How do you use space on your boat?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Wilma Ham, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Wilma Ham
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    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    This might seem a silly question, but for me it would influence where interior design time, space allocation and money get directed.

    With your responses to this question we will get to see if there is a lot of variety in where different people spend most of their time on a boat and how differently spaces are being used for what activities.
    I have a feeling that it might surprise us how innovative the use of spaces can be.
    It deserves attention if we want to create efficient and practical living spaces afloat.

    This issue first came up when I looked at houses and how people use certain spaces. Instead of a garden, most people nowadays want a large deck attached to the house which functions in summer as an outside lounge. When we visit people in summer that is where we always hang out.
    Another example is our dining room table. It is in the centre of our open plan lounge/kitchen area. It gets used as a work table, a business meeting space, to fold washing on, drink and food station at parties. If we have more than two visitors we sit at the table.
    As a result the table justifies its use of space. It is interesting to note that the 2 of us hardly ever eat at the table. We eat on the lounge suite.
    The lounge suite area in comparison is very small and it doesn’t deserve more space.
    The lay-out works very well.
    Another beautiful example was the V-berth in the front of the boat. As it is uncomfortable to sleep in, many people on the other thread said that they mostly use that berth for storage.

    Hence my question how do you use space on the boat when sailing and when in port?
    Giving very specific and give nitty gritty answers would be great as those will give us probably the best insights.

    Wilma
     
  2. Wilma Ham
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    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    The photo is of the galley on the boat John and I sailed on in December.
    The space on the galley bench is used for storage. There was hardly any space for food preparation. Those things were stored there as that was where you could access them. The proper storage where they were supposed to be, were too far, too high or not secure enough and thus a waste of space.

    Wilma


    [​IMG]
     
  3. Wilma Ham
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    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    Sorry, the photo didn't get there first time around. Here is the photo.

    Wilma
     

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  4. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    In any Cruising boat ALL space will have at least 3 uses . An example would be a sit spot.

    A place to sit, probably good storage under , a swing arm table for drinks and snacks ,, and a proper sea berth will fold down onto the same spot.

    A good cruiser does this 3D style layout from stem to stern.

    FF
     
  5. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    rayk Senior Member

    Try and avoid looking at all the empty space in the bow. You really shouldnt fill it up. Think about the immersed volume of the forecabin, the bit below the waterline. That bit of bouyancy versus the weight of the forecabin and its contents.

    Filling up the bows makes a wet boat that hobby horses.
    Filling up the aft sections is no good either.

    Number one rule....:)
    Keep the boat on its lines, and the storage problem vanishes.​
    :)
     
  6. LAZYJACK
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    LAZYJACK Junior Member

    Hi Wilma,

    enclosed is an example of a modified interior layout on a +/- 40 footer, corresponding to your question on how differently spaces may be used for what activities.

    In my search for a good longe range passage cruiser to use with the family, I found this layout. It got me interested for several reasons, amongst which the way of using the space in front of the mast.
    It is different than what we usually see nowadays. Most of the time the front is being used for a V-berth. As it has been pointed out repeatedly this is an awful place to sleep when at sea.

    What they did is put a large storage locker all the way up front with a sealed bulkhead. The locker should probably be used for fairly large but rather light items (re rayk's remark on weigth in the bow). With the sealed bulkhead it also adds tremendously to safety in case of collision.

    Inside the cabin the table is located in front of the mast rather than having it in the center of the boat. A table isn't easy to use when at sea anyways (unless it is somehow gimballed, like the Pardeys designed on Taleisin, if I am not mistaking), and is mostly used when at anchor, in port on when the weather is good.

    Having the table more upfront creates a bit of an alcove feeling in the dinner area, while at the same time opening up space in the middle of the cabin, giving it a more roomy air. More importantly, in the center of the cabin you then have ample space for good pilot berths which are the best places to sleep (we have them in our 1973 S&S and I wouldn't trade them for anything), and quickly accessible. One might argue that you can have the pilot berths in combination with a center table, but this certainly makes for less esay passage.

