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Galley and Cooking aboard

Refitting the Galley: 12 Experiences


Because our galleys are built-in, it's natural to think that we are stuck with them the way they are. Not so! When something does not work or does not please, cruising women can make changes. Small changes or large, here's how 12 of our contributors modified their galleys or contributed to the design process in new builds.

These 9 women made modifications
to existing galleys

Amanda Swan Neal Bev Feiges Carolyn OBrien
Amanda Swan Neal
Mahina Tiare III
Hallberg-Rassy 46
  Bev Feiges
61ft Krogen motorboat
  Carolyn O'Brien
Windborne III
Bayfield 36
Corinne Kanter   Diana Simon   Gwen Hamlin
Corinne Kanter
La Forza
32ft catamaran
  Diana Simon
Roger Henry
36ft Damien IV cutter
  Gwen Hamlin
Tackless II
CSY 44
Kathy Parsons   Lisa Schofield   Mary Heckrotte
Kathy Parsons
Hale Kai
Downeast 38
  Lisa Schofield
Lady Galadriel
Crealock 37
  Mary Heckrotte
Pan Oceanic 46 Pilothouse Cutter

These 3 were involved
in the original design

Pam Wall
Pam Wall
Freya 39
Sheri Schneider
Sheri Schneider
Gozzard 44
Truus Sharp
Truus Sharp
Key of D
46ft Crowther catamaran

These 9 women made modifications to existing galleys


Amanda Swan Neal S/V Mahina Tiare III - Hallberg-Rassy 46

Amanda Swan Neal in her galley   Mahina Tiare III

From the standard galley on our new 1997 Hallberg-Rassy 46 I have done only 3 minor modifications/upgrades in 13 years and 135,000 nautical miles. As we’re an offshore expedition vessel with 8 people to prepare meals for the galley sure gets put through its paces!

Formica sliding cupboard doors in Mahina Tiare galley
White Formica sliding cupboard doors

I asked the boat builder to replace the three mahogany sliding cupboard doors behind the stove with white Formica ones that matched the counter top.

When having Mahina Tiare III built, there were only 2 countertop options: imitation wood or white. Our previous boat was a 1983 Hallberg-Rassy with the wood-patterned Formica, so I was ready for a change. Although I would never have wished for a pure white counter, it’s been very serviceable and adequate. It’s interesting to note that now all new Hallberg-Rassy’s come standard with Corian counters and sinks.

Stove lock off in Mahina Tiare galley
Stove lock off

I made the Force 10 stove lock off in three positions making it functional on port and starboard tacks as well as flat.

When heeled over on either tack, the stove can be locked off on a tilt, allowing the placement of a large heavy pot, such as the pressure cooker or spaghetti, on the stove’s large back burner. It’s easier to monitor a steady stove than one that is continually gimballing on an errant angle. Our boat rides fairly smoothly, but if I’m having trouble coping in the galley, we’re quick to tuck in a reef.

White Formica installation in Mahina Tiare galley
White Formica installation

I had a boatyard woodworker cover the dark mahogany wood behind the sinks with white Formica.

Note that in the tropics it gets dark at 6pm, so the white has brightened the galley enormously.

Amanda Swan Neal

With over 230,000 miles, including Sydney-Hobart Races and numerous Cape Horn roundings, Amanda Swan Neal's offshore sailing started before she was a teen with a family cruise through the South Pacific and on to Seattle. Upon returning to New Zealand she became a sailmaker and rigger, completing the 1990 Whitbread Around the World Race aboard Maiden. In 1994 she fell in love with John Neal or perhaps Mahina Tiare II's passage to Antarctica. Together they run Mahina Expeditions (www.mahina.com) annually conducting intensive offshore sail-training expeditions aboard Mahina Tiare III, presentations at major boat shows, and several Offshore Cruising Seminars.

Author of The Essential Galley Companion, Amanda writes the monthly "Galley Essentials" article for 48 North magazine and has contributed to Blue Water Sailing, Cruising World, and Latitude 38.

"Mahina Tiare III"

Mahina Tiare III, a 1997 Hallberg-Rassy 46 is their sailing home. Designed by German Frers, she features a long waterline, modern underbody, powerful sail plan and sturdy hardtop dodger. Down below there are 4 cabins that sleep a total of nine, 2 heads with showers, a saloon that comfortably seats ten for class and dinner, an efficient galley plus a tricked-out nav station. Mahina's reliable 95 hp Volvo gives them a cruising speed of 7.5 knots.

Amanda also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Amanda's galley advice.


Bev Feiges M/V Cloverleaf - 61 ft Krogen motorboat

Bev Feiges in her galley   Cloverleaf's galley   M/V Cloverleaf
Cloverleaf's galley
(This is an old picture and shows former microwave and toaster.)
Cloverleaf galley

Countertops and sink

Our biggest refit consisted of changing the old white formica surface that had begun to stain badly with Turkish Corian, and putting in a new European sink.

Wonderful improvement.

We moved the island part down to the existing counter

What you see to the left was originally an island. We moved the island part down to the existing counter and added the cabinet facing the viewer, what we call our ready locker, where we keep an assortment of most frequently used items. It was a great addition.

Appliances replaced

When we first bought the boat (it was ten years old), we changed the dishwasher, compactor, garbage disposal, and microwave. Ten years later we have had to replace the microwave again, this time with one that is a combo oven/ microwave, plus the toaster (which was twenty years old), and garbage disposal.

With plenty of power, we have most of the appliances you would have in a kitchen ashore, even though we have spent most of our time at anchor. Most of the major appliances came from Sears, including the stove and oven that is now twenty years old.

The super-size refrigerator is by Sun Frost, designed for people living off the electric grid. It is heavily insulated, not as pretty inside as our modern marvels, but the power drain is very low, and as I said, a couple of hours on the generator takes care of all our power needs. This includes a second freezer, located in the salon near the 'bar", making ice handy when we have parties.

Rear burner of the stove will now run off the inverter.

