Cruising sailboats with no or minimal cockpit in the 30-40 ft range

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Avoid Rocks, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. Avoid Rocks
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    Avoid Rocks Junior Member

    Dear BoatDesign.net members, please help me satisfy a curiosity and a pet peeve of mine. I'm looking for cruising saiboats that sport a minimal or non-existing cockpit. Just a small footwell or simply a flush deck without any kind of cavity. By cruising sailboat my definition is that they're made for:

    • living on board
    • sailing long distances
    Not interested in racers, which might easily satisfy these ("harsh") conditions, especially in smaller sizes.

    30-40 ft in length isn't a rule set in stone but it happens to be the range I'm looking at, with a curious pair of eyes. Without much (if any) success so far I might add. Good ideas that stray from these guidelines are welcome. Because of the sad fact that I have so far barely been able to find anything remotely satisfying, I'm currently leaning towards designing/building a boat instead of just buying one. And this would obviously be a big hassle, as anyone who has done so can readily agree upon. I haven't built a boat myself but I've read about it in books.

    From my personal experience, the huge cockpits most sailboats have are completely unnecessary from my point of view, unless you want to specifically:

    • impress a large group of friends coming over for drinks
    • impress those same friends by taking them out for a daysail
    Personally when I'm sailing I'm either sitting with my feet across the cockpit, resting them on the edge of the seat on the opposite side, or I'm lying straight lengthwise to the boat on the lee side, just chilling and enjoying the ride (or sleeping). This footrest required for sitting could as easily be a sort of rail/plank on a flushdeck, instead of having a bathtub sized box beneath it. This bathtub has obvious downsides, like getting dangerously filled with water if/when pooped and for removing precious storage and living space from down below.

    When moored/anchored, there are certainly some merits to being able to sit upright more comfortably, but the upsides of the larger space down below in a cruising boat easily wins the argument in my opinion. If I want to be outside I can sit and eat or socialize with a glass of rum with my legs crossed. I expect my guests to abide by this.

    Oh and I'm looking for a boat with a tiller. Not at all interested in wheel steering, which takes up space and is unnecessarily complicated. In the same spirit a transom hung rudder is a plus, even if it's not a necessity.

    Please tell me I'm not alone in having these kinds of thoughts!
     
  2. W9GFO
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    W9GFO Senior Member

    A large cockpit is a requirement for me. A lot of time is spent there, I like to be able to stretch out and move around. I spend more time in the cockpit than I do down below, and I like it that way. The cockpit also serves as a work area for mending sails or fixing just about anything.

    My last sailboat had a large cockpit and tiller steering. Flipping up the tiller provided a free and open cockpit space unmatched by most boats. It was lovely to have so much space.

    Sailing with a cockpit like you describe would be a totally different experience.
     
  3. Avoid Rocks
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    Avoid Rocks Junior Member

    Thanks for your input, seems like we're going after the exact opposites here! :)
     
  4. ImaginaryNumber
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    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

  5. W9GFO
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    W9GFO Senior Member

    I'd like to point out that you can have a large cockpit and a small footwell. That's what mine was like. The foot well was about four feet long and just wide enough to stand in comfortably, and self draining. The seating area, the rest of the cockpit, was huge by comparison and flush with the deck.
     
  6. Avoid Rocks
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    Avoid Rocks Junior Member

    Badger and Jester were actually the two I had in mind when writing the original post, of which the latter doesn't fit the sizing requirement. The North Atlantic 29 is also somewhat close to the definition(s). All three incidentally have junk rigs, which is not a bad thing. Looking for more contestants.
     
  7. Avoid Rocks
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    Avoid Rocks Junior Member

    Point well taken. If the (imagined) accomodation can take a larger (flushdecked) cockpit area then why not. But the closer to 30 ft you get, the more it becomes a negative compromise in terms of accomodation potential down below.

    What kind of boat did you have, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  8. W9GFO
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    W9GFO Senior Member

    I don't mind. I wish I had some pictures to post. It was a one-off Seabird yawl variant designed and built in '73 by a NA in California. 32' LOA, 26' LOD. Gaffed rigged with a single cylinder MD1 Volvo diesel engine.

    It had slightly more freeboard and interior space than a true Seabird but you would be hard pressed to tell the difference unless they were side by side.

    It somehow found it's way to Raleigh NC into the hands of some Sea Scouts who started to restore it. When I discovered this I contacted them to learn more. It hadn't been touched in some time and was sitting at someones house that wanted it gone. If I could have afforded to truck it here I could have had it.

    I believe it has been scrapped.
     
  9. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Tiller steering a 40' boat on the ocean takes an 8' long tiller. So you need more than an 8' cockpit area, even if it has a flush deck. Quite a few people have decked over their footwell and converted it into storage or a seaberth. There are a fair number of such boats out there. Pilot house conversions are the logical way to proceed, but they come with a wheel. You end up wanting a heavy, expensive, built-down design to get these to work under about 36'.

    A couple Colin Archer style craft, and two by Lyle Hess.

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  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I have used water-tight storage boxes secured on the bottom of the cockpit to reduce the volume of water it can ship. In port, they can be taken out and stored somewhere in the deck.
     
  11. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Small Tahiti Ketch type
     

    Attached Files:

  12. mbowser
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    mbowser Junior Member

    You are not alone in wanting the simplicity of a tiller; I removed the wheel from my Alberg 35 and redesigned the cockpit with a tiller. Better feel, better safety, and more room in the cockpit when not in use.

    As far as a small cockpit in the 30-40 range, I don't think you can go wrong with most Colin Archer designs. I assume you are planning on a build, but the Westsail 32 (Crealock designed, but looks like a Colin Archer descendant) would fit your goal of small cockpit and tiller steered (and not fast) if you want a production glass boat that can be bought for reasonable dollars.
     
  13. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Nick Skeates designed the steel Wylo II in 32' and 35.5' and sells the plans. They can be build with or without a cockpit or just a foot well. Other build options are with a centreboard or a bit deeper keel.

    Nick built for himself on a very low budget a 32' centreboard version without a cockpit and lives on her while cruising for about half a century now....

    Found here some pictures of Nick and his 32' Wylo II in Las Palmas, which were published in April 2011 . . .

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    ‘‘ His lifestyle is as basic and simple as his cabin, which is built mostly from recycled wood. ’’

    The inside picture looks to me like Nick's onwn 32' Whylo II has a wooden deck on wooden deck beams.

    Far as I know Nick isn't internet savvy and sells the plans only on paper, but he's hard to reach since he lives on the boat and is always cruising, maybe some of the Whylo II builders can tell how to reach him.

    Here's a 32' centreboard version with a cockpit for sale.

    And here's a commercially available 35.5' Wylo II.

    Good Luck !
     
  14. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Sam Crocker's Tangier and Macaw. the Macaw is quite light, shallow draft, and looks handy.

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  15. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The Benford cruising dories are up to 40' - 41'.

    Seamen like cockpits use to be the norm, but times change and the market insisted on dragging accommodations into the cockpit, so seats and tables got installed. It also has a lot to do with skipper age. As a younger man, I prefered a tight, exposed cockpit, thinking it was safer, but as I aged and gained experience, I found I wanted more comfort and protection. I'm now old enough that a pilothouse isn't considered a detriment to the boat's performance, but a mandate. So, it's a pretty subjective and perspective sort of thing.
     
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