Down Below

This category of the Cruisers Q&A Forum is devoted to issues related to the interior of the boat.

If you have a question to add, just click on “Cruisers Q&A” in the sidebar, and use the form that you’ll find there.

Bedding & Storage Containers

Hi, have enjoyed reading your books. Was wondering what kind of bedding you use for circumnavigation taking in all the elements? Also, what kind of storage containers do you recommend for rice, flour, sugar etc…that last and keep things fresh? Thanks for the info…Jim

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Ergonomics On Board

Greetings. Does your library of encyclopedic knowledge have any definitive source(s) for optimum, spatial ergonomics for the interiors of vessels? For instance, passageways 18″ – 22″ wide? Head & shower stall sizes…what’s adequate (for basic duties and toweling off) yet still economic in size? In a “U” shaped galley is 36″ between counters OK? Seating around a dinette…how much room should be allowed for each “sitter” and comfortable “elbow room”? I trust you get my drift as the list of examples could go on forever. I’ve seen your comments on headroom but very little on provisions for comfort, ease and safety whilst moving about and living on a vessel in a seaway. Hopefully you’ve covered this subject before, but if not, it might make a good topic for consideration.

I should add that I fully appreciate the functioning of a proper boat…not a floating condominium or “gin palace”!…And know the danger factor of being thrown about in overly generous living and/or poorly designed interior spaces. Further, I acknowledge that this topic is subject to personal preferences but believe there is, or should be a baseline to start with. Thank you for any information you can provide. Cheers, Richard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Galley Sinks

My husband and I read articles on your site regularly. We have a 41-foot sailboat on a lake in New Mexico. Our plan is to retire in 3 years to go cruising. We have done extensive work on the boat to get her ready. I have looked everywhere for a deep, somewhat narrow double sink for the galley. I have seen these sinks on bareboat charter boats but have not been able to locate any. I would greatly appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you. Linda M

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Ventilation Systems

Steve, I’ve been reading your great site and wanted to ask a few questions/make a few comments. With ventilation systems (including conditioned air)? You don’t seem to use ducted systems, is there any reason for this? In my experience (non-marine), dual 6-inch (15cm) ducts would be adequate for the living area sizes you have. I’m not thinking of round ducts, but more a box section mounted in the ‘eaves’ area. Your thoughts? – Craig

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Alcohol Stoves

I was wondering if you could help me with information concerning Origo alcohol stoves. I use my boat for limited coastal cruising in the Channel Islands, CA. My boat is a Dreadnought 32 without a LPG system. Stove prices are comparable but for LPG I would spend $1,000 more for lockers, solenoids etc. I can’t find any performance or convenience info on these non-pressurized alcohol systems. Can you advise me?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

24V Lighting/Heating Systems

I read in PS May issue that your boat has a 24 volt system. Please let me know where one can easily buy 24 volt light blubs and fixtures. I’m having poor luck here in Northern Cal finding a source. Also, any good ideas for the best way to go for an interior heating system. Propane, diesel, etc. and best btus? Thanks, Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Armaflex Insulation

Dear Sir, I enjoyed your write up on using Armaflex for insolating the hull of your new FPB. Why did you use only 1/2" Armaflex on the hull for insulation? If you were planning to be in the Northwest most of the time, would you have used 1" or 1 1/2"? Did you equate an R-value for 1/2" Armaflex when compared to PF? Thanks, Dex

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Alcohol Stoves – More

I was wondering if you could help me with information concerning Origo alcohol stoves. I use my boat for limited coastal cruising in the Channel Islands, CA. My boat is a Dreadnought 32 without a LPG system. Stove prices are comparable but for LPG I would spend $1,000 more for lockers,solenoids etc. I can’t find any performance or convenience info on these non-pressurized alcohol systems. Can you advise me? – Nathan

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Vacuum Packing

Dear Steve and Linda- I read with great interest your article about vacuum packing food and clothes. (To read the article, click here.) We are planning on cruising the Caribbean in a few years, and I have a few questions if you don’t mind.

When you said that you vacuum packed cereals, how did you do that without crushing the cereal to crumbs? (Did you buy any of the Tillia hard storage containers, or use glass mason jars?) How did you vacuum pack flour into bags, without the flour being sucked into the machine?

Finally, how in the world do you get jackets into the little bags for the food/fresh saver? I can see using the bags sold to be compressed by a vacuum cleaner, as they are quite large, but haven’t had much real success with them keeping their seal–but I may have had a bad batch.

