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A convenient cockpit table

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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 foldout cockpit table. Carrying a separate occasional foldout table is a real bane as it consumes 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 watching the world go by. Having a table that can be easily deployed and removed as and when it is required makes this area perfect and enhances the sailing life dramatically.

How to address this?
Have the cockpit floor grating double as scissors table. It requires no additional storage and may be easily lifted up for service as it is dropped away when an open cockpit is required.

Cockpit grating table
Photo: Tony Gibson

Hard pressed to save space I used two different approaches to our open cockpit on my way to this solution. Both were utilising 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, and 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 so that it sat insect-like on the cockpit seat. This was the perfect height and size. However, the legs were unwieldy to stow and its legs, standing on the cockpit seats, where always in the way forcing us to step over them all the time. It also took a lot of time to assemble and disassemble. We lived with these because it was the only solution available.

Modified Cockpit Sole
Photo: Mark Murray by CC BY-SA 2.0

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 when not required.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession

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