When I purchased the Papagallo, the layout and appliances in the galley were a very important factor in making the decision to buy.   Having spent four years and a lot of travel miles in my search, I knew what I was looking for.  Most of the vessels I considered were well equipped for cruising, but their galleys were another story.  They were only set up to do limited food preparation onboard. 

My business plan included doing parties for up to 50 guests.  In order for me to prepare the menus we would be serving, the small galley space had to be as functional as possible. 

For several years of operation, we managed to get by with an electric four burner stove top and a three-rack oven underneath.  This was a twenty year-old GE model with a microwave mounted above.  Our refrigerator was a two-door, side-by-side Amana refrigerator freezer combo.  To cover our dishwashing needs, there was a Kitchen Aide Dishwasher. 

Although this equipment was not designed for commercial use, I was able to adapt my methods and make it work.  As the years passed, because of the volume of cooking I was doing, it was quite apparent these appliances were worn out.  There was no longer a work around solution.  They needed to be replaced.    

To refit any kitchen is a challenge.  But if it’s a galley on a yacht, double or triple the complications you’ll face.  We’re talking major undertaking here.  One of the many problems you’re immediately faced with is how to get the old equipment out.  After you figure this out then you’ve got to find a way to get the new equipment in.  And remember, nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

With our limited space (66 sq. ft.), the size and style of the new appliances would be critical.  In this application using commercial equipment is not an option.  After working with my local Whirlpool representative, we selected a Jenn-Air package.  Although not commercial, it was far better than what I had been working with and would be a great improvement for the galley space. 

The new equipment was delivered to our dock area and we set a day for the change out.  We moved the Papagallo to the South T Pier to take advantage of the public crane there.  Due to scheduling conflicts, we would have one full day to get the job done.  First, the old appliances would be lifted out from the starboard side aft window.  The measurements were so close and the space so tight that we had to remove the doors from the old refrigerator and then disassemble the oven unit in order to get them out.  We had probably less than a half inch clearance, much less than I was comfortable with, but after a lot of grunting and groaning, the old appliances were on their way out.

Our original plan to bring the new appliances onboard was to cut an opening in the boat deck above the galley and lower them through.  This seemed like the only way we could access the galley space since the passageway aft that led to the galley was only twenty-five inches wide – too narrow to bring the new fridge through.

I was never happy with the prospect of cutting through the deck, not just because of the expense involved in repairing it, but because of the Papagallo’s integrity.  To me it’s like I would be damaging a beautifully designed piece of aged wood that was part of the yacht’s pedigree and shouldn’t be disturbed.   So, when the carpenter said, saw in hand, “I want to take one more measurement before cutting,” I told him to go for it, hoping somehow that we wouldn’t have to make that cut in the deck.

Well, if you’ve ever heard that old saying “Measure twice, cut once,” I can tell you that it’s absolutely true.  Man, was I glad he did that!

My carpenter re-measured carefully.  When he returned he must have read my mind because there was a knowing smile on his face.  “According to the aft window measurement, it’s wide enough – if we remove the doors,” he said.  He also calculated that with the doors and trim removed from the passageways, we would end up with exactly 1/8” clearance.  It wouldn’t be a slam dunk, but we would be able to squeeze the appliances through and into the galley space.

With the aft window open and crew in place, the crane operator swung the fridge over the water and lined it up with the open window.  When the refrigerator was lowered, the plan was for the crew to grab it and guide it through onto the aft deck.  As we proceeded, there was one small problem . . . the straps securing the fridge were just thick enough to keep it from sliding through the window. 

After some heated discussion, the decision was made to have one of the crew lay across the side of the fridge that was already a third of the way through the window.  This would create a counter balance.  With him in place, the straps were removed and two other crew members simultaneously yanked the lumbering refrigerator through the window, preventing it from falling into the bay.  WOW!  Mission accomplished! 

With all the old appliances removed from the boat and the new ones safely onboard, the rest of the day was comparatively easy.  We moved the new ones to the galley, reassembled them, and then hooked them up to power and water.  When we finished the Papagallo’s galley never looked better.  With modern, Jenn-Air appliances, her prep area is now beautifully functional.  Getting this done was a huge effort, but well worth it.  My job is so much easier now that I don’t have to nurse the old equipment along!

Until next week…

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Chef Len




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