Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Boat improvements done in Barcelona

This is a posting written over several weeks about various boat improvements which were done while in Barcelona.  We found One Ocean Marina Port Vell to be a great location for having this work accomplished.  

Reupholster main saloon: We had purchased 22 meters of Ultraleather fabric (Ivory color, #291-3700) just before departing Houston last March.  It was delivered after we left Houston.  We were not certain if it would be possible to recover everything in the boat (time wise and money wise) or if we would reupholster only the main saloon.  The original upholstery in the forward cabin is still fine, as is the passage berth, the pilot berth and the owners' aft cabin.  Only the main saloon appeared 'tired.'  This shade of Ultraleather blends well with the original fabric and would not look weird if only in the main saloon.  A fellow Amel owner and commercial pilot often flies to Houston and he was kind enough to bring this fabric to Italy, and another pilot friend delivered it to us in Siracusa.  So, we arrived in Barcelona with fabric in hand.  Since we would be here for minimum one month (later changed to two months to avoid the August heat and August crowds), it seemed logical to have the reupholster work done here if we could find the right shop.

The only reason needed new upholstery.  People like
 to sit on this end of the settee and the arm rest fabric
was worn down to base cloth.  An arm cap could have
solved this but we opted to change everything.

The first shop we contacted has an office right in the marina office building.  The German owner seemed very knowledgeable and we probably would have gone with her to do the work.  Unfortunately, her father sustained a serious fall and she could not do the work for us because she felt obligated to care for him.  That wasted 8 days and we still did not even have a quote!

The other reason we wanted new.  Check out the
channels on this seat cushion.  This was recovered
in Turkey and the seams are all offset and angled.
This has bothered us since it was done but we had no
more of this fabric to have it re-done.

Note: this work was done in Fethiye, not by Emek Marine.

Bill then contacted 2 more companies and each of those responded very quickly.  One was a slightly lower price but communication was limited and we questioned the skills for details.  We opted to go with Intra Marine Barcelona.  The owner (David) is fluent in English and the project manager (David 2) also is fluent.  That is a big plus for us.  They normally work with super yachts which come to Barcelona every year for minor refits; they can provide a wide range of services. They charged 10% over the subcontracted prices.  This is quite reasonable to us.
Here is the link to their website:  

Carmelo making templates
The upholsterer, Carmelo, visited our boat to confirm all the details that we wanted.  As I stated earlier, the main saloon is the only space to be re-done at this time, although we have enough fabric to do the entire boat.  The original upholstery had channels sewn into the backs and seats.  This is an older style; newer style to be flat surface seats and backs.  As Bill worked in the upholstery manufacturing industry for more than 30 years, plus a few years working in the ultra-expensive loose furnishings for super yachts (50 meters and larger), Bill would be extremely picky about details of this new upholstery.  He chose to use high resiliency foam with 25mm visco-elastic foam overall; this is commonly called memory foam.  He wanted inside zippers to accentuate the bull nose seat cushion edges.  Plus double needle stitching on exposed edges.  And heaven only knows what other details.  I stayed out of it other than to select the fabric.

Carmelo making templates for new cushions.
David 2 on phone.  Please ignore the mess in
forward cabin.  That is Elisabeth's room ATM.
Carmelo speaks only Catalan and Bill speaks only English.  David stayed out of the way as much as possible and just listened to them.  They communicated perfectly with one another in 2 separate languages.  Because they both know the subject so well.

We agreed on price and a few days later Carmelo returned and made plastic sheeting templates of all the cushions.  He wanted to get this job finished so he could close his shop on 7 August.  It seems that all of Spain shuts down for the month of August and everyone goes on holiday that month.  Carmelo wanted to begin his holiday on 7 August.  Lucky us that he was willing to work that extra week.

Notice that we have reupholstered only the main saloon.  The forward cabin, passage berth, owner's
aft cabin and the pilot berth remains in the original Ultrasuede fabric.  We think this lighter Ivory color
Ultraleather blends well with the original yellowish-beige Ultrasuede in the other areas.

Those drawers beneath settee hold the large pots.
Incredible amount of storage in this boat.

Double needle stitching on all visible seams
Side seam of back cushion
Double needle stitching here also
and along entire top of seat backs

All crew must assist.  Installing new washing machine.

We also decided to replace the clothes washing machine while here.  The old machine worked just fine; we had replaced the water pump while in Greece in summer 2011 and that is usually the first thing to fail.  Since this machine was 12 years old, it seemed wise to go ahead and replace it while we are in the land of 230v-50hz.  

Plumbing lesson.  Skills every gal should know.

The cabinetry on our Amel accommodates a standard European sized top-loading domestic clothes washing machine.  This would be less expensive here than in the Caribbean; so go ahead and replace it now.  These type top-loaders have the tub mounted vertically.  The tub has mounts on both sides.  This lasts much longer and is far more stable to have on a boat than the front loader type on which the tub is mounted only on the back.  Or the top loader type where the horizontally mounted tub is mounted only on the bottom.  

New machine.  Perfect fit.
Old machine awaiting Carmelo
to pick up
We bought a Bosch Series 4 and gave the old machine to Carmello to use in his camper van.  Getting the new one in was not that difficult; getting the old one out and off the boat was more difficult.  Whoa!  Was that old machine ever heavy!  BTW, another advantage of the new machine is that it offers a 30-minute wash cycle, thus reducing generator time when not in marinas.  The rapid cycle on the old machine took 1 hour 10 minutes.

New mirrors for both heads.  This is something that did not bother Bill but has been bothering me.  The mirrors in both heads had begun to show irregular edges of the silvering.  As if the mirrors needed to be re-silvered.  One does not do that anymore; one simply replaces the mirrors.  The new mirrors are 5mm thick; the old ones were only 3 mm thick.  Not sure that this makes any difference.  David at Intra Marine handled this for us.  Sure, we could have researched glass companies in Barcelona and done this on our own.  But...seriously...why? 
Forward head (Bill's)
Aft head (Judy's)
When David charges only 10% to handle it for us and he already has suppliers because he has been in the yacht refurb business for 20 years.  His suppliers will do good work because the captains and stewards on those super yachts demand good work, and that is David's primary business.  He does work with small yachts such as BeBe but his primary business is servicing the super yachts.  With lots of repeat customers each year.

Routine valve and fuel injection checks.  Nothing wrong; just time for the main engine to be checked again.  Once again, David assisted us in finding the right mechanic for this job.

This posting is label as a Chief Engineer's Note but was written by Judy.  Do not have a label for simply 'boat.'


  1. Looks better than new Bill and Judy

  2. Nice! I notice your floor boards have a type of fixture in them. Does that secure the floor boards from opening? Mine do not have a latch, but maybe they should? Derick SM2K#400


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