This blog is devoted to my John Welsford designed 15' Navigator yawl Ellie. I built her in my garage over a period of 18 months and launched her in 2011. She sports a sliding gunter main, roller furled jib and sprit-boomed mizzen. Her construction is glued-lapstrake over permanent bulkheads and stringers. This blog is a record of her construction and her voyages here in the Puget Sound area and (hopefully) a useful resource for fellow Navigator builders.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

How to make a Sleeping Platform for Navigator

This is my latest design for a sleeping platform for my Navigator  I really like how these turned out and how well they work.  My son and I slept on these for a week during the Salish-100 cruiseand they worked perfectly, so I’m excited to share them with you.

Unlike my previous sleeping platform, this one is one piece (per side) instead of seven pieces. They are much stronger. They occupy no space when stored away.  They are quicker to set up, and they can be safely walked on, in both the stored and sleeping positions.

Stored position

Here is the platform in the stored position.  The two panels store flush on the cockpit sole.  Note how the panels fit up against the keel batten, the seat fronts and the centerboard case.  This locks them securely in place so they cannot move when you walk on them.

Sleeping position

Here are panels in the sleeping position.  One or both can be used.  The panels are very strong.  You can confidently stand and walk on them with no fear of breaking them.  There is a gap between them which does not adversely affect their use.  In fact, it provides access to drop or retrieve small items into the foot well.


Here is a peek at the underside of one of the panels.  They are made from two pieces of plywood.  The underside piece of plywood is 1/2” and the topside piece of plywood is 1/4”.  The combined total thickness of 3/4” matches the thickness of the keel batten, making it flush when stored which eliminates any tripping hazard.  The dark strip along the edges is just a piece of felt that I glued on to protect my seat tops from scratches.


To make these all you’ll need is some ¼” and some ½” plywood.  The upper 1/4” thick piece is cut to size and shape so it fits on the cockpit sole right up to the keel batten, right up to the seat fronts, and right up to the aft end of the centerboard case (see the first photo).

The lower 1/2” thick piece of plywood is cut to fit inside the footwell at seat-top level. In other words, right up to the front, back, and side of the seat top footwell opening.

The upper piece will be larger than the lower piece, assuming your seat-tops overhang the footwell.  If they don’t overhang, this entire project probably won’t work.

Attach the two pieces of plywood with glue and screws, but when you do you will want to bend them to a curve to match the contour of the cockpit sole.  You can see the curvature in this photo

Contour to match cockpit sole

A little bit of sanding and painting later and you'll be ready for some comfortable overnighters.


Tim Ingersoll from Superior Wisconsin recently completed his sleeping platform for his beautiful Navigator Freidlor

Said Tim:

"They really took very little time to put together, when I put my mind to it. I oversize rough cut the 1/2" ply and simply placed that on top of the seats, then reached underneath to trace the curve of the seat edge. Once that was cut to shape, the 1/4" ply simply needed to be cut to fit in the sole of the boat, which was easy to measure out. Simple and fast."


"I didn't use felt to protect the seat tops, but am trying the rubberized paint under the lip and on top of the 1/4" (which will be the floorboard). I'm hoping that gives me a little grip under my feet and helps keep it in place when placed as sleeping platform. I do hate to recommend until I've had a chance to see how it holds up...but we'll see."


Tim's Navigator "Freidlor"

Here's wishing you many comfortable overnight adventures, Tim!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Joel.
    Very cool! Great to hear from you and I hope to see you out on the water again soon.
    All the best, Scott