Dave replaced one burner on the stove with a burner that will run off 12 volt, so we can cook a full meal using the inverter, and not have to turn on the generator unless we are charging batteries, washing clothes, or making water, which takes two to three hours a day, depending on how many guests we have.

Galley table

The galley table, on the other side of the galley, easily seats six to eight. Only change we made was to change the original white upholstery to dark blue, and to buy two new bar stools with seat backs.


Cutting boards, cabinet knobs

We saved the counter cut-outs from the sink installation, so we have a pair of cutting boards, one on either side of the sink.

The cabinet knobs were also installed in Turkey. Push them in, and they lock the cabinet shut and sit flush with the cabinet door; punch them, and the button pops out. While the door still holds shut magnetically, they are easily pulled open.


There are two very large opening hatches in the galley that can be swiveled any direction that pleases you, and the side windows also slide open. No lack of ventilation here.

Bev Feiges

After 21 years on a Cal-46-3 sailboat, Bev and her husband moved aboard Cloverleaf, their second cruising boat, a 61-foot custom Krogen motoryacht. Self-described "coastal cruisers", they have traveled the eastern seaboard from Canada to Florida, much of the Caribbean, and with a little help from Dockwise Yacht Transport, much of the Med, from the Balearics to Turkey, south along the coast to Egypt, through the Suez Canal, as far south as Abu Tieg. You can read Bev's blog, "Cruising with Cloverleaf", at www.feiges.blogspot.com.


61 foot custom Krogen design motoryacht

Our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women" inspired Bev to tell us about HER galley choices:
Read what Bev had to say (on the Women & Cruising blog).


Carolyn O'Brien S/V Windborne III - Bayfield 36

Carolyn O'Brien in her new galley   Wind Borne III's galley refitted   Wind Borne III

Our boat Wind-Borne III is a 1985 Bayfield 36. At one time the galley was lovely, compact and very efficient, but after 25 years it was definitely in need of a make-over.

Wind Borne III's galley  - before renovation
Wind Borne III's galley  - work in progress
Work in progress
Wind Borne III's galley  - renovated

The brass taps and saltwater pump - although standard Bayfield fittings and lovely in their time - were becoming a pain to polish and maintain.

The sink was beginning to rust, the laminate counter top was showing its age with little chips, and the raised wooden refrigerator lid was something I had never liked.

We have been to Trinidad in the past, and although we had a great time there I didn’t want to go back just to have work done on the boat. Our home away from home is Carriacou, sister island to Grenada. We love the island of Grenada but haven’t spent much time there during the last few years. So both my husband and I agreed that it was time we spent a few months in the south of Grenada, and while there we would see if we could find a company to install a Corian countertop in the galley.

Since I wasn’t aware of any other boats having new counters installed in Grenada that we could contact for recommendations, we just opened the Grenada Yellow Pages to “Kitchens”. There was a full-page ad for a company that specialized in solid surface counter tops “First Class Enterprises”. I called and asked if they had ever done any work on a boat. No, they hadn’t, but they would be willing to have a look and provide an estimate.

I called them again when we arrived in Grenada, and they came to the marina the following day. The estimate sounded reasonable, they promised the work would be started and completed within a one-week time frame, and they would ensure we were satisfied with the job.

Well, this sounded a little too good to be true, but with nothing to lose (other than money) we gave the ok to start the following week.

Meanwhile our cabinets in the galley needed to be removed before the work could begin, and this part of the job we wanted to do ourselves. While the cabinets were disassembled and out, we thought it would also be a good time to refinish them.

First Class Enterprises continued to amaze us throughout the process with their care and concern that everything be to our liking.

At my request they removed a lot of the unnecessary fiddles around parts of the counter. They flush mounted the refrigerator door which I now love. The new small lift tabs for the storage areas were nicely countersunk, and we now have a new chrome single-mount faucet that doesn’t need to be polished.

The work was done in less than a week, and we were more than pleased with the finished job. Even though the company had not worked on boats before they brought in a fibreglass person to ensure that the countertop was installed correctly for being on a boat.

Since then another boat that came to look at our new galley has had work done using the same company, and they are just as pleased - if not more - with their new counters as we were.

First Class Enterprises in Grenada can be reached at 473 440-8848.

Carolyn O'Brien

Carolyn and Rick O’Brien have cruised aboard their Bayfield 36 sailboat, Wind-Borne III, since leaving Toronto in 2001. They have travelled down the east coast of the United States, the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Venezuela and the ABC Islands. Although they still venture up and down the island chain, they now refer to Carriacou, Grenada, as their home away from home. You can read more about their travels on Wind-Borne III’s website, www.wind-borne.com.

"Wind-Borne III"

Wind-Borne III is a 1985 Bayfield 36.


Corinne Kanter S/V La Forza -32ft catamaran

Corinne Kanter
La Forza's galley
s/v La Forza

I did my galley over, and this is what I had replaced:

1. Double sink, purchased from a bar/supply store, because it was narrow and deep.

2. I only used foot pumps for water, installed one for fresh water, one for salt water. I wash my dishes, pot and pans in salt water whenever possible and then use a spray rinse bottle of fresh water to complete the washing process.

3. I also installed a soap dispenser in the sink holes as well.

4. My new stove was a 3-burner with oven and broiler . Be careful when purchasing a stove. My flame burner runs vertically across, with a metal plate on top with holes to disburse heat evenly which allows one to use full-size cooking utensils.

5. I have a small domestic refrigerator, which burns a pound of fuel a day. If you have room for one a bit larger, there are three sizes; they all burn the same amount of fuel. In addition, I place a small battery operated fan in the freezer portion to disburse the cold efficiently.

Corinne Kanter

Corinne is a grandmother with over 30 years of sailing experience, including racing, cruising and 15 years as a full-time live-aboard with her husband Charles. Corinne is the author of the Cruising K.I.S.S. Cookbook II, and has written for many sailing publications, including the column "Corinne's Culinary Column" in Multihulls Magazine which she began in 1976. She loves to share helpful hints, as she does in her “How to become a Galley Guru” lecture series which she presents at boat shows.

An autographed copy of Corinne's book can be ordered direct from www.sailcopress.com.

