8 Things I Learned From a Lazy Man’s Galley Makeover

Before the makeover. The wonders of flash photography make it look a lot better than it was.

We are blessed with a boat that has an Herreshoff interior—white painted surfaces with varnished cherry trim—that (with the help of a couple of repaints) still feels just right, and not at all dated even though the boat is 30-years old.

However, there was one niggling exception to this happy state of affairs: the galley countertop was covered with very old and scarred off-white formica around an equally scarred stainless (once) steel double sink. Worse still, this was the first thing that caught our eyes each time we came down the companionway.

And the problems were more than just visual, since the caulking around the sink had long failed, allowing water into the plywood.

Not Easy

So why had we not dealt with this earlier, you ask? Well, the previous owner had added some glued-in-place adjacent cabinetry and a cherry backsplash on top of the counter.

Not My Strong Suit

And, added to that, while over the years I have done finish carpentry to a reasonable standard—I learned from Poor Stupid Bob (see Further Reading at the end of this post)—I'm not naturally gifted at it, so it takes me an age. And then there's the matter of the huge pile of miss-cut expensive lumber that always seems to magically appear as I work.

The result was that every time I thought about tearing the whole lot out, replacing the countertop, and then repairing the inevitable damage to the surrounding cabinetry, I emulated Mark Twain's approach when he thought about exercise: I lay down until the feeling went away.

But finally, two summers ago, the ever more deplorable state of the countertop overcame my herculean resistance to the project and I got serious.

Wait, Not Boring

Now, at this point, I'm suspecting that many of you are thinking, "oh dear, here comes one of those mind-numbingly detailed how-I-fixed-something posts that boating sites are prone to".

But before you stop reading in favour of a more interesting activity...like watching grass grow...stick with me, because this story has a never before occurring, at least on a boat, twist:

The whole thing turned out to be way easer and less expensive than I thought it was going to be, and the result is both attractive and functional.

This then is the story about how laziness can be used to come up with easier, and better, ways to do things, and the eight lessons I learned along the way:

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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