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This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Chris Green 2 months ago.

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  • #18516

    sczapie2
    Participant

    Hello all, I am in the process of re-acquainting myself with the same Atalanta-26 I had my first affair with 42 years ago.  She is a bit like me, in need of some tlc J,  so I am looking at various refit ideas with the aim of cruising down the French canals followed by an extended tour of the med.  I expect to be sailing single-handed for most of the time!

    I would really appreciate your feedback on the ideas I am considering, perhaps you have already implemented them, or have discovered alternatives or rejected the idea for reasons I have not thought of.  I would also welcome any additional suggestions that would be appropriate for my trip.

    So in no particular order, the list includes :-

    Holding tanks – to comply with various EU and local laws
    A Bimini – possibly needing raising the goose neck to give sufficient headroom
    Rejigging the pushpit to incorporate a swimming ladder, a platform for stern-to mooring
    Adding a frame/arch to support solar panelling, most likely added to the pushpit
    Installing some form of bowsprit incorporating anchor guide, bow roller, tack point for a code 0/1.
    Adding an electric windlass – principally to aid stern-to mooring single-handed with the aid of an anchor.
    Fitting boom roller reefing – means reefing and sail management can be controlled from the cockpit
    Tailored storage points for the rib/dinky on the rear deck – but this would impact access via the rear platform – is the idea of a foldable dinghy (a la Seahopper) a sensible option?
    Autohelm versus mechanical self steering gear.  Eg Navico TP1800 Tillerpilot?
    Installing an ice box with a cooling powered by the solar panelling
    Adding extra portlights or hatches to increase airflow and natural lighting in fore and rear cabins.
    Replacement  inboard motor required – suitable power rating  and make which would be easy to maintain in France/the med.
    230v shore power with distribution MCB board.
    Many thanks in advance for any feedback…

    Stephan

     

  • #18519

    AOA
    Keymaster

    Stephan

    It sounds like a great adventure – both sorting the boat and then the voyage.

    There are people who will have a lot of insight into your ideas based on their own similar voyages.  A102 Atalanta Mary travelled through the Canals and had a period sailing around Corsica, Sardnia and the Italian and French coasts.  T10 has travelled extensively in the Adriatic (as the base for the authors of the Imray Adriatic Pilot). A105 is being prepared for a similar trip.  I will leave them to give you their ideas (or you might want to chase them up through the Association Yearbook).

    My comments are less about the requirements of the canals and the Med, more about the boat.

    I am not a fan of loading Atalantas up with every modern ‘convenience’ you might expect in a modern cruising yacht.  The Atalantas were designed as light-weight but very sea-worthy cruising yachts. Adding weight detracts from both the aesthetic appeal of the boats (subjective) and the way they perform.   Every additional kilogramme should be challenged as to why you really need it.

    That said, some personal opinion specifics:

    • Holding tanks – check the T10 boat page to locate Trevor’s articles on fitting a tank to Calista.  Atalanta Mary did not have a tank.
    • Bimini –  Again T10 Calista has a smart arrangement. The height of the Atalanta boom (Calistsa is a Titania) may limit options whilst sailing. Reducing the sail area by raising the boom, particularly in the Med, may not be the best option.  Of course you could lengthen the mast raising the whole sail-plan ……..
    • Bowsprit – a lightweight affair for Code 0/1 great idea (see Technical Paper P)
    • Solar Panels – see experience from A105 Atalanta Mary and A169 Elle. There are some great flexible panels out there that can be included as part of the bimini, sailcover, hatchcover or similar without a heavy structure to support them
    • Electric Windlass. Personally not convinced this is necessary based on my reading of other’s experiences. It would have to be deemed essential in my view to justify the weight and complexity (deck reinforcing, electrical system).
    • Boom roller -reefing. Handling from the cockpit does not require this. A14 Helene has slab-reefing and the main is easily raised, lowered and reefed single-handed from the cockpit (see 2017-18 Bulletin). Adding lazy jacks would make it even better. And the slab-reefing gives a better shape than roller-reefing.
    • Dinghy storage on the sterndeck. The wrong place for weight. Some boats carried their Dinky there but its a lot of faff! Particularly for the Mark 2 Atalantas which have a slightly shorter stern deck than say Dervorguila.  The Seahopper idea has been taken up by A169 Elle (see her boat page).  Personally I love a hard dinghy but I would either accept towing it (which I do in the UK) or a Seahopper / folding canoe / inflatable.
    • Auxiliary motor. Why not electric? Depends on your sailing / motoring habits but some great options out there.