Email: corinnekanter@gmail.com.

"La Forza"

32 x 16 ft catamaran, galley up. Their main cabin measures 12' wide by 10' deep with exceptional counter space and an ergonomic layout. There are four single bunks for guests and kids and a big trampoline up forward.

Corinne also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Corinne's galley advice.



Diana Simon S/V Roger Henry - 36 foot Damien IV steel cutter

Diana Simon
s/v Roger Henry

We switched to propane

With kerosene more difficult to find and propane available almost everywhere, we switched to propane back in 2000. In doing so we sacrificed long-term fuel supply (we used to carry 6-9 months kerosene), for a shorter-term clean and efficient fuel. We now carry two 10lb aluminum tanks, approx three months supply, plus a 7lb tank in reserve.

As the LPG tanks are stowed in the cockpit, another plus to the change was that the now empty kerosene fuel tank locker under the stove created some much needed extra storage space.


I recently began using the narrow space between the stove and galley counter to store chopping boards and the dish draining board. Ideal for cookie trays and pizza pans too. These are secured with a bungi cord when under way.

When provisioning, to retain freshness, I no longer buy dry goods in bulk. Instead, for example, I buy flour in 2.2lb bags and store them in zip locks. This quantity also fits into my ‘day use' container perfectly, making replenishing easy. When storage space is short, this also allows you to enjoy a greater variety of goods: which equals more interesting meals, which equals a happy captain/crew.

Biosecurity measures are being tightened worldwide. Even remote Pacific islands are beginning to ban the ‘importation' of some food products. If you don't want to loose your 5lbs of your favourite wild honey, I recommend checking Jimmy Cornell's Noonsite for specific information.
Diana Simon

In 1983, after many years traveling the world Diana met sailor and adventurer Alvah Simon. Together they have sailed about 50,000 miles on two different boats, circumnavigating on Zenie P11 and sailing the high latitudes on Roger Henry. They both write for Cruising World, and Diana also provides the photographs. Their book North to the Night was published in 1996, and Diana and Alvah were the subject of a Travel Channel/Discovery documentary called, To Survive, in Panama in 2000. An essay account of their most recent voyage (New Zealand to Alaska via Japan) may be found on the Cruising World web site on the Alvah Simon Blog, which Diana contributes photographs, input & editing.

"Roger Henry"

The Roger Henry, is a French 36ft Damien IV, steel cutter, built in 1983.

Diana also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Diana's galley advice.


Gwen Hamlin S/V Tackless II - CSY 44 WALK-THRU

Gwen Hamlin in Takckless II's galley   Tackless II's new galley   s/v Tackless II

We cooked for charter for eight years aboard my first boat Whisper, a CSY 44 walk-over, without making any significant changes to her galley. WHISPER's galley faced aft to the cockpit across the back end of the salon, sink, counter and stove to port, huge three box fridge and freezer to starboard. Since almost all of our cooking was done at anchor, it didn't matter that the galley was so open. For underway, I had a galley strap that kept my butt in the corner between sink and stove. It's not that I loved it the way it was, but because the boats were designed for the charter trade, it was very functional.

The biggest change I did make to WHISPER was a greatly enlarged cockpit table without fiddles where I could seat up to 4 people. Charter dining was a situation that doesn't really call for fiddles, although truthfully, I'm not a big fan of fiddles on cockpit tables even while out cruising. My experience has been the fiddles are more likely to LAUNCH a sliding glass or bowl into a flip. Rubber non-skid placemats really did the trick for us when needed.

When I moved aboard TACKLESS II, a CSY Walk-thru, to go cruising, the focus changed. We were thinking longer term. And we were thinking home. Don and I did a big refit on the boat in Trinidad after our first five-month cruise south from the Virgins, prior to our taking off for what became a nine-year year cruise through Central America, Ecuador, Mexico and across the Pacific to Australia. One of the main focuses of the refit was the galley.


Tackless II: chest freezer in the center of the salon
We added a separate self-contained
freezer under the table in the salon, concealed under the lift-up "door".
More solar panels to power the new refrigeration system
We added more solar panels to power the new refrigeration system

A CSY 44 walk-thru, Tackless had a Pullman style galley in the starboard pass thru. She had a pair of over-under front-loading boxes for refrigerator and freezer. This is a great arrangement at anchor, but had some negatives when underway, particularly the freezer unit which collected condensate from the fridge and from which it was hard to excavate what you wanted without everything (not to mention the cold) falling out.

Also the boxes were originally fitted with engine-drive refrigeration and holding plates. We were concerned about the hours on our middle-aged engine and the flexibility we would have to leave the boat unattended for inland travel.

So, we added air-cooled Adler Barbour units to each box -- a horizontal evaporator in the upper box (which could serve as a freezer at the dock or on the hard and which allowed us to make ice in standard trays) and an Adler Barbour cold plate in the top of the freezer section. Our thinking was that this would allow us to alternate between engine-drive and 12-volt as the situation warranted.

THEN we added a 60-liter Minus 40 chest freezer into the center of the salon and rebuilt the salon table around it. This turned out to be a fabulous piece of equipment (once we got the right gauge cable to serve it). Very efficient.

We ended up primarily using the upper fridge box with the Minus 40 freezer and only ran the lower freezer when planning a long time away from civilization (the Pacific crossing) or when it was time to defrost one of the other boxes.

We added more solar panels to the hard top, arch and the two quarter rails of the aft deck (for a total of 7 panels producing 570 watts) to power all this (not to mention our computers!)

As it turned out, we found the 12-volt air-cooled system so satisfactory we didn't run the engine-drive system often enough to keep its compressor seals in good shape. Eventually, we took the whole engine-drive system out to free up more space on the engine.


Galley aft inboard shelf
Galley aft inboard shelf
Cutting board fitting over half of the sink
Cutting board fitting over half of the sink

We also mounted a microwave under the cockpit deck and had custom nesting box-shelves made to hold onions, potatoes and tomatoes. On the narrow ledge under the cockpit we set up all the electrical appliances that had been so crucial during charter, blender, small food processor, coffee grinder. I continued to use these items when cruising, although less often.

