My favorite section of sailing magazines has always been the Clever Solutions section. I’m sure you
know what I mean, the section where boat owners write about how they built or adapted something to work within the confines of their boat and how they solved the problems they encountered. (Sail Magazine used to call it, Things that Work. In the old Yachting Magazine it was called, Gadgets and Gilihickies.) It seems the best of these ideas usually came from folks with relatively small boats.
During our visit to Port Townsend to speak at the Northwest Maritime Centers first spring symposium, we were invited on board Jim Heumann and Karen Sullivan’s Sockdolager, a Dana 24. Karen is an experienced offshore sailor and professional Mariner, Jim has been sailing for 5 years, logging a lot of miles in Washington and British Columbia. The jaunt down the Pacific coast will be his first long voyage. Both are excited to be headed off toward Mexico within the next few months on an open ended voyage. Their excitement was contagious but even more fun was seeing the dozens of innovations they have added to turn Sockdolagar from a stock boat into a highly personalized and efficient cruising home.
Our favorite was the slide-away dining table that reminded us the one we enjoyed on our first cruising cutter, 24 foot Seraffyn. That table had slide out into the cabin from under the cockpit. It was slightly problematical as once in place, guests could not get in or out of the companionway. The table on Sockdolagar slides out from under the double bunk that fills the forward section of the cabin. The problem Karen and Jim encountered was, the stanchion supporting their deck stepped mast is only a foot away from the bunk. As with many of the best inventions, the problem became part of the solution. A strong stainless steel pin, fitted into the edge of the table now goes into a hole in the stanchion to provide a really sold support for the table. The photos below show how it all works.