10 of the best PBO reader-submitted DIY practical projects to enhance your summer cruise
Build your own helmsman’s backrests
Singlehander Sam Longley fits creature comforts on his yacht
This might, from a distance, look like Y-fronts drying on the rail, but it’s actually a very comfortable DIY backrest!
The usual way to stop the wires of guardrails cutting into the helmsman’s back when sitting on the side deck is to have horizontal padding on the wires. I found this uncomfortable and, as I actually only needed it in a limited spot, I devised a different support.
I originally used 9mm plywood coated in epoxy resin but this needed annual maintenance. I looked for some polycarbonate but found some very strong Trespa plastic (architectural composite material used for external cladding) as an alternative. Mine is 8mm thick but 6mm thick would work just as well.
Initially, I cut the shape and tied them in place, but that was a mistake – I once found my wife and grandson had nicked them on arriving at a port and were using them like table tennis rackets to play bat and ball. Words were exchanged but as we all know grandmas are not to be reckoned with. I am not sure that I won the exchange!
Next time round, I drilled each one with three sets of two holes at the centre to suit the wires and attached them with strong cable ties. By not tying too tight they can be slid along the wires to the optimum position and give a nice flat surface to rest against. And when coming alongside a pontoon I can slide them clear of the deck cleats.