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"Fresh Air"

Those Olson "Fabric Doors" on lockers

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I had always assumed that no one but another Olson owner would be interested in our conversion of the factory solid cloth Zip-Open "doors" to ventilated openings with the whole center opening section being a mesh material known as Phifertex.

Since a site member doing a full-on restoration of an older EY design mentioned some interest in this, here are some pictures.

When we first got our boat it had a lot of mold inside the lockers from several years of neglect by the prior owner. I described the problem to a friend in the marine canvas business and he suggested making new zip-open panels to the original patterns, but with mesh in the centers for full time ventilation.

This is one of the best upgrades ever for the boat. Ever!

Whether it's good or bad that EY put fabric "doors" on most lockers on the Olson's rather than teak paneling is a different discussion for a different day. I figure that when they acquired the molds and patterns for these boats in 1988, they decided to stick with the design. From a production budgeting/costing standpoint, they were just exchanging upholstery shop $ for cabinet shop $. Saved some weight, too.

Note that my photos show the galley module with a front-mounted fabric door. The larger ones for the large hanging lockers are all mounted on the inside, and with all teak trim, they look really nice that way, IMHO. Same concept, though... with our change to mesh, all of the lockers are well ventilated all the time. Considering that stale air on boats provides a breeding ground for mold etc, air flow is really your best defense.

Edit: Note that this mesh comes in several colors. Matter of fact, I have seen these enclosures in an attractive tan color on later Olson's. I can only surmise that early models were influenced by the Black Glass look that was prevalent in lots of "tech" fashion in those years -- which might explain how the sliding acrylic doors on both sides of our main cabin shelves is a much darker shade than I could ever find nowadays to match one when it broke.

Note that this also solves the problem of any hinged solid wood door being in the way whenever it's opened. And, you can unzip part way if you only need partial access to the upper part of a compartment - we do that for the larger hanging lockers when we just need to pull out a garment from a hanger.

FWIW, the plastic basket you see inside for the galley supplies came from one those "storable" type retail stores and really keeps soaps, brushes, and pans contained in a sea way.
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Updated 06-02-2017 at 09:21 AM by Loren Beach

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  1. Slick470's Avatar
    Loren, this is a timely post for us. I pulled all of the original canvas doors last fall and we'll be replacing them with new material over the next few weeks. It's a different look, but the screens would be a nice improvement for air flow for those lockers. Previously I would go around the boat and unzip them before leaving the boat.