V-Berth Insulation, Part 1, Dismantle and Refit Plan

We spent the first few weeks of this refit period adjusting to life on land. We made trips away from the boat to see family. We gathered tools. We moved ourselves and everything off the boat. In week five, we took real action at Dawn Treader, and the boat was changed in a day.

Dawn Treader in the Boatyard

The V-Berth was dismantled. The side panels, insulation, port lights, and headliner were removed. The headliner was cut out with a multi-max. Roughly 70 percent of the liner now sits against the fence behind the boat. We were pleased that so much was removed so quickly. The liner was largely unattached to the deck above. We will remove the remaining sections of liner when we remove the thru-bolted handrails and stanchions on deck.

We found thin stripes of mold on the insulation when we removed the sealing strips of plywood on the sides of the V-Berth. We found mold behind the insulation when we removed the plastic panels and insulation above the shelves. We found mold on the backside of the headliner, around the border, the outside inch, when we cut out the liner in sections. Wherever air was able to flow a little bit, there was a little bit of mold. 

All of what we’re removing on the sides of the V-Berth, the insulation, panels, and sealing strips, we installed in 2015. This installation proved inadequate during three years sailing in colder climates. We made mistakes. We did not go far enough. We did not reimagine the V-Berth well for cold climates. As a result, we used this valuable living space for storage instead of sleeping. The mold in difficult to clean spaces was an issue, another was condensation. The original, uninsulated headliner created a large surface for condensation. Occasionally, we had rain inside. Big fat drops formed on the coachroof. We also had condensation problems on the overhead hatch, the hardware that held the side panels up, and on the metal port light frames.

Many sailors fight condensation and mold. We hope our time in the desert, drying out and refitting Dawn Treader, will better prepare us for these struggles. We have learned many lessons in the past few years, and now we are re ready to try again. Our efforts will be more complex and lengthy this time. Our plans include adding an insulation supporting framework under the deck, and more of everything: insulation, heat, ventilation, air circulation, and access (we plan to widen the opening to the V-Berth). We plan to install different port lights. We will also replace the V-Berth platform again. The plywood delaminated in the rainforest. Our primary goal is to make the V-Berth inhabitable in all climates. Let’s see how it goes…

14 thoughts on “V-Berth Insulation, Part 1, Dismantle and Refit Plan”

  1. Brian, are you back in the Brunswick area? I’ve been following you and Deb since I meet you at the boat a few years ago, Ed Hart , Fred Acevedo toured your Allied Sea Wind 30. After your unbelievably outstanding refit, genus.And we all had a great lunch meet up . I still have my ASW 30 in Jacksonville Florida, had an accident an haven’t been able to do much. Hoping I can recover to the point that I can get back on Miss McKenna do some work on her to do some cruising .
    Best Regards
    Jimmy Allen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jimmy, We are in Mexico. We sailed here from Chile at the end of last year. Thanks for your kind words. We remember you guys driving to see us and the nice lunch. We appreciate you keeping up with us. We wish you all the best, and hope you get back to Miss McKenna.


  2. Hi Brian and Debbie, thanks for the description and pics of the detailed work you are doing on the boat. We hope to see your progress in person in the future. Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you think we should put insulation in the overhead for sailing in fla & Bahamas?
    VIE DE PAIX sw 30


    1. Hi Steve. We did not have issues with condensation on the overhead in the tropics. We wouldn’t remove the headliner and insulate if we were staying in the Bahamas or FL. We only had problems in cold climates.


  4. Hi , I have a ani condensation coating from Germany that I used in all my boats in lockers or areas that are not accessible after refit with good results ( no mold ) and I have 1” insulation rated R 32 from Austria


    1. The anti condensation coating sounds like an interesting product. We are also hoping to have 1″ of insulation above the waterline at the end of the project.


  5. Can’t wait to see the finished project. You both have done an amazing job refitting tha boat any way and I’m sure this will be icing on the cake


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