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Laker 14 Tunnel Boat Plans
Page Nine
Cockpit ("Racing" Configuration)

My dashboard has a two-inch crown, drawn with a bent batten. It is made of two layers of 5mm plywood and is nine inches deep along the centerline.

I have located the dash about 2.5" foward of the "peak" of the coaming.

The cleats at either end of the dash are glued to the coaming, but I do not glue my dashboards in place, making them easily removable for adding instruments.

A bulkhead about 26" forward of the dashboard, besides its structural role, will also carry the forward bearing for the stearing system (if you are going to install a drum-and-cable system) or a rotary or rack-and-pinion mechanism (as I did -- see "Steering").

The curved top edge is traced directly from the dashboard.

The small bulkhead located directly on the bow beam was useful while fitting the coaming, but in the end did not become a permanent part of the boat.

The curved cleat at the top of the "steering bulkhead" should be at least an inch wide -- wide enough to accomodate the permanent decking at the forward most part of the foredeck, and also the removable part that extends from the bulkhead to the dashboard.

Notches at the upper corners of this bulkhead make room for the long cleats that will be glued to the upper edges of the coamings.

The terminal bulkhead is 3/4" pine. The height of the curved top edge is determined by laying a straight edge along the dashboard, the steering bulkhead and the terminal bulkhead.

It is beveled to match the sloping edge of the coaming and the angle of the straight edge.

A bottom is needed for the extended tip of the cockpit.

Begin by installing cleats along the bottom edges of the coamings.

I've included a drain hole in mine, in the unlikely event that water finds its way into this space.

The bottom piece overlaps the tunnel plank approximately two inches.

These cleats are three layers of 1/4" strips. A single 3/4" thickness would be too stiff and would distort the curve of the coaming.

Step the layers upward so they can be beveled to match the bulkheads and dashboard.

Be sure to extend the cleats all the way to the peak of the coaming, overlapping the coaming trim at least a little bit (more is better). I didn't do this and soon realized the gap between cleat and trim was a weak spot just waiting to fail. Here I'm fixing my error.

The cowling deck from the steering bulkhead to the nose is permanently installed. I used 5mm plywood that had to be kerfed to make the bend. 3mm will bend in place very nicely just as it is, and will be a bit lighter.

A ridge batten is glued to the plywood.

Note that this deck piece only overlaps half of the cleat along the top edge of the steering bulkhead, leaving some for the removable part.

The removable part of the cowling deck, which extends from the steering bulkhead to to the peak of the coamings, is also kerfed and given a ridge batten, and also a cross member a few inches aft of the steering bulkhead.

The cross member is cut to the same curve as the steering bulkhead.

With the removable deck in place, I added a strip about 2 inches wide to the underside of the overhanging aft end.

My removable deck will is held in place with nine screws along each edge, plus two into the steering bulkhead.

Alternatively, you could do what I've done on my racing boats, seen on this page.

This bulkhead is installed directly behind the driver's seat.

My original intention was to install this bulkhead right on the beam at station #4. However, this would have put the foot throttle right at the beam at station #2.

Instead of trying to cut away some of the beam, I moved the bulkhead aft about 5.25 inches. Since the bulkhead landed right on lightening holes in the coaming, I cut away the corners. These openings may prove useful for running control cables from cockpit to motor.

A cleat along the bottom edge bonds the bulkhead to the tunnel battens. A batten along the top edge acts as a stiffener.

Cleats along the edges bond the bulkhead to the coamings.

This is as far as I have progressed with the cockpit at this time, though these Notes continue on the next page with the motorboard. I refer you to the Construction Notes for the Dillon Sport C and the Dillon Pro Tunnel for further guidance at this time.

Construction of these two smaller boats is largely identical to the Laker 14. However, hardware will need to be heavier to accomodate the larger motor your Laker 14 will utilize. For instance, steering hardware used for larger OPC racing boats can be found at Wintech Engine and Machine.

As progress continues on my hull, I will update these notes. In the meantime, your questions will be inevitable, and I look forward to answering them for you. Contact me anytime. Your questions may become a temporary part of these building notes.

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