Boat Table

The inside layout of a boat is about as complex a design problem as you can take on, especially on a cruising boat. Every boat owner will have certain design issues that are based on their own sailing experiences.

One of mine is cabin tables. I love them and hate them.  After a long day, especially one of rough weather, I really like being able to sit down to a solid table to eat. Trying to balance your plate on your lap after a long day of trying to balance on deck may sound like a small thing but having your supper end up in your lap is not the best way that I have found to relax. On the other hand, trying to get a sail through the cabin while getting hung up on or tossed against a fixed table is something I have too much experience with. Therefore, one of the items on our wish list when we rebuilt the interior of our Friendship Sloop was a table that we could either strike or ship easily. This is what we came up with:

cabin table

cabin table

The actual table is a three leaf folding design. The top of the table slides onto an oak post that can be easily shipped through a rectangular opening in the cabin sole.

Without the table the cabin is open and it is easy to get forward.

cabin without the table

cabin without the table

Shipping the table:

Step One: pull out the plug in the cabin sole.

pull the plug

pull the plug

Step Two: Ship the oak stanchion that supports the table.

ship the stanchion

ship the stanchion

Step Three: the underside of the table has a support framework that fits over the top of the stanchion.

underside of the table

underside of the table

Slide this framework over the top of the stanchion.

slide the table framework down onto the stanchion

slide the table framework down onto the stanchion

Step Four: fold up the leaves of the table.

the table shipped with the leaves in the up position

the table shipped with the leaves in the up position

The design is very simple, it both ships and strikes very quickly, but as with many very simple designs it took a lot of tinkering to get everything right. A larger table would fit in the cabin and seat more people, but would be too unwieldy to strike easily. The height and with of the table are also critical if the table is to be easy to sit at, while making it possible to seat yourself without making the process a tight squeeze. As with most projects below, we made a mock up first and lived with it. In fact, the mockup worked so well we lived with it for seven seasons before making the finished version in cherry.

Bon appetit!

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