When we bought Maringret the basement under the cockpit contained various odds and ends and the house battery. As part of our re-wiring we moved the cranking battery, which had been under the cockpit table, to the basement floor and built it a restraining base. Gradually we accumulated a collection of cardboard boxes that seemed to fit snugly into this are and the shelf. With having to find a location for the refrigerator battery bank, we started measuring the available floor space in the basement and decided to try and organise it as best we could. Giving priority to the batteries we decided to try and install a storage system that would maximize the space usage. With the cardboard box system we had covered the floor area but the upper half of the volume was mainly empty.

From the left: the side of our electrical panel (the size is slightly larger than the one originally supplied with the Maxi 95); the two batteries immediately behind and to starboard (this view is looking aft) are the two FIAM refrigerator batteries (60 and 80 amp-hours); the middle battery which is end forward is the cranking battery; the large battery to the right of the picture is the 200 amp-hour FIAM house battery. We epoxied two PVC pipes on the roof of the basement leading back from the electrical box to the rear of the basement – this keeps all our cabling much cleaner, dry and tidy. The three boxes on the rear wall are from left to right: the dual output Aerogen regulator (which charges the refrigerator and house battery banks); the X-Splitter chargers that maintain the alternator output at 14.4 volts and split the amperage across the three batteries.

We cut the shelf back so that the storage boxes fit snugly: each of these boxes is 15 litre giving 60 litres on the shelf.

This picture attempts to show the whole storage system. In addition to the four 15 litre boxes on the shelf the stacks on the left behind the galley extension have three 26 litre boxes and three 15 litre boxes (only two are visible in the picture). This gives a total of 183 litres of dust proof, protected storage. There is still a small amount of storage on the floor of the basement. The boxes on the shelf are restrained by the lips on each side of the shelf while the two stacks on the port side have a toe rail epoxied to the basement floor which is visible at the base of the two yellow boxes while two restraining straps run from the toe rail up and over the boxes and are attached to the bulkhead separating the storage boxes from the water tank under the port cockpit locker.

We could find no way to guard the batteries against a total inversion of the boat. All 4 batteries are secured to the plywood but the plywood is simply lying on the inner surface of the hull. Fastening the plywood to the hull has obvious implications.

Much more storage is available now (although it’s amazing how quickly that fills up!). During the damp winter month we find that the boxes also largely keep the humidity out. This doesn’t mean they are waterproof but the difference is quite noticeable between a book that has been lying out compared to one that has been in the plastic boxes. Also as the condensation forming on the “ceiling” of the basement (i.e. the underside of the cockpit floor) dripped, the boxes prevented it from damaging their contents.

Any “stackable” box system can be used. As long as the base is secure on the top of the one below.

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