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Forepeak Air Conditioner Shelf

Installing an Air Conditioner Shelf in the Forepeak

 I decided to install a small Mermaid M5 5200 BTU air conditioner to cool the forepeak area while we are at anchor overnight.  This is how I installed a marine plywood shelf underneath the forepeak using West System materials to hold the air conditioner and accessories.  I wanted the shelf to be 18 forward of the forepeak bulkhead, mounted on the centerline of the boat, and 6 off the forepeak sole.  I removed the forepeak cushions and storage compartment insets.  I used a 3'x2' piece of cardboard to make a template to be used to cut out the shelf.   I centered and squared the cardboard with the longer dimension athwart ships and pushed it forward until the two forward corners touched the sides of the hull.  I drew lines on both port and starboard ends of the piece of cardboard parallel to the hull about 1' in from the edge to approximate the hull angle and then cut the template out with a pair of scissors. I test fit the template below the forepeak using a two way level and it needed only minor trimming.  I traced the template onto a piece of precut 2'x4', 3/4 marine plywood from Lowe's.  I cut the shelf out with a circular saw and angled the outboard edges at 30 degrees to approximate the hull flare and checked the fit of the shelf with the two way level.  I used 3M Adhesive Remover to clean the hull mounting surfaces and scuffed them with a wire brush. I used a thick bead of 3M 4200 adhesive along each outboard edge and fit the shelf again. I had to lightly shim the shelf at two places to get it level.  Using a disposable brush I wet out an area about 3 inside the outboard ends of the shelf and up about 3 on the hull with a mixture of West System epoxy and Fast Cure hardener. I set two layers of 6" x 22" saturated fiberglass tape applied about 2 hours apart along each joint, giving me an equal 3" overlap on the shelf and hull surfaces. I epoxied the entire top surface of the platform for appearance.  After it cured overnight, I trimmed the rough edges of the shelf a bit, sanded the top surface smooth with an orbital sander. I painted it white with epoxy paint, and the shelf was ready for the air conditioner to be mounted.

Mike and Jan Smith
'88 #688

Last modified by Mark Elkin, Sunday, April 17, 2005 . Copyright 2005 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.