    Lots of options, lots of opinions, lots of compromise required. That’s boats and sailing!

    Cheers

    Nick

    • #18542

      Chris Green
      Participant

      Hello Stephen

      Just to add a little more on the boom height and aft head location:

      Boom height – possibly fit a sliding gooseneck so you can raise the boom height when deploying Bimini  – see my post A169 last year as part of the mast rebuild.

      Aft cabin toilet:

      I know of 3 aft cabin loos including my current arrangement – installation of this is described with photos in a previous post for A169 and in a bulletin; also had this arrangement on A100 – you can read the Sailing  Today magazine article,  (under A100) which has photos and commentary on the setup. Personally, I find the location far better than the fore peak arrangement.

  • #18532

    Chris Green
    Participant

    Hi Stephan

     The resources of the AOA website are very useful containing experience of members from Bulletin records; technical plans and ideas etc to help with your plans. I have been refitting (rebuilding!) A169  over a number of years – previously owned A 100 – here are some thoughts on my own experience of some of your proposed mod’s;

    Holding tanks – to comply with various EU and local laws 

    Location below cockpit seat is my preference – This is made easier if the head is relocated to aft cabin as in A100 (Jaunty) and A169 (Elle);  a pump-out/extract can be fitted into the top for emptying using marina suction hose etc. A simple valve arrangement allows switching between direct outlet and holding tank. Flexible or rigid tanks are available if you shop around – or possibly make your own from epoxy coated ply. If keeping the heads in fo’c’sle – a tank could be made to fit the area, but space would be a possible issue.

    Bimini – possibly needing raising the goose neck to give sufficient headroom

    See my post last year on fitting the cockpit tent and rebuilding the mast with a sliding goose neck fitting.

    Rejigging the pushpit to incorporate a swimming ladder, a platform for stern-to mooring
    Adding a frame/arch to support solar panelling, most likely added to the pushpit
    Installing some form of bowsprit incorporating anchor guide, bow roller, tack point for a code 0/1.
    Adding an electric windlass – principally to aid stern-to mooring single-handed with the aid of an anchor.
    Fitting boom roller reefing – means reefing and sail management can be controlled from the cockpit

    Not sure that adding a “sugar scoop” arrangement around the transom mounted lifting rudder is feesible;   transom mounted bathing / boarding ladders are fitted by many owners – I have a folding  stainless steel version on A169 (and previously on A 100). The fore-deck arrangements are possible, if you were determined to incorporate them, but  would add considerable clutter for fairly light ground tackle; similarly,  the cockpit arch  would also be adding windage and clutter for the proposed stern-to mooring maneuvers, bearing in mind that Atalantas are light displacement.   

    Tailored storage points for the rib/dinky on the rear deck – but this would impact access via the rear platform – is the idea of a foldable dinghy (a la Seahopper) a sensible option?

    Aft deck was designed to carry a tender and also doubles as extra aft cabin headroom with the hatch open. I have a modified Seahopper as a tender and have seen at least one other Atalanta with a Seahopper on the aft deck. I would say a perfect choice for the Atalanta. Can be stored folded along the pushpit rail/ when not required.
    Autohelm versus mechanical self steering gear.  Eg Navico TP1800 Tillerpilot?

