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Old 09-06-2016, 23:27   #1
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Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing boat)

So I just purchased my first boat to live aboard. I sold my home and this seemed like a fun inexpensive short-term solution. I'm trying to decide how to redesign the interior, and would love some help from people who know more about boats.


The boat is a 37' wooden commercial fishing boat built in 1962. It was (mostly) converted to liveaboard at some point, and somehow ended up with TWO galleys/eating areas. This is obviously a huge waste of space.


The head is tiny and uncomfortable and has no sink, and there is no shower, so I'd like to change everything around, removing the extra kitchen to make room for a larger head that doubles as a shower (self-cleaning!).
The boat has three main sections:
  1. Aft cabin (~10x8-10?). This is built on what used to be the fish hold. Contains the newer galley (sink, propane RV oven/stove, fridge) with L-shaped counter, a small dining table, and some generous shelving.
  2. Forward Cabin (~10x8-10?). This is the boat's original cabin, it is above the engine room and you must step up about 2' to get into it. Contains the steering wheel and captain's chair, a large u-shaped bench/table to starboard that doubles as a double bed, and the original small galley (sink, diesel oven/stove).
  3. V-berth. Contains 3 small bunks and the head on the port side.
My priorities:
  • Turn the v-berth into more of a stateroom, with a double bed and cupboards.
  • Add a shower and larger head
I'm not sure whether it would be a better idea to:
a) enlarge the head and add a shower to it, making it an all-in-one head/shower;
b) design some sort of fold-away shower on the starboard side of the v-berth (where the entrance to the engine room is);
c) come up with a way to install a shower in the forward cabin, where it would be above the water line and so not require an additional sump pump.


My brother also suggested removing the forward galley, moving the aft galley into the forward cabin, and putting the stateroom in the aft cabin. I'm not sure how I would arrange the rest of the boat in this situation.


Any advice or info on standard practices/conventions would be awesome!!
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:35   #2
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Quote:
Originally Posted by jawshuwah View Post
...this seemed like a fun inexpensive short-term solution.,,,
Ouch! Possibly not.

Anyway, what I would do in your situation, if you have not already done so, is start looking through the various boat sales web sites to find interior layouts that would map easily to yours.

I have found most of the solutions to my interior layout and design needs doing this.

And it is not clear how experienced you are with the sort of work that needs to be done. Marine fitout is a little different to normal cabinet making and interior work. I found my copy of "From a bare hull" by Ferenc Mate to be surprisingly helpful at the level it appears you will be working at. Someone here on C.F. recommended it to me, and I will always be in their debt for that bit of wisdom. This is from a person who has been renovating houses since he was a child, had built a number of "marine craft" by his 20s and had even done a motor home fitout. When I got to our current boat I realised I had a lot to learn.

Matt
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:38   #3
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Quote:
Originally Posted by jawshuwah View Post

The boat has three main sections:

  1. Aft cabin (~10x8-10?). This is built on what used to be the fish hold. Contains the newer galley (sink, propane RV oven/stove, fridge) with L-shaped counter, a small dining table, and some generous shelving.
  2. Forward Cabin (~10x8-10?). This is the boat's original cabin, it is above the engine room and you must step up about 2' to get into it. Contains the steering wheel and captain's chair, a large u-shaped bench/table to starboard that doubles as a double bed, and the original small galley (sink, diesel oven/stove).
  3. V-berth. Contains 3 small bunks and the head on the port side.
Have a look at the layouts of some of the old Halvorsen Cruisers from the 40s and 50s... I reckon they might map quite well to what you describe here.
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Old 10-06-2016, 04:34   #4
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, jawshuwah.
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:11   #5
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Hi Jawshuw
My 43' wooden boat Moufflon sounds very much like your boat, but mine is a sail craft, Aft is Saloon, Kitchen, Sink, food storage and horseshoe seating for 5-7 each side of the horseshoe can sleep a person, moving fwd up 3 steps into central Wheelhouse with hydro steering, underfoot is a 3.8ltr Mercedes 417 diesel engine, seating for 3 or (Sgl cot) down 3 steps fore to aft, corridor from center line to right, to the right is access to engine space around corner by batteries to the right.
Fwd again, on left is a big double berth cabin, on Rh side is a large sgl cabin, next on Lh side is a WC Sink and Shower, next forward is the Master v berth with two big cupboards and chest of draws down the side.
My wife and I lived comfortable on her while I was working in a suite job...
So, the space is ok, what is important is the head room, it needs to be nearly 7' IF you have more then lift your floor, this will win you extra space from the bulge of the boat. WC / shower to main bedroom is important, (night time) ladies hate people to know their business, our WC/ Shower is 2 to 3 paces away from any berth.
Do NOT give a monkeys for any accommodation, but your own, guest get fed, drink. go to sleep..find the WC or over the side. we have a big canopy over the aft deck and stairs running down to wheelhouse, all controls are duplicated and two big benches for gas and seating.
No, not telling you how to do yours but, this has worked for me for over 30 years.
Peter
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:40   #6
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