Double sink & Corian-type countertops

To top things off we put in a new, deeper stainless steel Skandik double sink, a standard household pull-out sprayer faucet (wonderful) and new countertops of a molded Corian-type product called Decoran which allowed us to build up backsplashes on all edges including the front fiddle to protect the white oak wood work from water stains.

We had a full-sized insert from the Decoran made to fit over the sink thinking it would be useful for more counter space for kneading bread. At the same time, we made a cutting board out of starboard to fit over half of the sink opening enabling us to slide it from side to side, even underway. This was very useful. To my surprise, I hardly ever used the full insert.

Macerator for the Galley Sink

We also added a macerator in the galley sink exhaust line. Previously, because the drains were right at water level, the sinks backfilled on a port tack and gurgled at anchor. The macerator solved this problem and evacuated the dirty dishwater completely.


Locker converted to a pantry & double door fridge
The locker we converted to a pantry and the double door fridge

We increased the light available in the galley area by installing a four- way (two power, red/white) Alpenglow light over the stove and sink area. This is a great fixture, and the red light option was useful on passages.

The passageway space in front of the fridge narrows down, so we changed the overhead liner from wood to white Formica and moved one of the leftover headlight style fixtures to in front of the refrigerator. With the white overhead reflecting extra light, this brightened up the fridge area significantly. We should have just put another Alpenglow fixture there. (We LOVED Alpenglows. Had the cabin lights throughout the boat, too.)


Lastly, we converted a hanging locker on the starboard side to hold canned goods nearer to the galley, but also to help with weight distribution on the boat.

Cockpit Dining Area

The cockpit was our most important space on Tackless II. The hardtop with built-in reading lights and Isinglass enclosure (an addition we made at the same time as the galley refit) turned the cockpit into a completely new room. Not only did we do our sailing there, we did all our lounging and dining there, especially as Tackless II’s remodeled salon table was very hard to squeeze in around when the table leaves were raised.

So, the other important addition to the cockpit was a handsome teak table that folded away against the binnacle. When raised and opened out it again allowed us to seat four people for a meal. We never once missed the original small table with its uncomfortable fiddles.

Gwen Hamlin

Gwen Hamlin, one of the hosts of Women & Cruising, writes the Admiral's Angle column for Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine and maintains a web site of their travels at www.thetwocaptains.com. A former charter captain and dive instructor in the Virgin Islands, Gwen and her husband Don Wilson have spent the last 10 years slowly cruising the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific.

"Tackless II"

Monohull: CSY 44 walk-thru, center-cockpit cutter. Great cockpit for entertaining with hardtop, sun awnings and enclosure.

Gwen tells us more about galley choices:


Kathy Parsons S/V Hale Kai - Downeast 38 + S/V Romance - Whitby 42

Kathy Parsons in Hale Kai's galley   Hale Kai's galley

• Current Boat – Downeast 38 – Hale Kai

S/V Hale Kai
S/V Hale Kai - Downeast 38
Bill Raynor in Hale Kai's galley

On our current boat, Bill had made most of the galley changes before we met. Here is what he/we changed:

1. Refrigeration

When he bought the Downeast 38, it did not have refrigeration. He converted one ice box into a refrigerator with a 12-volt Frigoboat system with a keel cooler and an electronic controller. He also installed a Frigoboat 12-volt system in a second ice box creating a freezer. The two systems have been wonderful.

2. Stove

He also replaced the stove with a propane three burner stove with oven and broiler.

3. Plumbing

We also replaced the old faucet with a mixing faucet, and added a salt water tap with a foot pump. We plumbed the hot water heater into the engine cooling system so that we could have hot water when we were running the engine. It’s not really a galley refit but it affects the galley.

We placed a charcoal filter below the sink. We also added a finer filter to the galley tap. By turning the filter, you can easily run drinking water through the filter and bypass it for normal water use. In this way, the more expensive filter element lasts several months since we don’t run all our water through it.

4. Lighting/Ventilation

We added several lights in the galley, including one right over the sink, so I can see well to wash dishes. We don’t have a permanent fan in the galley but we do move in a portable clip-on fan when needed. Plus our port scoops increase air flow.

5. Storage

We added additional galley storage under the nav floor. We replaced one varnished wall in the galley with a white synthetic board which brightened up the galley and made it easier to clean up.

Bill also added lockers (with doors) above and behind the settee in the salon. About half of this was used for galley storage, but included a shelf for a microwave. The counter tops could use replacing but we haven’t tackled that.

• Previous boat – Whitby 42

S/V Romance
S/V Romance - Whitby 42
Romance's galley

My previous boat was a Whitby 42. I owned it for 12 years and made a number of changes over that time:

1. Refrigeration

We kept the same Grunnert holding plate refrigeration system though we did add a second motor so that we could run the system under either 12 volt or 110 volt. It provided some redundancy for us too in case one of the motors went out.

These days I would certainly replace the Grunnert with the more efficient 12-volt systems like Frigoboat. And the keel coolers on our current systems are SUPER ... and they even work well in warm tropical waters. I might also consider adding a door on the front of these deep refrigeration compartments – like many boat ice boxes, ours were deep and it was difficult to reach items low in the box.

2. Countertops

We replaced the countertops in my Whitby with Formica.

3. Plumbing

We added a mixing faucet (one handle for hot and cold, easy to operate). We added a charcoal filter below the sink plus another finer filter on the countertop so that we could filter drinking water twice if we wanted. We also added a salt water foot pump – we didn’t use it for washing dishes, but it was great for rinsing out dirty pots before washing dishes.

By turning the filter, you can easily run drinking water through the filter and bypass it for normal water use. In this way, the more expensive filter element lasts several months since we don’t run all our water through it.

4. Storage

We built a rack for storing a set of dishes on the galley wall. It fit our everyday plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery and was a great space saver.

We also added a narrow shelf (with fiddles) on top of the partial bulkhead that separated the sink area from the salon. This shelf seemed to double our workable counter space because it was so handy to the sink!

