Whenever I had the companionway open, I was always been struggleing with what to do with the slats when they were not in use. I had been stowing them between the companionway ladder and the bulkhead 5 inches to it’s port, but they sometimes fall out and crash to the floor, and put dents into the cabin sole when that happens. Additionally, you have to carry all 4 slats up / down the ladder at once, while not difficult, it is a pain in the stern section.
Last fall at the Annapollis boat show I checked out the new Tartans and saw that some of them have a rack to the side of the companionway that all the slats fit in. I liked the idea so much I decided to try and duplicate it.
Not having the carpentry tools to make the parts myself, or space to put them if I bought them, I had a local carpenter / fellow boater make the parts up for me. I don’t have enough space to duplicate the same design Tartan used as it would be in the way when walking down the companionway ladder so we had to come up with a few other ideas before we got it right.
After various concepts we came up with this for the final design;
The holders are teak, and I used a mixture of one part Dalys SeaFin Teak Oil to two parts Dalys ProFin Gloss to varnish them. The mixture was reccomended to me by an engineer at Dalys who formulated the products, and worked with Hunter back in the 90’s on blending them for their boats.
I mounted the holders on the bulkhead seperating the head from the cabin to the port side as you go down the ladder. I didn’t want to take a chance of cracking the wood, and had to be carefull about the depth I pre-drilled the holes. So I measured my bit and carefully wrapped about 15 wraps of electricial tape around the bit at the correct depth.
I also had to trim the screws down with a pair of good quality wire cutters as they were slightly too long, and would punch out the other side of the bulkhead into the head. Below is a picture of the cut down screw, next to a full length screw.
At the time of writing this I have 3 of the 4 holders installed, the 4th is pending a modification of a small compartment below the companionway ladder (you can see the corner of the compartment in the picture below with the slats in the holder) that holds things like 2-cycle engine oil, boat soap, etc. that would be blocked from opening until I move the hinge from the forward side, to the port side so it doesn’t swing up and into the holders, and instead swings open from the side.
I’ve been using this for a month plus now and found the holders to be very solid and sturdy, the slats do not rattle, and they are easy to get to, while staying out of the way. The system works quite well, I can’t wait to get the hatch below it modified so I can install the final holder.
Update: Here is how everything looks after refinishing and varnishing everything.