Soggy Paws is a St. Francis 44 catamaran built in South Africa.
She was started in 2002 and finally launched in 2004.
US Doc # 1266612
Hailing Port: Melbourne FL.
We purchased Soggy Paws (ex Bluemoon) in June
2015 from a family who had purchased her in South Africa and cruised
to Southeast Asia. Bluemoon was in good condition and
well-equipped for extended cruising, but we still felt we needed to
do a few things.
For those of you that like to make improvements to your excellent St Francis 44, below find a few ideas from our work over the past 3 years:
Cockpit Hardtop-Made from 2 honeycomb and fiberglass,
over the original stainless steel frame, this 130 square foot cover over the cockpit is bolted to the original frame around the cockpit perimeter. It acts as a rain/sun shield, rain water collection device, strong mounting for our large solar panel array and provides easy access to the boom and mainsail. It overlaps the front cabin top by about 6, extends to the back of the athwart ships platform aft and just covers the upper cockpit combings on the sides.
The 1 plastic thru-hulls mounted at the forward corners have hoses attached that reach to the fresh water fills forward. In a good rain we can fill the two 57 gallon tanks in about a half hour. In addition to the front isinglass wind/rain screens, we have also recently mounted side and corner curtains to PVC track on both sides to protect the cockpit from wave splash when necessary.
New Hard Bimini Photos
Helm Seat-The original plastic chair with aluminum pedestal was totally inadequate. Its replacement, made of 1 PVC foam with one layer of light fiberglass cloth on each side, and bolted to the seat and lower cockpit combing, is a much better solution. It is 23x29 and stands 31 to the hard seat. The 3 seat cushion provides a bit more height. Lifting off the seat platform allows access to two large storage compartments. Another compartment is accessible from a lower inboard side opening. The seat is just the right height to be able to see well forward over the saloon top. And it is wide enough to allow seating for two.
Hull Extensions-The aft ends of the original hulls ended in a relatively small platform step that was constantly wet and grew green slippery slime. In order to prevent this we decided to raise the aft sections to the second step up and then extend them back to meet the underbody. This extended the hulls about 18 and raised the now 24x48 aft platforms about 8 off the water.
The extensions are made of strongly fiberglass reinforced 1 honeycomb and PVC foam. In order to get a thru bolted folding SS ladder mounted and provide access to the interiors we installed 10 round hatches in each platform to allow access to the nuts inside. Benefits include a dry large swim platform with ladder access from the water, increased buoyancy aft which helps support the davit hung dinghy, and better access from a dinghy to the boat.
Step Extension Photos
Watermaker-For many reasons, including the relatively small fresh water tankage on the boat, we finished off the mechanically driven 40 gph watermaker that the original owner had mostly completed. Based on 10 years of use with my similar installation on our previous boat we believe mechanically-driven is a better solution
(than electrically-driven), and certainly less expensive.
For more info, see my slide show on how to build your own watermaker for about $3000.
Find it here
Refrigerator-The original two and a half cubic ft RV unit installed in the front of the galley is way too small for the style of cruising we do with daily consumption of fresh fruits and veggies, cold drinks and other refrigerated items. We consider 8-10 cu ft for a refrigerator to be about right. So out it came and then sold to another cruiser.
The area where we removed this refer has now become a 2 shelf ready pantry.
The only area near the galley able to take a large refrigerator box was the forward half of the bunk area aft in the port hull. So we constructed a
front loading 8 cu ft refrigerator with 4 of extruded PVC foam (blue board insulation) providing R-26 insulation value all around. It has two doors with the outside box made of .5 marine plywood fiberglass sealed on both sides and the inner box and shelves made of .5 expanded PVC white sheet.
The doors and shelving dimensions inside are custom sized to maximize storage and access. The refrigeration unit is a Frigoboat Keel Cooler system with a BD-50 compressor and F200 evaporator plate. These were chosen so that we could normally run the unit as its slowest speed which minimizes its daily amp hour use.
The unit is a perfect size for us and provides significant convenience over a top loading unit with about the same energy use.
Refrigerator Construction Photos
Freezer (Planned Upgrade)-The
factory-installed Minus 40 freezer is top loading and with about 4 cuft of interior volume.
This is certainly adequate in capacity. But it wastes many amps because the Danfoss 35 compressor is undersized and air cooled and because the insulation is half what it should be.
Next year we will probably replace the compressor with a Frigoboat Keel cooled BD 50 system and add additional insulation. My guess is that will save us about 20 amps a day.
Pantry and Long Storage- With the front half of the port aft bunk holding the new refrigerator, the aft half was available for a big box pantry area. It is 36 wide by 30 deep and full height of the bunk area without the mattress of course. There are two shelves spaced to take large dry goods items. Inboard of the refrigerator and pantry, accessible from a new cockpit hatch
under the seat, is an area the full length and height of the bunk and about 22 deep that holds long items like bolts of Sunbrella, floating noodles, paddles and other long items.
Diesel Engines-Bypass oil Filtration System- In order to add bypass filters to our diesel engine oil filtration systems we chose the Australian Jackmaster units. They can use common toilet paper rolls as filters which give .5 micron filtration and are changed about every 100 hours. Each filter change includes the addition of about one half liter of new oil with additives.
Advantages of bypass filtration include greatly extended oil change intervals, improved filtration compared to the factory full flow filters (.5 vs 10+ microns), and no need to carry or find gallons of oil for each oil change. A knowledgeable cruising friend has been using this system for years with no problems.
Alternators & Regulators- Our factory 50 amp internally regulated alternators were not very efficient when it comes to charging batteries. So we bought two 60 amp rebuilt externally regulated alternators that fit our engine mount and two Arduino very smart regulators. The regulators allow more precise adjustment and provide more safety features than any of the commercial brands.
The installation is not yet complete but we expect that when needed these units will be a much better match for our Gel batteries than the older alternators.
From our previous boat,
subjects that apply to the current boat: