John Sutton made a removable cockpit table that doubled as an extra worktop down below

When I bought Crusader, my Aqua Star Ocean Ranger 33, the table arrangement in the wheelhouse/saloon left a bit to be desired. Although the table itself was a beautiful piece of work with a solid wood top, strong metal stand – and would seat six – it was too big and heavy. To check the engines you had to lift several floor panels which meant moving the table into the cockpit, which was a two man job. Also, we weren’t using it much, as here in Spain it’s as cheap to eat ashore as it is to cook.

Getting rid of the table wasn’t a problem. Having been an insurance salesman, I simply wandered around the marina and ‘cold called’ the owners of large motor cruisers. A Spanish chap showed interest and although we didn’t speak a word of each other’s language, the deal was done. I often see him and his family enjoying Sunday lunch, as only the Spanish can, but we still can’t understand each other.

To replace it I considered asking a joiner to make a table top for me but couldn’t decide what I actually wanted. Then I recalled a detachable work surface for the galley which had been stowed away: it was exactly what I needed. It had an angled corner which gave us more room – access to the fridge was easier too – most important in this thirsty climate. All that was needed were the fittings, a few inspirational beers, the job was done.

It then occurred to me that the table could be used in the cockpit for very little extra cost. Some new deck fittings and more refreshment later, the table sat proudly on its pedestal in the cockpit. Having drilled a hole through the top, inserted a teak trim ring to support a parasol, the senior partner can read in the shade when she’s had enough of the sun.
To keep the parasol rigid inside the pedestal I used an old nylon fitting for a passerelle.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the result. I have a table that stows away, can be used inside or outside and all for a cost of about £20, not including refreshments.
I should add that it only took about 3 months from conception to inception and that the £20 doesn’t include the cost of inspirational beverages consumed to assist the process of thought and action.

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