Monday, 10 August 2015

Renovating the Boat Galley

There comes a point when frustration takes over and it changes your motivation. It doesn’t increase or diminish it but it makes you re-order your priorities. It is almost the end of July and to date I can count the number of sailing trips on the fingers of one hand. Why is that? Because last year was all about the exterior of the boat – this year the focus turned to the cabin and a perfect day for sailing is also a perfect day for sanding varnishing and painting – you can’t do both.

To some extent I have been my own worst enemy. Let’s face it the cabin was fine – so long as you kept your eyes closed – maybe I should have done more of that. Instead, I have sanded off all the old varnish from the woodwork and removed every bit of flaking paint – and then every surface has had at least five coats of paint or varnish – a bit over the top really. Only a few bits left to do and then I have a blank canvass to work with. A space I can use to create a real ‘boaty’ feel - wooden bulkheads, shelves, a decent cooking area and a sink large enough to put a plate in.

The most recent bit of work has been to renovate the galley area. Most of the surfaces there are covered in tired Formica of a particularly bland design. My initial reaction was to remove it – all of it – but then, what to replace it with? The galley area gets hard use and what other material would do the job? My next reaction was to apply new Formica over the old. For a while I wondered whether the product still existed so I was pleasantly surprised to find the company’s website and even happier when I saw the range of colours and patterns available. 

My problem however, turned out to be finding a local supplier willing to sell me a relatively small amount.  I found I could purchase similar materials in small quantities but they came in the form of kitchen work surfaces, so thick they would have reduced the galley space to an unacceptable size. There are sticky plastic products that can be stuck over old Formica like a film but, I wasn’t sure that they would be hard-wearing enough and anyway, I doubted my ability to get them on without creases. wrinkles or bubbles. So, in the end I settled on paint – two coats of marine quality undercoat (that I already had) and three coats of high-gloss yacht paint. I’m pleased with the results so far.

In the last few years two new words entered the UK vocabulary. Who knows, they might already be
in the latest editions of the Oxford English Dictionary. The first word – ‘staycation’ – a term which came out of the 2007 economic recession – meaning a vacation taken within the UK rather than an expensive trip to sunnier and warmer locations. The other term – ‘glamping’ – meaning glamorous camping – this is what many staycationers aimed for.

Well out of these two movements came a plethora of ideas for being warm, comfortable and happy on low budget, stay-at-home holidays. In fact a whole style movement seems to have been born. People are purchasing old 1950’s and 1960’s caravans and refurbishing them in a bright retro colours, suddenly these vintage years are back in vogue – and so, I guess, my old boat could be a contender for a retro style award. Well, that at least is my explanation for the colour chosen for my refurbished galley area – a tip of the hat to retro style in an old boat of the period. Who knows, maybe I could invent a new term for frugal sailing – Glamailing? Glamachting? Glamoating?