Above Galley Storage and a Tamer Stove

This is a guest post by “Barnacle” Bill Holcomb, author of the blog Barnacle Bill Holcomb’s Sailing. He has been sailing for over 50 years on all kinds of boats from daysailers to two-masted cruisers. Bill and his wife Kathy bought their Catalina 25 #4839 new over 30 years ago and can often be seen daysailing, cruising, or racing Snickerdoodle on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. I’ve enjoyed reading Bill’s tips, ideas, and stories for a couple of years now and he graciously accepted my invitation to share some of his wisdom with you.

Before I continue, a bit of legal housekeeping. This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using those links. Those commissions help to pay the costs associated with running this site so that it stays free for everyone to enjoy. For a complete explanation of why I’m telling you this and how you can support this blog without paying more, please read my full disclosure.

And now, some galley tips from Bill:

Two things that Kathy and I realized quite quickly after we took delivery of our Catalina 25 in the spring of 1985 were:

  • The Optimus Princess pressurized alcohol stove was difficult to use and frequently flamed up dangerously.
  • Just about anything that we put on the shelf above the galley flew off whenever the boat heeled sharply.

Here are the fixes I made before the end of our second season:

We replaced the Princess stove with a non-pressurized Origo alcohol stove.  I bought the Origo with gimbals and it fit right into the existing stainless steel tray in the galley.  The alcohol containers for each burner have a cotton-like stuffing in them that keeps the alcohol from burning too fast and spilling.

We always buy the expensive stove alcohol that has some hotter burning additives. The performance of the stove is at least as good as the Princess (when the Princess was working properly) and there is no danger of the stove flaring up.  What a relief that was.  If your boat has a pressurized alcohol stove, I’d sure recommend switching to a non-pressurized one.  The Origo stoves can be purchased as single burner, double burner, flush mount double burner, etc.

The second thing I did was to glue (with 3M 5200 adhesive) pieces of teak channel to the inside edges of the two vertical dividers on the shelf above the stove.  These are the same profile as the edge trim around the galley partition and the forward bulkhead. It works perfectly to secure two long wooden staves that hold spices, one-pound coffee cans, liquid soap containers, etc. in place even if Snickerdoodle heels hard to starboard.

The teak trim channels worked so well that I also used them to make a wine glass holder under the port side deck.

Of course, Snickerdoodle is a Catalina 25.  But, you can do similar things in the pre-1985 Catalina 22 which also has shelves along the side of the cabin.  All it takes is a jig saw, scroll saw or band saw to cut the pieces so that they fit properly.  If you haven’t done this kind of work before, use a piece of cardboard and a utility knife to make a template.  The whole thing is more time consuming than difficult.

By the way, red cedar lumber is way less expensive than teak and with a few coats of Deks Olje #2 finish, the cedar looks almost the same.  For interior wood projects, I always use cedar. It looks good and smells good too.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Deb S. says:

    Hi there! First of all thank you for performing this important public service to all of us Catalina 22 owners by writing this blog! I have an 82, my question is about the icebox in the galley. Mine has no cover and I’m considering using it for dish and dry goods storage instead of ice and cold foods. I’m also thinking about putting a hinged lid on it. I’ve read many posts about people putting in drains for the ice melt water, and filling the under cavity with spray foam to increase cold retention. I’m mainly a daysailor but love to bring friends and family on for food and swimming. What have you found that works for you in regards to the icebox? Thanks! Deb in NH

    1. Hi, Deb

      The mods that you mention are the same as I’ve seen. We use our icebox to keep food and drinks that we plan to consume for the day cold but close at hand. We keep the rest of our perishables either in the Coleman 28 quart cooler (weekend cruises) that we also use to make the salon into one large berth or in a larger cooler that we bring for 3 day or longer cruises. Sometime this summer, I’ll be posting an article about building support boards and cleats for the large berth project, so stay tuned.

      I’ve tried spraying foam in the cavity surrounding the icebox with limited success. I drilled holes in the bottom of the galley so that I could insert the spray tube and tried to reach everywhere but it’s difficult to see in there. I haven’t noticed that it made a lot of difference so maybe I have too many air pockets.

      What did make a noticeable difference was, I installed a rubber tube-type weatherstrip around the flange in the underside of the wooden lid to seal it airtight. Ice lasts much longer now. I haven’t installed a drain tube yet, but that would be convenient since otherwise you have to bail and sponge the melt water out even though it sits right over the drain funnel.

      Another idea, and you may have come across this too, is to use dry ice for longer lasting cold. It hasn’t been really necessary for us yet and it’s kind of expensive for someone as stingy as me, but if we go for two weeks in the San Juan islands this summer as planned, that might be just the ticket to keep food from spoiling between ports.

      I hope that gives you some ideas to think about. Thanks for writing and remember…

      Sail hard, sail well, sail safe

      1. devarah says:

        Thanks for your feedback! The rubber gasket tip is fabulous, I will use that if I wind up putting cold items in the icebox. And I hadn’t heard of the dry ice trick but that does make sense, pricey though as you said, but for two weeks it may be worth the cost. Thanks again for all your invaluable information on your blog, during “boat fever” season which is pretty much all year for me, I look at your site a few times a week.
        Best Regards and smooth sailing!

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