Creating Comfort Afloat


From the Author

Boating is many things to many people, depending on the thrills they seek. Whether those thrills come from powerful engines or sails fat with wind, from a sleek and seakindly hull or a houseboat built for spacious cabins, the one thing we all have in common is, we eat and sleep. This book was written for everyone who loves being lulled to sleep by the sea, waking up to mornings on the water, dining afloat, entertaining and, in ...

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From the Author

Boating is many things to many people, depending on the thrills they seek. Whether those thrills come from powerful engines or sails fat with wind, from a sleek and seakindly hull or a houseboat built for spacious cabins, the one thing we all have in common is, we eat and sleep. This book was written for everyone who loves being lulled to sleep by the sea, waking up to mornings on the water, dining afloat, entertaining and, in short, creating creature comforts.

During the 10 years we lived full time on the go, part of the fun was creating a real home anywhere we happened to be. It was more than just fine-tuning furnishings and gear to suit us. It was being able to invite people aboard for a meal, taking landlubber friends or relatives for a day cruise, introducing young people to overnighting afloat, surprising each other with Christmas presents we had managed to hide months before and finding the income tax records every April. It meant making a living on board, as travel writers. It meant having enough tools and spares to do most of our own mechanical, electrical and sewing work. It meant having the resources and resourcefulness to stay warm, cool, well-fed and well-rested, clean and safe. It meant keeping our boat shipshape, not just as a matter of pride, but because of the dollars-and-cents resale value.

Most of all, creating comforts afloat made us truly at home on the water. This book is for the sailor in you as well as for the homebody in you. Whether you live aboard, vacation on board or just overnight occasionally, my aim is to make your boat more livable.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781892216175
  • Publisher: Bristol Fashion Publications
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Edition description: SPIRAL
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 1:

Yacht decorators and designers talk a slick, chic lingo that dances with ideals, dotes on romance and delights in theory. That's all well and good ashore, but you and I are boat owners. While we'd like to be rhapsodizing about mauve and aubergine, our language leans more toward words like dry rot, mildew, algae, knockdowns, diesel soot, corrosion, leaks, rust, beating to windward and getting pooped.

Pretty is as pretty does

This book is a guide to products and techniques that will make life aboard your yacht more comfortable, more swank and more in pace with today's opulent lifestyle, but without compromising the kinds of materials, preservatives, placement and construction the serious, seagoing, pleasure boat demands.

Creating Comfort Afloat is not a guide to cute new shades of chintz. Nor is it a how-to for the ship's carpenter, electrician or painter. It is for men and women who want a more livable boat, both those who are working with a professional decorator and those who are doing some or all of the work themselves.

Our theoretical boat is in the 35-foot to 65-foot range. Her owners are savvy in the ways of boating, enough to know money must be spent, sometimes lavishly , to furnish or refurbish a boat, but it can be spent with wisdom, restraint and a view to both today's comforts and tomorrow's maintenance, good looks and resale value.

No matter how extravagantly you intend to decorate your boat or how tightly you must pinch pennies, this book will lead you through questions, answers, solutions and decisions. My hope is that the resulting boat will bring you years of pleasure, enduring value and few surprises.


It may seen to some readers that this book overemphasizes household products at the expense of attention to time-proven marine equipment. I have always favored the use of the best, marine-quality materials and equipment. A good marine air conditioner, heating system, generator or galley stove has no competitor in the household market.

However, many modern products can come aboard without compromising quality, safety, strength and durability. Some items designed for marine use end up ashore and vice versa. Many products, though advertised and marketed only to homeowners, are as at home on a boat as they are in a mountain lodge, recreational vehicle or beach cottage.

My aim is to give you as wide a choice as possible, assuming you'll make the best choice for your boat and the way it will be used and cruised. Furnishing a 35-foot sailboat for a circumnavigation will be different from decorating a houseboat that will never leave fresh water.

Some readers may be offended by my use of such landlubber terms as floor, wall, bathroom, ceiling, door, closet and window. I am familiar with nautical terms. My closest friends might even admit my sailing vocabulary extends to a saltiness somewhat beyond that of a lady's needs. Where appropriate, I've used nautical references.

However, in the interest of clarity when discussing furnishings and decor, I've used whatever terms are most likely to be used by your decorator and by the suppliers of furnishings and materials.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, to say head when I mean toilet and also head when I mean bathroom is a form of errant pedantry up with which I will not put.

