ALL COOKED UP

With new ap­pli­ances, coun­ter­tops and fit­tings, a tired old gal­ley from the 1970s is trans­formed into a fresh, mod­ern workspace.

Cruising World - - Contents - By Roger Hughes

A do-it-your­selfer whips to­gether a fine-look­ing gal­ley by blend­ing a few new ap­pli­ances with a dol­lop of in­ge­nu­ity.

The gal­ley we in­her­ited when we bought our Down East 45 schooner, Bri­tan­nia, was both old (circa 1977) and old-fash­ioned. The stove was rusty, and the re­frig­er­a­tor had seen bet­ter days. It was im­pos­si­ble to keep the stain­less-steel sink “stain­less”: It was pit­ted with more rust marks when­ever we came to the boat. It was time for a re­fit. I started a list with prices of the items to re­place, but it grew longer and longer and soon started to look like a ma­jor in­vest­ment. The re­frig­er­a­tor prob­a­bly heard my wife, Kati, com­plain­ing about it, be­cause it sud­denly died, so that went to the top of the list.

We were not liv­ing on the boat, so I de­cided to re­model the whole gal­ley in one con­tin­u­ous op­er­a­tion. Then it wouldn’t mat­ter so much if any par­tic­u­lar ap­pli­ance was out of com­mis­sion for a while, and I would not have to put my tools away and clean up af­ter ev­ery day’s work. I could just leave it and con­tinue the next day.

For both the cook and the crew, there are not many more im­por­tant ar­eas in a boat. Of course, gal­leys vary enor­mously in shape and size from one ves­sel to the next, there­fore our re­model re­flected our per­sonal ideas and needs. But most of the in­di­vid­ual things I al­tered could be ap­plied to any gal­ley restora­tion.

We de­cided to visit the West Ma­rine su­per­store in Fort Laud­erdale, Florida, which had a large se­lec­tion of lovely mod­ern ap­pli­ances we could ac­tu­ally in­spect, rather than buy on­line with­out see­ing them. The Sailor­man con­sign­ment ware­house was also only a few blocks away and full of sim­i­lar good­ies, and not just used equip­ment ei­ther.

Fi­nan­cially speak­ing, let­ting my wife loose in these places to shop for kitchen ap­pli­ances was per­haps not a good idea. From there, things started to slip slightly out of con­trol.

I had made a de­tailed draw­ing of the ex­ist­ing lay­out, with di­men­sions of the dif­fer­ent places where things would be fit­ted. I could then take mea­sure­ments of ac­tual equip­ment and make sure they would fit. It’s a good thing I did be­cause the di­men­sions listed on some leaflets and web­sites were not ac­cu­rate; when you are plan­ning to fit a new ap­pli­ance into a fixed-size space, that’s im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion to have.

Com­par­ing equip­ment and prices took ab­so­lutely ages, and I wasn’t even al­lowed to look at radars, chart plot­ters or stereos (you know, gear that’s re­ally im­por­tant). In any case, we trun­dled back to our home in Or­lando with a van­load of equip­ment, which I couldn’t pos­si­bly in­stall all at once.

From West Ma­rine, we bought a Sea­ward Princess stain­less-steel three-burner stove, an Isotherm Cruise CR130 front-open­ing stain­less re­frig­er­a­tor and a Pana­sonic stain­less con­vec­tion mi­crowave (plus an as­sort­ment of pots and pans I didn’t even know were needed). At Sailor­man, we found a used but clean-look­ing Splen­dide 2100 washer/dryer at a knock­down price. I had ab­so­lutely no idea where I was go­ing to put it, or if it even worked, be­cause it wasn’t even on the list. All this equip­ment was stacked in my garage un­til I was ready to in­stall in­di­vid­ual items.

The eas­i­est ap­pli­ance to in­stall was the three-burner stove, which fit nicely into the same space as the old stove. I just had to change the po­si­tion of the gim­bal plates and lock­ing latch, then con­nect it to the ex­ist­ing propane gas line, and that was that (ex­cept for paint­ing the aper­ture white be­fore­hand). The old stove went into our ma­rina dump­ster.

I man­aged to test the washer/ dryer by con­nect­ing it to my home’s hot and cold wa­ter sys­tem us­ing hoses and an ex­ten­sion ca­ble, and it worked fine. How­ever, the only space large enough to in­stall it was where the old fridge had been. At 148 pounds, this ma­chine is very heavy and also bulky, mea­sur­ing roughly 2 feet square and 3 feet high. It was a ma­jor ef­fort for three men to haul it on board, and it only slid through the com­pan­ion­way with a frac­tion of an inch to spare. We man­aged to lever it into this space very neatly, as though it was al­ways meant to be there.

Con­nect­ing the washer’s hot and cold wa­ter pipes into the boat’s pres­sure sys­tem, then in­stalling a dis­charge pipe and dryer vent, was another strug­gle. I didn’t want to dam­age the Formica coun­ter­top, so it took a lot of

awk­ward drilling and jig­saw­ing to get the pipes through bulk­heads and floors of ply­wood and fiber­glass of mul­ti­ple thick­nesses. I fit­ted shut-off valves on the hot and cold sup­ply as a safety mea­sure, in case the washer’s in­ter­nal shut­off valves failed. I plumbed the wa­ter dis­charge through a new, above-the-water­line sea­cock with an anti-siphon loop. The dryer ex­haust pipe was 4 inches in di­am­e­ter, which I an­gled down­ward through the floor and into the en­gine room, near the aft blower out­let. When the dryer is in use, we also switch the en­gine-room blower on, which sucks out all the hot air. The washer also needed a heavy-duty elec­tri­cal ca­ble con­nected to a spare breaker on the 120-volt AC board. In­stalling this sin­gle item took three days.

