Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weighty Words to Ponder

Kwaietek's deck-house, (main salon) looking aft.

Books are pretty much categorized as ballast when they come aboard a boat. We’re not a family of light readers, nor are we fans of e-books. We prefer to take the interpretation of “read it cover-to-cover” literally. The much-loved, hardback volumes that sat upon our shelves on land have become our traveling companions aboard Kwaietek; destined to accompany us on our many adventures. But when one lives full time on a boat, one must have a designated place to store all of those works of literature. 

 Last August, Jeffery constructed some custom bookshelves in which to house our compilation of reading material aboard our floating home.  They made a huge difference in the living area of the deck-house; separating my “office” from our “den”. The vertical grain fir looks stunning in the salon, and our rather cumbersome assortment of books are now within easy reach.

 Best of all--our pesky list finally disappeared!

The potential problem with the fabulous new library however, is the way in which we may have redistributed the load throughout our vessel. This critical question has increasingly plagued my thoughts once the winds shifted from blunt southerly blows to erratic westerly gusts.  As Kwaietek begins to ride against her dock-lines, I’m almost certain that I feel the rolling much more acutely then I remember from previous years. The deck-house is obviously the worst place to be for such to-and-fro motion.



 Now the last thing we want is to have Kwaietek’s stability altered in such a manner to throw off that whole “righting moment” thing. 

...The only take-away that I retained from the Stability portion of my captain’s course was the term “righting moment” and the equation that amounted to:  “low center of gravity = good / high centered = bad”.

Fortunately, my husband’s brain works in that realm of numbers and formulations, so we set about calculating the impact of our added ballast in the deck-house.

First, we figured the total amount of weight that came aboard with the addition of our bookshelves. Jeffery estimated the weight of the lumber and materials he used to make the shelving. We averaged up the number of crates of books that came aboard once he'd completed the project. The approximate added weight came to 650 pounds in the deck-house, (mostly on the starboard side). 

We then looked for changes below; to counteract the extra weight above, we needed to factor in the new weight we'd contributed from the last two year's of remodeling below.

Juliet's stateroom got significantly heavier when her bunk was remodeled; new drawers, a built-in desk and drawers and a big bookshelf on her aft bulkhead contributed another 400 pounds of weight below. 

Jeffery's initial boat remodel project in our stateroom gave us a port-side dresser that ran the entire length of our cabin. On the starboard-side, we now have a fir and mahogany bunk with storage below and drawers for clothes.  Fully loaded, the new cabinetry in our stateroom amounts to about  600 pounds.


 The master head in the forepeak  has a new cabinet and counter. The old plastic shower unit was torn out and replaced by a custom built, tile shower. We added extra chain to our anchor rode... all told an additional 800 or more pounds of weight went into the head up forward.

The galley and mess are situated in the aft end of Kwaietek. Her diesel stove and copper water heater tank sit far back near the lazarette where Kwaietek's lazarette and day tank for fuel are situated. 

The galley mess is directly over the bilge and pumps. We have four giant storage boxes underneath the settees on each side of the table. Over the course of three years, we have begun to accumulate canned goods and food-stuff in those boxes. Jeffery has recently started using one bin for tools and parts- including a spare bilge pump.

The lead ballast that sits in Kwaietek's bilge was moved around a little recently; Jeff shifted some of the weight inboard. This has helped to compensate for some of that list we were fighting previously. Couple that with the heavy six-cylinder diesel engine that occupies her mid-ship engine room and our generator--there is plenty of low-lying weight in our old girl.

Sitting down over a few beers the other night, Jeffery and I tallied up our figures.
"It looks as if  we're doing okay according to these measurements." He said. "Especially when you remember that we are riding pretty high until we fill our fuel tanks this spring. They're almost empty right now."

"I don't get it, she just feels a little more, I dunno--rocky to me." I replied.

Jeff drained his bottle and glanced over at the bookshelf next to my desk...the one that held a portion of my Che Guevara books, not to mention Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, C. Wright Mills and various other political science texts.

He leaned back in the chair and smiled widely. 

"It seems as if your choice of reading material is completely at fault here, m'dear...
All the ballast in the world isn't gonna stop us from being a Left-leaning boat." 


He had a valid point there. 


 ~ Chris

1 comment:

  1. tomci3033@hotmail.comDecember 8, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Chris.... Get over it. YOU ARE LIVING ABOARD A BOAT. Don't overthink it. Just enjoy. I am land locked in Colorado and SO envious. Hope to see your home in the future