Winch cover seats

If your boat is anything like mine, sailing gear is everywhere and cockpit seating is at a premium. One way to put the former in service of the latter is to turn winches into seats. You can purchase a chair that fits into the hub, or you can modify your winch covers to incorporate a foam top, which provides a soft seat for the tush.

This is best done with a simple barrel cover design. First find a piece of thick foam. I had an old So-Pac cockpit cushion that had seen better days. Measure the circumference of your winch base. Then measure the height of the winch, add to it the thickness of your foam, and cut a piece of Sunbrella to match the dimensions plus enough extra for seams on the top and side, and to turn the bottom edge under twice for a neat finish. The second piece should be the top, a circle the same circumference as the winch base plus extra for a seam.

To make a neat cover that stays on the winch and also holds the foam in place, cut a third piece of Sunbrella the same length as the first strip but half the width. Fold the first strip in half and sew the short edges together. Fold the second in half and sew the short edges together. Roll the bottom edge of the first strip under twice to hide the raw edge and sew. The bottom edge of the narrower strip will take a piece of bungee cord, so this can be rolled twice but make sure the stitches are far enough in from the hem to fit the cord. Leave the ends of this hem open, and thread a length of cord in that will reduce the hem to about half its original circumference when the ends are sewn down. Slide the first barrel inside the second, with their insides facing out. Pin the mated edges to the fabric circle, and sew the three together.

Cut a circle of foam slightly smaller than the circumference of the cover. Turn your sewn together barrels right-side out and push the foam circle through the bungee cord hem and into the top of the cover.

The bungee cord will hold the foam loosely, and when the cover is pulled down over the winch, with the bungee around the barrel, the foam will provide a soft (if not large) surface for seating.  


Ann Hoffner and her photographer husband Tom Bailey are taking a break from voyaging but will return to their Peterson 44, Oddly Enough.

By Ocean Navigator