Sinks, Showers and Heads

Sinks showers and heads are not normally uppermost  in peoples minds when it comes to buying a boat. That prize  goes to galleys, cabins and in the eyes of the men, the engine room .

For you non boaty people “Heads” is the nautical term for the toilet.


The heads were at  the top of our bucket list when  looking at buying Jessica. Our first boat was very much a “bucket and chuck it” job. Our previous boat did have a built in toilet and shower but it was built for a 4ft oompa lumpa with the physique  of a racing snake. Roger who stands 6ft 2 and is slightly larger could not get in and close the door. Showering became a spectator sport. Hence my obsession of finding a boat with bigger heads.

Jessica ticks all the boxes. Light, airy, easy to keep clean and Roger can shower with the door shut. I immediately removed the curtains and put frosted film on the windows. Soggy curtains? No thanks.

Jessica's Heads
Jessica’s Heads

We knew we had a problem the first time we used the shower. it is one of those pull out and attach hose to wall type. Problem is that the hose is too stiff and so flies off the clip when too much water pressure is turned on. Not very funny when your eyes are full of shampoo and you are trying to pin down a snaking torrent of water. I quickly  changed this to one of those chrome hoses that bends. Sorted.

The other slight modification we have made is the  sink. Why Hardy think we need  10 inch deep sink is beyond me. Fill it and you empty the water tank, put a small dribble in it and you can’t get your face in to wash it. Useless! So out it came to be replaced with a delicate shallow bowl. Much more usable.

new sink
new sink

Our Poop Deck

Most marinas provide excellent showering facilities, some of them on par with 5 star hotels. But its no fun walking half a mile down a pontoon in the pouring rain after a warm shower. We love and use our little heads.

So much so we fondly call it the “poop deck”.

The Final Frontier – Vinyl and Foam

The cockpit upholstery is the final frontier of an epic task. This upholstery takes the most punishment, open to the elements when the canopy is down and to the sun and heat when the canopy is closed. The original vinyl is grubby and there is a tear to the back of the captains helms seat.


old seat
old seat

So it all has to come off.


Yup you got it, millions of staples. and they all have to come out.


more staples
more staples

Only when we get all the staples out do I realise it is them that hold the whole seat together, no wonder there are so many.
Finally we expose the  plywood and its all rotten so Roger cuts me some lovely new pieces. The foam is shot so back to online foam shop to get some more. I discover the joys of sewing pleated foam backed vinyl. The foam jams the needle several times and the pleats stretch. Deep joy.


Getting the seats (captains and crew) back together is a bit like a krypton factor challenge. We need 8 pairs of hands. After all my moaning we put back as many staples as we have taken out – the shame of it. But they look great

new seat
new helms seat before I staple the bottom edges down.


The remaining cockpit cushions are a piece of cake in comparison. The old foam was so wet it left puddles on the garage floor! Didn’t smell too good either. This time we have encased the foam in a waterproof membrane.

seat squab
seat squab


With hindsight I would not have used pleated vinyl as it does trap dog hair and dirt in the grooves but I think all plain would not have looked quite right. Put it this way, I am not taking out all those damn staples again to find out!


Windscreen Wipers and Wrecks

Jessica posses windscreen wipers only on the captains side of the boat. Being mere crew I have to stare out of a rain and salt smeared window. Spotting cruise ships, ferries and the odd errant yacht is becoming a pain so Roger being Roger has decided to fit a set of wipers to my side.

Scrap yard

I find myself on a sunny Sunday morning in Hampshires largest scrap yard, Silverlake. I live such an exciting life, never a dull moment.

We split up and  start wander around various wrecks and write offs looking for a certain windscreen wiper. We need two. One needs to be a left hand mount the other a right hand mount. Don’t ask as I have no idea why.

A shout goes up  and I find Roger with a large grin on his face. He is standing in front of what can only be described as a rusting skeleton of a car. Out of his pocket he produces a very large screw driver and a humongous pair of mole grips and starts attacking  the rear boot with the finesse of a butcher.

"Fingers" Parsons
“Fingers” Parsons

Me thinks he has done this before. Obviously signs of a misspent youth but you didn’t hear it from me.

Finally the windscreen motor parts company from the boot lid and we have a right hand mount. Whoopee do!

The hunt continues for the left hand one. I am slowly losing the will to live. Half an hour later we have what we need. We saunter back to the main office where we part with the princely sum of £15. (New ones would have cost hundreds).

Roger is going to fit the new wipers and motors  when Jessica comes out for annual maintenance in January. I will let you know how we get on.

Upholstery and Staples

Boat upholstery takes a real hammering. Constantly exposed to salt, damp air, damp salty people and our case damp salty dog.

Jessica’s cabin upholstery was actually in quite good condition but it was tired and dated. So I thought I would take on a task on monumental proportions and tackle the upholstery myself.

Staples and more staples.

Resourcing the material and replacement foam on eBay was simple.  I begin with the 2 beds/cots. Easy peasy as the mattresses are rectangular in shape with no piping.

Cot Upholstery
Cot Upholstery

Feeling very pleased with myself I turn to the cabins V berth. This consists of 3 squabs, 3 back panels and a table infill. My idea is to deconstruct each piece and make patterns for the new material. Easier said than done.  I have never seen so many wretched stables. It takes me 5 hours to take apart just one backboard but I am rewarded with perfect patterns  a few blisters and a couple of missing finger nails.

old upholstery
old upholstery

My next headache is make sure that the stripes all run the same way. Why did I not choose plain material and make my life easier?

Nearly There
Nearly There

Piping is a complete mystery to me but I have managed to sew it on in all the right places. Now came the really tricky bit, getting the contours on the seats and backs right. This requires about 8 pairs of hands and a load more of the damn staples. After stuffing the squabs with foam the fruits of of my labour are finally coming to light.
The hard wood trims were easy in comparison, I just set to with a hot glue gun. Finally the whole ensemble was sprayed to an inch of its life with waterproof fabric protector, red wine can be a killer to upholstery.
Would I do it again? Watch this space.