Interior Improvements to a Corribee Mk 1 by Moir Patton, Corribee Owners Association
(Pictures are at the end of this section)
The writer is the owner of a Mark I bilge keel Corribee. The remark in the “Development of the Corribee” that they “are often a bit scruffy” hit the nail on the head, but the remark that they “can be very rewarding” is also very true.
On the off-chance that someone might find what I have done to “Windsong” of some interest, I am giving some details with photos. Anyone wanting more facts can contact me, and I will give any further information that I can.
The boat had been flock sprayed inside and while it stopped any condensation it had become, over the years, very faded and stained and seemed to resist all attempts to clean it. It was therefore necessary to hide as much as possible. For a start curtains were fitted to all the windows which was a help.
Next it was decided to panel the cabin roof, also each side of the hatch and to add shelves at these points. The materials used was 2.5mm sapele mahogany and while it undoubtedly darkened the cabin a little, I felt that the rich striped effect improved the appearance of the boat immensely. (See photo 1) The method employed was to make templates of light cardboard and then cut out the veneer. Half inch self-tapping screws driven in to the short battens glassed into the roof held the panels in position. Forward of the main keyhole bulkhead two panels sufficed but in the after section I made three. I finished off the job by gluing mahogany veneer strips over the joints. With hindsight I should have only glued one side of the strips and it would then have been quite easy to remove a panel at a later date had I had necessity to do so. Finally it was varnished.
The echo sounder was fitted to the main bulkhead over the chart table when I took delivery of the boat, but since I sail on a lake and nearly always solo the chart table was stored ashore and the echo sounder transferred to a hinged bracket at the hatch. (See Photos 1 and 2). It is held in position both open and closed with plastic spring clips. Unfortunately the length is different when open and closed and two pieces of plastic angle were used to enable the length to be altered.
Rather than fit leeboards to the forward berths, I decided I would like to have a double berth, as two sleeping bags zipped together are much warmer than two separate bags. The mast compression tube was the problem. On this particular boat the tube had a circular flange on the bottom which was screwed to the forward floor board of the cabin sole. This meant that the floor board could not be lifted. There was even a gap between the floor board and the moulded bearer on the hull. This must have had a nice springy effect when hard on the wind in a blow! What I did was to unscrew the tube from the floor board. I could then remove the floor board and drill a hole where the flange had sat, to enable the tube to go through. The flange was then screwed to the bearer on the hull and the tube cut about 3/4” above the floor board. A length of copper pipe was found that was a tight fit inside the compression tube, and cut so that when sitting on the flange at the bottom of the tube, it was clear about 1” above where the tube had been cut. This centred the remainder of the tube on its base. The top of the tube was threaded and a coupling screwed down. When the compression tube was attached to its base the coupling at the top was screwed up and went over the centring dowelling attached to the inside of the cabin roof. I now had a removable compression tube. The next job was to remove the pieces of ply screwed to the front of each forward berth to secure the cushions and cut a lot of it away just leaving two pieces at each side to hold the berth cushions in position. (See photo 3)
Since the floor board edges were shaped to fit the shape of the hull, I turned the floor board upside down and cut away two lengths on each side to correspond with the cushion positioners. The original ply had been cut so that, when the inverted floor board was placed in it, it was level with the berths. (see photo 4). A short length of timber was bolted to the moulding to bear the forward end of the infill (see photo 3) and a headboard with a suitable piece of timber screwed to it sits across the ends of the berths and takes the weight of the after end. This set up can be seen in photo 5. The headboard leans against the keyhole bulkhead and the bunk cushions keep it in position. Three inch foam was purchased for the infill and divided lengthways giving two cushions which by day sit on the bunk cushions under the shelves, thus hiding more of the shabby flock and taking up no cabin space (see photos 3 & 4)
Eating arrangements were the next thing to be scrutinised. A report in Yachting Monthly 1968 stated that the galley to port had “a formica covered top which removes and fixes across the boat to provide a table or working surface for the cook”. No such “goodie” existed on Windsong, so a formica top was acquired from an old washing machine which, cut to size, now sits on top of the cooker when under way. When the cooker is to be used the top is put on top of the heads locker to starboard where it fits perfectly.
When everything (Cutlery, crockery, pots and pans) have been taken from the locker beneath the cooker and placed on this top, it is then fitted between the galley and the heads locker where it also fits. There is however a slight difference in height, so an extra piece of wood has to be screwed to the bottom of the formica to level it up. (See photo 5) I only use this as a work top. The top step in to the cabin covers the sink and slides to give access. The underside of the tread I have covered in formica and since the bottom step lifts out , I simply remove it, and, pulling out the top step, turn it upside down and use it as a table when eating and a draining board when washing up. However with a crew aboard I thought I needed something more, so made a folding table. (Photo 6) This is simply 3/8” marine ply cut as shown. The legs are all hinged. With the legs folded it is stowed under the foredeck on two pieces of light cordage. (Photos 4 & 5).
The bottom ½” of the aft leg is rounded and fits in to a finger hole in the floor board, and a longish length of wood is screwed sideways to the bottom to help stabilise the table. There is quite a long slot cut in the forward end of the table which is inserted round the mast compression tube. On the tube itself there is a fitting which consists of a hose clip that can be obtained in a garden centre which can be opened and closed manually, and which clamps two aluminium brackets, one fore and one aft, to the tube. Screwed to these brackets is a piece of mahogany on which the table rests.
Under this is another similar hose clip holding two angled aluminium brackets to take two hinged folding legs the purpose of which is to stop the table from wobbling sideways. The table in position and the method of folding the legs can be seen in photos 6 & 7. The two hose clips, stowed at the top of the compression tube, can be seen in photos 7 and 9.
