Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Cockpit Comings"
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Thread: "Cockpit Comings"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Cockpit Comings


Hello, I would like to build comings to protect the cockpit from spray and seas. I am thinking of a curved plywood core about 12" high (backrest) that would be attached with lags from below and glassed over with glass tabs to the deck. Has anyone built their own and or have ideas for design, layout and construction? I also want to attach the main winches to the comings so that its closer and away form the lifelines. This would have to be very strong. I have seen this with stainless steel support brackets bolted to the comings. Are there original plans for this arrangement?


Josh W32 Solace

Bud Taplin

I do not have any plans as such, but do have a number of pictures of cockpit coamings that have been built on various Westsail 32's.


Bud, any pictures would be great. Do you have suggestions for construction?



Mike McCoy

Instead of coamings (where to sit?) I've considered a small 'dam' installed just aft of the scuppers (be'twixt the cabin side & bulwark).

Construction would be easy. Make it so the 'dam' would slide in place like the companionway dropboards (thus it could be removed/stowed if not needed).

And best of all it'd be much cheaper than a full blown coaming installation (even in teak!).

Bud Taplin


Contact me at my email address, btaplin@westsail.com, and I can send some of the photos to you as attachments.

Christie Rowe

Mike / Bud / all:
How'd you build your rails for the slide-in dam? Sila wants to do a similar thing by building the rails out of solid fiberglass... did you use a wood or foam core? We'd love to see photos if you have them
Christie and Sila W32 Amable

Mike McCoy

I don't have the slide-in dam. I saw it on another boat.

But I've never had a problem with my butt getting wet anyway. And I've been in some pretty snotty weather in the last couple months. I've only got wet from a wave smacking/breaking over the bulwarks. I personally think the WS32 is a drier boat than most people (i.e. non-owners) would have you think.

Steve & Vanessa

My friends back in Nevada who own Penguin have a unique set up. Their 32 has a whole damn across from the rail to the coach top, complete w/ it's own matching cap rail. Blends right into the boat. Forces the water down the scuppers. I believe it is made from wood and painted, however, you could lay it up in fiberglass just the same. The only disadvantage I can think of is you'd be stepping over it all the time to go forward. Perhaps it's not a big deal, as I've never heard Penguin crew complain about it.

Rich Morpurgo

I would love to see photos of that.


Bud Taplin

I had those dams built for a previous owner of Penguin many years ago when we were doing completion work on the boat for him. If I remember, we used bandsawed out lumber, then covered over with fiberglass. I will look in my old scrapbooks to see if I might have a picture of the construction.

Rich Morpurgo



Michael Dougan

My boat's original owner added slightly angled cockpit seatbacks that sit in the spot traditionally used for combings (angled to make them more comfortable to lean against).

I don't think he meant for them to work as combings, as he added drain cuttouts along the seat. However, when I've had a few waves wash down the side deck, it has kept the bulk of the water out of the cockpit... now, I think I'm just going to find something to block up the cutouts and keep my butt dry :-)

They do give me one more thing to trip over in the cockpit, but on the good side, they give me something to step up on to tie down the sail or put in a reef point.

I don't have a clear shot of them, but here are a couple from oblique angles...

from above

And this one...

note the cutouts


Chip Wheeler (Guest)

I finished installing cockpit coamings for our cruise to Molokai this summer. There already were two five-inch lengths of 1/2 inch stainless all-thread poking up through each quarter deck, both sides of the cockpit footwell. These had been used to mount the flimsy, hollow excuses for coamings that came with the boat when I bought it, when we nearly lost winches and coamings over the side at sea trial.

I went out and bought a chunk of teak seven feet long, ten inches wide and two inches thick for $210. (This is Hawaii, where everything but good sailing weather is expensive.)

I cut the lumber in half for two 3 1/2 foot lengths. Teak lumber comes rough, so sanding was done by belt sander, then a random orbital sander. Before sanding, I had to approximate the curvature of the after wall of the coachroof as it slopes down to the quarter deck. Also, a quarter circle on the tops of the after ends to match the slope of the bulwarks toward the stern seemed appropriate. after bullnosing and sanding, I sealed each board with two coats of straight epoxy resin.

Next, I drilled two half-inch holes on the bottom of each for the all-thread to enter the boards from the deck. I drilled one-inch holes from the top to drop in flat washers, lock washers and hex nuts, and to fit a socket. On final fitting, hardwood dowel (Hemlock was readily available.), one-inch in diameter, dropped nicely into each hole, was marked and cut. I cemented these plugs in with epoxy putty and sanded them flush.

Next, I marked the outline of the butt end approach of each coaming to the after end of the cabin top. I drilled four 3/8 inch holes each in the cabin outside in. From the top of the coamings these came at the 1", 3", 5" and 7" marks. I lined the coamings up to the outline and drilled slightly smaller holes in the forward ends of the coamings through the holes from inside the cabin. These accepted the six-inch stainless steel lag screws, four on each side, with fender washers, the heads and washers sealed in 3M 5200 for good measure.

On final approach, I sealed the coamings to the deck with 5200, cleaning up with mineral spirits. I have two coats of straight epoxy and one coat of Cetol Marine for the time being. Before our rainy season hits in November, I intend to add one more coat of Cetol, then follow with four coats of Cetol Marine Gloss, to complete my standard 2-2-4 procedure for teak that is exposed to our tropical sun. The 5200 and the Cetol have also served to mask and seal the imperfections in the intersection of coamings to cabin top.

The coamings are practically bullet proof. They are great for the helmsman to rest his back against while steering, and for the mate to rest his feet on while snoozing on the bridgedeck. When we buried the rail to weather on our cruise, water rushed past them, so buttresses will have to be added to dam up the water. I have also had to add limber holes to drain rain water from the bridge deck while the boat is at rest. The coamings have doubled nicely as mounts for my new Bimini top and for winch handle pockets. They are strong enough to mount winches, as well, but I already have those on the bulwarks.

Chip Wheeler
Westsail 32, Hull No. 32

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