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  #1  
Old 10-31-2011
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Converting V-berth to Storage

My SO and I have a 30' Islander Bahama. We are thinking about traveling the Great Loop in this boat, which means living aboard for 9-12 months.

SO is 6'1" and doesn't fit in the V-berth at all, so we have a bed that rolls out across the cabin settees. Since we don't use the V-berth we are considering ripping the whole thing out and converting it to storage. We're planning to take our work with us (we can both work online), so we need office storage as well as space for clothing and personal effects.

Does anyone out there have examples, especially pictures, of people who have done this? Any other cool storage ideas for a small production sailboat?

Last edited by SailingLazy; 10-31-2011 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Grammar!
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Old 10-31-2011
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IMHO the v-berth is an awkward place for storage. the objects in the back would be stuck behind everything else, and the triangular shape makes it hard to organize things effectively. very awkward for a shelf or cabinet design. you might be better off just extending the v-berth to accomodate the 6'1" passenger and turning the settees into storage/office space.
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Old 10-31-2011
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The original version of the Niagara 35 did not have a V-berth but had the area setup for storage and with a small workbench. If you could check one of those out it would give you an idea. You have to be careful though - some were built with a child-size v berth and some with a full-size one. I would imagine you could built a small desk surface in (large enough for a laptop at least) with a folddown seat facing forward and then use the surrounding V for storage. I think you could make shelves to port and starboard but leave the area forward of the 'desk' as a large open bin for sailbags and other large objects.

We had a Portbote with our N35 and were able to store all of the parts (seats and transom) in the Vberth area standing up along the sides. When we got the Bristol (displacement more than twice as much) there were no convenient places to store those bits so we got rid of the Portabote.
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Old 10-31-2011
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When you change your boat around watch the waterline, vessels are balanced ; And you could be changing your craft more then you know! Just changing from a A4 to a YMS8 made a large difference in my 28 Cal------Dale
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Old 11-01-2011
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As you'll see I share your desire for more storage and less berths. The 2 of us have slept in the forward berth of our last 4 boats maybe.... twice total. So here is what I did with my last boat a Catalina 320. When I brokered it out in trade for my Nauticat the broker insisted I revert the forward berth back to "normal" for a sale. So I wasted time, energy, and money to do that. Well......... when I spoke to the eventual buyer he said something like Oh..... what a shame, we (2 live aboards) would have loved it just the way you had it set up -



On my current Nauticat 331 the forward berth cushion started its new life in the cellar 6 years ago as soon as I got the boat. I have the teak lumber to build a shelving system but other projects have pushed it back year after year so here's a quick look at what I do for now -



Good luck on your trip !!!
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Old 11-01-2011
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you might want to consider going 1/2 1/2... ie starboard side desk port side/bow area storage, then you would have a place to work and avoid the whole stuff at the bow is buried in the back problem.

there is a good how to in this book, as well as many other projects, though iirc he uses the 'desk' side as a single bed, but it would be the same build out it seems.

Amazon.com: Spurr's Boatbook: Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat (9780070605541): Daniel Spurr: Books

good luck
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Old 11-01-2011
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@ChristyLeigh - thanks so much for sharing pictures. Really helpful to see how you've used bins as a storage system.

@LakeSuperior - thanks for the reminder. I'm thinking replacing our current anchor rode w/ 100' or so of chain will take care of the weight issues, but it's a great point.

@Killarney - I'll definitely look for specs and pictures of the Niagara 35. Found some specs of a Cape Dory 25D that had a head where the v-berth usually is, but that's more remodeling than we care to do!
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Old 11-01-2011
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@QuickMick - nice book recommendation!
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