Saloon lighting and curtain rails

17 years later, LED lighting would now be the norm

The first thing that struck us when sitting in the Saloon of the boat on our first night was the poor lighting, and how tatty the curtain rails looked. The florrie lights were showing signs of age, and weren’t positioned to encourage reading. Removing the lights revealed a large hole for the wiring, so I covered these with a hardwood strip onto which new brass curtain poles were fitted. Despite shopping around I ended up buying the rails, brackets and rings from Midland Chandlers, and they were not cheap. By removing the trim that covered the join between the celling and walls It was possible to wire in new lamps – two down lighters over the dinnette, a swivel spot over the galley work top and a tri-light florecent fitting over the sink, another tri-light in the double cabin and a swivel spot on the shelf over the bed. This has transformed the ambeince of the boat at night, although I’ve upped the power consumption.

A job for the pros – A new shower room

After much thought we decided that improving the old shower/toilet area would be impossible without increasing it in size – involving a major refit. We could remove the loo as there was a second one at the back of the boat, but this would mean any night visits would entail walking through Elizabeth’s cabin. Converting the rear toilet and half the back cabin into a shower room, losing the old shower and putting in a large sink seemed the best answer, and wanting this work done before Summer 2002 meant employing a boat fitter to tackle the job. The inverter would need to be moved, the 12v wiring tidied up and a number of other details attended to. We got a couple of quotes than asked the Grand Junction Boat Co. at Gayton Junction to tackle the job. While waiting, I stripped out the back cabin of everything bar the wardrobe, to reveal some very dodgy flooring under the bunks. We were very pleased with the work of Richard Gill and his team. In an industry that seems infamous for delays he kept us fully informed when there were hitches and worked round us having a holiday on the boat at Easter. Polly Anna now has decent sized, fully enclosed and tiled shower cubicle. The room also has cupboards and shelves fitted neatly to the side, a small panel radiator and ventilation fan. A useful addition was a 240v landline inlet, as the invertor/charger can now keep the batteries topped up while in the marina.

Steady Improvements

After the shower was fitted we’ve done the following jobs

  • Replaced the leaky water pump – frost damage I think – with one with clip connections so I can reverse the pump for winterising the water system and fitted an easily accessible switch.
  • Adapted the corner unit so a 14″ TV sits in the middle and wired up an aeriel socket and addition mains socket to eliminate trailing wires. The laptop can also sit on top and plug into some multimedia speakers for watching DVDs.
  • Fitted 12v cigar lighter sockets beside the corner unit and under the dinnette to run the laptop and charge phones.
  • Replaced all the corroded brass mains sockets with new ones.
  • Put up pictures and a brass clock in the saloon
  • Added decent sized panel central heating radiators in the saloon and main bedroom
  • Fitted new carpet tiles throughout.
  • Added a glass fronted cupboard in the galley for cups, mugs and glasses.
  • Fitted new taps to the galley sink.
  • Put a medicine cabinet in the toilet/washroom.
  • Fitted a new Mansfield Traveler toilet, changing the angle to take advantage of the extra space (not a nice job).
  • Laid a veenered floor in the toilet/washroom.
  • Fitted a decent sized ceramic washbasin in the toilet, sitting on a white worktop and cupboard with tiled surround.
  • Fitted a carbon monoxide detector in Elizabeths cabin, home of the Alde boiler.
  • Replaced the spark ignition button on the boiler – the man at Alde was very helpful!
  • Removed the plastic wash basin from Elizabeth’s cabin and replaced it with a wooded unit holding three crates and a low seat with opening lid for more storage
  • Created 3 storage units in the back cabin – a chest to sit on and store ropes, fenders and cables inside, a thin unit with small drawers for all those things you keep losing – PRM radios, chargers, water keys etc. – with a boot rack/windlass shelf underneath and a worktop height unit with three crates inside for lifejackes and suchlike.
  • Replaced the alternator and raw water cooling pump,
  • Fitted a Stirling advanced digital alternator controller with remote panel.
  • Built and fitted a much large battery box with room for two more lesiure batteries when finance permits.
  • Fitted a new stop cable.
  • Added a float switch to the bilge pump circuit.
  • Started work on the paint – covering the front and back bulkheads with the Oxford Blue the boat will finally end up.
  • Fitted folding step-ups and replaced the ventilator.