Make a Door for More Storage Under the Galley

Is there ever enough storage space on our 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.

A certain online Catalina parts retailer offers several storage access products, one of which is a teak door that many owners install below the galley to gain access to the otherwise inaccessible space there. That retailer 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.

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 the online Catalina parts retailer and are also available from other 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 the same as the exterior teak refinishing project. Except for the more prominent, open grain, the result was pretty close.

Teak on the left, stained mahogany on the right
Teak on the left, stained mahogany on the right

Installing the door was also straightforward. Lay out the opening in the center of the area where you want to install the door. That is, between the galley funnel on the right and the nearby brace to the left. 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.

Hole cutout exposes the unused space
Hole cutout exposes the inaccessible 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 wood 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.

Inside painted and door installed
Inside painted and door installed

The first mate is thrilled with the new storage space.

New door closed
Close-up of door closed

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. John Boat says:

    I’m a recent Catalina 22 bum and I never thought I could like such a compact vessel but I find myself drifting into dreams of all the pros of a trailerable, efficient, and transformable boat.

    I’ve had multiple “projects” over 30′ but none so close as this Cat now to sail and that is what it’s for, to become the best sailor I can be without losing it all to Davy Jones’s locker 😆. I live full-time on this little water-world craft and long to mobilize as the wind blows.


  2. Tom Luque says:

    What a wonderful discovery to see if there’s more empty space to be utilized for storage. I discovered that using a vibrating saw creates very little dust and makes thinner cut lines. No scratches to surrounding area. Now to install led light when you open the door!
    You are quite the craftsman and provide excellent photos.

  3. says:

    It’s fun to see your projects. Thanks, Guerdon.

  4. Linda says:

    I have a Kelt 7.6 (almost 25 feet) but 99% of your ideas work so well with my boat! They are practical but reasonable at the same time – Thank you 🙏

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