As we searched for more usable space aboard Rainbow Chaser we found a few places that could be opened up.
- Under the main cooking stove
- Behind/below the electrical panel
- Under the cabinet in the head.
Under the stove is an opening that, as the boat is built, can only be reached from under the sink. If you feel back up under the stove from under the sink, you will feel a void in there.
My first try to use this space was to cut a round hole and install an 8" lift-out type plastic deck plate. This will work, and it make the space usable, but not very accessable. After all, you must swing the stove way back to be able to get your hand in there. While the stove is back and your hand is in the hole searching for something, you are at a big risk of the stove swinging down and trying to chop your hand off. Not good! Besides, there is barely enought clearance for the stove to miss the deck plate. We used this method for about a year and Nellie asked for something more practical.
Pass two involved cutting a door into the face below the stove. I laid out a retangular hole, the carefully sawed it out, trying to keep the edges as straight as I could. One problem is that the wood is out from the fiberglass, so there is a void between them. Once I got the hole cut, I took some strips of wood and made a spacer to fill the void all around, then screwed the facing wood, through the spacer, and into the fiberglass. Then with a bit of sanding and filing, I had a fairly nice edge all around.
After that it is a simple matter of putting a border on the rectangular piece of wood you cut out, installing hinges and a latch and you have a nice accessable place to store about half a grocery cart of "stuff".
Below the electrical panel is a large space, normally only accessable from inside the cabinet in the Qberth. You can easily cut a round hole in the forward end of that compartment. Look behind the settee on the port side, just forward of the electical panel. There is a fiberglass panel there. Cut a round hole for an 8" deck plate, then you can stuff about 30 rolls of paper towels in there, or even more toilet paper. I would recommend storing paper products there, as whatever you put in there will be laying on all sorts of electrical wiring and you wouldn't want cans bouncing on your wiring.
If you open the doors in your locker behind the toilet in the head, you'll see a bottom made of fiberglass. Below that is a void that will hold about 20 rolls of toilet paper. On the wider end, towards the back of the boat, there is room to put in a 4" deck plate. Saw a round hole, install the plate and presto - you have some hidden storage.
As a bonus, look in the shower. There is a deck plate that Hunter installed to get to the plumbing in the shower. If you screw that out, you can chunk in many bottles of shampoo, bars of soap, bottles of wine and who-know-what? But, I expect everyone already figured that one out.
Pictures to come when I get a chance.
Upgrade and Fix-it Page - Rainbow Chaser Home