We also redid an area behind our settee. Behind the settee back cushions, the Whitby originally had only two openings into a large open storage area. It was hard to use that space efficiently. So we opened the area up, added shelves inside, and then used clear Plexiglas sliding doors to access the area. All I had to do was pull the settee cushion away to get access to my “pantry”. The shelves were large enough for the large plastic jars that I used to store my staples (flower, sugar, etc.).

5. Ventilation

We mounted a galley fan. We already had a hatch over the galley which aided ventilation.

Kathy Parsons

Kathy Parsons has been cruising the Caribbean, Bahamas and US for the last 20 years. Kathy and Bill Raynor sail a 38' Downeast cutter Hale Kai. One of Kathy's special joys in cruising is exploring the languages and cultures of the countries they sail to which led her to write 2 phrase books: Spanish for Cruisers (www.spanishforcruisers.com) and French for Cruisers (www.frenchforcruisers.com), both widely used by world cruisers. Together with friends Pam Wall and Gwen Hamlin, Kathy conducts “Women and Cruising” seminars at boat shows, helping women create their cruising life. Kathy is the founder of this Women and Cruising web site.

"Hale Kai"

Hale Kai is a Downeast 38 cutter.


Kathy's previous boat was a Whitby 42. Her very first cruising galley was aboard an Alberg 30.

Kathy also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Kathy's galley advice.



Lisa Schofield S/V Lady Galadriel - Crealock 37

Lisa Shofield in Lady Galadriel's galley   S/V Lady Galadriel

Yes, we did a refit on our galley in 2000 before we left.

Large refrigeration unit

We had an icebox, and Dennis tore it all out, and built a large refrigeration unit, with two-way opening. We used R-Parts (online) for components, and put in Glacier Bay panels. Very expensive, but worth every penny in energy savings!

He then put new countertops in.

Electrical and Appliances

As Lady Galadriel is a 30 year old boat, a generator was not part of the original equipment.  We had 110 ac electrical when we were plugged in, but did not away from the dock.  The cap installed an inverter, and one of the results of our new power alternative was a small microwave that we mounted under a cabinet.  To be honest, we use it more for storing electronics (as a kind of Faraday box) than for cooking, but it has come in handy occasionally, even underway for a quick meal.

Cosmetic and plumbing

We already had a four-burner Force 10 stove and oven/broiler, so no change there, but we did some other cosmetic changes - such as plexiglass sliders to replace wood ones.

The captain of Lady Galadriel is an extremely talented woodworker, a nice skill to have when you have lots of wood on your boat.  Dennis has made some beautiful and functional teak additions to my galley. 

  • We sport a knife holder mounted on a cabinet door, that hold 3 chef's knives securely in a vertical position, minimizing flying knives in rolly seas. 
  • He also designed a “rattle-less” dish holder for both dinner and salad plates that is mounted on the wall above my sink.  This is a great, secure place for the dishes to dry, and frees up some locker space for other items. 
  • Because of my “height” challenge, I have a difficulty reaching to the back and bottom of lockers and my frig, so Dennis built and installed a fold-up step that eliminates my problem. 
  • Never having enough counterspace is a given on a 37 ft. sailboat, so my brilliant husband designed a “lift up counter extension” for those times that require more space.  We can lock it down when not in use, so it doesn't swing out and block the companionway when the boat is heeled to port, and because it is teak, it blends into the cabinet making it inconspicuous.


We have made some plumbing changes over time; the most recent was to plumb the watermaker bypass line to the saltwater side of the sink.

Lisa Schofield

Lisa Schofield of Lady Galadriel is a retired financial advisor, who entered the cruising lifestyle by marriage contract. Lisa is an occasional contributor to Gwen Hamlin's "The Admiral's Angle", and Lisa and her husband, Dennis, have given seminars at West Marine, Annapolis and at the Seven Seas Cruising Association GAM in Annapolis on "New to Cruising" (Lisa and Dennis), Provisioning and Cooking aboard (Lisa), and Marine Electrics (Dennis). Lady Galadriel has sailed from San Francisco south through Mexico, Central America, east through the Panama Canal, through the Western Caribbean, north to Maine, and back to the Bahamas before hopscotching to British Columbia via Dockwise.

"Lady Galadriel"

Lady Galadriel is a 37 foot Crealock cutter rigged sloop. She is very traditional with lots of wood both above and below. She is 30 years old, has been in the family for 21 of those years, and, as her husband likes to say, "the only original equipment on board are the galley and head sinks".

Lisa also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Lisa's galley advice.



Mary Heckrotte S/V Camryka - Pan Oceanic 46 Pilothouse Cutter

Mary Heckrotte in Camryka's galley   S/V Camryka

12-volt fridge

The fridge has two sides, one which was a freezer with engine-driven cold plates which seems a ridiculous arrangement! Who would want to run the engine even at a marina?!

So we removed the cold plates, added lots of insulation on the sides and bottom of both compartments, then put an Adler-Barber Supercold Machine in the "refrigerator" side with holes for ventilation to the other side. The Adler-Barber has a small freezer that is adequate for frozen boneless meats -- enough to last two months when supplemented by occasional fresh fish, dinners out, etc. We keep drinks cold in this side and thus get by without giving up freezer space for ice. On what used to be the freezer side, we keep vegetables, breads, unopened cheese, nuts, etc -- things that don't have to be super cold.

The only complaint I have about the fridge -- and the galley itself -- is that the best food prep area is right on top of the fridge lid. This necessitates a bit of shuffling about, especially when the captain wants a cold beer in the middle of dinner prep.

Why don't all boats come with one-handled faucets?!

The water heater on CAMRYKA is engine-driven, and when the water's hot, it is very HOT. A two-handled galley faucet was mighty inconvenient when my left hand held a soapy plate or glass and I didn't dare turn on just the hot. But turning on first the cold then reaching right over left to the hot was not only clumsy but wasted precious water, too.

