Thursday, 7 July 2011

Step by step

One of the things we noticed on our first outings on Briar Rose was that it was difficult to find a comfortable place to stand when steering.

We are firm believers that the correct place to stand is forward of the tiller, not on the counter (a view apparently not shared by an increasing number of boaters; I'm particularly amazed by the number of semi-trad owners who stand on the very back of the boat, next to the tiller, even though they've got a whole deck to stand on).  There are a couple of reasons why we believe you should stand in front of the tiller: one is that it's much easier to swing the tiller from one side to the other if necessary if you're not standing in the way of it; the other is that if something hits the rudder the tiller could move sharply, and if you're standing beside it you could be knocked off.

Lecture over, back to the story.  The trouble with Briar Rose is that immediately inside the rear doors is a 9 inch drop to the engine boards, and if you stand down there you can't see anything.

For our first couple of weekend trips we balanced on the door sill.  Then when we bought a tool box for the boat I managed to find one that was about the right height and size.  But although it's designed to be stood on occasionally (it has a metal body and foot treads on the lid), it wasn't a long term solution.

So this weekend, I built a step.

I confess that there's very little skill or craftsmanship involved.  I got the local DIY store to cut the wood to size, and the pieces are simply glued and screwed together, with some very chunky batons down the corners.  However, it is very solid and sturdy, it's had plenty of coats of varnish, and I've put some strips of anti-slip tape on the top.  I've also bought some cabin hooks, so it can be secured in place yet easily removed when we need to take the engine boards up.  All in all, I'm pretty pleased with it (as long as I measured correctly...)


Nb Duxllandyn said...

We had a similar problem with a previous boat that we used for a few weeks each year.

Our solution was found in a robust plastic beer crate which used upside down made an excellent temporaray steering position/step.

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser said...

I always stand in the slide in front of the tiller, but when we had a semi trad I found that to be a very uncomortable place to stand, so like many others ended up on the rear deck, leaning on the bulkhead and standing beside the tiller. No good.