Making a Bed in the Cockpit

Wisdom was designed in the 1960's and built in 1968. The thought at that time was "slim is fast" as this shape would slice through the waves quickly and sail faster.  This whole "long and thin" concept is apparent all over the boat. One such places is the cockpit.

The cockpit on Wisdom is long and thin, flanked with two long and thin benches. These are great for sailing, but leave much to be desired when at anchor. Maddie suggested that I make the aft section of the cockpit a big bed.

Having a bed in the cockpit will allow us to sleep outside on hot nights, making these nights much more comfortable. The space under the bed could be used for storage, and the space will be very useful for relaxing when sailing on a long tack.

In the interest of time, I am making this insert out of plywood and fiberglass. Plywood is my least favorite type of wood because the wood is so adulterated. There is no grain to follow and each ply is set in a different direction. The thing that is nice about plywood is it is flat and fast!

Cleats were through bolted to the sides of the cockpit with the heads of the bolts countersunk to avoid any unnecessary scrapes and cuts on our legs. The plywood was then laid over the seats while I crawled under the plywood to trace the shape of the insert.

With the outline traced, I buzzed off the excess with a skillsaw. This let the plywood slip into the space between the seats. I trimmed stringers that would sit on the cleats and support the plywood flush with the rest of the seats.

The stringers were set inboard enough to allow the lazarettes to be opened with the insert in place. Then the plywood was screwed to the stringers, locking the assembly in place.

I trimmed the edge a bit proud of the stringer with a bandsaw, followed by a grinder to bring everything together and flush. I rounded the edges and corners of the plywood a bit to make it fit smoothly in the cockpit.

With the plywood in place and screwed to the stringers, it is time to cut the end flush with the lazarette lids and coat everything in fiberglass and resin. Once that is finished, we will be able to paint it have the cockpit cushion made to fill in the space and make the cockpit into a big bed behind the helm!

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