Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Boat Show

We had an interesting trip to The Boat show at the NEC. On a mission to find the best way to add two berths to Patience, we'd already reached some conclusions about the design of two benches and a table that could become two beds or a double bed, but we wanted to test our ideas against the expertise of experienced boat builders, caravanners and camper van designers.
Here's an interesting layout from a caravan. The extra foot wide of a van can enable side to side beds as well as fore and aft. These two benches have been joined by a slatted section that is cunningly hidden in a small drawer and pulled out to fill the gap between the benches. It rests on a ledge in the edge of the benches and the slats are joined together by a flexible tape. The backs of the benches lay down as part of the mattress. 
This would work well on a narrow boat, though our preferred option is to use a table with its own foldable legs. When eating or playing games the table would be free-standing between the benches; when sleeping it would rest on the ledge as a base for the bed. Alternatively without it the benches would be two fairly narrow single beds about 2 feet 3 inches wide and 19 inches high (13 inch base and a 6 inch mattress).
The carcases would be made mainly of marine play 20mm thick.  
At the moment we have two large white leather rocking chairs but these will soon be redundant.
Anyone care to offer a fair price? Contact Duncan.


  1. This is a pretty universal and long standing caravan arrangement. The table top idea has been used as well, but its usually too short to fill all the gap on its own. The problem is that caravans are mass produced. To make that as a one off will be quite expensive unless you do it yourself.

  2. Thanks for that comment. We explored far afield before returning to what I recognise from my caravan days. We'll probably use a 4 ft table plus a 2ft 6inch extra piece - and we'll be doing it ourselves.
    We did see one bed gap filer that slotted away under the fore deck - but that I think may take more work than we want to undertake.
    So much variety, so much to choose from!