With the hull looking sharp, painted and striped, I’m ready to focus on the cockpit seating. This took some thought, because I want the cockpit to be organized for how I plan to use the boat. I want 2 small coolers within reach of the 2 front seats. I also want easy access to duffel bags, sun screen and my cell phone. And lastly, I want a place for garbage and a cold drink. I’ll explain how I’m accomplishing all this as the bench get constructed. So, stay tuned! Believe me, I’ve got a place for everything in my head.
So, I pulled out the square, plumb bob, tape measure and combination square and started scratching my head. I had my dad come over to render some sound advise and wisdom. Everything’s easier when my dad helps me.
This doesn’t look like much, but it all starts with markings on the floor. You can’t build what you can’t mark. Though you can’t see it, the floor is all marked up to scale for proper placement of the cleating.
After an hour, I had a pretty good idea of how I’d build the benches. As mentioned earlier, I will be installing a U shaped bench, with 2 captains chairs up front. The back of the U will allow access to the open storage areas behind the false transom, and the sides of the U will allow access under the fixed top seating. Yes, my top will be fixed in place, with access holes cut into the vertical sides of the seating. And, yes, this will work. But wait, won’t this system get all my gear wet in a rain storm? Well, it might but I’m a kayaker, so I’ve got plenty of dry bags laying around.
The fixed U seating offers several advantages:
- I can add an attached cockpit cushion to the U seating if desired.
- No one needs to move or stand up to access the gear.
- I don’t have to remove a lid (and set it down somewhere) to access the gear.
- The seating is more secure and solid.
- I can lighten up the design by cutting access holes (think swiss cheese).
- I can increase access to the storage areas by cutting multiple holes.
- I can design a way to access my coolers by sliding them out from under the bench without needing to lift or hinge a lid.
- A fixed bench top is simpler to build.
- For afternoon trips, I’ll have a place for the smaller kids to sit around the back, while placing the bigger kids up front (remember I have 6 kids).
Downsides? My system will compromise the total amount of gear you can stuff under the seats. If you want maximum storage, install the seats per plans. Also, if you want dry storage, build per plans. But, if you’re a kayaker and want minimal gear and weight in your boat, I think you’ll find my system more than adequate. Also remember, you want weight forward in this design, and you’ll have dry storage in the cabin, which I find sufficient.
The truth is, you’re not going to get much storage under the seats, due to the tapering sided of the hull. You don’t need much gear. You need the right gear but not a lot of gear. So, keep it simple and keep it light.
Rolling epoxy onto the cleats. Remember, everything needs at least 2 coats.
I milled the cleating down to 1/2″ x 7/8″. This offers plenty of strength, but keeps things light weight…remember, Kilburn is watching and counting. He’s right with his lightweight obsession and I too am very interested in keeping the boat light.
I hope to have the seats knocked out over the next couple of weeks.