    If you mean wind vane versus electric tiller pilot/auto helm  – both forms have been successfully used on Atalantas – have a look through the back editions of  bulletins. Personally, I have used a number of tiller (and wheel) pilots on different boats over the years; a Simrad TP10 was the last one I used, which was perfectly adequate for an Atalanta. There was a forum discussion on mechanical wind-vanes which you could probably find -or why no start a new wind-vane topic. I know that a previous owner of A169 had one fitted back in the 70s.  Another thought is self steering from the sheets with surgical bungee cord through the whipstaff / tiller. A number of these set-ups on youtube – here is a link (URL) to one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHpyvxeK2I4

    Installing an ice box with a cooling powered by the solar panelling

    I have 2 x 1000V  flexible roll-up panels on A169 deployed over the cockpit tent (there was a post on this); these provide sufficient charge for a bank of batteries for the 48V – 8kw electric motor; also have an aft mounted wind 200W  wind charger (also a post on this installation). This level of charge maintains the  battery bank. Not sure you would be able to run a fridge cooler from solar alone – would depend on the cool-box capacity etc. 

    Adding extra portlights or hatches to increase airflow and natural lighting in fore and rear cabins.

    A straightforward job – worth checking on the AOA forum for salvage Atalanta portlights, but these can be fabricated; At least one  Atalanta has fitted a standard (i.e. opening type) porthole through the transom.

    Replacement  inboard motor required – suitable power rating  and make which would be easy to maintain in France/the med.

    Various approaches to inboard auxiliary motors have been tried by owners over the years – suggest have a look through the back issues of the annual bulletin. It largely depends on what uses you are planning – long motoring stints across the channel in calm weather, or just getting in and out of  harbour/berths etc.

    230v shore power with distribution MCB board.

    Straightforward matter – choose the siting of the shore supply inlet; run the 240V mains lead to an on board breaker switch and fused distribution panel.

    NB: You can look up my posts covering refit issues noted above under A169 in the AOA  Register (from the tab on the top menu bar (above).

    A169 https://atalantaowners.org/boat-sn/a169/

    I hope this is helpful Stephan.

    Chris

     

  • #18535

    Trevor Thompson
    Participant

    To provide my take on the issues you raise I have copied your headings below:

    Holding tanks – to comply with various EU and local laws

    The BIG issue with holding tanks is that you won’t find many places where you can get them pumped out (and not at a sensible price if you find it ) and the alternative is to go miles offshore. So no country actually takes this seriously. So what do you want to achieve here. If it is to satisfy a notional inspector then you could use a camping toilet (portapoty) or a built in holding tank. The built in tank will inevitably be far to small to be of any practical use. As Nick mentioned in his reply Calista has a holding tank fitted in the eyes of the boat in front of the toilet. It holds about 12 hours worth of use for 2 people. That is with a Lavac toilet which is frugal with flushing water. That said – it depends on what you want to achieve. Calista often spends a tide dried out on a sandy beach – and the holding tank works well for that. If you want to transit France by canal you will need a huge tank – and that just will not fit into an Atalanta. I would suggest the practical solution is a camping toilet which at least can be emptied at a canalside campsite.

    A Bimini – possibly needing raising the goose neck to give sufficient headroom

    I think that a Bimini is essential for what you intend. Temperatures in Southern Europe are getting warmer each year. Human beings need protection from that sun – skin cancer is a real issue which you must protect yourself against. Firstly a wide brimmed hat. I like the Tilley version. Calista as you already have been told has a Bimini. She is a Titania so slightly different. We can sail with it up – and if you cant it is no use to you. The Bimini is erected and stays up for the whole summer in warmer climes. Our Bimini has mountings to take a 100 watt flexible solar panel, sides front and back to convert it into a cockpit tent. We sometimes sail in wet welsh weather with the bimini up and the front attached. Oilskins are then totally unecessary!

    Rejigging the pushpit to incorporate a swimming ladder, a platform for stern-to mooring
    Adding a frame/arch to support solar panelling, most likely added to the pushpit
    Installing some form of bowsprit incorporating anchor guide, bow roller, tack point for a code 0/1.

    I am lumping these together because I detect a theme – and that is added weight. You must resist the temptation to add heavy items. There was a Titania which was refitted for a med voyage which sank when it was launched. Not a joke it happened. I was asked to advise when it had subsequently found a new owner who wanted to know why the water flowed from the cockpit into the cabin when it was launched. Most of the additions had been removed by then but the aft cabin still had a large fuel tank in it – which was full. You can guess what I suggested.

