During the last week I have been working on the cockpit coamings on the Grace Eileen. The top photo shows what they look like at the moment. I have made pedestals for the sheet winches, and caps that fit on the top edges.
Sheet winches are often mounted on bronze pedestals alongside the cockpit coamings. These have to be custom made, and are correspondingly expensive. Another method is to make box coamings – in effect there are two coamings, with a top. This has the advantages of making the coamings wide enough to sit on, which can be convenient, and providing for lockers inside, where you can put the winch handles, and other items that you want to keep handy.
The side decks outboard of the cockpit on the Grace Eileen are too narrow for box coamings. I could have made solid wooden pedestals for the winches, but I liked the idea of having some lockers in the cockpit, so I designed these hollow pedestals. They have to be quite rugged – the sheet winches are powerful, and put a lot of stress on them. I made the bottoms of the pedestals thicker outboard than inboard, so that the surface slopes inboard. Rain and spray will get into them; with the sloping bottoms and scuppers in the coamings, water will drain out. I thoroughly epoxied inside the pedestals before I put them together. I will have to paint the bottoms, as they will be exposed to a certain amount of sunlight, which would break down the epoxy if left unprotected.
The pedestals are glued to the coamings and to the deck, with screws through the coamings, and bolts through the deck. I don’t think they will come off.
The caps on the coamings are a bit narrow for comfortable sitting. I reinforced the top edges of the coamings with cleats, and the caps will be screwed and glued to them. I will plug over the screws with wooden bungs. You can buy these, but it’s better to make your own, which allows you to match the color of the bungs to the wood you are using. You pretty much need a drill press to cut them. If you try to do it with a hand held drill, it will judder around, and make a mess. It can be done, but it’s not easy.
The bottom photo shows the peapod with seats fitted. I have taken them out, and given a coat of epoxy to the undersides. One more coat, and I will re-fit them, with the foam flotation underneath, epoxy and varnish the top surfaces, fit oarlock sockets, and the boat will be ready for the water. Of course I still have the sailing rig to make.
I don’t intend to glue the seats in place. Some time, far down the road I expect, someone will want to replace the blocks of foam flotation. I will cover the screws with bungs – left uncovered they collect dirt, and become unsightly. The bungs will have to be chipped out, and new ones installed when the foam is replaced, but that’s not too big a job.
I have been hoping to be able to offer the peapod, complete rowing version ready for the water, for $3,500.00. By far the biggest factor is my time. I have been keeping a log of my hours, but with all the time I spend making a DVD and taking photos, it’s hard to know just how long I will take to build one. Present indications are, however, that I should be able to do it for the above price. It won’t include oars or oarlocks. I expect a sailing rig – spars and rigging, sails, rudder and centerboard – to add about $1,500.00 to the price. I don’t have a price for oars yet. Anyway, I hope that these prices will seem attractive to anyone looking for a little boat like this. I don’t think that you can get anything comparable, even in glass, for anything like the money.
I will offer the prototype for $3,000.00, without the sailing rig, or $4,500 with it. Let me know if you’re interested. The catch will be that you will have to wait until I have finished with it. I will have to take photos and film it in the water, and that has to wait for warmer weather.