A 37' fish-boat of that vintage converts to a VERY small home. Every cubic inch will count!

If I were in your shoes, I would start by doing NOTHING to the boat, but spending my time with a clean sheet of paper on the drawing board and a pencil in one hand and a scale ruler in the other. 1/2" = 1 foot is good scale for this. Then I'd un-confuse myself by drawing a plan of interior arrangements as I would LIKE to have them - constrained of course by the lines (the shape) of the hull which you cannot alter. I would do that without giving the slightest thought to the existing arrangements.

Step #2 would be to "edit" the existing arrangements to conform to what you would like, thereby defining all the bits of the existing interior that need to be moved/eliminated to arrive at what you'd really like to have.

Up to this point you'll have spent ten bux on paper and pencils. "Thoughts are free" as a famous German poet said in another context.

Once you've un-confused yourself (and become a half-fast yacht designer) you can start spending bux on doing the work. At that point there'll be no limit to the bux you can spend.

Assume your boat is 20K lbs light displacement, which won't be far off the mark. Know, then, that construction cost run about fiveandtwentybux per lbs, i.e. half a million bux for a new vessel of this size. 20% of that is the hull itself, i.e. about a hundred grand. The remaining 400 grand is fitting out and equipment. Cut that in half since you are only looking for a floating apartment with no serious operational requirements. Now you are down to 200K. Cut that in half because you'll be doing the work yourself - to drawings prepared by yourself :-) - and you are down a budget of about a hundred grand for what you are proposing to do.

Best to do some drawing and some thinking before you open your wallet any further than you already have. :-)

Don't forget that in the more civilized parts of the Earth, mooring costs are going to be five grand a year, and because she is wooden, the annual haul-outs for bottom maintenance will run two or three grand :-)!

TrentePieds
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:59   #7
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Wow thanks all for the great responses! Lots of really great advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Ouch! Possibly not.
Ha true! I suppose I mean that the moorage is much cheaper than rent/mortgage. The previous owner lived aboard in its current condition, so it COULD theoretically continue to be cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
And it is not clear how experienced you are with the sort of work that needs to be done.
Honestly, not at all. I'm totally new to this, but I love learning to do things I know nothing about, and try to make sure I do at least the necessary research.

I'll take a look at those Halvorsen cruisers... was hoping someone would mention specific boats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, jawshuwah.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moufflon View Post
Do NOT give a monkeys for any accommodation, but your own, guest get fed, drink. go to sleep..find the WC or over the side.
Love this advice. I was thinking along these lines... make my life comfortable, and design for the maximum number of potential guests but as for comfort, it's fold down bunks wherever they can be fit in.

Anyone who has been doing this as long as you is more than welcome to tell this newby how to do mine! Your boat sounds a little roomier than mine, definitely thinking of doing the awning and maybe a second wheel as I have hydro steer also.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
A 37' fish-boat of that vintage converts to a VERY small home. Every cubic inch will count!
Yes it is a small space, although I once road tripped to South America in my old land cruiser... after 2 years living in a truck, I'm trying to think of what to do with all this space!

Good advice on the drawing board, I will take it and do just that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
The remaining 400 grand is fitting out and equipment. Cut that in half since you are only looking for a floating apartment with no serious operational requirements. Now you are down to 200K. Cut that in half because you'll be doing the work yourself - to drawings prepared by yourself :-) - and you are down a budget of about a hundred grand for what you are proposing to do.

