Make a Door to Storage Space Under the V Berth

Storage for gear, clothing, provisions, and sails is a universal problem with trailerable sailboats. I began solving my onboard storage dilemma with an under galley storage solution. This project is a repeat of that one but claims the unused space under the V berth in my Catalina 22, specifically on the starboard side next to the portable toilet.

It’s also different from that project in that I used different wood for this project. The first door that I made was out of stained Philippine mahogany. I made this one from Honduran mahogany with an oil and polyurethane finish instead of stain. The result is almost indistinguishable from teak, as you can see below.

Which one is teak? Answer: right
Which one is teak? Answer: right

I made this door slightly larger than the first door, with a 10″x12″ opening, which is considerably larger than the teak door sold by a certain online Catalina parts retailer that some owners install in this location. Catalina Direct no longer shows the price or the special shipping cost for that 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. I also made this door to open to the side instead of down like the first door.

I really enjoy making wooden parts and accessories for Summer Dance in my woodshop. This door only took about four hours to build, finish, and install. The wood was leftover from a hope chest that I made for my daughter and it has some interesting figure in the grain that made an attractive addition to the inside of the boat.

Finished door before installation
Finished door before installation

This door has the same construction and details as the first door: a simple, butt-jointed frame and a hinged door with routed edges. The frame rails and stiles are 1-3/4″ wide. The routed handle was easy to make since I already had a router template that I made for the first door. The handle edges are undercut with a keyhole bit. The hinges are stainless steel Sea Dog Semi-Concealed Hinges and the catch is a Sea Dog Stud Catch Door Keeper made of brass with adjustable, spring-loaded balls.

Installing this door was identical to the galley door. I positioned it in the center of the panel facing the portable toilet. This makes it convenient to open the door between your feet when you’re sitting there. I also made a toilet paper holder and mounted it on the inside of the door where it is convenient but hidden. The cutout is 1/2″ larger all around than the opening of the door frame. I drilled 1/2″ pilot holes in the corners and cut between them with a handheld jigsaw.

Unused storage space
Unused storage space

The frame is screwed in place with stainless steel oval head screws and trim washers.

Mrs. $tingy loads this space with toiletries and cleaning supplies. Together with the under galley storage solution, this doubles our storage space for household items. For more storage organization tips, see Tips To Get Organized Below Deck.


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One Comment Add yours

  1. Tom Luque says:

    To have the least amount of fiberglass dust while also being able to cut fiberglass like a butter is to use the oscillating saw with the round plate cutter. Once you hold it at the right depth & angle, it just slides through fiberglass, making less than 1/16″ cut slot.. Use key-hole saw on a drill motor to make round corner radius before cutting.

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