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E39 Quarter Berth Remodel Part 1

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We finally arrived at the point in the never ending list of boat improvement projects where it made sense to start modifying the interior of SolAire. I've been resisting doing this over the years due to the expense of doing it correctly and also I'm not one to just modify for the sake of modifying. The vast majority of our time using our boat has been racing around Galveston Bay and out in the Gulf of Mexico. We have not been cruising or spending a lot of time hanging out anchored off some lovely island as no such place exists here. I like to use my experiences to inform how I want things to be different and we just didn't have that in our boat. However there was one spot in the boat that was easy to see that it was under-utilized: the nav station area.

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The E39 does not have a formal nav table, just a wide counter space on the port side of the boat opposite the galley. It was an awkward location with no good way to stand facing aft. The setee/berth was in the way as well as the rise of the hull. One could slide flats of water or beer back under the counter, but there was plenty of volume that just wasn't accessible. The berth/setee was too short to lay on and was really just a bench with limited storage underneath due to the rise of the hull.

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Another issue was the bulkhead just forward of this location was heavily stained from water leaks and felt quite flimsy when grabbed in anger in pitching seas. I probably would have used a thicker plywood from the factory if someone would have asked me. The bulkhead ties the strange chainplate/deck tie down with the athwartship beam under the sole. That beam extends over to the matching starboard bulkhead completing a nice structural member that I'm sure goes a long way in keep the hull from flexing. A great design that we have improved with modern materials.

We kicked around putting in a hanging locker in place of the counter, but I was afraid that would reduce the visual volume of the boat and make things feel cramped. So we settled on cutting out the counter initially so we could get a feel for what was possible with a visual. We also were thinking an old school nav station, albeit a smaller version, facing forward hung off the bulkhead would be nice. With much measuring and discussion we kept removing woodwork.
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The bulkhead running parallel to the hull was reinforced with permanent shelving inside, holes filled and re-purposing the doors further aft.

What we settled on was widening and raising the height of the bench and essentially making a pilot berth that doubled as the seat for the nav station. The nav station was to be flat and the same height as the galley counter, creating an extension of horizontal working surface that is always in demand. Ergonomics were tested with all parties involved.
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Updated 01-24-2018 at 12:36 PM by gadangit

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  1. Christian Williams's Avatar
    What a marvelous re-conception and execution. That is a nifty berth now, and there is nothing like a forward-facing nav station, if just for writing in the log or making a phone call.

    Sailboat saloons are such a weird bunch of angles it's hard to out-think the designers once they have imposed their ideas, but looks like you've done it for sure. Big congrats!