Carina's Customizations

This section is intended to offer fellow Manta Sailcat owners pictures and descriptions of the various customizations or improvements made on Carina.

(Click on individual photos to enlarge)

Equipment Storage Cabinet in Stbd. Foreberth:
I saw a similar feature  on an earlier Manta Cat, but refined this design to suit our needs. We had the factory custom fabricate three banks of adjustable shelves on the inboard hull of the starboard foreberth area. This serves as our utility room storage for tools, fasteners, spare parts, etc. A cabinet door hinges down over the berth mattress to serve as a work table. It was custom fabricated at the factory.

Tool Drawers in starboard companionway:
I saw a custom built tool drawer on Farring #28 (back when it was Windward Mark) and loved the accessibility for hand tools. Not having any design to go on I removed the lower shelf from the starboard companionway shelves and made a template of the curved hulls dividing the height into a 12-drawer tool chest. 10 drawers are 1-3/4" tall while the 2 lowest drawers are 4" tall. Each drawer gets progresively narrower to conform to the hull side. The drawers are solid cherry hardwood with a 1/4" Maple plywood bottom. A screw stop on the right side tracks prevents drawers from pulling out entirely. I also installed a hinged vertical wood stop on each side frame that hinges over all drawer fronts with a small hook to prevent the drawers from opening when underway.

Galley Stovetop  Task Lighting:
To improve task lighting when cooking, I installed 2 Hella LED lights recessed inside the galley exhaust fan housing. Each light only consumes 1/2 Ah. I installed another illuminated rocker switch next to the fan switch to power it. 

Bilge Warning Indicator Lamps at Cockpit:
This was a simple solution to monitor bilge activation at the helm. Lights are wired back to bilge indicator lamps at inside breaker panel. Bulbs are a milliamp size from RadioShack.

Engine Coolant and Pressure Gauges at helm:
Installed VDO engine coolant temperature and oil pressure gauges at helm, below the ignition panels, and independent sending units at each engine for monitoring engine conditions in addition to the standard idiot lights. 
Dual Helm Seat:
The original factory-supplied helm seat was uncomfortable on long passages and forced the person not on watch to sit elsewhere in the cockpit. We bought a beautiful, plush, comfortable dual helm seat from Arrigoni Designs in fall of 2009.  I had the existing aluminum pedestal seat post modified at a welding shop by welding a flat aluminum plate top and two tubular diagonal support arms. The new seat does make the cockpit more cramped but on the positive side it allows us both to sit side by side while underway, in total comfort with independent reclining seat backs.
Plumbing system upgrades:
Many of the Manta's plumbing system components are located in the starboard forebeth compartment; easily accessed via a lift-up berth or through a walk-thru door. When we purchased Carina in 2006, we only had the boat plumbed and wired for a water maker intending to install a unit ourselves in the future. 

1. In preparation for installing all the watermaker components on one panel surface, I relocated the anchor washdown pump from original outboard hull location. I then temporarily removed the fresh water pressure pump from the inboard hull area and mounted a 1/2" Starboard panel to this area. Both the fresh water pump, the anchor washdown pump and a new whole-house water filter were installed on this inboard panel. 

2. We purchased a Spectra Catalina 300 MkII watermaker at the 2009 Newport Boat Show for a DEAL! All the various components were mounted on a 1/2" Starboard panel on the outboard hull. The panel is attached securely with both aluminum angle and stainless steel L brackets. I did the entire installation, plumbing  & wiring connections myself. Serviceability in this location is excellent. The MPC control panel is located at the nav stn in the salon. 

Generator Locker Improvements:
I removed the old 3" dia. vent hose, blowers and fittings and installed 4" dia. full-flow blast gates and other fittings to maximize air flow. The 4" Shurflow Yellowtail blowers are mounted on rubber vibration mounts. These blowers are noisier than the original Jabsco blowers but far less expensive and operate on less amps. I also installed a double pole relay into the blower circuit. A second switch leg was wired back to a spare breaker at the panel. Thus when the genset is shut down normally, manually switching the breaker on will operate blowers to purge the geset's sound enclosure of any residual heat.

