What advice would you give women in setting up their galleys, in preparing to cook aboard?
Take Your Time
Give yourself a couple of months of using your galley and then decide on additions and upgrades. Jot down improvement ideas during this time. After using the galley for a bit of time, you'll see what works well and what needs improvement.
You may be surprised to find out that the galley didn't actually need that many changes. Rather you simply needed to make a few adjustments to fit yourself to your galley's layout.
Our daughter, who lived aboard since she was 3-years old, is off to college. She's renting a very small house with a tiny kitchen. She commented “This small kitchen is so much easier to use than the large kitchen in the house I rented last year.”
If you're still looking for your cruising boat, keep in mind that good ventilation in a cruising boat is essential, especially in the galley. A large overhead hatch that funnels a breeze throughout the galley will be much appreciated.
I think it's a misconception that a cruising boat should install a top loading refrigerator. The thought is that since warm air rises and cold air sinks, that when you open a top loading fridge, less cold air escapes, but when you open a front loading fridge, the cold air can all spill right out the door. This may be true, but I still think that a front loading fridge make more sense.
Here is what I don't like about top loading refrigerators:
- On a cruising boat, counter space is at a premium and you need to clear the counter space on top of the fridge lid to be able to open the fridge.
- The opening lid can be cumbersome to open and to free up both hands, you will need to have a way to keep the fridge lid open
- Many units are located in areas where it is difficult, especially for a short person, to access. It may be impossible to reach the bottom.
- Even when baskets are used, it is usually less user-friendly than a front opening fridge.
A front opening fridge is easier to organize and easier to access the contents and so usually the door is open for less time, thereby becoming more efficient than a top loading fridge. You will lose even less cold air and increase the efficiency of your front opening fridge if you install what is sometimes referred to as "frost air brakes". They are basically clear, heavy vinyl strips that hang down from the top edge of your fridge. You can get these at any home improvement store.
Some front opening refrigerators may have a problem with contents shifting around while heeled over and then falling out of the fridge when you open the door. I've never had this happen but the fridge on our monohull had a door that opened forward rather than to port or starboard and it had a large lip to hold the contents in.