Is there ever enough storage space on these little boats? Maybe if you only day sail. But if you anchor out much, particularly over long holiday weekends or longer, no. Your first mate will probably let you know about it like mine. Often. Yet there is a lot of useful, if difficult to get to space, for example, under the galley. The challenge is to make it easier to use. No doubt, Catalina Yachts left out access doors to this and other spaces in the cabin to keep costs down.
Catalina Direct offers several storage access products, one of which is a teak door that many owners install below the galley to gain access to the space there. Catalina Direct no longer shows the price or the special shipping cost for this item online, which is unfinished and does not include any hardware, by the way. But as I recall, the price was >$80 not including shipping. Other potential sources of finished products are Buck Woodcraft and SeaTeak. As an avid woodworker, $tingy Sailor laughed and headed for the workshop.
Identical to the standard equipment, only different
To keep the cost down, I opted to use some 5″ wide mahogany trim that I had salvaged out of a house that was being demolished. This was sort of a prototype project, anyway. I plan to build a similar door for the head area and I might rebuild this one in teak at that time.
The woodworking was pretty straightforward: a simple frame and a recessed door with routed edges. The only unusual operation was the routed handle that required that I make a template. To undercut the handle edges the same as the standard equipment cabinetry, reroute it with a keyhole bit. The Sea Dog Semi-Concealed Hinges and Sea Dog Stud Catch Door Keeper that are the same as those offered by Catalina Direct are also available from several online marine discount retailers. I made the finished door size 8″ x 12″.
To closely match the other teak woodwork in the cabin, I stained the mahogany with some left over General Finishes Candlelite Oil Based Stain that I had purchased at my local Woodcraft store. I then varnished the parts at the same time as the exterior teak refinishing project that will be the subject of a future post. Except for the more prominent, open grain, the result was pretty close.
Installing the door was also straightforward. Lay out the opening in the center of the area where you want to install the door between the funnel and the nearby brace. I made the opening 1/2″ larger all around than the opening of the door frame. Drill pilot holes in the corners of the cutout area and connect the holes with a handheld jigsaw. Tape the area to prevent scratches in the fiberglass from the jigsaw. Viola! about two cubic feet more storage space.
Drill through-holes in the frame for the mounting screws. Then center the frame over the opening and use the frame holes as guides to drill pilot holes through the underlying fiberglass. Screw the frame in place with stainless steel oval head screws and trim washers. I installed the door so that it opens downward since it is almost at floor level anyway. This puts it out of the way when getting things in and out of the storage space. It could also be oriented to open sideways or upward, your preference. Lastly, I painted the inside of the space to brighten it up and to make it easier to see what’s stored there.
The first mate is thrilled with the new space and can’t wait for more, so stay tuned to this channel.
The bottom line
Suggested price: $121.95
$tingy Sailor cost: $11.50
Have you built custom storage areas into your C22?