What is the issue?Some cockpits, such as the open one we had on our tiller steered vessel, have no natural place to permanently fit a fold out cockpit table. Carrying a separate occasional fold out table is a real bane as it uses up an enormous amount of storage, is entirely unwieldy to retrieve and store and without a solid fixing can be knocked over.
Why address this?In the tropics you literally live under the awning in the cockpit. Having a table that can be easily deployed and removed as and when it is required makes this area perfect enhancing the sailing life dramatically.
How to address this?Have a special grating table arranged as presented in figure 1. It will require no additional storage and it may be easily lifted up for service and dropped away when an open cockpit is required.
Hard pressed to save space I used two different approaches to our open cockpit on my way to this solution. Both were reutilising other objects on the vessel so that no storage space was lost.
The first was to bolt, with the use of wing nuts, one of our precautionary window breakage boards onto the end of the tiller. The pros for this approach were, it could be moved to the side easily by pushing the tiller over, equally it could be brought back again by lashing the tiller in place. On the negative side it was too high and too small and the line fixing the tiller divided the cockpit.
The second approach was to lift the grating and bolt legs to it that sat insect like on the cockpit seat. This was the perfect height and size. However the legs were unwieldy to stow and in use standing on the cockpit seats we had to step over them all the time. It also took a lot of time to assemble and disassemble.
Looking back on it I would say the perfect solution for an open cockpit would be a proper cockpit grating solution from the outset. If I were heading off tomorrow I would without question commission a cockpit grating arrangement that could be lifted up and dropped down as presented in figure 1.
With thanks to:Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession
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