Early last summer, it become clear to us that clear hatches and no breeze in Jackson Creek made Red Ranger into a fiberglass oven. We're not replacing the clear hatches with smoked polycarbonate any time soon. What to do?
We want a lot of airflow; this means we have to address the flying insect issue. It's slightly easier to manage if the screens are inside the boat. Why? So that we can run around closing the hatches from the inside when it starts to rain.
Also, we want the inside of our boat to look nice. There are limits on the level of frou-frou we can tolerate: this is not a "Dock Queen": we want to range far and wide. To live aboard we'd like a certain level of comfort.
CA invented interchangeable inside-the-boat shades and mosquito netting. After making some careful measurements (each hatch is a different size), Step One was to put together opaque sun-shades and a parallel set of framed mosquito-netting. (Warning: mosquito netting is very slippery and quite difficult to sew.)
Step Two was to install about 48 screw-in snap studs in the wooden frames around our deck hatches. Having lovely wooden frames around the hatches made this painless. A boat with a more "spare" interior (less decorative woodwork) means that the screws would have to go into the fiberglass headliner.
[We tried using Velcro™ hook-and-loop fasteners. The Velcro adhesive, however, wouldn't cling to the velcro backing well, so we had to sand the adhesive residue (and the finish) off the wood. Would Velcro adhesive work on fiberglass?]
Step Three is to set the snaps into the various fabric covers. There's a fair amount of jockeying the fabric around to get it aligned with all 16 snaps and then marked correctly so that holes can be punched and snaps banged through the fabric.
The boat canvas folks must have some technique for getting snaps all set so that the fabric is super taut.
Once done, however, we have sunshades that block quite a bit of sun and don't look like a icky old cut-up paper shopping bag taped over the window in an attempt to keep the interior a little cooler.
Edgar Guest's poem "Home" is oft-quoted—"Afore it's home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it;"—but it is about memories. For us, however, it's more than memories, it's about optimizations and customizations.
Decorating is important, but it's not a heap o' livin'. Stowage the real heap o' livin'. "Where are the fabric hole punches?" "Where are the metric wrenches?" "Where do we put our toothbrushes?"
The last one—toothbrushes—is a solvable problem. CA cut the bottom off a square Fiji water bottle. She punched a couple of holes through the side, and she put two tiny "square-bend hooks" to the soap holder in the head.
Now that our toothbrushes have a permanent home, it feels a lot more like we live there. Even if it is just weekends.