Topic: Instrument Mounting Cutout and Structural Integrity
Like most CO26 I've seen, I have a compass on the port side of the cockpit. On the starboard side I have a chartplotter and a depth sounder.
My old compass has been deemed unrepairable so I'm replacing it and I thought I'd take this opportunity to move it to the starboard side also. This would mean that the port side of the cockpit bulkhead (I don't know what else to call it but I mean the flat, vertical surface to port of the companionway) would now be flat. This would make crew who want to lean back in the cockpit very happy as they would no longer have the compass bulging into their back.
I'm thinking of cutting a roughly 9" x 12" rectangular hole that would accommodate a panel on which my instruments are mounted. In other words, I mount my instruments on the panel and then mount the panel on the bulkhead rather than having individually cut-out holes for each instrument in the bulkhead. My question is this: how much of the part cockpit bulkhead can be safely cut out? Does this bulkhead support any load at all?