Bruce H's Modifications
to his
1978 Catalina 27 Sailboat, Hull # 3854

Hi Judy!

Thank you so very much for helping me with this and of course for your interest in my 1978 Catalina 27 Hull # 3854, (traditional layout) now lying in Los Angeles . I’ve attached several interior shots to this email and you can use which ever ones you like or all of them. I will have exterior pictures next week if you think folks would be interested in them. If so I’d love to send them to you.

Most the storage modifications are visible except the area behind the starboard settee back cushions; I’ll take a picture of that this weekend. I’ve included a brief summary of some of the main areas that may be of interest to you. Hope you will enjoy them.

Bruce H.

More background info from Bruce (in response to questions from Judy B):

I learned most of my basic skills from my dad at a very young age. I loved working with wood even when I was small and would often make all sorts of crazy things. As I got older I became more involved with bigger projects and learned a lot from friends who were contractors, electricians etc. I am not a professional woodworker or shipwright just a guy who likes to do this as a hobby.

As for the boat, this was a job that evolved over several years but the majority of it started when I had the boat in Florida. She was just five minutes from home so it was easy to spend time on her or bring back parts to my workshop in my garage. It’s hard to put a time frame on it but if I were to guess I’d say it took a year and a half to do the major things like the head, flooring and galley.

I have owned this boat since 1987. She was purchased in Oxnard California and sailed to Los Angeles where she lies to day. I lived aboard for about 3 years when she was in Florida. I had here shipped out to California about 3 years ago where I began work on the exterior. She is fully decked out with Garhauer hardware, Edson wheel steering, Standard Horizon knot, depth, wind, GPS, and Raymarine wheel pilot. All new standing and running rigging were replaced last year. New canvas such as a dodger, bimini and cockpit cushions have been added.


In the main cabin I installed three cabinet doors under the settees to allow for easy access to items stored in these areas as apposed to lifting the cushions every time you want to get something out from underneath.

Salon looking aft

Port Settee

The wood on the outer bulkheads is 3/16” ash as used on all Catalina’s in later years. It is attached using an epoxy. The wood is thin enough to bend to fit the contours of the boat and adds very little weight. A router was used to create the look of tongue and wood planks.

Starboard Settee

Behind the settee seatback is a large area approximately 8” X 50” with two shelves I use for linens. There are two sliding doors enclosing this area. The storage area is lined with a padded white vinyl to add insulation from the outer hull. It’s an area most people don’t even think exists and although narrow it’s still usable and handy.

The starboard settee seatback also contains an inverter, and battery charger.

Underneath the settee, there is a water pump, 18 gallon water tank, and three batteries.

Nav & Electrical

Pilot Berth


The enlargement to the right side of the galley was done to allow for an additional cabinet w/ 2 shelves for canned items and a drawer for utensils. I decided not to extend the galley counter over the drawer and cabinet but rather to divide the counter space up to create a sort of end table for the port settee, but it could be done either way. I installed a Seaward two burner drop in propane stove (the propane locker/tank was installed in the starboard side of the lazerette), this allowed for a shallow drawer just under the stove and by cutting a hole in the top of the counter behind the stove and mounting a box underneath, I was able to create a fairly large dry storage locker. Finally, behind the sink I mounted two aluminum tracks to accommodate to sliding doors enclosing a narrow but handy storage area for glasses, spices, Rice a Roni etc.


Well this area was certainly a challenge and I don’t want to bore you with the details. However I was able to create a vanity, sink and storage lockers allowing for storage of all your personal items. It was framed using 1x2’s, Masonite for the sides and plywood for the top. All were coated with fiberglass resin for water proofing and laminated with Formica high gloss white laminate. The cabinet doors are framed in teak as well as the counter. The floor was framed out to create a shower pan and glassed into place and finished in Gel coat. Drainage is achieved through a glassed in tube that passes form the head into the forward most portion of the bilge where the bilge pump kicks the shower water out of the boat just as on the Cat 30. the bulkhead were coated with fiberglass resin and laminated with the same Formica high gloss white laminate used on the vanity. This was a big job but if you are simply looking for additional storage space without a shower there are numerous alternatives which don’t require the time and effort as this did.

V-Berth looking aft


Underneath the v-berth are a 15 gallon water tank, a 20 gallon holding tank for the head, and the associated y-valve, through hulls and macerator.


The battery banks are on the starboard side just forward of the quarter birth.

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