Sailboat Interiors

When we bought S/V Galapagos, a 1975 Ted Brewer Olympic Adventure 47, she had good 'bones'. As soon as we saw her, we knew she was our boat but inside our heads was the vision of the boat she COULD be, not necessarily the boat she was. We saw her all bright and shiny, with crisp white sails, fresh and flexible lines, and comfy berths and settees. We viewed our new girl through the glasses of new love. It wasn't until the newness began to wear off that we saw what we really had: a 1975 boat that had aged gracefully in some areas, but that needed a lot of attention if she was going to be the comfortable home we wanted.

The settees were worn out; the upholstery ripped and shredded in some places.  The berths had that kind of foam that required a waterproof cover before you slept on it. The walls in the aft head were covered with some kind textured wallpaper that wafted a suspicious smelling perfum de mildew as I passed by.

Our boat kitty money was being spent on a new engine, prop, shaft, etc. etc. There would be precious little left to use on the interior right away. Fortunately, I have never let a lack of money stop me from pursuing the goal of making a place, whether boat or land home, attractive, comfortable, and functional. I picked up a lot of good tips from other bloggers.

If you are looking for good ideas for your boat interior, you've come to the right place. There are so many good links below that you may want to just go ahead and bookmark this entire page. Who knew there was so much talent out there?  Get yourself a hot beverage while you relax and browse the blogs of fellow cruisers, dreaming of a boat that looks a lot like home.

In this post from our blog  Little Cunning Plan , I explain how I updated the walls in our aft head (bathroom) using cheap latex paints and a faux finish technique. The results are most satisfying.

         Cheap and Easy Boat Tricks: Fun with Finishes

Tate and Dani at Sundowner Sails Again have refit their boat practically from a bare hull. Dani shows us how to make slipcovers in this blog post:

          Ultrasuede Cushion Slipcovers

And if you are confused about how to choose foam for a berth makeover, read Dani's post on the different types of foam and how to make the best decision.

          Choosing the Right Foam

Having kids on board creates a special challenge. Aimee on S/V Terrapin shows how to use vinyl stickers to decorate walls. Who would have thought it? It's a great idea.

          The Cabins Have Been Redone!

Likewise Behan and Jamie on Totem redid their entire interior to accommodate the needs of their family of 5.

            Making a Boat a Home

Nichola of Yacht Emerald has used her considerable talents to do a lovely mosaic that customizes her sailboat. Take a look and get your own creative juices flowing!

           Detailing a Doorway with Mosaic Tiles

Sometimes you just want a little update in the salon. We had worn out upholstery but couldn't yet afford to replace everything in the salon due to that pesky engine refit. If you are handy with a needle, you too can update your salon on the cheap.

          Cheap and Easy Boat Tricks: Covering Salon Cushions

Carolyn at The Boat Galley makes short work of old,  worn out formica. If you have an older boat, you might give this a try when updating the galley. Much cheaper and easier than ripping it all out.

           New Life for Old Formica Countertops

Jan at Commuter Cruiser gives us a lot of little tips about how to make your boat a home from bedding to ventilation.

            How to Live on a Boat

Hillary at Very Well Salted solves the mystery of fitted v-berth sheets in her great post.

         Do-It-Yourself V-Berth Sheets

Then, hold onto your seats when you take a look at the results when Hillary does the UNTHINKABLE to wood: She paints it! In a word: fabulous.

         Color Your World with Paint

Annette's blog has lots of tips and tricks for the sewing sailor, including this useful post on the different types of boat curtains.

         Types and Styles of Boat Curtains

If you are tired of looking at boring, plain steps leading into the cockpit, Linda of JacaranaJourney has a beautiful solution using stencils.

         Stenciling Your Stairway

Ineke at SY Zeezwaluw shows what a difference a change of fabric can make in any cabin.

      Update Your Interior with a Change of Fabric

Beth at Sailboat Interiors  sells all kinds of interesting items specifically designed for sailboat. She has a Pinterest board that has a myriad of resources for updating your boat's interior.

       Hundreds of Ideas on Pinterest

Verena at Pacific Sailors shows a good use for decorative pillows made from artwork she purchased during her travels.

