Just have to ask...About sailboat cabin height.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by SoNew, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. SoNew
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    SoNew New Member

    Why is it that there is so much discussion this way and that about head room in sailboat cabins. Why can't they just be built so that a human can stand up inside? Is there something to do with them being top heavy or catching to much wind or getting in the way of the rigging? But when you step into the motorsailer class headroom no longer seems to be an issue? This is of course is meant with the smaller sailboats and motorsailers and is in no way a criticism to boat designs or those who made them. I just can't seem to figure it out?

    Please free me from my ignorance!
     
  2. eyschulman
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    eyschulman Senior Member

    On a small boat a high cabin is usually plain ugly and there is that windage issue. It is a lot easier to put headroom in boats >35ft than 30ft and less.
     
  3. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Some guy told me they need low ceiling to help you hold on with "all fours" in foul weather.
     
  4. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Good observation SoNew.

    The ideal performing boats would have no superstructure - human inhabitants are a real nuisance.

    having tall cabins increases material, labour and performance loss.

    But, if you want a boat that actually protects you from the elements without deforming your spine, then all you can do is reduce the impacts as best you can.
     
  5. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "Why can't they just be built so that a human can stand up inside?"

    For what?

    In a "sitter" , no standing headroom ,the galley slave sits on a stool while cooking/washing up ,

    and its far safer/cleaner if the boys sit instead of just aiming in a sea way.

    If you need to stand on board , get on a ferry boat., or a damn big sail boat.
     
  6. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    It is mostly a looks issue,as has already been pointed out it is much easier to design an attractive boat with headroom when you get over 30ft. that said there are all sorts of design tricks available to a designer to minimize the visual impact such as a small increase in freeboard, a sraight or reverse sheerline gets the height in the cabin area higher than a traditional sheerline, more deck camber raises the carlines so the cabin sides can be lower, combining with wider side decks further enhances the effect, more camber in the cabintop itself does the same, and then you can get into layering, the wedding cake effect that is used a lot to get bridgedeck headroom on a lot of catamarans, very popular with Australian designers. Another trick used a lot on production boats is to keep the sheerline moderate while adding the extra height needed into the deck molding by continuing up from the sheer before turning inwards, your eye is drawn to the actual sheerline, this was done a lot on catamarans. To me the goal is to keep the visual height of the cabin side from appearing too high, its all about tricking the eye, some designers do it well, others just dont have a good eye and go ugly early, seemingly unaware of the various options available to them.

    Steve.
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yep, all of these things are considerations. Cabin heights are relative to ergonomic considerations, which unfortunately don't change, as we attempt to employ accommodations in smaller craft.

    Simply put, there are many "tricks" a design can employ, to visually hide the looks of a tall cabin, but the wind will still see it. So, in the end the preformance envelop envisioned for the yacht, will determine how much accommodation you'll have for crew, in the cabin on small craft. A boat designed to sail well, will have a blister of a cabin, just sticking up out of the deck, while a cruiser may add several inches of height to this cabin and hide it's boxy look, with a tall bulwark. The wind will still catch on it, but the cabin will be more suited to the goals of the SOR.
     
  8. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    a tall cabin extending to the shear ? its Suitablity is not just eye appeal or performance , its ergonomics and usability.

    On a sailing yacht you need to do things.. Tasks....for instance to have visibility over the cabin top while holding the helm or to have a deck layout that allows you maneuver or trim sails .

    The art of naval architecture and design is to deliver efficient ergonomics and usability for the clients intended use

    As the client you must decide whether to direct the designer to use his knowledge to benefit a marina live aboard cruiser or an ocean going sailing yacht.

    The area in between is prone to failure.
     
  9. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Look at the personal vehicles you see on the highway. How many have standing headroom? Silly question? If you can think of any reasons for this obvious situation then apply the same reasoning to your boat question.
     
  10. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I dont agree with that point of view. In a typical vehicle, you dont drive while standing for better visibility, and you dont cook, wash etc in a normal car.

    And of course there are those travel homes, which do have standing room, much closer to the boat cabin concept, which makes the 'vehicle' comparison a bit pointless.

    As a fan of trailer/sailer boats, I have a smile when I see people who spend $80,000 for something they cant stand up in, and cant move around due to the big centerboard case. If they were pure racers, then they wouldn't buy a cruising boat, but they cant cruise comfortably.
     
  11. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    You missed the whole point of the post. I was not saying that autos and boats are equivalent in this sense but since most people would be familiar with why vehicles are built like they are, they should apply that same kind of thought process to boats.

    Did not mean to be obtuse.
     
  12. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I guess I did, but not to waste the typing, I guess the comments on Campervans V Cars can become part of the example you were trying to make.
     
  13. eyschulman
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    eyschulman Senior Member

    Back to my original post(short worded) tall house little boat ugly and inefficient. Low profile the opposite........
     
  14. WestVanHan
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Barefoot I'm 6'4.
    Shoes on- 6'5.5"

    Strap wood blocks on your shoes to get you to 6'5,and see if you care so much about how a boat may look with an extra 4-5" on the cabin top...
     

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    The prime examples are fishing boats, where accomodation is very square and unstreamlined.

    Those guys have to have shelter hey can work in - looks be damned.

    There is nothing more beautiful than a sold, windproof warm deckhouse in a big storm.
     
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