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Old 24-02-2012, 08:43   #1
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To Cut or Not to Cut - Underseat Cabinets

I have a Starwind 27. It's very similar in layout and design to a Catalina 27.

All of the benches, v-berth, etc. are molded into the liner. They all have access panels on top. However, you have to lift the large V-berth cushions or sofa cushions and the heavy sofa pull-out section just to access the wooden panels that then also must be pulled up to get to anything you might have stored in these areas.

Storage is a big problem on this boat. Aside from the underseat storage, there's an open shelf behind each seat, a small cupboard and one cabinet in the galley.

Step 1
Closing up the shelves behind the seats is going to make the boat seem smaller, but it will provide more secure stowage, a cleaner looking interior, and doesn't affect the structure in any way. It's on my list of things to do this season.

Step 2
I'd really like to cut open the fiberglass on the front of my starboard couch and put sliding doors in for faster underseat access. However, someone told me that the integrity of the liner was key to keeping the boat afloat if it started taking on water. I don't want to start cutting if it will collapse the couch or make me sink. Does anyone have any input on whether or not this is risky? (FYI, the water tank is under the port couch, so there's no reason to open that side.)

Step 3
The V-berth has a cut-out area with an access panel to the bilge pump, transducer, etc. However, to get to head through-hulls you have to move the cushions and pull out a big fiberglass storage container. I'm thinking I would just cut out part of the V-berth in that front access area, so I could get to everything from the front, and then put a cabinet door across the current open area to create a storage cabinet. Again, is this maximizing use of space or is it a bad idea to cut on the V-berth?

Thanks for any feedback.

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Old 24-02-2012, 08:57   #2
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

I'd be careful about modifying the v-berth. Not only does it function as part of the boat's crush protection in a collision, but adding significant weight in the bows is a good way to destroy a boat's performance, especially in heavy weather. Think of this as a safety issue: a bow-heavy boat will be prone to broaching, especially off the wind. Into the wind a bow-heavy boat will be quite wet.

As far as step one, it might be good to create a full-size prototype out of cardboard and duct tape and live with it installed for at least a weekend aboard. Does it transform your interior into a cave where you're going to hate spending a rainy day? If so, you've answered your question.

I can't see any problem with step two, but even here I'd be asking the question of how many hours of labor will be invested so that you no longer have to spend 30 seconds lifting/replacing cushions. It may be years before your time-saving improvement pays off.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:06   #3
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

First off.......Wow, the boat has really come along since I last saw it!!

For the Vberth access, why not just put a screw in deckplate in where you need to get to the valves? It's done all the time to access the hard to get to items.

Deck Plate / Inspection Port



As far as the settee storage, These are open at the top? just build a small door that is hinged at the bottom and latched at the top. It can then be on the face of the settee and opened like a cabinet without the pain of building a slider. Your liner is not flotation nor is it structural in this area of the boat, rather a builders way of avoiding cabinetry work.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:08   #4
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

I was really thinking of storing towels and clothes under the V-berth, so I wasn't going to add much weight. My worry was whether or not the holding tank would make them smell.

As for under the starboard bench, that's where I'd like to store my tools, and if I could slide them in and out quickly without uprooting everyone and everything, it would be a big plus.

The seatback cabinets wouldn't cover the windows, but you're right, it may still feel too narrow.

Right now everything just gets stuffed into the aft berth, but I'd really like to get that bed back, so four of us could sleep on the boat.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:16   #5
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
First off.......Wow, the boat has really come along since I last saw it!!
Ok, the two photos with the carpeted interior aren't actually my boat. However, it is almost unrecognizable since you saw it last, and I do now have upholstery. I just didn't have a photo showing the entire interior.

If you're back in Houston, you should come by and see it. I'm having a new prop installed this Sunday, so we'll probably be sailing next weekend if you want to come.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:22   #6
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

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My worry was whether or not the holding tank would make them smell.
If a wet rag rubbed on the tank smells, then the towels and clothes would smell. Otherwise should be no problem other than boat smell.

We're back in Houston, the boat is still in Isla Mujeres. I'm bringing it back once the south wind returns, there's nothing more unpleasant than crossing the gulf with a cold front beating you into submission.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:31   #7
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

you could put in those round plastic port holes that screw in on a thread. it will still be water tight then and you would have access to the wasted space.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:53   #8
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
... As far as the settee storage, These are open at the top? just build a small door that is hinged at the bottom and latched at the top. It can then be on the face of the settee and opened like a cabinet without the pain of building a slider. Your liner is not flotation nor is it structural in this area of the boat, rather a builders way of avoiding cabinetry work.
Indeed.
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:56   #9
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Re: To cut or not to cut: underseat cabinets

I have had boats with front access for settee storage as well as top (lift the cushion) access. I dont think cutting to get the front access will be worth your time. It's hard getting down on your hands and knees and trying to shove things around to get what you want. So it's well worth it to just move the cushion and find from the top. Generally I see no issue with putting moderate size openings to access under the V berth.... again... not sure if it will be easy access though.
ie: is it easier to get down on your knees, pull out several things to find what you want, stuff those things back in....or easier to move the cushion and just grab what you want from the top?
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Old 25-02-2012, 20:06   #10
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Re: To Cut or Not to Cut - Underseat Cabinets

Interesting thread as I am in similar situation with my Compac 27. I have the cabinet doors on the settee fronts for access in addition to access under the seat cushion. I typically go into the cabinet through these doors. I am planning to build a cabinet (32 inches wide) to sit on the aft end of the starboard settee. This will leave sitting room for two and I will lose that berth, it will be bolted in and can be restored (if needed later). Will still have the settee that makes a double and the vberth, ( no quarter berth). My only access to the under vberth storage is under the cushions, I am installing access doors that will permit access to that area. I love my size boat but most smaller boats that are not custom or blue water pocket cruisers do not come with the storage that some owners want. I had the same concern about enlarging my liner access holes behind the settee seat back cushions. Sleeping more than two on my 27 is very short term.
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