During the last winter, I pulled the holding tank from my boat, s/v Pretty Gee. The tank had difficult to trace leak that turned out to be due to a couple of cracks in the side of the tank. When I pulled the tank, I noticed that there is a fairly large space in front of the tank that is unused. I decided to glass this section in and add a small round inspection plate to effectively create a crash compartment at the bow of the boat.
As I was toying with the design of the crash compartment, I realized this would be the ideal time to extend the anchor locker as well, making the top of the crash compartment the bottom of the extended anchor locker. This would allow the rode to fall in to the locker much more cleanly, and leave the aft end of the chain locker for docklines and fenders. This would also shift the weight of the rode aft and far lower than it is currently, reducing how bow-heavy the boat is. Keeping the bows light on a multi-hull is a good idea as it helps prevent the bows from burying.
I glassed in a 3/4″ piece that is sloped at about a 45˚ angle from the hull-deck join at the bow to the stringer that runs along the forepeak. This will be the bottom of the new chain locker. A second 3/4″ piece will be glassed in at 90˚ to that to form the new aft end of the chain locker.
I added 1/4″ UHMWPE as a liner for the chain locker, and it was added to the bottom, sides and rear of the chain locker to help the rode slide down and protect the fiberglass from abrasion and damage from the chain. A drain hole and through-hull was added to the port side at the lowest point of the chain locker. I’m am planning on adding a solar vent fan to the hatch to improve air flow through the anchor locker and reduce corrosion of the rode. It will pull air up through the anchor locker drain and out the top of the foredeck hatch.
A short horizontal piece of 1/2″ was glassed in against the base of the first two pieces to complete the top deck of the new crash compartment. The last piece to be added will be a vertical 3/4″ piece that will form the aft wall of the “crash compartment”. This vertical piece has a 6″ diameter round inspection port in it. This will allow me to get a wrench into the back of the bow eye, should that ever need to be removed or modified. This will also allow me to inspect the “crash compartment”.
This modification gets the weight of the anchor rode down lower, and allows it to self-stow more cleanly when retrieving the rode. It increases the seaworthiness of the boat by isolating the forward-most section of the boat, which is most likely to be damaged in an impact.
The holding tank is now in the section that is in-between the new crash compartment and the head. I’m glassing the aft bulkhead in this section to completely isolate the holding tank area from the bilge. I’m also adding a second vent to the holding tank to improve air flow through the tank. It has been re-plumbed with new Trident 101 hose. All exposed plywood has been epoxy-coated or glassed over to protect the wood.