    Anyway a swimming ladder will be used – just the sort you can get from any chandlery and fix to the transom. Resist that platform for stern mooring. It is totally uneccesary. Stern mooring is not the solution – you should moor bows in. Almost all mediterranean moorings now have laid lines so you won’t be using an anchor and backing in. You can go in bows first and fish out the line from the bows – or the “marinaro” will hold it up so you can reach it. Attach that to the stern and pass bow lines ashore. This way you protect your rudder from the shallows near the quay, avoid having a long raised rudder to keep you miles from the quay and gain privacy in your cockpit. which is now not open to passing eyes.

    Solar panels are a good idea – 100 watt should run a proper fridge and instruments while sailing. But keep it simple and light. Possibly even movable.

    Any form of bowsprit or appendage there has to be strong, and not damage the structure of the boat. Remember Atalanta’s are really lightly built and you could easily rip the deck off. The anchor fitting on your bow is designed to do the job without damaging the boat – I would stick with it. Some extension to enable a big jib to be flown? My experience is that their is enough wind for you to reach 1.5 knots under your normal rig – or there is not enough to wind to fill any sail – however big it is. (As an aside 3/4 rig Atalanta’s can fly a masthead genoa in up to force 3 without modification – and that might be worth while if you have 3/4 rig).

    Adding an electric windlass – principally to aid stern-to mooring single-handed with the aid of an anchor.

    An anchor winch is a worth while addition for anchoring full stop. I certainly won’t try raising anchors without mechanical aid. However electrical versions require large currents and only work when the engine is on. They need starter cable size wiring from the battery bank. They are not reliable. I certainly would not contemplate an electrical one – even though you may find it difficult to find an anchor winch in a chandlery which isn’t electrically powered. I also think you overestimate the need for laying an anchor for a mediterranean mooring.

    Fitting boom roller reefing – means reefing and sail management can be controlled from the cockpit

    I presume you mean one of the patent systems – because all Atalanta’s were fitted with boom roller reefing from new. I use the original roller reefing on my mainsail and I never leave the cockpit. Sometimes I stand on the cockpit coaming to reach the end of the boom. Perhaps I should explain that I like sails to set properly so I tie down the cringe at the gooseneck with a lashing after rolling the reef in. I then use a lashing at the end to pull out the foot of the sail and around the boom to take the strain off the sail canvas. Effectively it is points reefing without the points. I think there is no real need to spend lots of money on a clever boom reefing system. It adds weight – drains funds – and is probably no better in practice.

    Tailored storage points for the rib/dinky on the rear deck – but this would impact access via the rear platform – is the idea of a foldable dinghy (a la Seahopper) a sensible option?

    I am not really taken with the Dinky as a tender – it isn’t very stable as a tender. It must be really difficult to get on and off the rear deck. Most people carry an inflatable. They are horrible to row, but they are stable and comparatively easy to stow. They are a nuisance though – do you stow it on a bunk at sea, or on the aft deck. Either way it is in the way. On the aft deck it makes the aft cabin hatch difficult to open – its probably on top of it. However dedicated lashing points to hold it there seems a good idea – if that is where you are going to stow it. Since my sons have grown up I tend to keep it in the aft cabin, which is more often in use as a lazarette.

    Autohelm versus mechanical self steering gear.  Eg Navico TP1800 Tillerpilot?

    As others have mentioned there have been mechanical self steering systems fitted to Atalanta’s. The advantage of wind powered systems is that they do not consume electricity from your batteries. The disadvantage is that they only work when there is WIND. You will find plenty of times when there is insufficient wind to enable wind powered self steering to work. The answer is an Autohelm – or other electrical tiller pilot. Solar panels will overcome the electrical consumption. I have an auto helm – which is reliable and consumes little enough power that I use it frequently.

    Installing an ice box with a cooling powered by the solar panelling

    There are really three options here. Firstly you can use products which do not go off quickly. Dried milk powder for example. Vegitarian diet to avoid meat going off. And so on. We have done it and it works – with limits of course. Do you really like dried milk powder in your tea?