What's ahead

In summing up decorating trends for the l990's, Home magazine began with a surprise: "A dumpster in the driveway" is the new status symbol, the magazine said. In the new millennium, the need for recycling and trash management will play an increasingly important role in galley design, just as entertainment electronics are shaping our saloons, the Internet has transformed our communications, GPS has become indispensable to navigation and the popularity of spas and fitness machines requires that our bathrooms -- areas that can no longer be called heads -- be larger and more luxurious.

Only a generation ago, we would have smirked at any suggestion that a pleasure boat should be anything but a floating summer camp -- austere, practical, furnished with castoffs and bare of any sissy touches. We progressed into an age of creature comforts afloat, but even those were trimmed in brass and brightwork, were nautically themed ad nauseum and had color schemes centered around red, white and blue.

Next came an era of miniaturization, in which entire living rooms, dining rooms, bars, libraries, dens, pantries and harem-size bedrooms were shrunk and stuffed into a hull. They had eye appeal in the showroom, but were as livable as a doll house and not much more durable.

The New Age in Yacht Decor

Today we expect boat interiors to be plush yet sized for real people and decorated in tones that are more tasteful, less strident and more homelike. We can have them without sacrificing seagoing durability, thanks to brawny new plastics, effective waterproofers, tough wood finishes, stain proof carpetings, fade-proof dyes, unbreakable mirrors and much more.

Once bulky to install and expensive and clanky to operate, refrigeration and air conditioning are now de rigueur on boats as small as 21-footers. The most sophisticated consumer electronics, from CD players to VCRs, come in 12 volt models, and few families would go to sea without them. Rarely do you see a boat larger than 21 feet that does not have a microwave oven. Cellular phones, computers and Internet access have moved into the "necessity" category too.

We all like to think we go boating to get away from it all. But a quick tour of any boat show makes it clear we yachties are more likely to take it with us. Even the most independent circumnavigators are ardent e-mail users or ham radio operators, consumed with pressing schedules and constantly in touch with networks of like-minded souls.

If boats were only a means of escape, there would be no need for raft-ups, regattas and yacht clubs. Let's cheerfully admit that it is our goal to surround ourselves with friends and with any comforts we can provide at an affordable cost in money and space.

As a former live-aboard and still a frequent boater, I know life on a boat can be harsh, wet, sticky hot or clammy cold. Even in the best of times, there are the assaults of mildew, salt spray and merciless sun. At its worst, the sea is a rampaging demon that can throw your floating home onto her beam ends, crack holes in her hull and send winds and spume shrieking through the most carefully contrived decor.

Now, however, thanks to new products that are toughened for marine use and new protectants that allow us to use non-marine products on board, the sailor is able to live with the beauty of both worlds. We can be surrounded by the sea in all its harsh realities, yet cupped in the comforts of a gracious, but enduring and practical, home.
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Table of Contents


Chapter 1   Marine Decor 101
This book isn't about paint swatches and fashion trends. It's about things that work on boats, last on boats and make sense on boats.

Chapter 2   Working with (and without) a Decorator
A marine decorator could be your best friend if you proceed the right way with the right decorator.

Chapter 3   Going for the Perfect Galley
It's the heart of every boat. Here's how to furnish and accessorize the galley for your own cooking and dining style.

Chapter 4   Bedding and Linens
Standard-size beds are a rarity on board, but here are ways to maximize comforts in the bedroom and bath without spending a fortunate.

Chapter 5   Using Your Head
No matter how small and inconvenient the bathroom on your boat, here are suggestions for making it bigger and more space-efficient.

Chapter 6   Fabrics and Window Treatments
What to look for in fabrics that are practical on deck and below. How to use window treatments for added privacy and temperature control.

Chapter 7   Floor Coverings
 Survey the enormous variety of choices in today's deck coverings, from hard surfaces to real carpeting, then install and maintain them properly.

Chapter 8   Hush Money
Noise-Reduction Strategy
From the most silent sailboat to the loudest power boat, here are ways to make your vessel quieter.

Chapter 9   Other Materials :
Tile, Plywood, Laminates
The marketplace offers many choices in materials. Understand them before deciding what you or your contractor will apply.

Chapter  l0   Doors
Choosing the right doors is crucial in assuring privacy, security and good looks.

Chapter 11  Lighting the Way 
It's a tall order to outfit your boat with the right lighting for night boating, reading in bed, entertaining and galley tasks.

Chapter 12   Furniture
First, decide whether you want built-in or freestanding furnishings, then make the most of your choices.
Chapter 13 Electronic Pleasures
The choice, installation and care of electronics are essential for enjoying e-mail, television, music and other modern pleasures.

Chapter 14  Lockers
How to add, divide, expand and conquer storage areas.

Appendix 1   Suppliers & Manufacturers



About the Author

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