Thanks for your help. Beth

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Headroom for Tall Person

Hi Steve, I’m 6’4" tall and am wondering how soon I would begin to curse the day if I purchased a boat with less than 6’6" headroom. Would you suggest that I limit myself to designs having full headroom, probably in the 45 to 50 foot range, or does your experience indicate that I could adjust to 6’2" headroom and therefore be able to consider designs in the 40 to 45 foot range. Obviously no point in buying something I’m going to hate, so this is a critical question for me. Thx, David

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Walnut Shells for Teak Floors

Greetings from the Florida Keys. Of all the great values one can find, your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia is the best. We have used your book as a wonderful resource to guide our steps and now are the proud, and deliriously happy owners of a 45′ Columbia. An older boat, she is quite sound, needing only a lot of “elbow grease” and some electronics. We were fascinated by the application of ground walnut shells to teak saloon floors for a non-skid, good looking flooring (page 1034). Is there a supply source for the shells, or did you render them yourself? Thanks, Janine M.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cushion Fabrics

What can you tell me about sailboat cushion fabrics? We are building a 50-foot sailboat, and would like to have the most up to date info. Thanks, Thomas

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Hatch Orientation for Air Flow

I have several of your books (my wife accuses me of having them memorized). I spent a number of years cruising on a Bristol 32. This boat had hatches oriented only forward. My current boat is a Freedom 33. I am replacing the 4 hatches. The two on centerline on the cabintop I’m planning to replace with double opening hatches (probably Manship or possibly the Bomar Series 100 cast hatches). There are also 2 hatches towards the port side of the cabin top (which is crowned not flat but was built with flat areas for the hatches but slanting upward towards the centerline). One over the head and one over the galley. Currently they open to port (when open the opening is to port). I’m wondering if it would be better to have them open to starboard. Do you have any advice/opinion on this? I was also considering using the Bomar seabreeze offshore hatches for these 2 since they have the unique venting design. Any comments. Thanks in advance for your input. Regards, Alan

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Kerosene Fridges

Love your book which we refer to regularly. We have a motorsailer with an electric fridge which is not very efficient in our hot Australian climate. We have to run the generator almost constantly. We are not big fans of gas because of the dangers associated with it. Electrolux make a dual electric/kerosene fridge which we are contemplating. Could you please share your thoughts on kerosene fridges? Many thanks, Sally Luttrell.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cushion Fabrics

We love your book! Can you tell me more about the deadbolts you use to lock the hatch boards down? We have a Crealock 37 Yawl and would like to install these on our boat also. We have watched the video many, many times and learned so much. Thanks, D and M

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Interior Upholstery Project

I have planned to get new cushions and mattress for our boat before casting off, but we are running out of time. Have you done upholstery projects in Latin America or Caribbean? If so what is availability of quality foams, and other materials? Are you satisfied with quality of workmanship? Can you recommend anyone in particular? Thank you in advance for any information or advice. – Gregory

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Teledyne Vs. Webasto Hot Water Heaters

Hello, Because I am changing the interior of my wooden Van de Stadt Pacific sailing vessel I have to make several choices. Therefore I am happy with the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia because it is based on experience and that is what I need. It is my intention to install a hot water heating system and in the encyclopedia is mentioned a Teledyne system what would be a better system in comparison with Webasto, which I know well. Is it possible to send me an e-mail adress from Teledyne because I like to know more about the system.I was not succesful in finding Teledyne on the internet, and I am sure you can help me. Thank you very much in advance. Greetings, Paul

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Leather Upholstery

We are about 1/3 of the way through a refit of our Westsail 42 “Heartland” and are now beginning to think about what type of material to use on the dinette and saloon cushions. Ironically we have come across a quantity of leather for a great price but are reluctant to buy. Can you shed any light on how leather would hold up to the marine envirnoment? Thank Your Time, John & Deanna

PS: You Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia has proven invaluable during our refit.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Making Velcro Work for Headliner Panels

A SetSailor sent in an excellent idea for making velcro work for headliner panels:

