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For those who may not know, a lazarette is defined as “a small storeroom within the hull of a ship, especially one at the extreme stern.” Strangely, it is also known as a glory hole…why glory hole? I have no idea.  To those of us who have spent time on sailboats two things stand out about a lazarette.  First, they are indeed quite small.  Often, on sailboats up to forty feet long and even a bit longer, they are so small as to barely be able to be entered at all.  And, secondly, generally, they are absolutely filthy.

On sailboats up to or perhaps just a tad bigger than forty feet long, the lazarette is entered through one of the seats located in the cockpit.  All sorts of things are located there.  For instance, much of the boats wiring harnesses pass through this area.  On our Hunter 31, the auto pilot and knot meter wiring winds its way through it.  The engine room air exchanger/blower along with their hoses live there…the engine exhaust hoses as well.  The fuel tank is there, as are the fuel filters and hoses.  The pressurized water pump, the battery charger, hot water heater, and one of the three battery banks make their home there.  The refrigeration system and much of the 110 AC shore power wiring is also tucked into this space.  Once inside, not an easy act to accomplish in itself, one sits on the battery with barely elbow room to work on any of this equipment that might need servicing.

Now, as some of you might know, I’m an Industrial Engineer; my husband is a mechanical engineer.  Between us, we have almost eighty years of engineering and construction experience, including professional engineer (PE) credentials.  Between us we have fifty to sixty years of sailing experience…general boating experience that goes back to when we were kids.  And, to boot, we are both excellent wood workers with a shop that has almost any major power tool one can imagine including joiners, planers, band saws, table routers, etc…and a collection of small tools, sanders, routers, drills, etc that would rival Home Depot or Lowes.

When we bought our Hunter 31 sailboat, though it was in excellent condition and we got an absolute wonderful deal on it, nonetheless it was a 1986 model and 25 years or so old.  Most sailboats have a lot of finished cabinet wood on the inside.  In the case of ours, everything is either teak or mahogany.  Though neither one of us said anything to each other at the time of our purchase, we both knew it was only a matter of time before the interior of our boat was redone.  For us, with little said, that work started about a month ago.

We have completely ripped the entire interior out of the boat right down to the sole (floor).  The sole itself has been removed and used as a pattern for its replacement.  We chose not to go with a traditional teak and holly sole but teak by itself.  All of the cabinetry that will not be modified has been sanded down to bare wood and most have already been refinished with six built up coats of polyurethane.  The sole itself has eight coats of polyurethane on it (two more coats to go) each coat sanded with progressively higher grit wet sand paper.

The pressurized alcohol oven/stove has been modified to full propane.  The hot water heater, though functional, was completely replaced this weekend with a new one.  And the entire electrical service panel is in the process of being moved from under the passageway to the chart table area as is the air conditioning.

The settee/dining area is being completely redesigned.  The original design was for two booth style seats on each side of a rather large fixed-in-place table on the starboard side of the boat.  Our new design will convert that same set up to a completely curved, eliptical booth area with a much smaller, elliptical table located in the center.  We have already made this smaller elliptical table from solid mahogany.  The dining table will be removable so that the entire curved booth back will act as a headboard for a queen size salon berth running across the beam.  There will be additional counter space with this design allowing us to convert an existing food locker into an additional and larger refrigerator/freezer.  We’ve replace the enameled sink with one of 316 stainless steel.

This, of course, is a lot of work and somewhat stressful as the old adage of “measure twice, cut once” comes into play.  Solid teak and Honduran mahogany, as well as teak plywood and marine plywood is not cheap…one sheet 4’0 X 8’0 piece of ¾” teak veneer, exterior, lumber core plywood is over $170 with tax.  The two coats of deep penetrating epoxy resin that was needed to coat just the underside of the cabin sole was about $90.  The kind of work we’re doing does not lend itself well to screwing up and we are both constantly looking over each other’s shoulder to assure no time and money consuming screw ups happen.  But, it’s fun, and both of us really don’t need supervision from the other, only communication.  We both work well independently…if we didn’t, we’d never get this project done.

Pictures, of course, will be forthcoming when or as we are finishing things up.



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