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Old 30-01-2011, 15:44   #1
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Bulkhead Removal

Ok, here's a good one. I want to remove the radio station and chart table bulk heads in my 27' Morgan. Pros and Cons? I am trying to extend my sitting room room as I remodel the interior and I want open up the rear quarter berth. A few suggestions would be great.
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Old 30-01-2011, 15:56   #2
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Bulkheads are structural members of most boats. They do minor things like keep the shape of the hull and reinforce it against the pressures of the sea. These bulkheads don't need to be instrusive into the interior, however. You could probably cut them back to about 6" and still get the necessary structural reinforcement. There may be other things that are necessary to the functioning of the boat so be careful before get the sabre saw out. What about stowage, are you going to lose significant amounts if you do this surgery??
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Old 30-01-2011, 15:56   #3
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A few suggestions would be great.
Here's a good general rule: you can change most anything around in a boat's interior as long as you don't (re)move structural elements (i.e., bulkheads) with out going through a naval architect.
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Old 30-01-2011, 16:06   #4
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are furninshing, bulkheads?

seems like they are just 'cabinets'.. placed/secured into position...

I wouldthink a structural element would either connect two other members, a floor and a roof would be tyical in a house...

how about the hull and the deck?

the hull can have ribs, or other named structural elemnts to them, but I would think they would be glassed in on a fiberglass boat...

but a chart table and or bench should be just boltd into place...
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Old 30-01-2011, 16:39   #5
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When I bought my boat twenty years ago, I had lots of utterly brilliant ideas of how to fix the flaws using my youthful advantage of fresh ideas. Then as the years went by, I found that there were frequently compromises I was not aware of and that what I had was actually the Darwinian evolution of many smart people before me. In the end I managed a few improvements, but it was a lot harder that I thought and most of my ideas got shot down when all things were considered. I'd make sure I understand the design you are about to change 110% before changing it.
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Old 30-01-2011, 16:40   #6
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I believe the both sides of the chart table touch the deck, but I am unable to find any attachment. Of course, with the Morgan being the boat that it is, the deck has popped up from most of the bulk heads due to racing in the past from the previous owners. As far as the storage goes, one small cabinet will be lost, but I will gain under the seating cushions as well as, the new shelving. Kinda like the inside setting of the Huges 26' sailboat.
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Old 30-01-2011, 19:05   #7
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A lot of times bulkheads simply add stiffness to the hull to prevent twisting or flexing.

Nearly all production fiberglass boats are assembled with all of the structural and non-structural elements being installed in the hull prior to the deck being installed.

Very rarely are the bulkheads "glassed" into the deck, but they will allways be firmly connected to the hull.
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Old 30-01-2011, 19:18   #8
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i saw a boat yesterday and it had 'ribs'. or at least one... it was about one inch thick, and came down from the deck and went behind the bench seat .. the back of the seating aread had access to store stuff in that space that was created by the rib...

the chart station, 'end panels' that might go up to the deck, but if they arent attached to the deck, and or 'bolts' or fasteners, and if the deck isnt reinforced in that area, then i seriously doubt the chart station is structural...

i was under the impresion that a 'bulkhead' is a wall... that is also structural... it basdically creates compartments, and boxes, and strengthens... not all walls are structureal, but all walls are 'bulkheads... for marine purpose i guess... not sure tho.. maybe someone will correct me, again...
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Old 30-01-2011, 23:00   #9
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If your layout is the typical as depicted in the diagram below, then everyone accepts that the walls marked in red are bulkheads.

However if you look at the walls marked in green, you can see that they also stiffen the hull at it's widest (and weakest) point. They also connect to the seats to form a box frame shaded in blue that also adds to the strength and stiffness of the hull.

The bottom line is that it is your boat, and you can do what you like, however if you remove this wall, I personally would not sail on it in anything but the fairest of weather.
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Old 31-01-2011, 00:07   #10
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which/where is teh chart station? would it be behind the green wall, towards aft ? and yea, if the chart station is up against that green wall or IS that green wall, then no, i wouldnt remove it either...

my eyes are really bad so it was hard to see that pic... btw
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Old 31-01-2011, 02:52   #11
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G'Day,

The drawings are pretty vague, but please notice that the bulkheads in question bracket the fin keel. Consider what happens when the boat heels -- the keel wants to head straight down, and it generates a considerable torque on the hull where it joins it. Those bulkheads help the hull resist twisting in response to that torque. If you were to remove any of them, the torsional stiffness of the hull would be seriously compromised. IMO it would be a very bad idea to remove any of them, and I agree with the above poster that I'd not go to sea on the boat subsequent to such removal.

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Old 31-01-2011, 03:25   #12
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A few suggestions would be great.
Don't.

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the deck has popped up from most of the bulk heads due to racing in the past from the previous owners.
No, not from racing.

The deck has "popped up" (aka detached) from the bulkheads due to poor design (and likely also poor build quality. and also from age) - and that's only what you can see. Your first step should be trying to make your boat structurally sound, not weaken it even further.

But I appreciate approaches vary...........and might well not be cost effective (but that a common one with boats ).
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Old 31-01-2011, 05:32   #13
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Old 01-02-2011, 19:02   #14
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I really appreciate everyones' input. It is coming clearer for me now. The bulk head I was referring to removing is the rear green line on the starboard side. (As displayed in the drawing above.) However, after further discussion with others, I am not really looking to remove the ENTIRE bulkhead. I was merely looking to cut it out in an " L " shape. It would still remain attached to the settee and it would remain connected to the 1/4 berth. As the drawing shows in RustyPilots post, the blue section of the settee on the starboard side. Thus, making the settee extend to the rear of the 1/4 berth. So, I am not technically removing the bulkhead, simply removing a section. Still a bad idea?
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Old 01-02-2011, 19:23   #15
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As posted earlier It would be ill advised to change things a designer or archetec has spent many hours evaluating in your boat. Not only are there bulkheads but there are floors and webs that together creat a "web" of structure for your vessel. If you cut an "L" you could possibly create a "stress riser" in that area that will fail and the stresses on your vessel will seek other areas to propagate. If your heart is set on it though then find a naval architect and have a consultation with them to at least see what your choices are and how best to accomplish your desires. My own rule is if you cant unscrew and remove it in ten minutes using only a screw driver then dont mess with it. good luck
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