The companion way on the Catalina is nice and wide and wonderful for getting in and out of the inside. Unfortunately so do the flies and those nasty mosquitos. So we looked into getting an insect screen. We found that those manufactured solutions were pretty expensive.
Friends of ours mentioned that all that they do is use bridal veil held in place with soup cans. Well I’m not crazy about having soup cans dropping on my head but we liked the idea of the veil. So we picked up some black veil material from Fabric Land, so twisted galvanized chain from Home Depot and made our own fly screen.
Companion Way Screen
The leading forward edge of the screen was reinforced with interfacing and button holes sewn in to match up with the deck fasteners for the dodger. The two sides and the bottom edge had the chain sewn into them. This allowed the screen to naturally drop into place, following the top and side contours.
Forward Edge of Screen
Chain Sewn into Screen
After we set up our barbeque to use the propane from the onboard propane system, we wanted to make sure that we had sufficient propane onboard when cruising. So we acquired a spare tank, but needed to store it somewhere. The side step on the transom seemed the right place. To keep it clean (no bird droppings, etc…), we sewed a protective cover for it from a white vinyl material. This also helped reflect the hot sun off of the tank.
View of Tank from Transom
To attach the tank we left an opening in the cover to allow a line to pass from the tank to the aft port stay. The cover is open on the bottom but has a cord that we us to draw the bottom opening close. It has worked well for the past three seasons.
Tank Tie Down
We were fortunate to pick up a Kuuma barbeque at the winter boat show for a ridiculously cheap price. It wasn’t the insulated, dual-rack Magma Catalina model, but at around $50 I figured if it didn’t work out we could always use it as a spare onshore. The one thing the admiral and I both hated was the need for the little propane cylinders and the storage and disposal of them. I was most disappointed to learn that they were not reusable!
One of our first small projects was to set the BBQ up to the existing onboard propane system. I acquired the necessary hose kit from Holland Marine Products (HMP).
The connector unit fits in between the tank and the existing hose fittings. You need to pick up some Teflon tape from your local hardware store (yellow Teflon tape is for gas). I found that the best location to exit the tank locker was in the aft outer corner. This way I can open the lid and the hose length would not be affected. Just make sure that the hole diameter is large enough to fit the hose’s end fitting through it.
To seal the opening I used a 1/2″ rubber cork (spare cork from our wine making carboy). It was nessesary to drill out the hole larger and cut a groove around the corks perimeter. Then it was nessesary to also cut the cork so it could be slipped over the propane hose.
The spare hose just coils around within the propane locker.
One note of caution: We found that the fibreglass tanks did not have a strong enough neck to support the additional moment placed on it by the extended fittings. It was possibly after a very bumpy sail, but we found that the fibreglass tank had a leak one day, right where the valve was threaded into the tank neck. The banging around in high seas, seemed to have jostled the cantilevered fitting to the extent that the glass gave way. Now we use only metal tanks (One aluminum and one steel).
The hose to the BBQ was securely fastened to the stern rail with quick ties.