You have to wear a lot of hats to keep a boat going. Engineer, navigator, bosun, mechanic, plumber, rigger. Yesterday I had to break out my shipwright hat.
shipwright \ˈship-ˌrīt\ noun
a carpenter skilled in ship construction and repair
I didn’t have a major project planned for the day, and since nature (particularly boats, apparently) abhor a vacuum, the microwave oven decided to cook itself in order to fill the empty hole in my schedule.
Having tackled this job on our previous boat, I had a pretty good idea how Hunter had probably installed the unit. They use some alarmingly long wood screws through the bottom of the cabinet and up into the base of the microwave.
Yes, seriously. Think about that for a moment. How would you feel about shooting two inch long stainless steel screws through the bottom of a microwave oven?
I think I’d have been holding my breath and shielding my eyes the first time I pushed the “On” button. But the little Goldstar appliance had been happily nuking food for 18 years, so I guess you can call Hunter’s approach crude but effective. Sure enough, when I felt along the underside of the cabinet, I found four screws, which I removed. Then I disassembled the cabinet. It’s good sailboat design to assemble all the furniture with screws only, so that it can be taken apart if there’s ever a need to get to areas of the hull covered by cabinets.
Naturally they don’t make a microwave with the same dimensions as an 18 year old Goldstar. That would have been too easy, as it would have allowed me to just swap out the units. After a few hours researching online, the closest I could find was a unit from LG, that BestBuy actually had in stock, and it was even on sale this week.
It was close, but it was going to require some carpentry to make it work.
I keep a jig saw onboard for quick and dirty wood butchering, and I was able to do the rough framing for the opening on the dock. But the finish trim required a run to a former neighbor’s house, who has graciously given me free run of his woodshop whenever I need.
Yes, we’ve learned that in order to prepare a boat for cruising, you either need a big hat locker or a big bankroll. Fortunately, shipwright is a hat I wear comfortably.
I wonder what hat I’m going to have to wear tomorrow…