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.
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…