    Secondly a simple coolbox using ice cubes bought from a supermarket. The ice is available everywhere and it works. There is a cost but it is probably cheaper than a proper fridge.

    The proper fridge is really the bees knees in this department. We bought a kit with compressor and holding plate, plus a kit for making the actual coolbox. That was sheets of plastic faced insulation which were cut and glued together with silicone RTV. The finished device will work as a freezer it is so powerful and well insulated. Running as a fridge we can leave it switched on all the time and the 120 watt of solar panels fitted to Calista will maintain the battery in clear sunny weather with long daylight hours.

    In practice I have found that fridge auto helm and instruments will all run of the solar power and the engine hours that we naturally accumulate when cruising. We rarely feel the need to use shore power.

    Adding extra portlights or hatches to increase airflow and natural lighting in fore and rear cabins.

    While Calista is slightly different to an Atalanta I think that you are worrying unnecessarily here. Open the fore hatch – it will scoop air down into the boat when propped half open. Open the main and aft companionways and hatches.We sail like that most of the time when its hot. The MCA might not like the idea of an open fore hatch at sea but I cant remember getting water in through it. Certainly a Titania fore hatch is well clear of the sea. Some form of opening port might be of use in the aft cabin particularly in port. It is always hotter in port than out on the water.  If you are going to be stopping in a marina or port for some time then covers over the decks make a big difference. Calista has a set of covers which go over the whole boat in three sections. We have used them – but not very often, probably because we don’t tend to spend ages in one place.

    One issue you have not raised is mosquitoes. There are plenty of those in the med and the canals. We have net screens to cover all the openings. It is often hot when you need them so it helps if you can keep hatches and companionways open but covered with mesh to let air flow but catch the insects. That is worth some effort to make them. Simple light effective. Roll them up and stow in a corner under a bunk – and I guarantee you will be glad you have them!

    Replacement  inboard motor required – suitable power rating  and make which would be easy to maintain in France/the med.

    The manufacturers of inboard engines are now international – so it won’t matter what make you have. They are often based on another makers industrial engine anyway – so it might be useful to know the base engine make as well. Power depends on what you want to achieve. 3 knots entering harbour then 8 to 10 hp. If you want to cruise all day at 5.5 knots through a flat calm then 15 to 18hp might be more suitable. Remember when motoring into a head wind most of the power is taken moving through the wind – so a more powerful engine will get you into shelter when you really want to find shelter NOW. Most modern engines require some form of thrust block cordon shaft arrangement when fitted into an Atalanta. Modern engines are higher than old ones so need to be installed below the original shaft line.

    230v shore power with distribution MCB board.

    Yes Calista has shore power fitted. Do we use it – rarely. We rarely use marinas or places where shore power is available. It is useful when laid up though – I leave the batteries on trickle charge all winter via the shore power connection in our boat shed. I suppose you might use your Atalanta in a different way to us – and it might well be of use. If you spend a week or so in one harbour – and you can get shore power then it could keep the fridge cool, the batteries charged and all the gadgets topped up. In the summer you aught to be able to do that with solar power anyway!

     

    Hope this reply is of use

     

    Trevor

  • #18536

    Trevor Thompson
    Participant

    Just realised I forgot one comment I wanted to make. Don’t confuse a proper fridge (as I described fitting) with an electrical cool box. They are totally different.

    Electrical cool boxes are based on a peltier effect electronic ship. They cool the inside 15 degrees cooler than the outside if I remember correctly.  So when its 35 degrees outside its 20 degrees inside. That is not going to keep milk from going off! To do that they consume typically 7.5 amperes constantly.

    A proper fridge uses an electrical compressor and the same liquid/gas system you have in the fridge at home. They cool to sub zero temperatures if required. Ours takes 2.5 amperes when the compressor is running. It runs about 50% of the time. As in it runs for 90 seconds then it goes off for 90 seconds. So the average is something like 1.3 Amperes constantly coming from the battery, and the fridge is at about 5 degrees inside, and its 35 degrees outside it. Our solar panels can give up to 5 amperes in the med. So you can see that the solar panel will provide ample power for a proper fridge (which is keeping food fresh) – but has no chance of powering an electrical cool box (which isn’t keeping food fresh).