Best to do some drawing and some thinking before you open your wallet any further than you already have. :-)
I'm guilty of being optimistic to a fault, and I don't intend to stop anytime soon

So far my budget is:
  • $400-$500 for hot water:
  • $900-$1,000 for a washer/dryer
  • $400 for a shower setup (including sump and something like this)
  • $1,000-$1,500 for wood (yellow cedar?) for interior furnishings
  • $1,000 for tools
  • $1,000 for water lines, misc fittings, leather, etc.
  • $1,000 for fiberglass, stainless steel, fittings (moisture-proof head/shower)
  • $250 for a new freshwater demand pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Don't forget that in the more civilized parts of the Earth, mooring costs are going to be five grand a year, and because she is wooden, the annual haul-outs for bottom maintenance will run two or three grand :-)!
Yes that's true. I need to do the garboard seam this year and some calking, possibly replace a plank or two (another $2,000-$3,000 to the budget? I'm told haul-outs are $400 where I am). The mooring I have is pretty cheap, but it's about what you estimate. If I ever want to stop living aboard it my family has a dock in a very very protected cove, I could leave it there. But for now, I really like the community it's moored at.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:07   #8
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Before you put more time and money into the interior....when was the boat refastened? Is the bilge and engine room dry? Lots of ventilation everywhere? Electrical and plumbing systems up to snuff? Make sure the basic boat is problem free before you gut it and do a new interior.
Been there-done that-learned a lot- spent waaay to much money.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:44   #9
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

I've spent years on wood fishing boats. I live on a wood boat. Learn to cook on the diesel stove. Propane is dangerous in a hull. It's heaver than air, collects in the bilge and eventually goes boom. A byproduct of propane cooking is moisture. Your clothes, bedding will be damp all the time in the winter. The diesel will keep the boat much dryer. With a water coil will also make your hot water or transfer heat to other places with a pump and radiator.
What ever you do, don't drain the shower into the bilge and then pump. The soap will will rot the wood. I've found it's better to have a small stand alone shower than a shower with a toilet in the middle. Sewage is illegal in US waters. Don't get caught. I use an Incinolet. Others use composting heads or holding tanks.
Some pics of a wood fishing boat in Alaska with propane cooking:
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:56   #10
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Wow thanks all for the great responses! Lots of really great advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Ouch! Possibly not.
Ha true! I suppose I mean that the moorage is much cheaper than rent/mortgage. The previous owner lived aboard in its current condition, so it COULD theoretically continue to be cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
And it is not clear how experienced you are with the sort of work that needs to be done.
Honestly, not at all. I'm totally new to this, but I love learning to do things I know nothing about, and try to make sure I do at least the necessary research.

I'll take a look at those Halvorsen cruisers... was hoping someone would mention specific boats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, jawshuwah.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moufflon View Post
Do NOT give a monkeys for any accommodation, but your own, guest get fed, drink. go to sleep..find the WC or over the side.
Love this advice. I was thinking along these lines... make my life comfortable, and design for the maximum number of potential guests but as for comfort, it's fold down bunks wherever they can be fit in.

Anyone who has been doing this as long as you is more than welcome to tell this newby how to do mine! Your boat sounds a little roomier than mine, definitely thinking of doing the awning and maybe a second wheel as I have hydro steer also.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
A 37' fish-boat of that vintage converts to a VERY small home. Every cubic inch will count!
Yes it is a small space, although I once road tripped to South America in my old land cruiser... after 2 years living in a truck, I'm trying to think of what to do with all this space!

Good advice on the drawing board, I will take it and do just that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
The remaining 400 grand is fitting out and equipment. Cut that in half since you are only looking for a floating apartment with no serious operational requirements. Now you are down to 200K. Cut that in half because you'll be doing the work yourself - to drawings prepared by yourself :-) - and you are down a budget of about a hundred grand for what you are proposing to do.

