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Building Discovery 55 Freja – part 1

Building Freja, part 1 | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

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Discovery divides its build process into 3 stages (A, B, and C), depending on when each item needs to go into the boat.  By May of 2014, we had made decisions on the “A” items and most of the “B”s as well. Here are some of the decisions we made and the reasons behind them.

Beginning stages of building Freja's interior. | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Beginning stages of building Freja’s interior.

Interior decisions

Sofa that converts to a berth for the starboard side of the saloon, instead of the pilot berth many people choose on their 55’s.  One couple ordered a kind chest of drawers/cabinet there, for charts, drinks bottles and cocktail glasses.  Another wanted 2 easy chairs like you sometimes see on the Najads and Hallberg-Rassys.  We liked the sofa solution because it gives you somewhere to sit and take off your boots.  It also gives more floor space for our dog to lie down. Finally, it makes a nice single berth with the lee cloth up.

Fuel and water tank installation | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Fuel and water tanks going in

Pantry cabinet with sliding stainless steel baskets instead of a wet locker at the end of the galley.  These four baskets hold an incredible amount of stuff and we can always hang wet clothes in the showers (a bar for hanging clothes is always provided in both showers.)

Woodworking | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The woodworking shop at Discovery

Additional hanging locker in the owners cabin instead of a seat.  I don’t know why anyone would need a seat in the aft cabin, when you could just sit on the bed. This additional locker would give both Jacques and I our own hanging lockers for our “off-duty” wardrobe, and we would have equal storage space on both sides of the cabin.

Building a Discovery 55 | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Cherrywood walls going up. On the left, you can see the beginnings of a galley

Deck equipment decisions

Upgraded windlass to Lewmar V5 and modified anchor chain stowage. Because we ordered the 55 kg Spade and 100 meters of chain we upgraded the windlass to handle the increased load.  There is also a capstan next to the windlass.

Upgraded to all-stainless Andersen winches.  These winches are known for being the kindest to lines (less long-term chafe) and the easiest to maintain.  They are also beautiful to look at!

Integral boarding ladders on both sides of the boat. This is something we saw on the Discovery 57, which had recently been launched at the time of our visit.  You can see them on the Discovery 57 in this video at 4.09.

Stainless steel bow protector plate.  We wanted this after seeing so many boats with their bows nicked and scraped.

Additional mooring cleats.  Keeping with the philosophy of “each line its proper cleat”, we requested  two additional cleats at the bow and at the stern, giving us a total of 12 on the boat.

Onan Generator | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The Onan generator is installed

Mechanical decisions

Twin fuel filter with alarm.  After witnessing what can happen when you have only one fuel filter, this  decision was a no-brainer.  (A fellow member of the Swiss cruising club was crossing the English channel with a chartered boat on a windless day, when the engine died in the middle of the shipping channel.  After informing the coast guard on both sides of the channel, it took him an hour to change the filter.)

Hot tub plumbing.  Well, of course!  We’ll be sailing in Scandinavia and northern Europe for the first few years.  The bathtub is also a great place for rinsing and washing things like our diving suits and equipment. This is one of the unique features of the Discovery 55.

Building a Discovery 55 | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog

You can see the two waterproof bulkheads in the bow that will be fiberglassed in – the first contains the chain locker and the second, the sail locker.

Grey water tank.  My previous boat did not have one and I always felt embarrassed seeing our washing up water bubbles surrounding the boat.  It’s better to keep your grey water in the boat until you get out of the anchorage or marina and into open waters.

Backup Autopilot. Thanks to some great advice from our friend Leon Schultz, we decided to install a fully independent backup autopilot.  Leon’s words:  “you don’t want to be trying to repair your autopilot in the middle of a stormy ocean. If you can afford it, install a second autopilot to switch to in case the number 1 fails.”

Deck build | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The deck is being built separately

In part two, I’ll go over some more of our equipment decisions and show the continuing build process.

Getting started – part three

Some of our boat purchases - before we had a boat. | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Some of our boat purchases – before we had a boat!

Intention becomes action

Our intention, back in August of 2011, was to give ourselves 5 years to “reach cruising attitude”.  At the beginning of 2012, we started taking action.  This was our action list:

  • Get licensed to be able to register the boat (required in Switzerland, where we live)
  • Make a final decision on the boat (get to a short list of 2 boats by the end of the year)
  • Decide what to do with our businesses so that we could be away
  • Start to downsize our possessions so that we could sell our house
  • Keep buying things for the boat to take advantage of boat show deals and seasonal sales while we still had income coming in*
  • Read as much about live-aboard cruising, seamanship, and boat maintenance as possible*
  • Start buying a library of pilotage books for the areas we were going to visit during our first few years on the boat. (We saved the purchase of paper charts for the last minute as they are constantly updated) *
  • Follow other helpful cruisers blogs*

* I’ll publish the list of our books, equipment and favourite blogs in an upcoming post.

Some of the books we purchased - here are some piloting books and some inspirational books. "The Missing Centimetre" by Leon Schultz is a great book for inspiration. | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Some of the books we purchased – here are some piloting books and some inspirational books. “The Missing Centimetre” by Leon Schultz  is a great book for inspiration.

More of our book purchases. " The Voyager's Handbook" by Beth Leonard is immensely helpful | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

More of our book purchases. ” The Voyager’s Handbook” by Beth Leonard is immensely helpful

Our friends would laugh and say, “you don’t even have a boat, why are you doing all of this?”  No, we didn’t have a boat.  We didn’t even have the money to buy a boat at this point, but we were totally, 100% sure that we would have one in 5 years. There was not a doubt in minds.

It’s not enough to think “It would be so nice to have boat”.  You have to be thinking “I have a sailboat (!) , it is a  XX and I love it”

The most important item on our action list at this point was to find out what the requirements are to register a boat under the Swiss flag.

The first thing we needed is the Swiss offshore sailing license. The only foreign certification accepted is the RYA yacht master. Otherwise you have to do the course held by the Swiss Cruising Club).  Here are the steps and requirements for the Swiss offshore license:

  • Offshore and coastal navigation theory course (5 months)
  • Offshore experience – 1,000 documented nautical miles done with a qualified skipper after having passed the theory exam
  • Marine first aid course (1 month)
  • Inshore boating license (cover canals, lakes, rivers)
  • Optical and auditory exams