Stuart Carr enables onboard alfresco dining with a cockpit table mounted on the binnacle

We like cockpit tables and one in particular was high on our wish list when buying our Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 34.2. However, the cost was also high – so I decided to make one myself.
I started by measuring the height and width available, allowing for comfort and an offset for the throttle-lever clearance. A table size of 63 x 33cm (25 x 13in) with two 16.5cm (61⁄2in) leaves seemed right. I bought some exterior ply and hardwood strips from a DIY store, but had to go to a chandler for the solid brass articulated table hinges and the binnacle fitting hinges.
The main table and leaves were cut to size and the strip wood prepared for the fiddled edges. These are only on the back of the leaves, so we can use it folded at sea. The same strip wood was also used around the main table bed. All corners were mitred and the strips glued into place. I also glued an edging strip on the underside of the main table to beef up the hinge support. Marking and cutting the slots for the hinges was time consuming because of the accuracy required using a craft knife and a sharp 13mm (1⁄2in) chisel.

Once finished, the job was then given several coats of varnish.
I made the hinge plate for the table leg from a small piece of stainless steel, while the leg itself is a small telescopic boathook, with the ‘hook’ removed and the other end drilled to accept the bolt/hinge pin. To prevent accidental collapse, the lower end of the leg fits into a cut-out in the cockpit-sole grating.

Holding the cup
The horizontal element of the binnacle fitting is made from 13mm (1⁄2in) ply, trimmed to be a tight fit between the binnacle and the instrument pod support tubes. I also made it large enough to accommodate a cup holder (to keep the helmsman happy). Two clamps underneath fixed the ply to the pod-support cross-members. The vertical and horizontal elements are screwed together, so it can all be dismounted if needed. The vertical element carries the brass hinges that allow the table to be stowed and, prior to fitting the hinges, I drilled out the original hinge pins and had a single phosphor-bronze hinge pin made for me. This makes removing the table, so it can be stowed below, rather easy.
The whole thing is a great success. I used 13mm (1⁄2in) ply but think 15mm or 18mm would be better, as you wouldn’t have to beef up the edges of the main table and it would make hinge fixing easier.

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