I was most pleased when we needed to replace the old faucet and was eager to try out a one-handled model. Replacing the faucet was straight-forward with simple diagrams showing what went where. But of course on a boat, nothing is straight-forward. The faucet was up and back and around and under. Sprawled on my back in the floor, my head wedged between the water filter and sink drains, I could just barely get the wrench in position to loosen the fittings. But I did it, was proud of it, and loved the one-handled results.

Now I can even hold a pot in both hands and use my elbow to flip up the handle and get water just the right temperature. Now, why don't all boats come with one-handled faucets?!

Camryka's galley
Microwave on shelf aboard the stove

Microwave oven

There is a shelf over the stove which is just perfect for a microwave oven. It took a lot of searching to find one that fit the required dimensions and still allowed access to the porthole located behind the shelf. But we did find one eventually.

New stove

We discovered our old two-burner Hillerrange stove was held together by a few pieces of rust. A three-burner Force 10 has replaced it quite nicely. The new stove also has a slightly bigger oven plus a broiler.

Tweaking the galley

  • An early discovery made a simple but huge addition to our galley storage area. By lifting out what was designed to be a trash bin fitted into the galley counter, we discovered a wasted space about 2' x 3' and 30" deep (though slanted by the hull.) Wow! That bin became the Deep Six for vacuum-sealed bags of extra stores, pots/pans I seldom used, and even our two-liter bottle of Holy Water from the Easter Blessing of the Sea in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela!

  • We added a teak paper towel holder above the sink (very handy!) and a teak knife rack which keeps knives safe and sharp. (We do, however, put knives inside cardboard sleeves and stow them in a drawer when underway.)

  • Teak dish and cup racks were already installed on the galley wall, but to secure them when underway, we added a webbing strap that fastens across the top with turn fasteners.

  • We also drilled a hole in the fiddles on each side of the fore-aft located stove so that we could fasten in a stainless steel bar to prevent a fall into the stove when underway.

  • We added small wooden turn-blocks that secure each cabinet door and put hook and eye fasteners on each drawer for underway security.


The countertops do need to have their Formica replaced, and we need new fiddles as the existing ones are a bit banged on the edges. But that's a project for another day!!

I am happy as can be with CAMRYKA's galley!

I can stand in one place and only need to turn around from sink to stove to fridge. I have plenty of easy-to-reach cabinets and plenty of deep storage. There is a cut-through to the main salon, so I am not separated from any guests or activities.

We now have a house in Bocas del Toro, Panama with a regular kitchen and a huge pantry where I can stack and stack and stack and nothing falls off the shelves.

But I far, far prefer my two-step galley aboard CAMRYKA, the place that will always be my real HOME!

Mary Heckrotte

Since 1992, Mary and husband Carl have drifted mostly in the southern and western areas of the Caribbean, first on Mariah, a Westerly 36, and then on Camryka, a Pan Oceanic 46. Although far from finished with cruising, Mary and Carl recently claimed Bocas del Toro, Panama as home ground and built a small house where cruising friends are readily welcomed for potluck on the porch. Mary has been a frequent contributor to sailing publications including Living Aboard, Caribbean Compass (especially the cooking column "Whacha Gonna Do With All That ...?"), the latest SSCA Cookbook, Cruising World, and Latitudes and Attitudes. Mary also is a contributor to Gwen's Hamlin's "Admiral's Angle".


Camryka is a 1983 Pan Oceanic 46' Pilothouse Cutter (A Ted Brewer design) built in the Philippines and outfitted in the US. They bought her when she was 12 years old and turned her into a bluewater-ready lady. She got all new standing rigging and chain plates, solar panels, a wind generator, SSB, radar, a second self steering gear, cruising sails, etc.

Mary also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Mary's galley advice .


These 3 women were involved in the original design of their galley


Pam Wall S/V Kandarik - Freya 39

Pam Wall in KANDARIK's galley   S/V KANDARIK

We built the entire boat. Here are some REASONS why we made the galley the way we did! We did not do anything different after it was built as it works great and I LOVE it.

Kandarik's midship sink drains on any tack
Kandarik's midship sink drains on any tack
Kandarik's built-in cutting board
Built-in cutting board
Big 12V freezer and 3-burner stove
Big 12V freezer and 3-burner stove

All my counters were made low for a midget!

All my counters are four inches lower than standard countertops. I am a petite person and needed to be comfortable with counters that suited my height. Of course this made it very uncomfortable for a tall man, like my husband, to knead the bread!!!

Midship double sink

We wanted a household-size stainless steel double sink because we found all boats had one sink (way too small for nice big pots) and very rarely with a second sink to drain cleaned dishes.

We wanted the sink amidships, so it would ALWAYS drain no matter what tack we were on and no matter how rough the conditions, so it would not have water EVER slopping around in it.

Built-in cutting board

We wanted a built-in cutting board, so I would not have to have a mobile one; it was always there and NOT moving.

Three-burner kerosene stove

We wanted a three-burner stove. Even though we rarely have three burners fired up, the third burner was very valuable to place a hot pot, or coffee pot, or something hot that was not cooking but waiting to be served!

We wanted a kerosene stove, because there would no need to fill propane tanks, worry about international fittings, no lugging cans to filling stations, no worry about explosions. Plus kerosene is easy to find and VERY INEXPENSIVE everywhere in the world, much better than alcohol for a cooking fuel and less trouble than propane.

I LOVE IT. It is very hot. Three gallons of kerosene stored in a pressure tank will last a family of four, living aboard full time, over six months even with a lot of baking fresh bread at sea. AND we never have to worry about fumes, where we can get it, and it just made much more sense to have that kind of fuel for a lot of cooking.

Once you use a kerosene stove there is NO PROBLEM with it at all. It is an extremely hot flame, and I would not change it for anything! You do have to also carry a small amount of alcohol for preheating the burner on a kerosene stove, but that is a small price to pay for safety, convenience, and quick cooking.

Big 12-volt freezer

We wanted a freezer not a fridge. This mostly because we wanted to be able take a lot of frozen food for four people crossing big oceans. This was most important to us. We have a top-loading freezer only, 12 volts, very convenient and INEXPENSIVE. It only draws 40 amps a day to make ice and keep frozen any food we put into it.

