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Project Log:  Monday, September 5, 2011

The next major interior structure to consider was the galley, located opposite the dinette in the main cabin.  I'd removed the small quarterberth that featured in the original Fisher 30 interior, and therefore had the entire length of the cabin on the starboard side to use for a more spacious and useful galley.  However, there were natural limitations on the layout and size, so the basics of the design weren't anything earth-shattering or difficult to conceive.

My galley arrangement hinged on three known quantities:  a propane range; an Engel electric stand-alone refrigerator; and a sink.  I hoped to arrange these features in a useful and attractive way.  But first I needed some idea of the space I actually had to work with.

To that end, I made some measurements and laid out the basic outline of the galley on the forward and after bulkheads that defined the space.  I offset the front of the cabinet 2" from the passageway, which matched the offset of the dinette opposite, struck a line parallel to the centerline of the boat to the opposite bulkhead, and marked a similar plumb line.  I defined the countertop at 36" above the sole, a standard and comfortable height.  I marked off the outline with tape, both for visual purposes and to give me a place to hot-glue temporary support blocks without damaging the wood bulkhead surfaces.


I measured and cut a mockup cabinet front from 1/4" pattern plywood, then installed a longitudinal cleat along its top edge to hold it straight and true.


Next, I cut another piece of plywood to simulate the countertop, scribing it to fit the hull and against the forward and after bulkheads.  Since I'd also use these mockup sections as patterns for the real material when the time came, I drew reference lines (scribes) on the various edges to accurately reflect the true shape of the adjacent surface for later layout purposes.


I had the measurements for the full line of Engel refers, and had vague dreams about the MT60 combi model that included separate compartments for freezer and refrigerator.  However, this particular unit was simply too large for the space I had.  The dimensions, taken without context, hadn't seemed so large, but when I put tape measure to my new mockup it quickly became apparent that this unit was far too big to comfortably fit.  I quickly retooled my thoughts and settled on the more manageably-sized MT45, which I'd pretty well known would be where I'd end up anyway.

After considering all alternatives, I ordered the Engel MT45 so I could have the actual unit on hand when I was ready to build the storage compartment.

It seemed logical to me to put the refer at the aftermost end of the countertop, so in that area I drew some basic lines to demark roughly the space the refer would require, allowing extra space for ease of placement and adequate ventilation.  Note that the dark line to the right, nearest the bulkhead, is my scribe line for the countertop pattern, not a representation of the refer outline.  Basically the refer would fit in the space between the bulkhead and the lefthand layout line.

With these marks in place, I moved on to the rough placement of the 3-burner propane range.  After looking at all the alternatives in some detail over the past months, I eventually selected the Dickinson Mediterranean range for its features (hotter burners and oven) and growing positive reputation. To ensure that I could accurately build the galley around the stove, I'd purchased the unit several weeks earlier, and had it on hand in the shop for real-life measurements.

Counter to the norm, I made the decision to flush-mount, rather than gimbal, the range.  We had a gimballed range in our previous boat, and frankly never used the gimbal capability.  We don't take long passages, and are only cooking in safe harbor, not underway.  A number of seasoned voyagers suggest that good pot clamps, versus gimbals, are an effective and safer choice even for offshore work.  Therefore, I thought I'd save the hassle and wasted space of a gimbal system that would not be needed for our intended use of the boat, and I though the built-in would provide a cleaner appearance too.

With all this in mind, and the stove's dimensions--on paper and in reality--in hand, plus the required safe clearances for the burners from combustible surfaces overhead, I marked off the cutout for the range several inches forward of the refer space, in a location that would be comfortable for use, leave counterspace all around, and also (not by accident) happened to be in the widest portion of the boat, ensuring that the stove would remain clear of the overhanging cabin trunk as much as possible.

The little note reading "trash" is something I put on there at the end of the day when I remembered that I wanted to build in convenient trash can stowage; I'd not accounted for this in the layout so far, and didn't want to end up with a trash can in some awkward spot in the finished boat, like last time.  I'd probably make some minor changes to my overall layout to accommodate this later, after I had time to cogitate.

With the layout underway, it seemed as good a time as any to locate and purchase a sink. With the basic dimensions of the available space in mind, I eventually found a suitable sink online--not too small, not too large, not too shallow, not too deep, and, perhaps as importantly as anything, not too expensive.  I had a hard time accepting the prices of many of the sinks I found during my research and couldn't begin to understand why they cost what they did.

I chose a simple bar sink, 15x17x7, and capable of undermount or surface mount.  Nothing fancy, but just what I wanted.  With the basic dimensions, I laid out roughly where I thought the sink would go.  Note that all of these layouts were subject to manipulation later; hence the point of the mockup.

Sorry for the poor photos.  The pencil lines showing the layouts don't show up well, but there you are.  If you squint you can see them.

With the three major features roughly placed, I drew out a couple proposed outlines for lockers against the hull, though their final configuration was somewhat down the road.  I also marked the cabinet face with proposed locker doors (under the sink and also under the range), and marked out a 4" tall toe kick that I intended to incorporate into the final cabinet.  Beneath the sink locker, I thought I might build a recessed area to contain the foot pump pedals for the manual faucets, so they wouldn't protrude awkwardly; I marked this on the mockup, but didn't do any real layout.

I didn't plan any drawers, as they're fussy to build and take up more space than they're worth.  Plus, I didn't really have space for a drawer bank even if I wanted to waste it.  I wouldn't mind one or two for utensils, but wasn't going to go out of my way to incorporate one.  There are other ways to store utensils.


One thing I'd been considering in the weeks and months leading up to this point was to possibly incorporate a traditional icebox (or possibly high-performance manufactured cooler) as well as the refrigerator.  Allow me to explain.  I've never had refrigeration on a boat, and have generally been content with iceboxes, as long as ice is readily and conveniently available.  So I had nothing against the idea of using ice, to a point.  I always knew I'd have the Engel unit on this boat, but why not also allow room for a cooler, for cold drinks, and to hold ice cubes for cocktails?  This is important stuff for the way we cruise. 

I found myself eyeing the bottom section of the as-yet unconfigured tall locker just forward of the galley.  There seemed to be a huge amount of space available in this locker, and with the abundant stowage I'd constructed across the way in and under the dinette cabinets, I thought perhaps I could use this section for the refrigerator or the ice cooler.  We don't hang things, and while I intended to fill this locker with useful shelving, it seemed like an overabundance of space, honestly.

As of this writing, I'd yet to determine how to utilize the space, or whether to move the refrigerator from its designated space beneath the galley countertop, or whether to simply build an icebox in the hanging locker, or purchase a high-performance cooler for the space.  I was leaning towards installing a pre-manufactured cooler in a dedicated space, this to contain the drinks and ice as needed, reserving the relatively small refrigerator for foods that would benefit most from man-made refrigeration (meat and vegetables).

With the basics of the galley now mocked up, and a far better idea of the space available, I expected to consider things over the next couple weeks and massage the layout as need be to fit in everything I hoped to, as well as work with the actual appliances to fine-tune their proposed installations.

Total Time Today:  5.75 hours

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