June 17, 2012

Additions to Great Laker

When you buy a boat, no matter how new it is or how great a condition it is in, there are always things you want to do to personalize it and make it ready to fit your needs. Great Laker was essentially ready to cruise. After all, I brought her back successfully 650 miles from Lake Erie. However, I rapidly developed a list of "like to haves" and started work on them over the winter.

Spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun and heat requires some shade. I designed and fortunately found a very capable canvas expert to implement solutions in three areas.

One piece windows cover
Sun deck bimini

Two piece cockpit screen
Use one or both pieces zipped

The pilot house still had open side windows so I added curtains using Sunbrella's yellow fabric.

Pilot house curtains

Additional storage on deck for fenders, a wash down hose, and a back up anchor was needed. The factory custom makes this great deck box to match the boat lines and shipped it out for me to install on the bow.

Bow deck box
We will be anchoring outside of marinas one or more nights on occasion and it is important to be able to monitor the house batteries to know when they might need charging. This battery monitor does exactly that. I installed and mounted it next to the generator start/run panel.

Victron Energy battery monitoring system
When motoring during the day, having clear channel access to music, news and weather is a blessing. Therefore, I installed a Sirius radio receiver and integrated it into the Clarion sound system. Anne will be up to date on business news and market conditions at all times and I will have many choices for music. The electronics are under the pilot house seat.

Sirius Radio Receiver

An Automated Information System (AIS) is required of commercial boats and causes information about their boat name, heading and speed, destination etc., to be transmitted frequently to other boats for display on their chart plotters and radar. I installed an AIS receiver to allow me to track these vessels around me and be sure I am out of their way. It is a valuable and important safety device. I put the electronics over the helm in the ceiling of the pilot house.

Automated Information System Receiver
It also turns out the four round ports that came with the boat were plastic and the sealant used by the factory did not stick to them very well.  They had a tendency to leak in high winds and rain. Removing and re-bedding them would not solve the problem in the long run.  So, I found beautiful brass ports with chrome platting and installed them instead. It was a lot of work, but they stay dry and what a great look!

Stairway port
Shower port


  1. Great blog! I just found it and currently catching up with your adventures.

    I'm considering an eventual transition to the AT34 in the future from our convertible Silverton that we keep in Milwaukee. I'm surprised that the original ports were plastic. Does AT still use them or did the poor bedding cause a change in manufacturing choices?

  2. I haven't been on a newer AT recently, but the factory recommended the ones I purchased and believe they have been using them for quite some time. Glad you are finding the blog interesting.