Columbia 8.7 Refit

Off and on during 2004-06 we worked on this Columbia 8.7 near Savannah, Georgia while we lived aboard Atom anchored conveniently nearby on the Ogeechee River. As briefly outlined below, this boat has been extensively modified to suit the owners specific requirements. The transformation from the original production boat to a custom built offshore cruiser are dramatic. Final touches yet to do include a windvane, dodger and second water tank under the cockpit footwell. See also Converting the Quarterberth - Building a cockpit locker/nav station out of a quarterberth.

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The owner purchased this 80 watt solar panel which we installed on the pushpit in the least shaded area available.

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The entire tinted lexan hatch, track, and companionway trim were replaced. A 1/4-inch thick single piece lexan drop board is used in place of the teak drop boards when visibility is required.

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This original deck access anchor locker was not suitable for serious ground tackle and was rebuilt in the photo at right.

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New Lofrans Royal manual windlass and anchor roller for the converted chain locker. We also fabricated this adjustable turnbuckle by welding handles to the standard turnbuckle for the newly added inner forestay.

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New chain locker, new mahogany and grooved plywood paneling in forward cabin.

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Running backstays added to support the inner forestay.

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Original quarterberth being converted to a cockpit locker aft and navigation table forward.

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The new cockpit locker where the quarterberth had been. More on this project is described in Converting the Quarterberth

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The original galley dish lockers and alcohol stove were removed.

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The new galley dish lockers, Force 10 propane range and stowage locker under range.

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We installed this manual Lavac vacuum-type toilet. In this particular installation we placed the toilet pump behind the locker door. A foot pump replaced the hand pump for the head sink.

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Two Y-valves direct the toilet discharge either to the holding tank or overboard. The extra plumbing allows the same pump to empty the holding tank offshore.

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For improved visibility forward we added a fixed portlight.

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The new portlight installed. Makes you wonder why every boat does not have one.

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Cabin windows being replaced with 3/8-inch lexan. Here we apply thickened epoxy before adding plywood backing strips to bed the lexan on.

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Finished interior with mahogany veneer, solid mahogany window trim and handrails and grooved plywood overhead paneling painted with Brightsides and a gloss flattener additive.

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Navigation table at right doubles as added galley counter space. Settee and bunk cushions are yet to be installed.

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We cut down the companionway ladder to open up counter space and stowage and improve access to the new electrical distribution panels under bridgedeck. The upper part of the companionway ladder had blocked access to this area.

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A 1/8 x 1 1/4-inch stainless angle cut to 3/4-inch wide, installed behind the teak trim supports the drop boards.

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We added mooring cleats amidships on raised teak blocks to avoid line chafe on the toe rail.