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Old 02-11-2013, 13:41   #1
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Beneteau 500 refit?

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So the wife and I had a crazy thought and have never even researched this type of refit.

Our idea seems simple (as if anything ever is with a boat):
Making the two forward cabins into one owners cabin.

Is that wall that separates the two most for privacy and aesthetics? ie Is it structurally necessary? There are thousands of models out there with an owners cabin forward, so I can't imagine it is.

The idea would be to remove the wall (at the very least cut an archway) and remove one bed (creating a couch/vanity area), extend the other bed and turn one of the heads into a dedicated shower room.

Is this just absolutely ridiculous? Has anyone done or seen this? Is there a thread similar to this someone can point me to (a search didn't turn up anything, but on my iPhone nothing ever turns up)? Any idea what something like this might cost?

The future plan for the crew cabin would be to create a SCUBA room with a compressor and storage of the gear.
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Old 02-11-2013, 14:32   #2
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Re: Beneteau 500 refit?

Your concept is driven by living ashore. You will not need that much room for sleeping, comforts, which you only spend 1/3 of the day doing. The space would be better developed for a shareable workroom/office sort of place, where you can store all the items having to do with the running of the boat, file cabinets, computer space, and possibly storage space for opposite-season clothing. You definitely would want a larger bed, and I'd recommend about a standard double. For your benefit, it should be parallel to the center line of the boat, but this may interfere with access to the "scuba room". If you plan to use the berth under way, and some folks have a hard time sleepiing forward of the mast when the boat is going upwind, you will want either lee boards or lee cloths to keep you in the bunk when the boat heels. If you have scale drawings to work with, perhaps you'd be able to see how far out you can reasonably slide a berth out from the hull to approximate a rectangle. Our own master berth, while store-bought double bed sheets fit it, is slightly tapered at the foot and causes us no distress. However, neither of us is tall: Jim's 5'10".

When you're out cruising, most of your time usually is spent above decks, the saloon used for meals and some projects, and socializing in the heat of the day, in some areas. Often a significant portion is spent ashore exploring or in the water, snorkeling, fishing, exploring by dinghy.... That's the dream, but in reality, you'll be given the opportunity of fixing things...a lot. Hope you're ready for that, 'cause it can put paid to some folks' cruising.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 02-11-2013, 14:48   #3
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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Your concept is driven by living ashore. You will not need that much room for sleeping, comforts, which you only spend 1/3 of the day doing. The space would be better developed for a shareable workroom/office sort of place, where you can store all the items having to do with the running of the boat, file cabinets, computer space, and possibly storage space for opposite-season clothing. You definitely would want a larger bed, and I'd recommend about a standard double. For your benefit, it should be parallel to the center line of the boat, but this may interfere with access to the "scuba room". If you plan to use the berth under way, and some folks have a hard time sleepiing forward of the mast when the boat is going upwind, you will want either lee boards or lee cloths to keep you in the bunk when the boat heels. If you have scale drawings to work with, perhaps you'd be able to see how far out you can reasonably slide a berth out from the hull to approximate a rectangle. Our own master berth, while store-bought double bed sheets fit it, is slightly tapered at the foot and causes us no distress. However, neither of us is tall: Jim's 5'10". When you're out cruising, most of your time usually is spent above decks, the saloon used for meals and some projects, and socializing in the heat of the day, in some areas. Often a significant portion is spent ashore exploring or in the water, snorkeling, fishing, exploring by dinghy.... That's the dream, but in reality, you'll be given the opportunity of fixing things...a lot. Hope you're ready for that, 'cause it can put paid to some folks' cruising. Good luck with your project.
This is really good advice and input. Puts a couple things in perspective.

The idea for the owners cabin was born more out of a desire for a larger bed than extra "room" space. And also no need whatsoever for a 4th cabin. Less heads also equal less problems and less replacements, hence the idea of a dedicated shower room. I honestly had no idea what to really do with the other side if we could remove the wall. A storage area sounds like a much better use of space than a couch that will never, ever be used.

The crew cabin is accessed by a forward deck hatch so we would just leave access to it from there. No concern about the "door" in the berth.

