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