Looks great, Steve. (As, of course, we've long come to expect!)
Idle question: What do you plan for retention of the drawer?
If you haven't come up with something yet, I gently urge you to consider making it ultra-positive, strong and self-latching; I've been involved with several beautiful sailing boats, thoughtfully built and fitted out by their genius owners, which sustained serious damage to the interior
joinery from an instance when a drawer latch failed to hold, or was defeated (for instance by the contents sliding against the internal woodpecker latch, and opening it)*
The traditional "notch drops over a lip" solution seems to work well when new and carefully close-fitting -- but not too close -- but once it gets a bit of play, it can be defeated by the boat dropping and then taking a sideways hit.
It's in any case difficult to combine with roller tracks: I can think of a couple of ways of doing it, but they destroy the simplicity which is the chief advantage of the idea.
In one case I experienced, none of the usual factors were involved.
We had come to anchor
in a landlocked anchorage in a remote
corner of the world, in settled weather
. Not planning to stay for longer than it took to boil the billy and have a bite), and struggling with a chain mismatched to the vertical windlass
, we didn't realise we had dropped the anchor
on top of a pinnacle.
We neglected to do a proper check of the anchor when, after lunch, we gradually realised what a great spot we'd found, and by a process of creeping increments extended our stay, eventually deciding to stay the night.
An unexpected breeze arrived for an hour or two in the middle of the night, not enough to wake us, but enough to pull the anchor off the summit and waft us into a shallow pool at the head of the anchorage.
We were woken by the boat starting to heel, in a wind
didn't anything like sound strong enough to explain even the couple of degrees we were lying off-plumb.
Unfortunately we had arrived fairly near the top of the tide which was now dropping fast, and with over 2m draft
we were not quick enough to escape our pool.
In the ensuing gentle laydown, the only damage was from an athwartships cutlery drawer. These had been thoughtfully provided with strong turnbuttons which were routinely locked before doing any sailing, but left unlatched at anchor, or when tied alongside.
We were busy in the engineroom unbolting batteries and transferring tank contents and suchlike, and had overlooked securing the drawers.
They all had a backup, self-latching feature, (a springloaded ramp/hump in the roller tracks, IIRC) but in this one case it was insufficient to cope with the heavy load combined with a 45 degree (or more) heel, particularly given the rollers were free-running.
In the special case we encountered, these turned from an asset to a liability (as assets are sometimes prone to do!)
With the additional factors of being big and heavy-laden, and the considerable delay to its opening due to the self-latching feature, this drawer packed a serious punch and did a fair bit of damage when it eventually did crash open, busting the fallback provision which would normally catch it when fully open and flying across the cabin
, and it was sobering to think what it could have done to the youngest crewmember, whose head was at about the exactly wrong height. Luckily he was safely tucked "in his bunk" aft. Actually he was nowhere near his bunk, he was half way up the hull
, given the angle of heel ...
So I guess I'm saying, it's not solely big seas and strong winds a joiner/builder/owner has to take into consideration when thinking about retention systems for athwartship drawers.
And I'm by no means assuming you
need to be told this, Steve, (looking at the positive catches on the parts
of the boats you've grown up with, I'm thinking probably not) but perhaps someone else reading this at some future date might benefit from considering situations outside the usual box. (I'm sure lots of people will be downloading this epic thread of Steve's for future study and dissemination).
I find the easiest way -- which saves having to try to conjure up every conceivable challenging situation in detail -- is to get into the habit, before "signing off" the design for any addition to an ocean-going boat, of doing this:
I visualise the finished boat, fully stowed, being picked up in slings by a crane, rotated to arbitrary random angles (up to and including upside-down), and shaken thoroughly.
Anyone who thinks this is unnecessarily gloomy might want to take a peek at the Yachting Monthly youTube clip showing stuff hurtling around the interior
of a yacht rigged with interior cameras which is gently turned over in the sheltered water
of a harbour. Luckily the batteries and engine
mounts and stove gimbals and other usual culprits stand up to this (relatively easy) test, but there are unexpectedly severe outcomes from lighter items, such as one of the floorboards hitting the saloon
table hard enough to bust one of the hinging leaves free.
My personal bete noire
is kitchen knives. I have no desire to wake up with one still quivering with its tip buried in the hull
lining beside my head - I forget who this happened to.
_ _ _ _
*In this case, the woodpecker latch lined up with a wood-trimmed hole in the drawer front. This is a solution I personally dislike - when sailing in such vessels in bad conditions, it can be scary inserting a finger and lifting your elbow
to the required odd angle, while hanging on for grim death with your one free hand (assuming there are strong handholds everywhere, which is usually not the case) and hoping like hell the boat will not choose that moment to fall off a wave and snap your finger like a proverbial fresh carrot.
However it wasn't my boat, but I did suggest and implement a minimal solution to the problem of the contents defeating the woodpecker latch, and that was simply to glue one of those shiny white uPVC 90 degree elbows into a plywood flange with a hole in it, which in turn was screwed down surrounding the woodpecker latch, shrouding it from the contents, and as a fringe benefit making it easier for the unseeing finger to find the catch.