    Another feature is the chart table, which is being used standing up. With current electronics the navigator does not need to spend as much time at the chart table as used to be the case in the old days. Therefore it doesn't need to be as large (could it be that the design of a large chart table caters more the ego than corresponding with a real need ?). At the same time, by making it higher the same it can also function as a good work table.

    The design is by Gilles Montaubin (France). It was developed for Jacques Guillemot, who is a former maritime officer. He has been running a charter business for more than 15 years (doing all the sailing himself in his own boat)and before that also cruised for three years with his family. This design is the culmination of his experiences at sea. I liked it because of its common sense and pragmatic approach. Besided I find the boat very good looking too.

    Thought I would share it.
    Best regards
    Philippe

    link to the designer : http://www.chantiermer.com/presselordjim.htm
     

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  7. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Firstly a word of caution. In boats under about 40ft, you don't have unlimited options for the layout in a boat. There will be structural requirements for bulkheads, chain plates, engine, cockpit length, companion way steps, etc. There is a reason why what Bob Perry calls 'Standard Layout A' is so common, and that's because it works okay for most people in boats under 40ft. In an earlier thread you also mentioned your liking for a deck saloon / pilot house style. Well if you prioritise something like that it will have knock on effects that may well restrict other choices you can make.

    Philippe has posted a design with some fresh thinking, but it is over 40ft when, as I said, more options do generally become available. He has made many valid points as has Fastfred with his rule of thumb that every area must be tri or at least multi functional.

    You also have to consider the space working during different phases of a voyage. Although the requirements for when at sea may be less in terms of days of a year you will need them, they do have significant safety implications, but a boat that is uncomfortable in port will soon be 'for sale'.

    I personally like the galley and nav station (stand up - lockers or freezer below) either side of the companionway. Women also demand the heads are aft as well. Not only does this gather them all together around the centre of least motion, but they can be used 'wet' by the watch keeper without trailing salt water throughout the boat.

    Sea berths aft in the stern quarters are okay for motion, but are noisy when there's anyone in the cockpit. Stomping your feet to keep warm, working winches, dropping the handle, chatting with others, listening to the VHF or even music are all realities of being on watch, so I prefer to be 'off watch' somewhere quieter. The settee berths work well for us, but we don't like pilot berths outboard of this in under 40ft, as it makes the settee backs too cramped and upright for comfort in port. However if you are going to have more people on board for over night passages than just the two, there can be conflicts with people who also need somewhere to gather 'down below' to eat and socialise. In this case sleeping in the salon becomes intrusive, which rather forces you back into the quarter berths.

    With aft heads, make sure it can be ventilated forward of any spray hood or dodger you may want. It's incredible how many boats don't do this, which is not pleasant for those in the cockpit and embarrassing for those below.

    Talking of heads, you need a separate shower stall. Sharing the heads area gets very old very quickly. I like to split the shower and heads into two smaller compartments P&S, a bit like Philippe's plan, where the shower is used as a huge foul weather locker / drying area at sea.

    The V-berth is a great harbour berth. You can also get access to it without climbing over the other, and it should have remained clean and dry during the passage and ready for you to tumble into after your shower on arrival. Anywhere else that doubled as a sea berth will have to be cleaned down and made salt free. The V-berth is also easy to ventilate in warm weather with a wind scoop or rain tent over the front hatch. Quarter cabins are much harder to get air through, and also in the V-berth you can 'hear the anchor' and I can certainly be up and out on deck at the first sense of trouble, sometimes even with my trousers on.

    Storage is always a problem. Over the years as systems become more complex, the amount of equipment that has to be 'hidden' away is amazing. It all intrudes into what was storage space. Rule number one: Less really is more!

