The blank canvas that is a NIS galley loomed large on my little horizon.
How much can you achieve in such a small place? Do I follow the L Francis Herreshoff “Cedar Bucket” plan of elegant austerity? Do I get tricky and attempt carpentry magic with little cupboards and clever nooks to retain the vittles?
Reality check: it’s a big boat, but it’s not that big and the degree of meal preparation, cooking, and wash up will be limited by a single burner stove, small sink and imagination. So the priority must be to maximise bench space, facilitate the stove to operate safely, and allow for dishes to be washed or stowed.
The stove choices are pretty slim when space is a priority, I quickly gravitated to the butane options as my old boat Fresh Aires saw many meals made with one. Furthermore, research suggests they are very popular, and while butane is risky indoors, the risk can be managed.
Butane stoves are light, portable and deliver a lot of heat, the fuel is cheap and comes in convenient cans. I also love the idea of taking the stove outdoors to cook when I can, and perhaps having another stored aft to operate as a second burner for more elaborate meals.
The risky aspect is a tough call. The fuel can sink into the bilges and go bang and hot when ignited. So I will install vapour sniffer alarms and use the stove in the cockpit when possible.
That decided, I rushed out and purchased the most modern, slim lined unit to serve as a template for this part of the galley.
Next the sink. I’ve done a lot of camping and wrestled with washing up. Success in this department relies on two elements, hot water and a good sized bucket. For hot water, we have the stove. To contain the splashy soapy water, the sink should be deep and as broad as a fry pan. A quick trip to the local plastics shop yielded an ideal translucent white tub.
I thus had my two defining elements for the galley area. They both dictated the layout of the counter top and the depth of the first shelves.
I chose to sit these items inside the galley unit with lids to reveal when needed, keeping the surface clear. I contemplated a drain for the sink, and have not settled on that as yet, but for the interim, the tub can be slid out and the waste poured off. The tub really is big enough to accumulate dishes over the day and keep them hidden beneath it’s lid. The lid fits well, so I think this is all fairly practical.
A good sized cutlery draw was next on the plan, and this was spiled up to maximise it’s shape against the hull. The draw runs on Hoop Pine runners and a 6mm diameter brass rod acting against a notch to all hold the draw in when heeling. No further tricky storage has been built, below the sink and stove are big openable cupboards which I expect to divide up depending on how I find myself using it.
Most of the components were made out of 4 and 6mm scrap plywood, and in most instances disappointingly warped when the clamps came off. A quick call to Robert and he suggested I laminate another layer of ply to the bases where needed and make some surgical cuts at the points of tension which could then be backfilled with thickened epoxy.
These surgical cuts were disturbing to make in my nicely formed lids and draw. But as you watch the wobbly item on a flat surface it was obvious something had to be done. By observing where the rocking piece pivots, you can decide where to cut to relieve the tension. Then with a swift stroke of a Japanese pull saw, some weights to flatten while the fill of epoxy sets, a good sand, and hey presto, flat like an CNC sheer!
Next we paint.