This summer Stijn used his vacation to renew the wheelhouse. I worked more to earn some extra money and next to that spent as much time as possible on the wheelhouse as well. After a full month of working on the wheelhouse the new one is not ready yet. It's easy to say, take the wheelhouse off and replace a new one, but there's something more to it.
In addition to renew the wheelhouse, we also lower it because it will enhance Atlas’ sailing qualities. This means that we lower the floor of the wheelhouse into the engine room. We also want to make a shed below the wheelhouse. Which will be accessible from outside through the entrance on port side or through the new hatch at the front. This shed will become an ideal place to store ropes, sails and a dinghy. Previously this space was part of the engine room were all kinds of installations were installed such as the steering system, the day fuel tank, coolant tank and a heavy generator.
Last winter Stijn worked at the port side entrance. Previously it was one of the main entrances of the ship. By entering it now, you will get into the shed by a few steps. With help of Bert and Auke Prinsen, Stijn constructed steel beams in the engine room which will serve as the mast foundation. They also made the new floor of the shed. After this work, the old installations could be removed through the new hatch. Instead of a new day fuel tank there is a new fuel system installed in the engine room. In this system the gasoil can be taken directly from the main storage fuel tanks.
So many things come together on this few square meters. It’s fascinating how everything is connected and must be in balance on a ship.
During the summer Stijn made molds. He used these molds to build the new parts of the wheelhouse. The shape of the new wheelhouse are based on the old one. After we cut the wheelhouse, a crane company removed the wheelhouse in just a few hours. The Atlas was a kind of amputated.
Still a few things needed to be done before the new parts of the wheelhouse could be placed. The steel connections needed to be made, welded and painted. The polyester parts of the wheelhouse will be bonded onto these connections.
Now, early in September we are ready to place the parts. A special moment in the project!