A Galley Box for Hatseflats
Submitted to Dinghy Cruising Journal
This year we cooked on board for the very first time.
Having moored Hatseflats alongside a jetty, I put the burner on deck to boil some water.
When the water was heating up, some powerboats passed us a little too closely.
While they left wallowing in their wake I had trouble to balance the burner and its heavy load.
This drove the lesson home that I needed a solution which stabilized both pan and burner.
Wary of yet another DIY adventure I reasoned that surely outdoor or trekking stores would be able to supply me with a ready-made product that I could buy.
I trawled many web sites but did not find any.
When I googled for 'galley box' and 'wannigan' I was swamped with all sorts of home-made varnished portable cabinets.
Most of them had drawers and doors for plates and cutlery.
Many dinghy cruisers with the same problem tended to roll their own galley boxes, each tailored to the needs of their owner or pecularities of their host (the cruising dinghy).
Reluctantly I joined the army of galley box builders. The rest of this article is to give an insight in my design and build decisions. I hope this may somehow help you when you tackle your very own galley box project.
The purpose of my galley box was to provide a stable platform for both burner and pans. I made my box around a small Campingaz Bleuet burner (C206 cartridges), but the principle would also work with other stoves.I made a rack and rails to hold my Bialetti coffee pot, a small pan for boiling water and a small sauce pan. The walls around the burner were lined with alloy to provide basic fire protection.
The next problem was how to turn the gas knob on the burner under the cooking pan without burning my hands.I solved this with a removable panel which was lined with alloy sheet on the inside.You take it out or push it aside before you turn the gas knob. I did not use a hinge in order to keep the box as simple as possible.
As I have no talent for joinery I did not add doors or drawers. Aside from their complexity and extra weight I feared they would not be watertight and hard to open when wet.So I stuck with a simple waterproof box with a lid which I could hang from the cockpit seat.The dimensions were determined from the plates and pans that would go inside while I made the box small enough to hang from the cockpit seat without sticking out.
The box is suspended from the cockpit seat using a dyneema line lashed down with a carabiner. The dyneema line and carabiner are attached to tie-downs glued to the outside of the galley box.Simple and watertight.
Some tips for planning and building your own galley box:
put all food, condiments, plates, cutlery, burner and pans for a two-day trip on the table and make the smallest cardboard box that fits everything. Add 1-2 cm in all directions for stuff that you forgot to include.
do you want to keep fluids (water, milk, beer?) in your galley box? Fluids are heavy! I drew the line at a 30ml flacon with washing liquid.
build a prototype from cheap particle board before building the real thing. You will probably need 1-2 iterations before you are satisfied with the result. I happily threw away my first attempt before making the final box.
keep the inside as clean as possible. I glued alloy sheets and rails inside my galley box but did not use screws or moving parts to keep the box easy to use.
my galley box project provided an opportunity to better use my router. I duplicated all parts from just three templates.
paint your galley box inside and out for better UV protection and to make it easier to clean the inside. It is easier to spot new life forms against a brightly painted background than on a browned layer of varnish.
keep your galley box light. My galley box started out as 2.5kg but ended up 3.5kgs. Add 5 kgs of contents and you are lugging around 9kgs of baggage.
check out your local DIY store for useful stuff before committing to build. I found alloy tubes for rails and alloy sheets for fire protection at the local DIY store which saved hours and improved the build quality.
expect to spend twice or three times as many hours sanding your galley box inside and out than for building it.
enjoy your galley box project. It is not a vital part of your boat so there is no need to hurry.
A simple box without holes or screws.
A stable platform for cooking
Removable panel taken out to control the gas flow
Galley box hanging from cockpit seat