Next I added an open shelf at each side from the existing shelves right up to the chain locker, making them quite wide, as the space under the foredeck is not used for anything.
Finally I decided that it would be a distinct advantage to be able to pump the water from my water carrier to the sink. A large cork was obtained and a hole drilled in it to allow the plastic water piping to be inserted (See photo 9). When not in use the tubing is stowed in three loops of light webbing (Photo 6). The tubing runs along the inside of the lockers and is attached to a little whale foot pump, and then up to the faucet at the sink which stows neatly when not in use (see photos 2 and 8). When sitting on the starboard side just inside the hatch one can pump away without difficulty.
The “wall to wall” carpeting fitted for this season (nylon rubber backed) looks and feels good, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the bare floor boards with their lifting holes allow at least some ventilation of the bilges, which the carpet effectively cuts off. I am not sure if it will be left in position, however we will see as the season progresses.
On a different tack altogether, does anyone know anything about my boat, sail number 97? I think her previous home port, prior to coming to Ireland, was somewhere in Wales. She was called Rivendell when I got her, and she looked as though she had been dismasted at some time, as the mast was welded in the general area of the tabernacle.She was a brick red colour when she arrived here. Any information would be appreciated.
Replacing the interior lining with carpet
Many Corribees and Coromandels were lined internally with vinyl, often foam-backed, which was stuck to the grp cabin and hull surfaces with contact adhesive. As many owners have found this has a limited life and there are a variety of solutions. The cheapest and simplest is merely a coat of paint over the (cleaned up) grp. A bit more expensive is lining with ordinary domestic carpet, using insulation if temperature and condensation is a concern. Probably the most expensive option is to buy and fit specialist marine headlining materials.
It is worth taking some common sense precautions, and these are based on my own experience. Clear as much out of the boat as you can – you need room to work. Some decent dust masks and a vacuum cleaner will be needed. If you are using any sort of solvents or volatile adhesives you will need ventilation and a vapour mask. Disposable overalls (the white ones with a hood) are very useful, along with disposable vinyl gloves.
Foam-backed vinyl is the worst material to remove. After pulling off all the vinyl, the quickest way of cleaning the foam and adhesive is to use a rotary wire brush on a drill or angle grinder. An angle grinder is an aggressive tool and will have to be used with care. The wire brush will pick up particles of glass fibre, so you really must use a mask and overalls. The mess you will make by removing the old foam remnants this way has to be seen to be believed, which is why I suggest disposable overalls and clearing the inside of the boat out first.
Solvents could be used to dissolve the glue, but I would personally avoid this method in such a confined space, especially if you have electrical power tools in use.
Even in the average UK summer condensation can be a problem in a small boat. The most suitable insulation material is a closed cell foam (the sort of foam used for sleeping mats obtainable in camping shops) as it doesn’t absorb water.
There are specialist suppliers of lining materials (eg Hawke House Ltd). Many small boat owners opt for the cheapest carpet obtainable from a local carpet shop – you need to slect the thinnest available and ensure it is 100% synthetic. A specialist marine interior lining material will be about twice as expensive as a cheap polypropylene ‘domestic’ carpet.
Roger Taylor has kindly supplied the following details of the insulation and lining of Mingming:
The photos tell most of the story. Apart from being a good insulator, Plastazote, a nitrogen-blown foam, has excellent flotation qualities, so adds to Mingming’s seaworthiness. All the gluing was done with water-based impact adhesive. Solvent-based is highly inflammable so not appropriate. Water-based takes much longer to cure, and I spent hours through the cold winter months drying surfaces with a hair dryer before they could be offered up. I’m fascinated to see (or hear) what effect the insulation has on the usually hard-edged acoustics of the fibreglass hull. With luck Mingming will in future have the subdued acoustics of a timber hull.
The whole of the hull within the forward and aft watertight bulkheads was insulated, except for one area of the port side bilge for my ‘fridge’ (where I keep cheese and butter and which worked extremely well in the Arctic).
Jay Blackburn has kindly supplied the following details about his refit of Emily Grace:
Been doing a lot recently. Stripped the cabin out again to deal with water damage, etc. and she now has the main ceiling lined in Vistorian tongue and groove. I cut 4mm ply to shape and then after varnishing the tongue and groove I glued it on to the ply using No Nails and then trimmed to fit.
Next were the sides of the coachroof. Here I applied 6mm closed cell foam and then glued a propriety lining material, almost like thin closed cell foam with a textured finish like a splatter dash effect. This was the hard part and not really up to standard but not because of the material, just the workman. Gluing up the side of the coach roof and then the back of the lining and then bringing the two together by yourself lying on your back in the confines of a Coromandel is not for the faint hearted (or those over 10 stone and wrong side of 50!). Anyhow that done and the shelves lined with the same stuff I used the same tongue and groove to make new shelf fronts.
Now to the galley – I had a non-gimballed cooker with oven but decided to just go grill and burners. Unfortunately this was half an inch wider so the galley came out for a rebuild. Last night I went to bed with 11 pieces of ply standing in the hall in glorious undercoat. I also made space to hang wet oilies etc. just inside the hatch behind the Galley area.
I took the enclosed heads out of Emily Grace many years ago so I have a porta potti under the companionway – privacy on a 21 foot boat. Where the cooker used to be is now my sink and a cupboard and this also got rebuilt today.
The steps needed rebuilding so that was another job today. I made the front of the top step a nice gentle curve which makes it look a lot more gentle and simple things like this add to the style of any boat. The bottom step is held between the berth sides on two runners. As this has to be removable (for using the heads) I used two screws with their heads cut off as dowels to locate the step.
So another coat of paint and the trims can go back on and then I can rebuild the navigation area and line that too. I also have to renew the electrics – a job I have been putting off, but really it is not that difficult.
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