Just back from a quick but very productive visit to Chertsey at Alvecote. Jim had driven up on Friday with his car laden with wood; I zoomed down early Saturday morning, and we got cracking with building the bed/platform in the fore end.
The dual purpose of this is to give Jim (and Rocky) somewhere more comfortable to sleep than a folding bed frame, intercepted between another boat and the skip, and the coal, and to provide a platform from which to get out of the boat at the front if necassary, or to stand on and reach out with ropes when we need front ropes in river locls - thinking particularly of our forthcoming trip to the Thames. We piloted this method on the Trent a couple of years back standing on stacks of coal, and it proved both comfortable and convenient, as well as feeling a lot safer. An aside - I reckon that last year was very likely the only year we didn't go on any rivers.
Jim started by bolting a length of pre-drilled angle to the bulkhead, then attached a wooden beam to this. At the 'foot' end of the bed, he cut a length of fence post to the right length to sit at the right height, in the curvature of the hull, then picked it up with a leg on each side. A beam was then fixed down each side, and one down the middle, and then the platform was built on top of this using 6x1 inch gravelboard. The platform sits at waist height, so there are steps running parallel to it at one end, mainly for Rocky's benefit.
Not only does the platform serve those two main purposes, it also frees up a massive amount of space underneath for storage. You could even, Warrior-style, fit another bed under but I suppose you'd have to be quite friendly with the occupants.
I remembered to take some photos for the blog, but it was hard to get decent ones, as the crossplank got in the way.
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