Friday, July 15, 2011

Clever use of space on the boat

I'm giving you all a break from hearing about my new chicks to share some space saving solutions that I experienced while on my in-law's boat in Alaska last month. Don't worry, the chicks are all doing great and are now out in the chicken coop (they were stinking up my front hall!) enjoying more space and some ants!

So we were on a 42 foot Grand Banks for 2.5 weeks in the end of June. As you can see below, the outside of the boat has a fly deck on the very top where you can drive the boat from outside, and a deck around the entire main level including a low wide back deck.The boat has 2 sleeping rooms, 2 bathrooms, and one main cabin area with a table, 2 chairs, a bench along the wall, a kitchen space, and a high bench seat by the wheel.

You can see the deck was fairly narrow, with a low full railing and a higher wire railing. We were pretty careful when Little M was walking around the deck. She always had her life jacket on her, and she also always had one of us right with her to grab the handy loop at the top of her life jacket in case she decided to look overboard. We didn't have any close calls with her on the trip, which was great!

 The fly deck, the wheel you can just see a curve of below Little M's toes.

Looking forward from the table area, the kitchen is to your left in the photo, my husband is driving the boat at the inside wheel. In front of him there were about 4 different storage areas under the surface that the computer is sitting on. They stored everything there from can openers (to the left by the microwave), to pencils (in a small compartment under the computer at the front), to maps and papers.

This view looks from the table area towards the front of the boat again, but towards the kitchen. behind my husband you can see the short door that leads down to the V berth where we slept. There is a short little fridge and freezer in there, a gas powered 3 burner stove top and oven, and a sink that was big enough for Little M to have a bath in :)

This view looks from behind the kitchen area towards the side of the boat. You can see the L shapes bench and a bit of the folding table. The table was really neat, it had to long sides that folded down, and a narrow middle strip that stayed put. When the sides were up there was plenty of space for all 6 of us to eat meals, but when they were down you could walk between the tables edge and the bench.

This is the V berth where we slept for the trip, me a little curled up to avoid kicking Little M's head - see her there taking a nap? You can also see the little hammock strung to the right for gear. These are your typical kids stuffed animal hammocks, used here to stash anything and everything! We kept our rain gear (when it was dry), the Ergo carrier, Little M's warm outside clothes, and there were some spare blankets too. You can see the bottom of the little bookshelf on the wall at the top of the picture, which they were using for movie storage (there is a TV and DVD player in the captains room apparently) but we put a couple of Little M's books and a field guide up there too during our stay on the boat. One of the bathrooms was down here - very simple, a one stall shower with a toilet and sink in it.

Here you can see the back of the boat - see the dungy and the one kayak stacked up? The kayak I was in to take this picture gets stowed on top of the other 2 boats. Up on the fly deck at the very top, they had a number of waterproof type bins with secure lids where they stored other items - extra food, parts for the dingy and kayaks, etc. Under the cover in the fly deck is where we stowed Little M's car seat while we were on board. It was wrapped in the plastic bag from the airline and stayed protected and dry there. The cat litter box was also up in that area, as was more storage for non-perishable items.

This is the neat pulley system they have for getting the dingy and the larger of the 2 kayaks up on top of the boat. It makes it easy to move the heavier items up out of the water and onto the top of the captains berth area.

You may have noticed the small dog they had on the boat - Cocola. They also had one of their two cats on board with them - Honda. Here she is below. Behind her you can also see the fake grass area for the dog to do her business. Clever idea to allow the dog to be with them for the months they are on board!


What I really liked was all the built in custom storage. The boat had everything from those compartments in the front by the wheel and computer, to dresser drawers of different depths according to the boats exterior hull under our beds (deeper high ones, shallower low ones). There was even a small compartment in the table surface that could hold placemats. It was so impressive to see how much function (and stuff!) could be fit into such a small tight space on the boat, and it really made me certain we could do more with the spaces we have in our home. I'm now finding myself imagining builtins everywhere around our house! I'm sure they wouldn't have quite the same charm though :)


  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time! I grew up going out on my parents 38' Chris Craft into the San Juan Is., and the Gulf Is. I miss those days! I remember how difficult it was finding adequate storage on our boat, since it was made in the late 30's. Doesn't look like you had that problem;)

  2. It must have been a wonderful adventure!


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