Don Fitzroy Smith fashions cheap, light, easy to stow and make bunk ladder and headboards for getting in and out of forepeak berth more easily

With the infill piece fitted, the forward berth on our Victoria 34 is above waist height for my wife and therefore not easy to get into, so I built a two-step bunk ladder to help with access, writes Don Fitzroy Smith.

To provide a suitable mount I built two headboards onto a square spar that I rounded over where the ladder fits.

The ladder hooks were standard stainless pieces from the chandlery designed to secure fenders – but fitted the wrong way up they worked perfectly.

A headboard on a boat

The headboards are mounted on a removable spar that fits across the boat. Credit: Don Fitzroy Smith

I measured the angle required for the ladder with a protractor and used that angle to fit the steps and to cut the upper section to lay against the spar.

The feet were rounded off and then served with upholstery leather from a remnants shop, as were the steps.

The finished article was stained light mahogany colour and lightly varnished in satin finish.

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As the bulkhead surface to port side is not quite in the same plane as to starboard a little simple geometry identified the correct plane to trim the spar on the port side.

I laid a metre rule against the bulkhead and offered up the pole and lightly scribed a pencil mark along it. Then I measured the offset required, laid a line parallel to it and cut to that.

A DIY bunk ladder on a boat

This DIY bunk ladder, with two steps makes getting into the forward bunks much easier. Credit: Don Fitzroy Smith

On the starboard side I had to account for the moulding on the bedside locker, setting the headboard back a little on the pole and cutting a notch for the moulding.

The three parts of the headboard are easy to strike down for stowage or access and the ladder is easily stowed on the bunk.

I secured the headboards to the spar with small bolts with the holes well countersunk to avoid scratching the bulkheads and also fitted small felt pads.

Headboard in place on a bunk in a boat

Headboards in position. Credit: Don Fitzroy Smith

I trimmed the edges of the headboard with adhesive sapele strip. The whole project was very cheap.

The headboards were salvaged plywood I had knocking around but the ladder components and spar I bought from B&Q for less than £20.

I bought the sapele strip off ebay for under £5, while nuts and bolts (£4), and fender hooks (£5 each) came from the chandlery.

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