Thru-deck dryer vent:
The original dryer vent for the Splendide dumped into the foredeck locker resulting in much lint and excess moisture. This is a 3" dia. Vetus screw-down gasketed vent cap that is typically used on the Manta PowerCats.

Oceanair Skyscreens:
I replaced 5 of the 6 original Bomar deck hatch screens with the Oceanair Skyscreens (not enough clearance near washer/ dryer cabinet in the stbd. fore berth). On side is the full insect screen, the other is a full darkening shade. These screens are not cheap but make the everyday task of opening / closing hatches so much easier and worth the investment. ... and no no-see-ums can get past these insect mesh screens!

Refrigerator Storage Boxes and Removable Support Rods:
We initially tried the  spring-loaded shower rod poles but found they put too much pressure on the side walls.
The storage boxes are two Sterilite Ultra model 1624 (size 13-3/4"
x 10-3/4"  x 5". The two boxes fit the frig locker dimensions very well.  The storage boxes are supported by two lengths of 3/4" dia. PVC pipe tubing. The PVC tubes are supported by four oval closet flanges. Click on the  following web link for SKU: TUBE341-PC. $0.65 ea.
Using a heat gun, soften the PVC pipe end and gently  squeeze them with pliers into an oval shaped end to fit the 1/2" wide closet pole flanges. The tubes can be easily removed for cleaning the frig locker. We screwed our pole flanges in a position so that the top of  the PVC tubes are about 2" below underside of frig lid.

Owners berth improved head room, shelves and LED reading lamps:
You either sleep in the berth with your heads/pillows aft and your feet facing forward, or vice-versa. We are of the first group (who do not care to drag ourselves over our pillows when getting in/out of bed) so we intentionally asked the factory to provide as much head room as possible when they constructed Carina. What they provided was better than other Mantas but they still could have achieved more clearance if they did not box out the area. 1st pix before, 2nd pix after.
  • I stripped the carpet liner and plywood box paneling out from under the 2nd transom steps. I re-faired the glasswork around the 2nd step so the new carpet liner would  lay smooth. 
  • The full width bookshelf that we also asked the factory to install was just positioned too low to our heads. I removed it and installed shorter width sections between the upper transom step.
  • The original factory supplied Taylorbrite reading lamps did not provide sufficient light intensity for reading. They were also positioned too low under the shelf. We bought a pair of Hella LED reading lamps that were twice as energy efficient as the others. These lamps were mounted under the new shelves. I drilled a wire chase hole through the 1/2" shelf thickness and ran the 12V lamp wiring through so the wires are completely hidden. The small black "thing" velcroed under the window port is a battery powered LCD alarm clock so we can see time by looking up.

Curved fiddle rail  and spice shelf over galley stove exhaust fan:
We saw this on another earlier Manta so had the factory provide a curved fiddle over the galley exhaust fan to maximize available area. They sawed this out of a solid piece of teak rather than steam bending it. We also had them install a simple small shelf above more spice storage in the unused area above.

Left Side cabinet above
galley stove
More Shelving and Storage Additions in Various Locations: I've added more shelves in the following areas:

Under galley sink cabinet
all the way aft

Portside fore berth in the cabinet
under Splendide washer/ dryer

Stbd guest berth book shelf 
across back boxed-in panel
 Inside TV locker there is dead
space behind left side panel 
Convert Mainsail Cover to Stak-Pak:
The original sail cover was a zippered-over cover. I converted it into a Sta-Pak type sail cover. Email me for sketchs & dimensions if interested.

