How to make a bunk extension on a budget, stop the lids of heads slamming and more!

Top advice to make sailors’ lives easier never gets old! Here’s some practical tips from readers and experts as published in the January 2012 issue of PBO.

Make a bunk extension

The forepeak on my Hunter Impala is a snug berth – but it wasn’t designed for the taller gentleman, writes PBO’s Ben Meakins.

Therefore, I made a small bunk extension piece for one side of the bunk. The port side is constrained by the heads bulkhead, but the starboard side had about 20cm of space available before it would hit the heads door.

One edge rests on the fore and aft stringer, and the other uses three sliding ‘bolts’ to locate into three holes in the side of the heads enclosure.

I made two pine runners to bear the weight, then screwed and glued a plywood blank on top. I bought a length of mattress foam and we made a cover.

Two of us can now sleep in the forepeak in comfort, and the extension stows out of the way when we’re at sea.

It cost £8 for the foam, £3 for the pine, and I already had the ply. Sliding bolts were £1.99 each.

Quite a catch

Boats roll and pitch, and many gentlemen have been caught unawares by an unsecured heads lid slamming shut, writes Jos Bins of Somerset.

The catch on our toilet lid failed, and in searching for a replacement I came across some childproof catches for cupboard doors.

These cost about £3 for 10: they are plastic so they don’t rust, and could also be used for other duties onboard.

A few stainless screws and a small wooden block to get the alignment right finished the job.

Don’t suffer from exposure

While motoring in our Fairey Atalanta there was a noise we could not identify, and the boat was underperforming, writes Greg Manning of Aberdeenshire.

We wondered if something was fouling the propeller or keels, but no one fancied diving into the cold water to find out.

Then I had an idea: I have a waterproof compact camera so held it underwater from the dinghy and took pictures of the bottom of the boat with the self-timer.

These revealed no fouling of the prop apart from seaweed, so we checked further and found the air filter blocked.

With this replaced we had a happy engine and happy crew.