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Microwave Clothes Washer Scuba Tank Rack
Saloon Book Rack Galley Counter & Sink Aft Berth
File Drawers    

Last Updated 15 Dec 2010

Future Additions:
-SW Intake
-Hatch and Port Screens
-Main Cabin Window Replacement
-Provisions Stowage Lockers
-Hatch Antitheft Bars - See Security Section
-Aft Under Bunk Stowage
-Shower Stowage Mods
-Galley Stowage Ideas
-Under Floor Stowage
-Settee Lee Cloths
-Aft Shower Curtains


(1999) Looking for a place to permanently mount that small microwave that�s secure, accessible and doesn�t take up counter space?  Try putting it tight up under the cockpit sole just aft of the companionway steps.  In order for it to be accessible from the galley it must be mounted so that the door faces the galley to starboard.  We had 1/8� aluminum plate welded and bent into a U shape so that one side could be screwed into the forward engine room bulkhead and the other into the short vertical bulkhead just aft of the first companionway step under the companionway sill.  This arrangement supports the microwave inside the U and keeps it protected and off the counter below.  We painted it white and added tie down holes before it went on.  If you add a 110 v outlet or strip of outlets on the adjoining galley bulkhead the electrical cord will easily reach.  Sounding the fuel tank is a bit more of a challenge but doable with the use of a flexible dip stick.

Clothes Washer

(2000)  This manual electric clothes washing machine is mounted in the aft end of the V berth.  The original fiberglass V berth insert has been removed.  The top of the controls is just flush with the bunk deck so a strip of 1/4� plywood over it will provide protection from sleepers in the berth.  It is 120-240 volt electric, weighs about 20 pounds and is only available outside the US.  It washes and spins an 8 pound load with 10 gallons of water and uses 8 AH of 12 volt current if you run it through an inverter.  The max draw is 210 watts at 120 volts.  It is all plastic except the two motors and cost only $175 US in Trinidad.  We use it whenever we are away from the US so we can control the washing process, not lose or damage anything and save money (up to $6 US a load in some countries).  It also saves the big hassle of getting dirty clothes to a laundry ashore.

In 3rd world countries it is known as a manual electric Heier washing machine. (There are other brands, but if you google Heier, you can find what it looks like). 

2010 Update:  We get fairly frequent emails from cruisers asking about the washing machine.  The brand name, where to find one, how well it works.  Well, the truth is, we have removed it from Soggy Paws.  Why?  Basically because I've only used it once since we left the U.S. in 2007.

The main reason I don't use it--besides the fact that it would take us 15 minutes of unpiling stuff from the V-berth to use it, is that it only is just barely more convenient than doing it in buckets. Some of this is the flavor of small washer we have, and some of it is location and installation issues.

It is also that, we have opted to use shore-side services when they are available, and both Dave and I are pretty careful with our clothes, so I only have about 2 loads to do every 2 weeks. In South/Central America, you can get a load done for $5-10, so it's not too bad every 2 weeks.

First, location & installation: ours is 'conveniently' installed in the V-berth, but it isn't permanently hooked up to water or power, so part of using it, after unpiling the V-berth, is connecting cords and hoses. We use our V-berth as a 'garage', so it's normally got quite a bit of stuff stored there. We also have a pair of scuba tanks mounted just in front of (behind) the V-berth, which also have to be moved (you could leave them there, but it's uncomfortable accessing the machine). Then, you are still leaning over in a fairly uncomfortable position, back-wise.

Second it is 'mostly manual'. You put a small amount of clothes in, manually fill it with water (have to sit there and watch the hose so it doesn't over-fill), then set a timer for the agitation cycle. (this is when I'd be enjoying the scenery outside, stomping in my buckets). When you are through agitating, turn a valve to let the water drain out (wait for it to drain), manually fill again (wait for it to fill), set the agitation timer and let it agitate for 1st rinse. Do that again for 2nd rinse. Then hand-squeeze the water out of the clothes and carefully move them to the 'spin' bucket. You can't really spin a whole (tiny) load in the spin bucket, and it has to be loaded pretty carefully to keep it from being unbalanced. But the spinner is by far the BEST part of this whole process. When it's through spinning, no-wringing and there's very little drippy water left. Then go hang it (manually).

I find the manual wash-fill-rinse-fill-rinse-fill cycle and then the manual process to put the clothes in small quantities into the spinner to be time consuming, and it's hard to get anything else done because the between times of agitation and spinning are just minutes (actually, you set how long using a timer). So it is NOT as convenient as your 'home machine', where you dump the clothes in, push a few buttons, and walk away, and come back later and it's all done. And I HATE standing around in the V-berth on a nice day. I'd just as soon be sitting outside with my buckets, watching the world go by.

There are machines available now that are much more automatic than this, but they probably won't fit under the V-berth, they would certainly cost more, take more hookup and installation, and most likely weigh more (this one is pretty much all plastic). I've seen several over/under small apartment-style washer/dryer combos that I would love to have, but you have to have the space and the water and the power to support it.

