Vagabond 38/Saloon

Is your boat set up to reflect the way you like to live? If not, here's an inspirational alteration that might work for you. "Makeovers" December 2007

March 17, 2008

Vagabond 38 Saloon

Kay and Phil Farmer, the owners of Eagles Wings, have adapted their Vagabond cutter to reflect the way they now live and sail. Key to the makeover is the footstool/coffee table in the saloon. Phil Farmer

Interior makeovers sometimes have nothing to do with the need to transform an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. Your boat may already be quite the looker. But our needs change over time, and our pleasures shouldn’t be limited by a manufacturer’s initial layout. Our boats should reflect both the way we live now and the way that we put them to use.

Kay and Phil Farmer of Terre Haute, Indiana, have a pretty and comfortable 38-foot Vagabond cutter, Eagles Wings, that they keep at Longboat Key Moorings, on the outer edge of Florida’s Sarasota Bay. “We’ve been going there and using the boat as a second home for about eight years now,” says Phil. “It’s been a great lifestyle for us.”

The Farmers had redecorated Eagles Wings’ interior in 1992. Then, over the years since, they began to see that they were using their sailboat in different ways than they once had. For instance, they rarely used the full table in the main saloon anymore for dining. “This was the boat we were going to keep,” says Phil. “So we decided that we wanted to make her more livable and more spacious.”


“Although I did hate to see a part of the boat go, that table did take up a lot of our space,” says Kay. The couple replaced the table with a footstool that has a removable cushion. Without the cushion, the footstool becomes a coffee table, and it also doubles as a storage chest. When the Farmers take Eagles Wings sailing, they move the footstool close to the settee, place the cushion in between to protect the teak finish, and then tightly lash them together.

“I was quite pleased with the way the footstool turned out, as it was designed to closely match the boats’ interior woodwork,” explains Kay. “It looks as though it belongs on board.” The upholstery and carpet were done by ADT Yacht Interiors, located in Bradenton, Florida; the teak footstool was made by Love Yacht Restoration, of Cortez, Florida.

“We’ve been inspired to have several cocktail parties since we did our makeover,” says Phil. “So that’s more fun. Kay and I feel like, suddenly, we’re living aboard a much bigger boat.”


Sometimes we get nervous about altering our boats too much, afraid that we might risk ruining their resale value. But Kay and Phil would have none of that thinking. They created a splendid space that suited their needs and probably increased their boat’s value, and in so doing, they enhanced their pleasure in spending time living aboard. “That,” says Phil, “is what it’s all about for us.”

Bernadette Bernon, a CW editor at large, spent six years cruising with her husband, Douglas. To read her stories from that voyage, visit the BoatU.S. website (

If you’ve redecorated or rebuilt aspects of your boat’s interior, send CW the before-and-after photos (digital images need to be at least 300 d.p.i.). Send your photos via e-mail ([email protected]),
or mail them to:


Makeovers & Refits c/o
Cruising World
55 Hammarlund Way,
Middletown, RI 02842.

Please include your e-mail address.


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