Getting Ideas for Your Boat

We love going on other boats! Almost always, we end up with a great idea to copy for Barefoot Gal. I can’t tell you the number of great ideas we’ve taken from other boats – some just from dinghying by!

Back in November, we had a get-together of Gemini owners in the Marathon area. In the course of talking with Mickey Smith, he commented that where I’d made a hanging fruit basket he’d built shelving . . . and he’d figured out a way to do it without any holes being drilled in the surrounding fiberglass.

As we’ve recently began to stock the boat with provisions for the Bahamas, it struck me that shelves would give me more storage than the veggie bins. And I remembered what Mickey had built for his wife, Connie.

Being the bold sort that I am, I contacted Connie and asked if Dave and I could come over and see her shelves. Yeah, we wanted to steal the idea. They were gracious enough to invite us over for a look-see.

An easy way to add shelves to a hanging locker

The locker in question was originally a hanging locker, with parallel sides. Mickey and Connie have a newer model Gemini than ours, so they’re not identical but they’re similar enough that the same basic idea will work for us.

Mickey used pressure-treated deck boards and pressure treated furring strips. He chose pressure treated so that he would not have to paint it – smart guy!

He was doubly smart in realizing that if he put uprights with little seats to hold the shelves against the two sides, then cut the shelves to the exact dimension between the two uprights, the shelves would keep the uprights in place and he wouldn’t have to make any holes in the boat – if a future owner wanted to use it as a hanging locker, it could be changed back in minutes with no funny holes to fill.

The first step was to figure out how high the various shelves needed to be, basically deciding what they wanted to store in the cupboard, measuring it and then leaving a little headroom on each shelf.

Then Mickey cut two uprights and attached furring strips to both at the distances they’d decided they wanted between the shelves. The shelves would rest on the furring strips.

He put these two uprights in the former hanging locker, one against each side, with the furring strips towards the middle. Just to repeat: he did NOT attach the uprights to the sides of the locker.

Then he carefully measured the distance between the two uprights when pressed as far apart as possible and cut shelves to the length.

The shelves were pressed into place. Job done!

Mickey said it took him about three hours to do this in two former hanging lockers.

Neither Dave nor I are carpenters, but I think we can manage this. Since our hanging locker doesn’t have a door on it (Mickey’s does), we’ll add a fiddle to the shelf so that cans don’t come flying out when underway. Yes, even though Barefoot Gal is a catamaran, things still do slide, particularly if we get waked.

Many thanks to Mickey and Connie for having us aboard and sharing their idea!

Getting Ideas from Other Boats: Don't reinvent the wheel! So many times we see something on another boat that'll work well on Barefoot Gal . . . such as the shelves that Mickey built for Connie on their Gemini!

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  • Marie Raney
    Posted at 03 February 2016 Reply

    I would be nervous about pressure treated wood. It has toxins so you wouldn’t be able to store food there safely. Also it will eventually need painting. Marine plywood painted with epoxy would be better. For very short shelves starboard would be great, but it’s not very structural since it can sag.

  • Tom Taylor
    Posted at 03 February 2016 Reply

    Penetrating oil applied to the surfaces can eliminate or greatly mitigate the issue of using pressure treated material in this case.

  • Suzanne Ackerman
    Posted at 03 February 2016 Reply

    Lou Tepas

  • Luna
    Posted at 03 February 2016 Reply

    First of all, thanks for all the usefull info you give on this site.

    My husband just made shelvs with marine plywood for the gally where we are going to store pots and pans. He also made small plates to place in the cupboard in front of the interior to hold that in place while sailing. Do not want to have pots and pans flying around under bad weather.

  • Terri Zorn
    Posted at 03 February 2016 Reply

    Such a GREAT idea. 🙂

  • Ricardo Druillet
    Posted at 03 February 2016 Reply

    Great idea, but pressure treated wood is poisonous, if you get a splinter it will be painful, believe me I been there. Painting or even leave them bare is a much better idea.

  • Kelly Freeman
    Posted at 04 February 2016 Reply

    A great idea, the only thing I might mention, is that using pressure treated wood indoors requires some precautionary measures. There are different grades and not all are safe to use. Also some of the preservatives can be corrosive to hardware, like the kind treated with copper based product….just recommend caution.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 04 February 2016 Reply

      Thanks to you and the others who talked about problems with pressure treated, we decided to go with plain. But same basic design!

      • Royal Alworth
        Posted at 09 February 2016 Reply

        What about using cedar or some other naturally rot resistant wood that also smells good?

        • Carolyn Shearlock
          Posted at 09 February 2016 Reply

          We were thinking about that . . . until we priced cedar. It’s gorgeous but since it will be in a hidden area, we decided that we’ll do regular wood.

  • Bill Fredrickson
    Posted at 13 June 2017 Reply

    The photo of the Hemisphere Dancer appears to show fabric covers over the side windows and a front window. I’d like to come up with a cover for the large front window on my Telstar 28, how did they attach the covers? I’m reluctant to mess with the screws, as I believe it is easy to induce a leak.

  • Bill Fredrickson
    Posted at 13 June 2017 Reply

    For the shelves, I would look at starboard (sheet polyethylene). Rigid, easy to work with, easy to wipe clean. Not inexpensive.

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