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Consigli di Rod Stephens: CABINA
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1. Friction Catches: Magnetic catches or anything similar on doors can never be satisfactory, ex-cept possibly in an apartment house in a non-earthquake area. It is uncomfortable enough in extremely rough weather - it is just exactly the time when you don't want to have to be making temporary provision to hold doors shut; and at the same time, picking-up gear that has been dumped out probably in the water on the cabin floor. This is an item that would seem perfectly obvious, but one which is wrong on the great majority of installations.

2. Floor Boards: are universally too tight. Great relief can be provided by a simple expedient of a ten degree under bevel, so the floor boards can still fit reasonably tight; but with the slightest lifting will free-up immediately; and also will be easy to replace. Any floor board that is adjacent to a ver-tical surface must have a margin piece; otherwise, the adjacent surface will always be scratched when the floor board is raised.

3. Bilge Access: This is poor on the majority of glass fibre boats; and inadequate floor lifts are frequently used. A simple keyhole shaped plate, strongly bolted through the floor, and two T-shaped keys with a good oval handle will permit adequate force to be applied in the almost inevitable situation where the floor boards have become tight, generally after the first time the boat has really gotten some water on the floor.

4. Quarter Berth Ventilation: Quarter berths are the best place to sleep, provided ventilation is supplied. The most effective is the lazarette hatch, which can be opened when the boat is under way. This would mean that the hatch should not be under the helmsman but can be Shows the lazarette hatch as a wonderful intake, forcing air through the quarter berth area mffi Lite quarters below supplemented by opening ports in the side of the cockpit well; and as is the case with any natural ventilation scheme, something that tends to draw the air out, as, for example, a good hood over the main companionway, will add greatly to the effectiveness of the intakes.

5. Bunk Boards: are almost invariably too weak and too low; and an unnecessary number of people are injured by falling out of bunks in rough weather, due to the inadequacy of the bunk board scheme.

6. The Master Fuel Valve: The valve for the stove should be put in a position where it is easy to sec, to reach and to operate; and clearly marked, so that anyone passing by can observe that it is, in fact, turned off, when the stove is not in use.

7. Inadequate Marking of Individual Stove Burner Valves: In connection with the frequently in-stalled swinging stove, where the tank is not on the stove, a flexible feed line must be installed so it never comes against the hot body of the stove; and so it must not restrict the stove's motion; and, in-cidentally, the stove should certainly go fifty degrees each way from horizontal to take care of any surge in rough weather.

8. Stove Pivot Friction: There should be enough friction in the pivots to reasonably dampen the stove reaction.

9. Alcohol Pressure System: In connection with alcohol stoves, pressure pumps are generally in-adequate; and the system generally fails to hold pressure which ily visible, with clear indication of the operating range, and there should be a valve to close off the pump to eliminate pressure loss back through the pump.

10. Fiddles: Few boats have really adequate fiddles on tables, dressers, and counters. They have to be high, and strong, arid planned with a realization that the boat may-sail considerable periods with a heel angle of thirty-degrees or more either way, with a lot of incidental motion.

11. Dresser Area in Toilet Rooms: There must be adequate dresser area in the toilet room, so toilet articles can be laid out for use; in addition, there should be individual stowage for same; and there should be a scrap basket to minimize the temptation of putting things that don't belong, into the toi-let bowl.

12. Dresser Area in Galley: There should be adequate dresser area in the galley, combined with adequately high fiddles.

13. Drop Sash Drawer Adjustment: Drop sash is a very practical method of retaining drawers; but all too frequently there isn't adequate clearance so, if the drawer swells, there is no way to open it. The only cure for this is an axe; and also, frequently, the catch is too close, so that unless the drawer raises or lowers with the drawer face perpendicular, it will not actually catch. This particularly ap-plies to drawers that are not very long, which with the necessary clearance creates some angle to the drawer face; and unless the lower part of the drawer face is pushed in, which at the same moment is raising the back of the drawer, it will not get on the catch. If this drawer is heavily loaded, it will appear impossible to get it off the latch; and it can only be done by pushing in very hard at the bot-tom of the drawer, at the same time the drawer front is raised.

14. Door Clearance: Inadequate clearance in doors with deference to the almost inevitable fact that the boat will work somewhat; and this applies particularly to doors in transverse bulkheads; and the best cure is omission of any unnecessary doors; and those that are re-quired must be provided with ample clearance.

15. Large Slop Pails: With particular reference to the current emphasis on ecology, the galley is certainly useless, unless it has a really large slop pail to accommodate the necessary garbage for an adequate period of time until it is possible to get rid of it in an acceptable manner.

Rod Stephens,
Problem Areas, in: Yachting World Annual, 1973, pagg. 43 e segg.

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