This gave me an idea. This two-seater garden bench cost me fifty pounds from Robert Dyas, fits perfectly and allows me to stow my inflatable dinghy, liferaft, outboard, etc out of the way instead of inside the cabin. At anchor or under way in calm weather, it's a great place to sit where I can reach the tiller, throttle and mainsheet easily while having superb visibility. the photo of Dulali is by Wil Pretty
Dulali now gets even more admiring glances - or are they disbelieving stares?
After extensive research (Argos etc) this is the bench I bought, currently £49.99 at Robert Dyas
This says that the dimensions are (w)121 x (h)85.5 x (d)58.5cm but I found that the width is actually only 119cm, which fits nicely between the backstay U-bolts. The backstays pass under the arms, which gives additional security.
The legs are each attached to the deck with a 3-inch stainless screw from underneath. A rubber furniture pad fits between each leg and the deck to discourage water ingress to the end grain.
The seat is mounted almost as far aft as it will go, while allowing access to the scuppers, cleats etc. This gives about 50 cm room to rest your feet behind the traveller.
I sail on the Medway where I am Rear Commodore of Hoo Ness YC (www.hooness.org.uk). We used to have several Contessa 26s in the club and even a dedicated trophy for the class. Now we have only two (Simona and Dulali). On Sunday, last they came first and second out of 13 boats in our morning pursuit race.