        Hidden Storage Made Beautiful

Want to customize your own mattress? I show you how in this blog post, using an inexpensive mattress ordered from Amazon.

       Saving $$ on a Good Night's Sleep

Janet Lee and her main squeeze, Michael, did a complete overhaul of their salon on their boat, Adventure Us 2.

          Complete Salon Re-do

Cindy Wallach is of the opinion that boaty themes in fabric have no place on a boat. As a rule, I can't agree more. Why be boxed in by tiny seahorses and clam shells? Go for color and pattern!

            Alternatives to Nautical Themes

Aixa on S/V Bramasole stores her down comforter inside one of these lovely pillows. I love the idea of a down comforter on a boat. We have two, but our storage isn't nearly as pretty.

          Lovely Pillow Hideaways

The crew at S/V Octopussy show what can be done with extensive use of cork inside a boat. Plus, you'll get a special tip on using that apple corer that's been neglected in the back of a kitchen drawer for 10 years.
          Getting Corked

No before/after photos in this post, but Kin at Laho Wind made it clear to her mate that having a sailboat home did not mean she was willing to live a spartan existence.

          Cozy Home

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On Cruising Friendships

Some people need to have friends around almost all the time, and almost everyone needs friends at least sometimes.  The cruising lifestyle provides lots of opportunities, but are those friendships in some fundamental way different than friendships made when you live on land?


Guests Aboard--a survivor's manual

Great guests fit in small spaces, and stay endlessly cheerful

There is no greater bonding experience among cruisers than sharing a survival story. Dock talk revolves around these tales; like the time you dragged in 50 knots and nearly landed on a reef, or when that fishing boat missed crushing your hull by inches, or the week you had three landlubbers aboard.

Boat guests seem to come in two forms: the ones who adapt seamlessly to the rigors of life aboard (and who you invite back again and again), and the ones who don’t.

Over the years we've tried many techniques for training boat guests. We’ve drafted letters explaining the boat in detail, sent it out ahead of the visit, and followed-up to clarify major points. We have held pre-departure orientations – naming the parts of the boat, “This is a boom, it will kill you if it hits your head.” and describing in detail how things work. We have left notes on the head, faucets and lights, and explained which food is available to eat on which days. And we have learned that some people just make bad guests.

A group of bloggers share their expertise: How have you trained up your guests? Who has visited you? Have you had younger guests visit (aka kids)? What have you learned along the way?  Or maybe you've discovered having guests isn't your thing? 

Topic Coordinators: Diane, Evan, and Maia (Ceilydh Set Sail


What Makes A Great Anchorage?

A beautiful anchorage at Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, as seen from the top of Mt. Hobson (photo by The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Sidekick)

One of the best parts of cruising is dropping the hook and enjoying some time in a fabulous anchorage. It seems like everyone has their favorite anchorages. Places you dream about returning to one day. Places that you excitedly tell others about when you hear they’ll be cruising there. Places whose pictures make you smile each time you see them.

It doesn’t seem like there is a simple rule which defines what makes an anchorage great. It might be the rich, vibrant colors of the sunset or the silhouette of the hills against the water as the sun comes up in the morning that you can’t forget. Or it might be the incredible wildlife you had the privilege of seeing. For some, it might be the interesting characters you met at a cruiser’s potluck on the beach. For others, it might be the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of an anchorage all by yourselves. Or maybe you just had so much fun that every time you reflect back on that particular anchorage, you can’t help but laugh to yourself about the craziness you got up to.

Topic Coordinator:  Ellen from The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick


End of Cruising

(Sign available for purchase here, just in case you need to sell your boat)

The cynical joke is that the two happiest days in a boat-owner's life are the day s/he buys the boat, and the day s/he sells it.  Cruises end for many reasons.  A cruise can end as a kind of "mission accomplished" or completed -- a circumnavigation ends when the boat crosses their outbound track, or a trip that was planned as a one-year sabbatical ends on Day 365.  Or a trip can end in horrific unplanned crisis -- the boat breaks or sinks, health fails or funding runs out.  Or there can be not so much a point or event that ends cruising, as a realization that this isn't the right path anymore.

A group of bloggers honestly tell how their story ends.