     

    Trevor

  • #18537

    sczapie2
    Participant

    Hello all, firstly a huge thanks for all the feedback.  Already exceeds what I was hoping for to “adjust” my refit list.  I have much reading to do in the AOA catalogue…
    I will set up a blog to document my journey, hopefully very soon.
    But just a couple of specific comments/requests on topics covered :-

    • Bimini – essential piece of kit for me – I am 5’9″, potentially 6′ 2″ would be suitable headroom?  My son is 6’2″…taller folk will manage somehow.  But without actually sailing with a tape measure, I cannot guage by how much the boom would need to be raised to safely accommodate a bimini.  Has anyone measured up this for an A-26 with std cockpit sole? Perhaps on the forthcoming meet someone could measure the regular height of the boom?
    • Holding tanks – contentious – one consideration will be whether heads remain in the forepeak or to relocate in the rear cabin.  What are the relative merits of each location, and what is the preferred location in the rear cabin.
    • <li style=”text-align: left;”>WEIGHT – clearly this is of paramount importance for safety and performance of which I hadn’t been fully cognisant!  It will certainly now be a prime consideration!
      best
      Stephan

  • #18538

    Mike Dixon
    Participant

    Dear Stephan,  Lots of really good advice from Nick, Trevor and Chris which I’m not going to repeat – but only to endorse the theme running throughout – namely the Atalanta is a lightweigh boat and adding weight will seriously affect performance.  Which may be perfectly acceptable?

    We took our boat (not an Atananta) to the Med and fitted just about all the equipment you mention.  As a rough calculation, the additions probably added in excess of half a ton to the displacement.  Not so much of a problem when the displacement was 11 tons to begin with, but as an Atalanta starts out at 2 – 2 1/2 tons, adding any weight ought to be carefully considered.  Just as us carrying excess weight weight around doesn’t do our bodies much good!

    I hope you get some thoughts from Alistair (MARY) – he took his boat doiwn through the French canals to the Med.  In any case – very best wishes!

     

    Mike

  • #18540

    AOA
    Keymaster

    Picking up on Mike’s reference to Atalanta Mary in the previous post….

    Alistair’s adventures were written up in PBO May 2014 in an article called ‘South Coast to Sardinia’.

    You will also find an extensive blog by Alistair for his canal journey and subsequent Mediterranean sailing on A102’s Boat Page.
    Alistair would be worth contacting to get his take on the adventure.

    Have you tried using the interactive Archive Index on the website yet? If you enter ‘T10’ in the ‘Search’ field you will be able to access write ups from Trevor in various bulletins about his experience with Calista in the UK and Med. A rich vein of experience. (You can also search the index on keywords, subjects, document types etc).  Note – the interactive index and access to the articles is a restricted function of the website for Association members only.

    Cheers
    Nick

  • #18541

    Trevor Thompson
    Participant

    How high to make the Bimini?

    I would try not to raise the boom more than you have to. I would suggest trying 300mm (12inches) as a starting point. See how much headroom that would give. I am 5′ 10″ and can just stand up under the bimini when at the back of the cockpit, but at the front of the cockpit the engine box protrudes reducing that. If you try to allow for 6′ 2″ standing headroom you are going to be losing lots of mainsail area. We spend more time sitting in the cockpit rather than standing – so the critical thing is to have good sitting headroom even if you have to stoop to move about the cockpit.

    Of course you also have to think about how the framework fits, and whether it can fold up/down, and how many separate frame sections are involved?

    Whatever you do will be a compromise.

    Toilets and holding tanks

    There are only 2 or 3 Atalanta’s where the toilet has been moved to the aft cabin – so you won’t get much in the way of feedback to this. Those few who have them in the rear cabin (at the front near the hatchway and to one side) speak positively about it.

    I am not really a fan of the idea. Perhaps because the headroom in our rear cabin is very limited so I cant see how it would work on a Titania.

     

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