Four Berth Refit

Page updated: 6 December 2009

Looking forward in the SeaHawk cabin before restorationIn 2003 Bantam's Drift underwent major refurbishment including an external repaint and conversion from a two to four berth boat.

The pictures of the refit start with the mast bracing already removed, leaving the holes in the bulkhead aligned with the wooden block on the cabin ceiling. When this boat was put up for sale the vendor and still not re-fitted any bracing. It was the next owner that completed this part of the refit, described on the Mast Bracing page.

Bantam's Drift had a small shelf mounted in the bows. It is unusual not to have a vertically mounted bulkhead in this area. The space created ahead of it forms a convenient space to stow anchor and chain, or mud weight if a Broadland sailor.

Forward of the main bulkheads is the most popular of the optional mouldings for a two-berth boat, the bowl and shelf for a stove.

Looking aft in the SeaHawk cabin before restoration

Looking aft along the port bunk, you see the dark blue anti-condensation matting glued to the hull. At the foot of the quarter-berth is a small bulkhead, beyond which can be seen the port cockpit locker.

Above the quarter-berth two reinforcing braces are moulded into the cockpit bench. Not all boats of this vintage had two of these bracing strips, some having only one.

The additional space under the berth created by the bilge fin depressions can also be seen clearly here. Note how any water penetrating the aperture in the cockpit where the locker is mounted will drip from the locker moulding and run into this depression. Always make sure the locker is fully sealed to avoid these depressions filling with water.

The SeaHawk cabin stripped bare before rebuild starts

The initial strip-out of the cabin is now complete. The shelf in the bows has gone as has the galley moulding and the two main bulkheads. What appears to have been more matting has also been removed from the starboard bow.

If anyone else is contemplating removing their galley moulding, do it carefully as other owners may well be interested in buying it.

The windows have been also removed, not without a little struggle, judging by the stains about the original rivet points.

Looking towards the stern, the small hatch in the floor lifts to reveal the bolt forming the pivot of the drop keel. This is the lowest point in the bilges. Water that makes its way into the boat that does not collect in the depressions under the berths collects here. The hole in the hatch is not an essential, providing the underside of the plywood panel is heavily champhered at the edges, pressing on one edge will lift the opposite one, making it easy to take hold of and lift aside.

External work has also been progressing. It will be noted that both cockpit lockers have been removed and the holes masked. The first "undercoat" has already been applied externally.

Looking aft in the SeaHawk cabin before rebuild starts

It is now clear that the plan is for a radical re-build of the interior. However, given that nothing can be done to re-design the locker space in the cockpit, this will not be a design that incorporates four adult sized berths.

Unlike the original four-berth design (See the technical drawing (532kb).), there is no space reserved for a toilet. Another sacrifice in any four-berth design in a SeaHawk is space for the sink, as space for one above the waterline is lost.

The supporting structure for the new vee-berth in the bows

The support for the double vee-berth in the bows includes the use of glass-reinforced resin to secure the timbers to the hull, a neat and strong design. This has been followed by painting the inside of the cabin.

The toolbox, in this picture, obscurs the hatch giving access to the keel bolt. With this design it will be partially hidden by the bed which extends further aft than the original bulkheads.

With the original site for the stove destroyed, one is now to be fitted under the starboard bunk. A hole has been cut under the berth to provide for the controls to be accessible.

The starboard quarter-berth with hole for cooker controls

With the seat cushions re-covered in a simple blue fabric, the boat is beginning to look very plush.

New windows have been fitted. All the "raw" glass fibre in the cabin is lined with matting, hiding the fixings to the new external window frames, giving a very refined finish.

The new vee-berth completed

The cooker is now in place and aft of that is a radio/CD player. A new teak threshold to the cabin door has been fitted. Mat covered boards have been fitted to line the top of the quarter-berths that also manages to hide some of the wiring to the navigation lights. Even the keel housing beneath the threshold is covered in the new matting.

The starboard quarter-berth with cooker and radio/CD player under

The top of the keel has been painted and the plate mounted on the cabin threshold is well polished and even the screw heads align - a nice touch.

The finished cooker installation appears neat. However, there is no sign of flame failure sensors, so it would appear that this appliance is only suitable for outdoor use and would not meet the requirements of the Boat Safety Scheme. Although there is a metal plate protecting the base of the lifted seat cushion, it is not possible, from this picture, to confirm whether the bottom edge of the cushion is suitably protected or there is adequate separation from the cooker.

The cooker, ready for use The restored keel plate

The restoration is complete. The boat is "dressed" with cushions toning with the new upholstery, giving a really professional look to the restoration.

A hinged panel under the forward berth allows access to the keel bolt hatch. While this may be adequate for bailing out any water finding its way to this area, it is probable that work on the keel itself would require much of the new berth to be removed.

Cushions decorate the cabin Hinged flap to allow access to the keel bolt

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