The galley we inherited when we bought the boat was both old and old-fashioned, circa 1977. The stove was rusty inside and out, and the refrigerator had seen better days. It was impossible for my wife to keep the ‘stainless steel’ sink rust free and every time we came to the boat the sink was pitted with rust marks. It was time to consider renovation, which turned into a complete remodeling..
I started a list—which was perhaps not such a good idea when you are involving your wife in a new kitchen. It rapidly grew longer and longer, into a major project.
There is certainly no more important area on a boat than the galley, for the cook and the wellbeing of the crew. But then, there are galleys and galleys, and what we finished up with would grace any small apartment. The area available to work with will vary enormously from boat to boat, and this remodeling just exemplifies our personal ideas and needs.
The old refrigerator probably heard us talking about it, because it was not long before it decided to give up the ghost completely, which rather forced my hand. We were not living on the boat then, so we decided to remodel the whole kitchen in one go, because it wouldn’t matter so much if any particular appliance was out of commission for a time, or the inevitable mess being cleaned up, (and there was plenty of that), and tools put away every night.
We visited the West Marine superstore in Ft Lauderdale, which had a large selection of all sorts of lovely modern appliances we could actually inspect, rather than just buy on-line, sight unseen. The Sailorman warehouse was also only a few blocks away, full of likewise goodies, and not just used equipment either.
Letting your wife loose in these places is well, interesting if not downright foolish, and from this point things started to get slightly out of control....
From West Marine we bought a Seaward stainless steel three burner gas stove; an Engel front opening refrigerator; and a Panasonic convection microwave, also stainless steel.
At Sailorman we found a used, but clean Splendide washer/drier at a good price, but I had absolutely no idea where I was going to put it, because it wasn’t even on our list.
Like I said, things got a little out of control, and we trundled back to Orlando with a van full of equipment, which would take weeks to fit.
The easiest item to install was the three burner cooker, which dropped nicely into the same space as the old stove. I just had to change the positions of the gimbals and where the locking latch fitted, then connect it up to the gas line, and that was that.
However, the only space big enough for the washer was where the old fridge had fitted. This is very heavy at 148lbs, and also bulky, being roughly two feet square and three feet high. It was a major effort for three men to haul it on board, and it only just slid through the companionway doors with fractions to spare. I had previously cut a larger aperture where the fridge had been, and we managed to lever the washer into this space very neatly.
Piping the washer to the boats hot and cold pressure system, and making an overflow pipe was another matter. The space was completely sealed within the double skin of the boat and it took at lot of drilling and cutting to get the pipes through, and an overflow out. I installed shut-off valves on the hot and cold supply as a safety measure, in case the washing machine inlet valve failed. I also had to route a four inch dryer exhaust pipe angled downwards near the aft engine room blower outlet. This was to vent hot air out of the dryer and needed a gauze filter on the end to catch any lint which comes off the clothing.
This left the new refrigerator without a home, but behind the aft cabin door was a large hanging locker going right back to the hull, just the right size for the fridge. The problem with this was, it placed the fridge in the aft cabin and made it very awkward to get to because the door was in the way. Who wants a fridge in an aft cabin anyway—unless it’s full of beer?
It’s a fact—on boats, one alteration usually leads to another, and another.....
I cut the whole bulkhead and door frame out, and repositioned it two feet back, so the fridge then became part of the galley. I didn’t loose any actual space either, because it was only a passageway to the aft cabin, and there are still plenty of hanging lockers in the cabin. It was only necessary to build a platform for the fridge, then wire it to a breaker on the main board.This alteration can be seen on the before and after drawings
I knew the microwave would fit into an aperture on the galley counter, so it mealy needed wiring into the system, and all four major appliances were finally installed.
My wife found a very nice twin stainless sink on-line but it wasn’t the exact size as the old sink. This meant fitting a new counter top, and naturally she didn’t want one section different to the other two. So we went shopping for Corrian work-tops and a supplier who could cut precise shapes to fit the sink section, the cooker top, and the washer section.
We found a local kitchen remodeling company who could cut the three pieces out of three quarters of an inch Corrian, and put a nice rounded bevel on the exposited edges. First I had to make precise templates out of cardboard, to which they would cut. The sink template was critical, because it also included a cut-out for the top of the ice box, which was moulded into the side of the hull and which I converted into a proper chest freezer.
While we were waiting for the counter tops to be made I moved the four recessed drawers and the locker under the cooker outwards five inches, so they are now all level with the cooker.
There was previously no garbage bin, so I built a large one, pivoting outwards from the end of the galley with a waste bag on clips for easy removal.
The care I took to make the templates, and my instance upon accuracy by the supplier, paid off handsomely. All three work tops fitted precisely over the top of the old scratched Formica counters and instantly transformed the galley. A beautiful chrome mixer faucet, with pull-out and spray completed this area.
It simply remained to fit teak fiddles on all exposed edges, install a couple of extra power plugs and clean up the small doors above the stove, and we had a fabulous new modern kitchen.
When I installed air conditioning I deflected some of the air into the galley area, to help keep it cool.
This kitchen is now as neat and efficient as any small apartment. Not bad, considering we started with rust spots on the sink.