Storage Solutions
This page was last updated on March 18, 2002

Interior:  Salon        Interior:  Forward Cabin

Perhaps one of the greatest limitations of the Triton is a lack of convenient storage.  Because of Carl's shapely hull design, the bilges are extremely slack, and this means that space is very limited inside the boat.  It seems that everywhere you look, the hull curves up closer and faster than you expect.  I suppose this is one of the tradeoffs for having a boat that looks good in the water and sails well, but it makes storing some of the gear one might want for longer-term cruising more of a challenge, to say the least.


The Triton comes standard with small cutouts in the tops of the settees offering some limited access to the space beneath.  There were also two drawers built in beneath the settees in the main cabin.  The problem is, these drawers are pretty small by necessity, as the curvature of the hull behind the fronts prevents the drawers from extending too deeply.  The framework for the drawer supports also cuts severely into the space available beneath the settees.

As part of the major refit, I attempted to address some of the storage problems by reconfiguring the main salon and adding hopefully useful storage in the backrests and against the hull above.  For the most part, this has worked out well, and no changes are planned.  You can see the details of the construction and completion of the settee backs and such at one of the following links:

Rebuilding the Interior

Finish Trim, Woodwork, and Details

I was unhappy with the standard drawers beneath the settees, though, and knew that there was wasted space there.  It so happened that I had also been searching for a better place to store my toolboxes--I keep three on board:  one for hand tools, one for electrical, and one with fastenings and spare parts, plus a flatter case that holds all my sockets and ratchets.  Last season, I stored all the toolboxes in the port cockpit locker, which was OK, but not great.  It was really too much weight that far aft, and the slope and curvature of the hull meant that removing one box meant pretty much removing all of them.  It was far from ideal, but I didn't know where else to put them.  These are all tools, parts and equipment that I consider essential for self-sufficiency and onboard maintenance and repairs.

Then it hit me:  they could be stored beneath the settees!  But I'd have to cut new hatches into the tops to allow the toolboxes (and other gear) to fit.  I didn't think the drawers would be missed, and access from the top is convenient enough by just lifting up the cushion.  I went out to the boat to check out the situation, and determined that there was enough space for what I wanted to do.  As I always do when starting a project inside, I spread some towels and cloths around to protect the cabin sole and such.

First, I marked out the outline of the new opening.  I left 3" of material between the outer edge of the settee and the cut, and 3" between the cut and the settee back.  The opening ended up 34" long and 14" wide on the port side, and just a bit shorter on the starboard side (where the settee is shorter).  I drilled small holes at each corner to help with the cutting and give me a place to start the saw, and then cut out the top piece with my jigsaw.  I will be using the cutout piece as the hatch--all it needs are some cleats beneath the settee top to hold it in place.  Eventually, I'll add some latches of some sort if we do any offshore sailing.


Port Settee Storage LockerWith the new, large openings, access is terrific, and there's lots of room.  I removed the old drawer frames and fasteners.  There's a little painting to be done--a few areas were inaccessible when I painted the insides of all the lockers before, but that will have to wait until the weather gets a little warmer.  There's plenty of space for the three plastic toolboxes, as well as other gear.   This will definitely be Starboard Settee Cutout handy in the future.    To cover the openings where the drawers were, I removed the solid teak drawer fronts from the boxes (they're just screwed and nailed in place); I'll put these in place and attach them from behind with some small cleats.

To complete the project, I installed hardwood cleats around the edges of the openings, screwing them in place from above.  This allows the hatch to sit in there and be supported.  Mind you, this is not fancy work--you never see these areas when the cushions are on board.  What matters is that it's functional.  If I were building new, I might be inclined to get fancy and pretty on all aspects of the project, but given that I'm working with 38 portsetteeclosed.JPG (176138 bytes)year-old plywood that was rough to begin with, AND it's completely hidden from view, I just am not one to spend too much time on detail. (Not that the work is so bad...but it's not what I would want to look at all the time!)

To complete the job, I reinstalled the old teak drawer fronts in the openings.  To do this, I milled a couple cleats out of scrap lumber to the proper length to span the entire opening; I also notched the ends slightly, since the drawer front, when installed in the opening, is not flush on the back side, and to draw it tightly into place the brace needs to be flush with both the drawer front and the sides of the cabinet.  I screwed through the cleats into the backs of the drawer fronts, completing the conversion of the storage lockers. Later, I painted the unfinished surfaces with more of the Interlux Bilgekote used throughout the interior and lockers.

I read about a good solution for lining interior storage lockers in Ferenc Mate's The Finely Fitted Yacht, a book filled with more simple, good and interesting ideas than most others I have seen.  To line the lockers simply, cheaply, and effectively, he recommends using the cheap plastic carpet runners that you might put down in a heavy traffic area to protect your rug.  Available everywhere, this stuff is dirt cheap, durable, and the little nubs on the bottom give it just enough air space beneath to promote circulation, while holding the locker contents away from the surface of the hull.  It sounded brilliant, so I decided to give it a try.  I lined both of my new storage lockers beneath the settees with it--the standard width was perfect in this application, as luck would have it.  I cut it to length and smoothed it into place inside the locker.  The fit is tight enough that I shouldn't have to worry about it sliding around or anything.  Time will tell exactly how effective this is--but I like the idea!  I ran out after lining the two settee lockers, but later I will install more of this product inside the vee berth lockers as well.

Forward Cabin

There were also two relatively small hatches cut into the vee berth at the factory.  These certainly left something to be desired.  I fought with the tight access while running wiring and hoses, but at the time I didn't want to get into additional projects--I was deep into the restoration at that point and didn't need anything else on my plate.  To see events that eventually brought me here, please check out the pages dedicated to the initial work on the interior and forward cabin:

Interior at the Time of Purchase

Interior Demolition and Preparation for New Work

I did cut some new hatches in the forwardmost part of the vee, forward of the water tank.  This was completely unutilized space as the boat came from the factory and, although we haven't put anything up there yet, I know sometime it will be put to good use.  I installed cleats around the edges so that the cutouts could serve as the new covers for the lockers.  This project was completed at a fairly early stage of the initial restoration.  The photo shows the openings after I painted inside and around, but before the hull liner was in place and before I installed any cleats to support the hatches.


Shortly after cutting the larger hatches in the settees (see above), I decided to make the port access hatch in the vee berth--the one near the aft bulkhead--larger to give me more and easier access to the head bulkhead for running the hoses for the pending holding tank project, and also to make access better for storage.  I penciled in a line as large as I could and cut out the opening with a jigsaw.  As with the other openings, I will add cleats around the edges to hold the hatch in place.  The wires you see in the photo will be retied up beneath the plywood alongside the hull; the clamps were removed in order to make the new cut.  The white hose is the new hose from the head Y-valve that is eventually to be connected to the holding tank through the bulkhead at the bottom of the photo.  To complete the project, I installed cleats around the edges of the new opening to support the hatch.  (See above for how I did this in the salon on the settees.)

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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