What I would like is just the spinner part that I could take out and hook up on deck with an extension cord, at a height that is back-friendly. I'm working on that as a replacement. They exist, just have to locate one. Meanwhile, I don't mind doing the buckets on the back deck where I can see what's going on in the harbor. I usually use our (fresh water) washdown hose to fill my 3 5-gal buckets (wash, rinse, rinse). And a nearby shoulder-height cross-piece on the arch serves as my 'partner' in the wringing process (wrap the T-shirt once around something, bring the 2 ends together, and wring like that).

Scuba Tank Rack in V-Berth
(1999)Also shown in the photo above is a two scuba tank rack (we carry 4 more and a gasoline powered compressor in the shower, now dive/sail locker). The compressor is capable of charging an 80 cu foot tank in about 20 minutes-500 to 3000 PSI.  The cabinet doors port and starboard replace the four drawers to open up much wasted storage space outboard. (top)

Salon Book Rack
(2000)  This view of the forward main cabin bulkhead shows the new book, TV, chart and electronics/computer storage. The TV shelf has a swivel mount and is secure in any seas. The higher part of the two part box on top of the athwart ships settee holds 300 hundred folded charts upright.  Since first built we have added an entertainment center with flat screen 15" TV, DVD player and CD player where the knot board is shown here.  The lower section of cabinets are a large secure place to stow the computer and other related electronic equipment. The all important fishing rods and spear guns are mounted across the overhead. (top)

Galley Counter & Sink
(2000)  The galley sink counter has recently been covered with a one piece Wilsonart acrylic countertop.  The SS sink is set between the 1/2� thick acrylic and plywood underneath. This eliminates water rot problems and allows use of a folding dish drainer without a bulky pan underneath.  We use a relatively shallow large sink, a macerator powered drain system, a high single lever faucet, a Seagull filter for drinking water and a saltwater spigot on a foot pump. The two head sink counters and the other galley counter were also done in the same material. (We have upgraded the countertops in Soggy Paws. That project was "BMT" (before my time), so I don't know the details, other than I really like them. Not super fancy, but very functional.

Our countertops are done in 1/2" off white Wilsonart acrylic. The material comes in sheets, and after cutting, the trim and backsplash was glued on and faired in so it all looks to be one piece. Each top was caulked in place over the original ply counter top with silicone caulk so they could be easily removed if necessary. No screws.

They were made in Trinidad in 1999, but as Wilsonart is a big company the material is probably available in the US. Total cost for galley and two heads was $500 installed and finished.

Aft Berth

It didn�t take long sleeping in our athwart ships double bunk aft for me to realize that there had to be a better arrangement for at anchor and import sleeping.  Not long afterwards we found the solution-a convertible king sized bunk. 

These two photos show the modification made to the aft double berth to allow sleeping fore and aft as well as athwart ships.   Oak ledger strips are mounted on the top drawers port and starboard and on the face of the forward bunk bulkhead such that a piece of 3/4� plywood cut to fit can be laid loose on top.  A new cushion is then laid on top of the plywood.  Sleeping fore and aft is much more comfortable and convenient; it also affords a huge sleeping area (over 80�) wide at the shoulders and hips.

When not in use the new cushion stows on the original bunk and the plywood upright behind the aft cabin door secured with bungee cord or on the bunk.  Our aft bunk cushions are 5� latex foam that is very comfortable but heavy and expensive.

To set it up, we add a removable 3/4� plywood platform between the two banks of drawers just forward of the bunk.  By screwing three oak ledger boards one each into the upper drawers and one across the bunk forward bulkhead at a suitable height, the plywood piece would lay on them and fill the space so a rectangular piece of foam could lay on top of it.  Now we had a bed that either of us could get into or out of without disturbing the other and measured 80�X80�!  We each have plenty of room and normally sleep fore and aft while at anchor/dock and athwart ships while underway and heeled in reasonable weather.  We have our own separate top sheets  The 4� thick latex foam mattress on the original bunk is very comfortable and split down the middle fore and aft so we can easily move it around when needed.  The new rectangular mattress piece with its own pillowcase shaped sheet and the plywood are removed and stored on the bunk during the day so we have more room and access to the drawers.  It takes less than a minute to set it up for sleeping at night.  There�s no reason not to be comfortable when conditions allow, which is most of the time while cruising. (top)

File Drawers

(2000)  Despite having cut our dock lines loose from home, maintaining basic correspondence and reference files are a must even while cruising.  We started out with our files and other paper work in plastic file boxes.  These took up valuable space and were a pain to get to in the bottom of the hanging locker.  Since we think that we have far too many drawers anyway, four of the standard drawers have been converted to cabinets, and three to file drawers. 

While in Trinidad we had two file drawers installed, one about 16� and the other 18� long.  One is located in place of the top drawer on the starboard side of the forward cabin bank of three drawers.  The other is located in place of two drawers just aft of the entry door on the starboard side of the aft cabin.  These sure make our life easier when it comes time to find that elusive instruction manual or that piece of  paper we received 6 months ago.  They also make a positive contribution to our port list.  (top)