Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Living comfortably


In her original configuration, Lady Jane was built with accommodation for the skipper and six crew, that remains pretty much unchanged today.

The skipper's bunk is in the wheelhouse. I presume that by day a single bunk converted to a chart table somehow, but much of the original wood has been cut away to make space for a double bunk, so it's impossible to tell really.

Below the galley is the crew quarters, the space where the crew lived and slept. The crew slept in 'coffin bunks' arranged three to a side, you can see two of them on each side in the picture, over the cupboards and benches down the sides. Presumably they are called coffin bunks on account of the narrow slot you have to scramble through to get into the bunk. Each bunk has a personal storage space and it's own light with a switch.

Crew quarters as they are today

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the accommodation space is pretty generous. I'm just over six foot and there is plenty of space for me in those bunks. Sleeping in the bunks is surprisingly comfortable, especially with a big quilt stuffed in there, but not for the claustrophobic. The reading light and storage space really come in handy for finding and storing the stuff you always seem to need to hand overnight.

In the summer Kate and I slept in a bunk up in the wheelhouse, mainly because it was bright and we could see all the action up and down the river if we cared to. Now it is winter it is time to head below decks where it is cozier. There is very little going on around where Lady Jane is berthed, so we won't miss much either.

At the moment though, the crew quarters smells musty and all but one of the bunks has been damaged in some way, so there is a lot of work to do down there. At present, my efforts are focused on cleaning up and restoring the original bunks as best as possible. I'll also build a reasonable sized bunk for Kate and I to use while we sleep down below.

I'm seriously debating gutting the place and starting from scratch with modern insulation and a design which will use the available space more effectively, much of it is wasted at present, possibly even incorporating an additional cabin. What is interesting is that the access to the crew quarters is smaller than the size of the fittings inside, making any re-fit a challenge. I'm keen to avoid another epic like the fridge incident.

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