Phifertex sun shade awnings:
I purchased the Phifertex fabric from Sailrite (Buy the 90% blockage rather than 70%) and hemmed all sides of a 54" wide fabric roll. The upper panel length was the same length as the hardtop's aluminum gutter rail. The lower panel length angled back to the aft stanchion rail. I installed button snaps on upper hem and riveted receiving button snaps into the existing aluminum angle. 4 round grommets were installed on the lower hem. 1/4' shock cord with plastic snap hooks attached to the lifelines.

Rear Sunshade:
Once you're anchored into prevailing easterly trade winds, the rear curtain is needed for blocking the  low level afternoon setting sun. It rolls up with straps & fasteners similar to our cockpit curtains and then rolls down just below sling seat level. Bungee cords in each corner keep it snug. Dinghy block lines are led through cut-outs.

Center Support Brace for Cockpit Storage Box Tublular Frame:
The horizontal aluminum tubular framework that supported our four cockpit storage boxes was sagging about 3/4" in the center of span from too many folks climbing up/down into the sling seat over the years. The diagonal brace I installed straightened and stiffened the horizontal distance. I purchased 1-1/2" aluminum tubing and the aluminum adjustable flange rail fittings from McMaster-Carr for about $50 cost.

Privacy Curtains for owner's and guest's sides:
Nice to have when guests are on board and you want a little privacy between salon area  and either side companionway. The curtain was a fabric shower curtain cut in half and re-hemmed. The top slot accepts a 3/4" dowel rod. Attached as shown below.

Cockpit Windshield Water Deflector
All Manta sailcat owners have experienced rain water that is blown under the center windshield panel. I fabricated a water deflector from a 1" thickness marine Starboard matching the general profile of the molded deck coaming. After test fitting, I marked exact locations of sheets & halyard leads that were then slotted out with a Dremel tool. The finished piece was bedded in 3M 4000 sealant adhesive and screwed into deck. No more water!
Companionway Stair Step Storage:
This feature was standard on the MK IV version providing much storage access in otherwise unused space. The teak treads were factory-bedded in place with 5200 adhesive requiring the tread to riser joint to be parted with a putty knife blade and hammer. The two side cuts and back cut were made with a small circular saw and saber saw. Once the treads were removed all edges were belt-sanded. The treads are supported by continuous hinge at the back and resting on the riser in front. No other support blocking was neccessary.    

Cockpit Well Slatted Wood Mat: 
 Made from scrap red cedar ripped into 3/4"x 3/4" slats.  The upper slats were screwed from the underside. A paper template of the cockpit well was made as template for cutting mat shape. 

Safety Netting Between Cockpit Back  Rests and Cockpit Storages Lockers:
We had a few near misses with our cats falling though the gap between the cockpit back rests and the locker boxes (not to mention a pair of sunglasses and a few drinks). This is light weight trampoline netting trimmed with Stamoid 2" facing tape. The back side is attached to locker storage boxes with DOT snaps. The forward side is on continuous zipper sewn to the existing rear cockpit curtain awning track. Just unzip to access water or fuel fill caps.

Sea Water Strainer:
The factory installed Groco Hydromatic automatic raw water strainer was overkill in my opinion. A very heavy and pricey piece of equipment that consumed high amperage during it's 30 second flush cycle. You are unable to view the strainer filter condition and removing the end plate for inspection of the strainer filter was a somewhat sloppy ordeal.

After 8 years of problematic use, I removed the entire unit and installed a traditional in-line raw water strainer. I purchased a Groco 1-1/2” ARG1500-S with a clear sight glass, stainless steel basket and easy service screw on cap.

I fashioned a 3-way manifold using thick wall polypropylene threaded pipe fittings from McMaster-Carr. Bronze check valves for both the air conditioner pump and the generator intakes were re-used. A support shelf was fabricated out of Starboard that was epoxied to the hull.
At the same time, I also installed two thick wall threaded unions at the air conditioning raw water pump's inlet and outlet ports to make removal or purging of pump easier.
An added benefit of this configuration is you can insert a Hot Tub Bromine tablet into the strainer body and let it slowly dissolve to keep intake hoses clean and free of salt crystallization.