Like I said, an idea fluttered into our brains while we are in the buying phase and looking at all our options.

Thanks again for the advice!
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:52   #4
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Re: Beneteau 500 refit?

anythings possible, and there arent many partitions on a boat that arent structural to some extent. likely an NA would tell you to replace that longitudinal member with a ring frame to open up the space, there are likely deck hardware issues to consider, maybe a cutter stay or baby stay attachment? youll need to assess how pounding loads are dispersed etc. did bene offer that model with a forward stateroom? have you called them to discuss the possibilities?
does the boat have a liner? is the deck insulated? have you ever worked with epoxy saturated fiberglass overhead? just a couple of things to consider.
this is a typical layout for the charter trade, i dont blame you for wanting to open it up and eliminate some heads, but it will likely be orders of magnitude more work than just taking a sawsall to the wall. and youll need to do the work correctly and document the change or your resale value could go to nil.
my .02
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:55   #5
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Can be done and was done on my 430 some years ago, the second door was left where it was, but from the inside of the cabin a "box" was added ... Now it is an extra storage cabinet.
Like Your idea of removing the second head and transforming it into a decent sized shower .... This is also on my mind.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:08   #6
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It can be easily done and for a lot less money than you might think.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:51   #7
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anythings possible, and there arent many partitions on a boat that arent structural to some extent. likely an NA would tell you to replace that longitudinal member with a ring frame to open up the space, there are likely deck hardware issues to consider, maybe a cutter stay or baby stay attachment? youll need to assess how pounding loads are dispersed etc. did bene offer that model with a forward stateroom? have you called them to discuss the possibilities? does the boat have a liner? is the deck insulated? have you ever worked with epoxy saturated fiberglass overhead? just a couple of things to consider. this is a typical layout for the charter trade, i dont blame you for wanting to open it up and eliminate some heads, but it will likely be orders of magnitude more work than just taking a sawsall to the wall. and youll need to do the work correctly and document the change or your resale value could go to nil. my .02
Really good advice, thank you!
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:52   #8
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Originally Posted by gabilo View Post
Can be done and was done on my 430 some years ago, the second door was left where it was, but from the inside of the cabin a "box" was added ... Now it is an extra storage cabinet. Like Your idea of removing the second head and transforming it into a decent sized shower .... This is also on my mind.
Did you remove the wall completely or create an arch? Do you happen to have a picture?

Thanks for the input!
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:53   #9
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It can be easily done and for a lot less money than you might think.
How much are you thinking?
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:43   #10
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Re: Beneteau 500 refit?

One easy way to determine if the longitudinal bulkhead is structural: check to see if it is properly tabbed into the hull, deck or sole and floors. If not, then it is not seriously structural. I'm not familiar with that particular boat, but many Bennies and other modern mass production boats have bulkheads that simply slot into grooves in the bonded liner that forms much of the interior of the boat. These are not load bearing in any big degree,and I should think their removal would not compromise strength.

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Old 03-11-2013, 12:51   #11
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It depends on how far you want to take it. What's under the existing beds? I suspect there is at least a water tank. Is it amidship? Can it be left in place?

The option for an additional berth in a new beneteau is only $1500-2000. Obviously, the cabinetry that you will desire in a master suite exceeds the requirements for smaller berths.

Not sure what part of the world you are in, but I know the jeanneau folks around here do a lot of semi custom work on new boats.

The key is to find a carpenter that will meet your expectations. As a beneteau owner, I can say that the carpentry is not "yacht" quality from the factory but it's obviously adequate. You need to find a local guy that can duplicate that level.

While older designs rely on wooden bulkheads for structural support, I guarantee that if you look closely at the wood structures in the beneteau, you will see that they are often "floating" on glue. Hardly structural...
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:58   #12
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Did you remove the wall completely or create an arch? Do you happen to have a picture? Thanks for the input!
Don't have a photo, the middle section was taken out completely, no arch. Our bed measures now 180x200cm
The only space sacrifice is about 35 cm into the cabin where we added the box for cabinet access able from the saloon by the former 2nd door.
With 2 hatches and 2 vents this is the "coolest" place on board.....and it can be hot in the Philippines
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