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Glacier Bay Fridge System

Dear Steve and Linda, I have refitted our 60′ cutter with Glacier Bay refrigeration (DC Whisper Jet, 24v). We also added an 8000 BTU and 16000 BTU air-cond unit forwd and aft. This system has been very tempermental. We are on our third compressor. Leak testing is a nightmare. We have an excellent technician on this install and we have now borne the additional expenses of several faulty components having to be traced out and replaced, each time with the added cost of pulling a new vacuum and recharge with 134. We have followed the manual and Glacier Bay’s instructions to the letter. Among the problems we discovered is a great variation in the amp loads between the fridge, freezer and ac. We are about to give up. I heard from a Florida broker that you had tried this system and went another direction. Do you know someone with a wealth of knowledge about this system? Glacier Bay does not seem to have any solution. It was only after we installed our system that Glacier Bay came out with amp hour recommendations. Our system cannot even perform well with a constant AC source from dock power feeding the battery charger (we installed a new "smart" VMI 24v charger. Another issue is that the battery charger keeps a constant voltage of 27.6 to the Glacier Bay system, while the Balmar alternator runs willy nilly up and down the scale, depending on engine rpm. Would a voltage regulator help this situation? We boiled the electrolyte out of the fridge/frzer 24v bank while motorsailing. Sorry for this barrage of issues. I would appreciate any suggestion. Thanks, Wayne

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Washing Machine Technology

Steve: Hi, We are one of those sailors who bought one of these machines and found out the not immediately apparent serious limitation of these machines: There is high volume of water consumption not for washing but to accomplish the condensation: there is a constant stream of cold water is piped to cool the drum.

And there is another big problem: the temperature of the cooling water. In the tropics the 85+F water temp may not accomplish the condensation at all?! We decided to forgo the installation all together and go to manual machines with clothes lines…John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Fridge Organization

We have an Ice Box (we are considering putting a cold plate or other cooling thingie in but the question remains the same). Has anyone come up with a handy way to utilize this unfriendly space? It is top loading, deep, and much longer than it is wide. I get very cranky trying to keep it together, get in there without a neck cramp and use the food before it goes bad. I was thinking there may be some plastic baskets that are tiered or stackable. Any ideas? Best, Carol

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Air Conditioning

Hi, Please advise Re: Installing aircon unit to sailing vessel. Will appreciate any data re: above. Tks,Martin

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

More on Washing Machines

Hi Linda and Steve: I am enjoying your articles about maintaining Beowulf, and was interested in the piece on your washing machine.

My wife is happy enough to wash by hand, but would like a spin dryer or similar.

Can you offer any advice? – Thanks, Chris

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Ozone Generators

Hi Steve, I have an ozone generator made by Quantum but I have been reluctant to leave it on for long periods because I understood that ozone would cause deterioration of rubber goods. I see that you leave it on the boat during lay up. Is it on constantly? How do you use it ? Thanks Mike B. s/v Spurwing

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

A/C & Fridge

I am getting ready to install a heat/air conditioning unit in my Sabre 42. I recently installed an Adler/Barbor 12 volt refrigeration unit with a water cooling option. I am wondering if I could use just one thru hull to supply both units. If I remember correctly, you used a manifold arrangement, with one thru hull, to supply water to several items on the Sundeer 64.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

More on Washing Machines

Steve, I’ve got a question about the combination clothes washer/dryer you show in the Beowulf video. Is it vented or not? And how happy are you with its performance? Would you recommend it? Thanks, Kyle, Colorado Springs, CO

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Flooring and Wall Covering Materials

We have purchased a 1973 43′ Gulfstar Trawler which is in need of interior refurbishing. We are interested in cork or bamboo products for flooring and wall paneling. Would these products be acceptable for the marine environment? Thank you- Kathleen and Rufus

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Settees and Bunks

Hallo Linda and Steve: My name is Barbara. My family, it mins my husband and nine years old son, plan to spend a large part of ours lifes on yacht. So our new home is being built and we have some questions how to make living on yacht more comfortable. I bought your book but I did not find few answers:for example, if is it a good idea to make leather seats, what fibres are the best on beds. I will be very greatfull if you help me. Barbara from Poland

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mold

I BOUGHT A YACHT WITH MOLD INSIDE ON MOST HULL SURFACES WHICH WE HAVE SANDBLASTED. I HAVE CHECKED MANY SOURCES FOR RECOMMENDATIONS. HAVE RECEIVED MANY FROM SPRAY BENZALCONIUM CHLORIDE TO GLACIC ACETIC ACID AND ALCOHOL TO PLAIN CHLORINE BLEACH SPRAY. DO YOU OR ANY ONE HAVE AND RECOMMENDATIONS OR SULUTIONS? FRED

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dryers

Hi Steve (and Linda), Just read your dryer update, that’s too bad it isn’t working well. Have you ever considered using a household gas fired dryer, converted to propane, with a 110 VAC motor and vented? I am considering this route, but have yet to find anyone with firsthand knowledge. What are your thoughts? Thanks, Bill K. from the USA

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)