We used to have a compressor engine-driven freezer which was great but a terrible drawback because you have to be aboard to run the engine to keep it cold. THIS WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE as we often would leave the boat to go inland exploring. So, we needed something that did not draw a lot of electricity, would work when we were not aboard, and was efficient and easy to install. We now have had a 12-volt Waeco FREEZER with no extra outside cooling water, which is terrific, has given us NO TROUBLE whatsoever, keeps everything frozen solid, and makes ice cubes quickly!, Plus, we can have chocolate ice cream anytime we want it!!! It cost very little, was easy to install, and I would not leave home without it!

Galley separate from the companionway

Kandarik's U shape galley is safe on any tack
U shape galley safe on any tack

We wanted the galley separate from the companionway, so I could be cooking and not getting in anyone’s way. So, with the sink amidships, our engine underneath it, the cutting board athwartships, and the stove and freezer outboard, I have my little safe cuddy for cooking on the go!

The galley is close to the main hatch for easy access to and from the cockpit and ease in passing out hot cups of coffee and soup.


I also have a dorade right above the stove to extract hot air and smell, or if turned forward into the wind, bringing in fresh air to cool me down in the tropics while baking bread.

There is also a large fore and aft opening hatch right over the sink. This hatch has its own dodger over it, facing aft, when at sea it is left open under most conditions and gives great ventilation to anyone working in the galley.

Fluorescent light with RED bulb

There is an Alpenglow fluorescent light with RED bulb for non-blinding night-time work in the galley: one over the stove and one right over the galley.


Pots and pans are stowed under the stove and under the floorboards of the galley for the really big pots. Dishes are stowed outboard of the cutting board for easy access and they cannot bang around.

There is stowage under the sink for fire blankets, long utensils, funnels, matches, zip lock bags, etc.

There are two drawers under the cutting board for eating utensils and cooking utensils. Because these open and close fore and aft, they cannot spill open if on a heel on either tack. They lock into place when closed so cannot open unintentionally.


Foot pumps, hot water, tanks

The sink has a hand pump for fresh water from the tank, foot pump for filtered water from the tank, foot pump for salt water from the sea, and the hot water that comes out of the engine exhaust anti-siphon device that empties into the galley sink for nice HOT salt water. Also, the water tank vent empties into the galley sink, so I know when the tanks are full as the overflow comes into the sink making a gauge unnecessary for overfilling the water tanks.

The foot pumps are easy to get to by the sink. The fresh water filter and the three-gallon kerosene tank are under the countertop just outboard of the cutting board for easy access and maintenance.

Pam Wall

Pam Wall works for West Marine in Fort Lauderdale. After many years of sailing around the world with her husband, Andy, and two small children, Pam has become a diplomat for West Marine by offering her knowledge to offshore cruisers. Pam is one of the hosts of Women and Cruising. Together with friends Kathy Parsons, Gwen Hamlin and Beth Leonard, Pam conducts “Women and Cruising” seminars at boat shows, answering questions that women have about the cruising life.


KANDARIK is a Freya 39, hull number one. 39 foot fiberglass hull, flush deck, canoe stern, sloop that can be sailed as a cutter under heavy conditions. Andy and Pam built her themselves. As she says "We must have been crazy!!" It took them 10 years to build her and then they sailed her around the world with their two small children.

Pam also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Pam's galley advice .


Sheri Schneider S/V Procyon - Gozzard 44

We had Procyon built in 2001. Gozzards are semi-custom boats, so we made the changes to the galley when it was built.

Procyon's U shaped galley
We made it a closed U shaped galley instead of having it as an island.
S/V Procyon

We made it a closed U-shaped galley instead of having it as an island.

It gave me just that little bit more of counter top which I really use!!! Also it's more secure underway.

I have a huge, big, deep sink, and I absolutely love it. It keeps things secure underway and I can wash anything in it dish-wise. Plus it doubles as a laundry sink. As Randy will tell you, it doesn't drain as well as he would like, as it is too close to the waterline.

We took the space where a second head was and made it into a workshop/freezer space.

So I have a very large freezer that is separate from my fridge. My fridge is also very big and in the space above the fridge (where a small freezer would have gone in the original design) I have great storage space that I had them build to hold my tupperware containers. (I made sure the shelf was big enough to stack two high.)

I also had them build in a cutting board that doubles as a drain board.

Very handy. Made from Starboard, it is so easy to keep clean.

Thermos rack

The rack I had them build to hold two large thermos bottles is great. So nice on passages to just heat water once for the whole night.

Vegetable area

Under that counter I had them build in a vegetable area. It has two slide-out bins with a louvered door so it gets good air flow.

Paper towel holder

Just recently I had them build me a paper towel holder that goes under the upper cupboards. It has a dowel going all the way through, so no matter what the size paper towel roll or how bad the cardboard is, it will stay in place.

As I told you before (see Galley advice from Sheri Schneider) I love my galley and would not trade it for any that I have seen, even on much larger yachts.
Sheri Schneider

When Sheri Schneider first got together with Randy it was with the understanding that when he retired from the Coast Guard  they would take off and go sailing.  Through a sequence of duty stations from California to Washington to Rhode Island to North Carolina, they prepared for the dream cruise by buying boats and learning on them together.  For their final duty station  in Beaufort, NC, they had their Gozzard 44 built.  Since 2002, they have sailed the US East Coast and the Bahamas, the Western Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, across the South Pacific to Australia, including New Zealand and Tasmania.  Procyon is now in Mexico, after a trip east on Dockwise.


Sheri and Randy sail on a Gozzard 44 (Their web site is www.gozzard.com).  It is cutter-rigged monohull.  Great set up for a couple as they have tons of interior space that they can use on a daily basis, a huge, comfortable cockpit and all rigging leads into the cockpit for easy when underway.

Sheri also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Sheri's galley advice.


Truus Sharp S/V Key of D - 46 ft Crowther designed catamaran

Truus Sharp in her galley  


We have not done a galley refit, but our current boat, Key of D, was custom designed for us, a process that has some aspects in common with a major refit.