    A long time ago we happened upon a storage solution for dry goods that we have repeated in every boat since. We decided in our impecunious youth that we would not even bother with an ice box, let alone refrigeration. This left us with the very large top loading box for storage. We removed all our dry goods (flour, pasta, rice, spices, salt, died veg, oats, soups, etc) from their boxes and put them in polythene bags in 'reasonable quantities' (either sufficient to refill 'in use' containers, or one meal, or one baking session, etc). Then we packed these in the ex-cold box like sand bags, and in a mixed up semi random order depending on the anticipated demand of each item, so that what we needed was always available on the top as we worked our way down the stores. We have repeated the 'dry bin' in every boat since, as a dedicated feature rather than an ex ice box, and its possible to get 180 man days of dry goods in a surprisingly small volume. There is no wasted space, no water damage, very little trash, and no busted bags as it all holds itself in place. 'I recommend it to the house!'

    You also need the rule to 'never to go strip mining'. If you eat what appears in the top layer you will never finish the good things early and have to endure the final two weeks of a slow passage with only the crappy meals left. You can also bury treats at various levels, so again it's great when you get down to the chocolate biscuits for instance, instead of eating them all in the first week as would otherwise happen in our boat.
     
  8. LAZYJACK
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    LAZYJACK Junior Member

    Crag
    It's always fun to read when experience speaks.
    Philippe
     
  9. Wilma Ham
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    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    I do agree Philippe, fun to read real examples. I would have never thought about the stomping and noise from the cockpit. This is a cool example that the cockpit is used for many things, not just quietly being on watch.
    Does that mean some design features to make all those activities more fun to do?
    Would sound insulation from the cockpit be an option to sleep underneath? In appartment buildings they have sound insulation from the upstairs neighbours. On the boat show we have seen sound insulation material that was light. So insulating the engine AND the cockpit , both areas of noise would that be the answer??
    I get that seperating shower and heads are a real winner for various reasons. Wear and tear, and the use of the shower as a wet locker and drying area.
    That storage idea of Crag is a real winner. On the boat I sailed on, all the food was dumped in a big deep freezer and imposible to get out in any sensible order.
    The result was unplanned and random dinners and we did run out of good food. Again planning on a boat is a must to have a comfortable life.
    I will have closer look at the lay-out of the boat, thank you Philippe.
    However I do like the idea of possible open space in the saloon with the table out of the way. And it created those great pilot berth spaces.
    I have discovered that good sleeping spaces when sailing are important.
    My bunk did become a safe heaven and I liked the fact that I could stow my things in my bunk close at hand. I could crawl/climb into the bunk and then ferret around for my glass case, my book, my little snacks, my water bottle, my torch and my lipbalm without flying around in that huge unfriendly saloon.
    In a raised saloon boat I have seen a freezer in the floor under the table in the raised part, that worked really well as the access was so easy.
    Thank you all for your thoughts.
    The galleys still seem to be so small, any good exampes of larger working areas and their uses?
    Wilma
     

  10. Wilma Ham
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    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    I have been busy reading other threads on this forum. I am always astounded at the information available and a bit overwhelmed.
    What I meant with this thread is this.

    This weekend I sailed on a 58' steel pilot house ketch.
    The pilot house was bliss and that is where we (4 adults) sat all of the time.
    The saloon was not used.

    We could all sit comfortably in the pilot house and look out. We ate there, we read the newspaper there, I looked at the charts of the area there, we sailed the boat from there, I looked on the GPS in there, we looked at photos from previous trips there. The driver of the boat was never alone and we were there all the time. It rained of course.

    So in hindsight the pilot house could have been even bigger with more attention to easier longer term seating. It was designed as a work place and should have been designed as a people and work place.
    The saloon could have been smaller as that was geared for 16 people and the pilot house for 6.
    The saloon was overrated big.
    The winner was that the kitchen was next to the pilot house and extremely well placed to serve the pilot house.
     
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