Stern cabin - too odd on small boats?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Claus Riepe, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    Different boats are built for different functions. Different functions have resulted in different forms. There is no comparison of a Junk hull to a modern race/cruiser, as the functional demands of each are very different.

    There is nothing wrong with designing and appreciating stern cabins on small boats. Your obvious functional priorities are crew comfort, headroom and a unique look.

    Other people may have upwind sailing speed and around-the-buoys performance as a functional priority. You would probably not like the boats they choose.

    A junk-rigged, proportionately large stern cabin boat (especially at the modest size you are proposing) would be eye-catching and unique. Whether or not the eye-catching is a positive experience depends on who is looking.

    The one thing you have to be careful about is making sure that satisfying one functional requirement does not affect other things too much. Your proposed boat designs may be very comfortable, but a mushy 25 year old plywood Opti crewed by an 11 year old will eat your lunch in the basic performance department. Part of a great weekend on the water is actually getting somewhere further than the breakwater, so you might want to be careful to consider performance for both speed and safety. I would not want to get caught out in a boat as you are discussing trying to claw to windward in an onshore breeze.

    Every boat design is a collection of compromises, and for every high priority "good" choice you make be assured there will be a painful "bad" quality to balance it out.

    Good luck in your boat selection process, and keep us informed.

    Bill S in Ottawa
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 14,750
    Likes: 759, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Form may follow function, but you can't compare ancient boats that only went down wind with a modern cruiser. The dynamics of the boat behavior are different.
  3. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 1,970
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Hi, Bill.

    I'm sure the mushy 25 yo opti would make a good account of itself going to windward, compared to my proposal. After all, it has a much more efficient dagger board and it has 65% movable ballast (the 11 year old ), but so would a Hobie Cat (r) that can't point nearly as high.

    I do agree the high cabin would compromise winward performance, but I don't think it would destroy it. It would get somewhere, especially on the shallow lake it would be designed for. It may even get there faster than some people think it will.

    I think performance as the main goal has added a lot to sailing. But it has also taken a lot away. Performance usually means greater draft and much more vulnerable appendages. It also usually means taller, more complicated rigs that need more expensive hardware to make stand properly, as well as noodly masts which are almost impossible to step with out help, in some cases, and without a crane in others.

    The Opti looks pretty much like the box it really is. But a lot of development has gone on, both inside and outside that box. And it was, after all, designed for racing.
  4. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    We are pretty much on exactly the same page.

    My post was an attempt to try to get the original poster to balance his desires with practical considerations. There are a bunch of mini-cruisers out there like the Chesapeake Light Craft Pocketship and the like that address this market segment.

    Performance is a consideration that becomes important when things are going wrong, not when you are dreaming about anchoring out your lovingly assembled future boat at your desk while faking work. Lee shores, short chop, narrow channels etc. all are far from your mind.

    I'm interested in his ideas because I too am looking at the small homebuilt cruising segment for future builds.

  5. Claus Riepe
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 70
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 9
    Location: Germany

    Claus Riepe Junior Member

    Thanks for that attempt, but no need really.

    My desires are to put a removable hardtop cabin roof over the stern of an existing 20" super performing open daysailer to convert that boat into a temporary minimalist cruiser, if and when that boat is to be used as a weeksailer. My desires are driven by practical considerations right from the start.

    My only concerns were the aesthetics of a stern structure, but this discussion here has quite allayed my concerns.
  6. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 1,824
    Likes: 62, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 608
    Location: Duluth, Minnesota

    Steve W Senior Member

    There is a 26ft aft cabin sailboat sitting in my backyard that belongs to a friend .its a Parker dawson 26 which was also known as a Midship 25,it has a very usable aft cabin,nice comfortable center cockpit and decent fwd cabin,retractable cast iron centerboard and a little yanmar diesel,the rudder is a large daggerboard type transom mounted and it has a tandem axle trailer,they were available as a sloop or ketch.The designer ,Bob Finch who also designed the Islander 30 did an excellent job making it all work in such a small package.Im not savy enough to post a pic but you can google them,there is a good owners group.A guy raced one in the OSTAR back in the mid 70s and finished in a race where many didnt.
  7. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 1,970
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    A very good point. One that has often been used with varying justice.

    To get and stay off a lee shore, a boat has to be able to sail upwind reliably.

    To sail up a narrow channel, a boat has to change tacks reliably.

    If it can do those two things, it is adequate for the job.

    I was once on a boat bought by some friends that did not have the best windward performance capability. And we all knew it.

    It had a tiny centerboard and a mast without a back stay. The shrouds were so loose, due to their minimal back set and hull flexing, that the lee shroud hung loose in any kind of a wind.

    We took the boat out and I talked them into sailing around a small island on the lake, just to show them that, with enough patience, they could go anywhere they wanted under sail with that boat.

    The island had a narrow channel between it and the mainland. And that channel ended up being up wind with a fresh breeze blowing. It may have taken a dozen tacks to do it, but we got through that channel which was no more than two boat lengths wide.

    For them, it may not have been the funnest experience. But for me, it was triumphant.

    A better performing boat may not have made it. It's deeper board may well have fouled the weed choked bottom. Or it would have had to be retracted far enough to make it no more effective, or even less effective than the tiny board that boat had.

  8. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
    Posts: 35
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 29
    Location: Berkeley, CA

    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Stern cabin added as a mod

    Hi all. My newly purchased boat is a modification of an earlier design, specifically modified to add the stern cabin.

    The original design was a Calkins 50' sloop, which is a canoe stern, aft cockpit motorsailor. For mine, the design was stretched by 4 feet, and the canoe stern changed to a transom. This, along with shortening the cockpit by 2', allowed for the addition of a stern cabin with a double bunk each side.

    Here is the original 50' sloop....

    And here is my "Glory B" on the hard...

    I think the lines look pretty good, not 'odd' at all.

Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.