Fit­ting the washer where the old fridge had been left our new one with­out a home. How­ever, be­hind the aft cabin door was a large hang­ing locker just right for it. The only prob­lem here was that the fridge would then be in the aft cabin with a door in the way, and who wants a re­frig­er­a­tor in an aft cabin any­way, un­less it’s full of beer?

It is a well-known truth: On boats, one sim­ple-sound­ing project usu­ally leads to another, and another . ...

I care­fully re­moved the com­plete aft cabin door frame and bulk­head, which was a project in its own right be­cause it was bonded to the side of the hull. I repo­si­tioned the door farther aft, thereby in­cor­po­rat­ing the locker as a con­tin­u­a­tion of the gal­ley. How­ever, this was com­pli­cated by the fact that the floor in the aft cabin was 8 inches lower than the gal­ley, so I had to make an 8-inch in­fill for the bot­tom of the door. It was then only nec­es­sary to re­move the locker door, build a plat­form for the fridge and cut a hole in the shelf above it for a vent. I wired the re­frig­er­a­tor through two break­ers on the cir­cuit board, one for 120 volts AC and the other 12 volts DC. There was no loss of space in this al­ter­ation ei­ther be­cause it was all in the pas­sage­way to the aft cabin, and there were still plenty of hang­ing lock­ers and draw­ers in that cabin.

The con­vec­tion mi­crowave fit neatly into a space on the counter and just needed wiring into the 120-volt AC sys­tem.

My wife found a very nice twin-basin stain­less-steel sink on­line, com­plete with a cut­ting board. But it was not the same shape as the old sink and also an un­der-mount in­stal­la­tion, like mod­ern sinks, so it would not fit in the ex­ist­ing open­ing. To fit this sink re­ally meant a new coun­ter­top, and nat­u­rally, Kati didn’t want one sec­tion look­ing dif­fer­ent from the other two.

As men­tioned, one thing leads to another. …

I had to agree that the coun­ter­tops, with their faded scratched-teak lam­i­nate, were past their prime. So off we went shop­ping for new ones.

Kati had a no­tion she would like gran­ite, but the thinnest we could find were 1¼ inches thick, and very heavy. We set­tled for much lighter Co­rian ma­te­rial and found a lo­cal kitchen-re­mod­el­ing com­pany that could ac­cu­rately cut the three sep­a­rate sec­tions out of ½-inch-thick ma­te­rial. To make it look thicker, they sug­gested mak­ing it dou­ble the thick­ness on the ex­posed edges, and shap­ing them with a nice rounded mold­ing.

Be­fore they could do any­thing, how­ever, I had to make three pre­cise card­board tem­plates. The sink sec­tion was the most crit­i­cal, be­cause it had to have cutouts for the sink, the top of the freezer and a hole for the faucet. I re­moved the or­na­men­tal teak col­umn at the edge of the sink be­cause I had other plans for that end of the gal­ley. I took great care to make these tem­plates, and along with as­sur­ances of ac­cu­rate cut­ting by the sup­plier, it paid off. All the coun­ter­tops fit per­fectly over the top of the old lam­i­nate and in­stantly trans­formed the gal­ley. I fin­ished by adding var­nished teak fid­dles on all ex­posed edges and also in­stalled a cou­ple of ex­tra power out­lets.

The new stain­less-steel dou­ble sink needed to be in­stalled be­fore the new coun­ter­top. I en­larged the cutout in the lam­i­nate and caulked it in place, then slid the new counter over the top and caulked round the edges. We had also pur­chased a new sin­gle-swivel sink faucet with a pull-out spout that I plumbed into the ex­ist­ing hot and cold pipes. Of course, a new sink also meant new drains un­der­neath, which is al­ways a tight scram­ble, even in a house. The lid for the freezer fit ex­actly in the right place.

The four draw­ers at the side of the range were repo­si­tioned flush with the stove, along with the locker be­low, mak­ing them all level. All the teak was stripped of old var­nish, and two coats of high gloss were ap­plied. There was no trash bin, so I built one from ½-inch ply­wood with a lou­vered front. It piv­ots out­ward from the end of the gal­ley and holds a waste bag on sim­ple file clips for easy re­moval.

It took two months to com­plete the re­mod­el­ing, but we now have a fab­u­lous new mod­ern gal­ley, as ship­shape and ef­fi­cient as any small apart­ment.

The orig­i­nal gal­ley aboard our Down East 45 schooner was both old and old-fash­ioned, hav­ing been con­ceived in the mid-1970s (top). It was time to be over­hauled. The “af­ter” shot shows the gal­ley af­ter the ren­o­va­tion was com­plete (above). We even had...

Man­ual valves were in­stalled in the washer’s hot and cold wa­ter sup­ply in case the au­to­matic shut-off valves failed (left). We found a new dou­ble sink on­line, and also in­stalled a new ro­tat­ing faucet (cen­ter). There was no trash bin in the orig­i­nal...

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