Since we had owned several boats before this one and since I am an interior designer by profession, I drew up a great deal of the interior as well as re-drawing the profile of the boat.

2 things I would stress that may be obvious to experienced sailors but less obvious to new cruisers.

1. Be sure that the insulation for the refrigerator and freezer is no less than 6 inches (150 mm) thick anywhere.

Eight inches (200 mm) is better. Do not let the builders, who are all men, tell you that four inches is standard. That standard was set by men who design and race boats, never spend more than three days on board at a time, and think that Dinty-Moore beef stew and a peanut butter sandwich is a gourmet meal. INSIST on six-inch insulation as a MINIMUM with 8 inches against engine rooms or wherever the insulation touches the hull. You will be the envy of every cruising man or woman you meet.

2. Take great care to plan where your plumbing and electrical wiring will run.

You can't hide these inside a plasterboard wall as you do on land and, if you leave them where they are easily accessible for maintenance, they can really interfere with the use of the space under the sink or at the back of a cupboard. You have to make sure that you can get at both plumbing and wiring without tearing the boat apart. It is a challenge to provide access to these items without using up a lot of useable space, but it is worth doing it right.

The galley design process

  • We started with the naval architect's drawings of the hull.

  • Then I took photos and stood in the galley area as the hulls were being built. I checked dimensions with a tape measure and by bending and reaching.

  • I then shopped for the major items, the stove, the sinks, the faucets, a range hood with a blower that vents outside (which my husband insisted on) and the various bits of hardware. It was important to select these in order to get the final dimensions right. A good look at all of these laid out on the dining table along with a picture of the stove (it had not arrived from Canada yet) ensured that everything would look good together.

  • I drew up the design, and then we mocked it up in our dining room using bits of plywood and cardboard with the sideboard being one side of the galley and the dining table the other. This helped us to be sure that the size of the work surfaces were adequate and that there was enough room for two people to pass by each other without having to propose marriage first. I was confident that the spaces were good based on my professional experience, but my husband had to see them, and I must admit that it helped a lot to see just how big you can make a cupboard before it is in your face or how hard it is to reach to the back of a cupboard behind a sink.

By doing this we designed for people our size not some theoretical average person.

The process also allowed both of us to contribute and to debate the options until we knew we would both be satisfied with the result. I think it worked out pretty well, and we both find the result easy to work with.

5 Simple, Little Galley Refit Ideas

We have not had to do any major renovations to the galley on Key of D because we were very careful to design it to suit us at the outset. However, we have owned 5 other boats and have a few ideas for some simple things that can be done in almost any galley to make it easier to use. These are not really "renovations" just the little things that anyone can do quickly and inexpensively.

Counter with drying rack in sink
Counter with drying rack in sink

Drying Rack

A drying rack is a nice addition to a galley as it cuts down on wet towels, makes dishwashing easier and prevents plates from sling around in rough weather but a drying rack is bulky to store.

Shop around and find one that fits your sink or, if you are replacing the sink, buy one in which you can store a drying rack. That way the rack is out of the way unless you are washing dishes in which case you will have it out anyway.

We have a double sink so the drying rack can be used in the large sink and when the small sink is used for small wash-up jobs.

Sink cover in place
Sink cover in place

Work Surfaces

Most galleys are limited in the space available for preparing food and laying it out ready to serve, especially when it is your turn to entertain a few other boats. We have had a cutting board made that fits over the sink with tabs to prevent it sliding off. This works especially well if you have a double sink as you can still use the small sink while the top of the big sink becomes a sizeable work surface.

In a similar vein, many stove manufacturers provide a wooden top that fits over the burners on the stove so that you can use the stove-stop as a work surface when preparing cold food. If your stove did not come with one it is very easy to make. The sink top and stove cover can be stored under the stove, on edge in a cupboard or just left on the counter top and used as a work surface there when not being used on the sink and stove.

Towel foil and wrap dispenser
Towel foil and wrap dispenser

Wall-Mounted Dispenser

Another cruiser recommended that I try a wall-mounted unit that holds a roll of paper towels, a roll of cling wrap and a roll of aluminium foil.

It has made more space available in the galley drawers and the towels, wrap and foil are available instantly whenever I need them.

2 spice racks
2 spice racks

Spice Racks

Although we designed a spice rack that holds 20 bottles as part of the original galley we have begun to use more and more different herbs, spices and seasonings as we pick up new recipes and ideas from the places we visit.

I have recently bought a second rack that holds an additional 18 bottles and mounted it on the inside of a cupboard door where it makes good use of otherwise wasted space and is easy to access.

Stick-on LEDs
Stick-on LEDs


It can be difficult getting enough light into the galley at night to make cooking and cleaning up easy.

We found an inexpensive and handy answer in the form of little LED lights that run for months off 3 AAA batteries. I have stuck these under the cupboards over the counters to light the areas that used to be shadowed. (We liked them so much we also put them in the hanging lockers.) We first found them at Ikea and subsequently at a bargain store called the Reject Shop in Australia.

Truus Sharp

Truus was born and raised in The Netherlands where she learned to sail on traditional tjotters, the boats that look like large wooden shoes with leeboards.  Her husband, Steve Sharp, was born in Canada where he learned to sail on the Great Lakes in the 1940s and 50s.  Together they are the 2 "Sharps" that form the signature for the Key of D They are leaving the South Pacific and heading west to cross the Indian Ocean.

"Key of D"

Over the years Truus and Steve have sailed everything from dinghies to a Thames barge including 5 monohull cruising boats and their current catamaran.  Since 2002 they have lived aboard Key of D, a 46-foot Crowther-designed catamaran designed and built to their specifications to accommodate the two of them with occasional guests and to carry the five tonnes of fuel, water, ground tackle, equipment and supplies necessary to be independent of re-supply for up to 90 days at a time.

Truus also contributed to our article "Galley advice from 18 cruising women":

Read Truus's galley advice .


See also on this website:

Galley Advice from 18 Women
Admiral's Angle column #35 – The Cruising Galley
Kitchen-Sink Galley Checklist
Galley posts from the Women & Cruising blog
18 Boat Recipes