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The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

A Simple Holder for Tea Towels

Barb Peck & Bjarne Hansen

Hoku Pa'a
Niagara 35
April 5th, 2019

You don’t hear this every day, but our tea towels were giving us grief. “Surely there are bigger fish to fry”, you say, but honestly, it was enough to make us want to, well, throw in the towel. You know how any horizontal surface tends to accumulate things? Well, similarly, any horizontal bar is a tempting hanger for a wet dish rag. The stove on Hoku Pa’a has two such places – one to prevent you from falling into the hot burners and one to open the oven door. Barring other options, these were where the towels resided. It was an “it’s-sort-of-working-so-why-get-around-to-a-better-system” kind of thing. While sailing, the towels tended to slide off. More annoying was when we opened and closed the oven, the towels would either catch in the door or fall on the cabin sole. Finally, we’d had enough.

Tea towel in the oven

Scrounging through scrap wood in the forepeak turned up a broken strip of teak and a small off-cut piece of plywood. There was enough of the latter to make a test board which was useful, since we weren’t working from a pattern. The idea was inspired by a v-shaped holder made by BCA member Tanya on Kialoa that we’d seen a few years ago. Our design consists of a simple keyhole into which a towel is wedged.

Two hole saw bits were used to make a large opening and a smaller one under it. The holes were then connected by cutting the adjoining wood with a hacksaw and smoothing things out with a file. We used the initial test board to figure out what size of holes were needed to fit the towels while holding them securely. There was just enough space for three keyholes in the available plywood – perfect for our needs.

Tea towel holder

Once the holes were shaped and smoothed, the board was glued to 4 standoffs cut from the piece of teak. These blocks allow one’s fingers to stuff the towel in the hole. We sanded and oiled the whole thing and mounted it with screws. At the moment it’s quite functional, but we plan to cover it with some nice veneer to make it look prettier. In the meanwhile, the towels are no longer in danger of being cooked and we aren’t getting hung up on this problem any more!


  1. Luisa Lazzarotto says:

    It’s the little things that get ya! I use a golf towel which has a grommet in one corner and a loopy shower curtain thingy to attach it to a metal loop that is beside the stove in the galley (I think it’s to attach a tether to) . Your solution seems more elegant….now I am thinking about bookshelves. Not one on our boat!

  2. Ricky says:

    That’s awesome you two, well done. I have the exact same problem and was wracking my brain for a better way without having to build something 🤣. It really is the simple things that can make a huge difference. Thanks for sharing.

    S/V Fáinleog

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