Along with the dream of cruising and exploring remote areas around the world, we knew the reality was there is a need to be self reliant in many aspects. One of those aspects include the ability to perform regular maintenance and upgrade Red Rover’s systems as needed plus repair issues that pop up unexpectedly. Spare parts are only a part of the solution. Having the correct tools on board is also critical.
Prior to bringing Red Rover up the coast from San Diego to Seattle in 2016, I loaded her up with tools. Lots of tools. You can see some of them in an earlier story HERE. As the N55 doesn’t have built in tool storage, most of the tools went in to five fairly large tool boxes (with handles) as well as several bins. For the most part, they have lived there in the laz for the last two and a half years. I did end up buying a large canvas tool bag that held many day to day tools that I kept in the pilothouse. But having it out and handy was not popular with other crew members. When projects came up (and there have been many projects), I would often need to pull out the toolboxes and bins and hope I remember where said tool was. Within 30 mins, the laz would be a disaster! There had to be a better way…
Last fall, we decided that we were going to head out and go cruise and I knew that a storage solution needed to happen soon. I took a hard look in the engine room to find areas that were underutilized. I saw some wall spaces and ceiling spots that could absorb some tool storage items. I designed some aluminum shelving to go in two places as well as some brackets to hold toolboxes from the ceiling. Additionally, I found other off the shelf tool organizers that work great. Snap lid plastic storage boxes hold selections of tools and parts. Now all I need to do is to grab the small canvas tool bag and pick specific tools for each project. Once the project is complete, it is easy to put everything back in their home location.
Implementing the tool storage plan meant that some of the bulky florescent light fixtures had to go as they would be in the way. I found low-scale 4000 lumen LunaSea 10-40v LED fixtures to replace the old (plus adding a few new locations). It is amazing how much nicer a really bright engine room is to check on and work in.
We’ve done many projects on Red Rover over the years but I must say that the tool storage and lighting upgrade has been one of my favorites.