Best to do some drawing and some thinking before you open your wallet any further than you already have. :-)
I'm guilty of being optimistic to a fault, and I don't intend to stop anytime soon

So far my budget is:
  • $400-$500 for hot water:
  • $900-$1,000 for a washer/dryer
  • $400 for a shower setup (including sump and something like this)
  • $1,000-$1,500 for wood (yellow cedar?) for interior furnishings
  • $1,000 for tools
  • $1,000 for water lines, misc fittings, leather, etc.
  • $1,000 for fiberglass, stainless steel, fittings (moisture-proof head/shower)
  • $250 for a new freshwater demand pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Don't forget that in the more civilized parts of the Earth, mooring costs are going to be five grand a year, and because she is wooden, the annual haul-outs for bottom maintenance will run two or three grand :-)!
Yes that's true. I need to do the garboard seam this year and some calking, possibly replace a plank or two (another $2,000-$3,000 to the budget? I'm told haul-outs are $400 where I am). The mooring I have is pretty cheap, but it's about what you estimate. If I ever want to stop living aboard it my family has a dock in a very very protected cove, I could leave it there. But for now, I really like the community it's moored at.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:59   #11
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

And I see that the boat was succinctly and appropriately called "FIREMAN"!

TrentePieds
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:25   #12
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

A friend is just about to finish updating his '56 wooden boat to a cruising standard. Plenty of interior refit, etc. Three years' project with him on board most of the time and anything from one to six extra hands doing the menial jobs.

YOU ARE GREAT

I would never find the amount of dedication and time it takes to convert a wooden boat into a wooden cruising machine.

Best of luck and let us see the progress!

PS My tip: find a place where you can work throughout the year, at a low cost and with good access to materials, services and skilled labour!!!!

Cheers,
b.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:36   #13
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Hmmm having trouble posting replies, must be reviewed by a moderator...

Here is my rough drawing of the boat's current layout

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Old 10-06-2016, 12:43   #14
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b

Wow thanks all for the great responses! Lots of really great advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Ouch! Possibly not.
Ha true! I suppose I mean that the moorage is much cheaper than rent/mortgage. The previous owner lived aboard in its current condition, so it COULD theoretically continue to be cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
And it is not clear how experienced you are with the sort of work that needs to be done.
Honestly, not at all. I'm totally new to this, but I love learning to do things I know nothing about, and try to make sure I do at least the necessary research.

I'll take a look at those Halvorsen cruisers... was hoping someone would mention specific boats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, jawshuwah.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moufflon View Post
Do NOT give a monkeys for any accommodation, but your own, guest get fed, drink. go to sleep..find the WC or over the side.
Love this advice. I was thinking along these lines... make my life comfortable, and design for the maximum number of potential guests but as for comfort, it's fold down bunks wherever they can be fit in.

Anyone who has been doing this as long as you is more than welcome to tell this newby how to do mine! Your boat sounds a little roomier than mine, definitely thinking of doing the awning and maybe a second wheel as I have hydro steer also.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
A 37' fish-boat of that vintage converts to a VERY small home. Every cubic inch will count!
Yes it is a small space, although I once road tripped to South America in my old land cruiser... after 2 years living in a truck, I'm trying to think of what to do with all this space!

Good advice on the drawing board, I will take it and do just that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
The remaining 400 grand is fitting out and equipment. Cut that in half since you are only looking for a floating apartment with no serious operational requirements. Now you are down to 200K. Cut that in half because you'll be doing the work yourself - to drawings prepared by yourself :-) - and you are down a budget of about a hundred grand for what you are proposing to do.

Best to do some drawing and some thinking before you open your wallet any further than you already have. :-)
I'm guilty of being optimistic to a fault, and I don't intend to stop anytime soon

So far my budget is:
  • $400-$500 for hot water
  • $900-$1,000 for a washer/dryer
  • $400 for a shower setup (including sump and something like this)
  • $1,000-$1,500 for wood (yellow cedar?) for interior furnishings
  • $1,000 for tools
  • $1,000 for water lines, misc fittings, leather, etc.
  • $1,000 for fiberglass, stainless steel, fittings (moisture-proof head/shower)
  • $250 for a new freshwater demand pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Don't forget that in the more civilized parts of the Earth, mooring costs are going to be five grand a year, and because she is wooden, the annual haul-outs for bottom maintenance will run two or three grand :-)!
Yes that's true. I need to do the garboard seam this year and some calking, possibly replace a plank or two (another $2,000-$3,000 to the budget? I'm told haul-outs are $400 where I am). The mooring I have is pretty cheap, but it's about what you estimate. If I ever want to stop living aboard it my family has a dock in a very very protected cove, I could leave it there. But for now, I really like the community it's moored at.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:48   #15
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Re: Just purchased first liveaboard, need major refit advice (37' wooden ex fishing b




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