"So, how's that boat coming along?"
That is a very common question in our conversations these days. It's not far off being able to float (with a few strategically placed corks) but it is far from habitable. It is two days before we leave for Australia but we have just received some work progress photos from the yard. We are liking what we are seeing, so time to share.
If you have been following the story so far, you know that the welding of the aluminium hull is finished and Garcia has it in the carpentry and fit-out shop. This is Chinook sitting beside the sister hull (number 45). From the business end, the hull looks great.
This is the view from the transom. Workers and visitors board via a real gangplank (arrrr!) that doesn't come with the boat. There is plenty of protective cardboard to keep the cockpit paint safe from the tools and workboots that clamber over her every day. At this point of the build, there's not a terribly impressive amount of work has been done up here.
When you go through her cockpit and down the companionway you start to see just how much infrastructure has been added to Chinook. The fuel and water tanks are sealed, vented and have gauges. The cabin heater and piping are the light grey hoses in the middle-left and they look mostly installed. Much of the wiring has been pulled and the metal grid that will hold the floor and settee (dining area) is in place.
From this view, we are quite far forward in the main cabin, looking back towards the companionway. The stairs are temporary and will be replaced with walls, stairs and permanent structure when the shipwrights start work in that area. You can see the beefy aluminium centreboard box in the foreground of this picture, as well as the electronics panel to the left and first part of the galley cabinets and the pilot's berth (bunk) to the right. You can also see the dark grey, closed-cell foam insulation that is glued to the hull above the water line, keeping the temperature the way we want it in the boat.
You are now at the bottom of the companionway stairs, looking forward. The cabin top has been left off so the shipwrights can easily hoist in the bigger cabinetry pieces that are built in the woodworking shop. Although this space doesn't appear to have much in it right now, much of the under-sole (floor) work has been done and soon the benches, galley cabinets, nav station and table will be put in place.
And what is that we see forward? Could that be the OWNER'S CABIN???
Well, it looks like Kate and Sean will have a place to stay on board. We will just need sleeping bags and pillows. Sorry visitors, your accommodation is not quite ready. This bed and storage platform seems to be the first big piece of installed furniture. This is sooo exciting!
The guest cabin needs substantially more work, but when it is complete, you can see it will be quiet and snug with seven centimetres of insulation on the hull.
Our energy supply has been dropped in and will be connected shortly - three - 200 amp/hour lithium batteries.
I am very surprised and happy to see our Volvo D2-75 engine is already residing in it's compartment at the bottom of the companionway. The thick, heat-resistant insulation will mean that we will have to listen for the gentle Swedish-accented purr on the rare occasions that we have to use it. Quiet and comfortable are adjectives that are used when talking about being in the main cabin of a Garcia Exploration series.
We will not be visiting Chinook until it is mostly finished, but we will share the big steps of the build with you as we see them. The staff at the Garcia boatyard send us pictures every few weeks.