Tuesday 29 January 2019

A Cockpit Table Fit for a Whitby

Any owner of a Whitby 42, or one of its Brewer close cousins, will know one of the boat’s few shortcomings as an ideal liveaboard yacht is the lack of a cockpit table. Yes the salon does have a very user friendly, fold down table quite capable of hosting a dinner party but if you cruise tropical waters, as we do, sundowners and most meals are generally enjoyed in the spacious centre cockpit above. Here you fast become sick of juggling your dinner plate on your lap.

The available space all revolves around the binnacle located in the centre of the cockpit which provides a challenge when it comes to coming up with a table solution. On the internet we have seen a number of innovative designs produced by other owners but all seemed a bit complicated to us. We wanted something simple to use at anchor that could be easily stowed away when sailing. It took us a while but eventually it was Karen that solved our table dilemma.

While Rob was away for a few days working, she’d been poring over online marine suppliers websites and spotted something that really grabbed her attention. An Australian company, Sam Allen Wholesale, www.samallen.com.au, had a genius design wonder that was the key to solving our untimely lap dance issue. It was a stainless steel mounting plate, bar and table bracket that she saw the potential of and ordered on the spot.

The start point is the mounting plate which was secured to the cockpit locker in line with the centre of the binnacle.

Sam Allen's actually sell these separately so it's possible to have more than one position around the boat where the table could be mounted.
After a very quick delivery she secured the mounting plate on the vertical face of the portside locker in the cockpit. After sliding the removable pole into the mount she was able to measure and determine that with the helm removed, something around a 60cm x 60 cm (approx. 24 x 24 inch) table would fit nicely on top and put an end to our unwanted hot food lap dances.
The bar slides easily and securely into the mounting bracket.

The next step was a trip to the hardware/homemaker centre to find a suitable table top. Sometimes things are just meant to be and there, on display in Bunnings, was a small outdoor table that was not only the exact right size, but also sat on a single centre leg supported by a wide base. After parting with $129 it was hers. 

Back on ‘Our Dreamtime’ the pedestal base was soon unscrewed and discarded. It was necessary to slightly offset the Sam Allen's centre mount so the table top rested against the grab bar of the binnacle.
The centre mount was offset slightly to position the table top against the binnacle.

The mount slips onto the pole and is held with a spring loaded pin in a locating hole on the bar.

 A stainless hose clamp was installed to support the edge of one corner of the table top but there was still a certain element of “wobble’ happening. It was clear the other corner also required something to secure it to the binnacle.
The edge of the forward corner of the table is supported by a hose clamp.

It was then back to the online catalogue where Karen discovered the perfect fitting. The female end is screwed to the binnacle and the 90degre, male side secured to the table. And the job was done. 

Karen adapted another Sam Allen's fitting to support the aft corner of the table.

The female half of the bracket fits neatly on the binnacle.

This was the final piece of the puzzle.

When Rob arrived back to the marina after four days away making television, he was greeted by a fantastic sundowners spread of fine nibbles and a nice bottle of wine on Our Dreamtime’s awesome new cockpit table.

It has since proved an outstanding success. It does require the wheel to be off but we normally remove it and stow it below when on the dock or at anchor to make movement around the cockpit easier. The table breaks down into the flat table top and stainless bar for easy storage when underway.

It’s safe to say our cockpit table has provided the one missing link to make Our Dreamtime the perfect liveaboard cruiser for us. It has entertained many a sundowners and dinner guest aboard and made Karen’s already wonderful cooked breakfasts even more enjoyable when we’re not worried about maple syrup spilling off the plate and running down our nether regions. 

Our new table was all Karen's work and makes her wonderful breakfasts even better.

We even discovered that by putting a box on the portside seat we could extend the table to make it large enough to hold a typical Aussie style Christmas cold seafood lunch.
Aussie Christmas lunch in the cockpit. What could be better.

Ted Brewer did an outstanding job designing these boats. We absolutely love Our Dreamtime and mouth our thanks to Ted often.  If only he’d known about Sam Allen’s and Bunnings back then.

Our Dreamtime's new cockpit table has made entertaining friends so much more comfortable. Crispy skin duck by Karen.

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  1. Love your pictures! Your life is so amazing, wish you even more travels in 2019! Greetings from London! :)

    1. Thank you Kasia. Much appreciated. We're glad you enjoy our little blog and pics.


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