all. Into the opening it went with a little help, sitting on top of the drawer housing and it is held in place with a nice bead of 3M 4200.
While all of this was going on, I had to remove my radar and send it out to Ray Marine in New Hampshire for repairs. The technician there had sent me an e-mail telling me what was happening, and what my options were. It turns out I just made it under warranty and a few days after we finished up the tray installation the radar arrived and we went out to install that.
Having done this installation before, I knew it was easier to hook up the power cables to the radar before actually installing it with sealant and the four bolts. This radar has no data cables, only power cables. It connects to the MFD by WIFI. When it is first installed you have to enter a code and password into the MFD. When it is sent in for repairs it may have a new code and password to enter into the MFD. When mine arrived after the repairs, there was no paper work indicating new codes would have to be entered; only shipping info.
Once the power cables were hooked up I went to the helm and powered up the radar. I got a message stating no radar could be found. So I tried entering the old code and password. No luck. I tried the original codes that came with the unit before it was repaired the last time. No luck again. This time I had enough and called tech support. After answering her questions, she decided to pass me on up one level. I talked with the next level tech; again he had to pass me on to the next highest tech level. I talked with Mark, and the first thing he had me do was take out my cell phone and look at available WIFI sources. One of those was a Raymarine source with a number. He asked me if that was the number I was entering into my MFD. It was not. He said to enter that number. I did but he needed to get me the new password to enter. I was transferred over to Dillon, who got me the password in a minute. Once entered in, the radar came on with a beautiful picture.
Before we went out to install this radar, my wife and son asked me how long it would take? A half an hour, maybe a little more was my answer. Three hours on the phone, one hour to install the radar, and I was done.