What design features make life aboard comfortable & practical for females?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Wilma Ham, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    rayk Senior Member

    Number one priority is a washing machine. Looking at the plans and finding space for this item to be installed will be a good education. Better than worrying about formica or stainless for the bench top.
    Nothing else will extend your time away from the marina more than this one item. At anchor without a washing machine you will begin to use the word 'camping' as an adjective. After leaving the marina you will be flipping through the cruising guide for coin laundry icons.
    Do not save money by doing without, cost/benefit of washing machine vs radar is an issue unlikely to be raised by a spouse looking at a Raytheon catalouge.
    Washing machines are $2 a load in the marina . It is a big machine. Boat contains small volume of air. One large pile of smelly laundry sitting for a week is only $100/yr ("We will buy boat shoes so we dont need to wear socks any more"). Doing a load every second day is civilized and is $360/yr ("If you are doing such a small load today, why dont you do all the cushion covers as well. It seems such a waste to pay $2 for half a load").
    Dont worry if you arent like the other boats, remember living on a yacht is weird enough outside this forum.
    Dont buy a clothes drier, that is truly extravagent.
    A stove is important. Waking up in a cold humid boat and cranking up the stove is an excellent way to begin the day. Every winter morning you begin by exerting control over your environment. Toasty people are smug.
    Men. :D
    If the cockpit is fully enclosed it will become a comfortable extension of the interior at anchor and in the marina. Visitors will be comfortable.
    However working in an open cockpit and ability to look at sails while trimming, setting an auto pilot and tacking will help you learn the rig. Wet gear is a pain, but it is simpler to accessorise your self than the yacht. And as long as you remember to smile when entering port after a wet passage, your wet gear signals that you are capable of working the ship.
     
  2. Wilma Ham
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    Thanks Ryak, especially your reply about the washing machine made a lot of sense. As you can do small loads on the boat, you can handle the drying of small quantities of clothes as well. Smelly clothes are something to avoid, good point. I wasn't so sure about washing machines, but this helps.
    I am still not so sure about sitting in the wet during a passage.
     
  3. Ari
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Port Dickson, Malaysia

    Ari Patience s/o Genius

    Soak and burn

    Hallo Wilma,
    I had done long distance passage and had came across a few very scary moments in relations to the weather, all are on power boats..some with open deck and thin canopy is the only protection..but still I cannot get used to being wet and cold at night or roasted to bronze in the day.The tropic sun and rain..:)
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    You dont need a washing machine you need a spinner,--According to my wife she scrubs up on deck in a big bucket actually an old oil container. She then spins them with the twin tub on the aft deck. They are dry in minutes after that.

    The tropical sun will kill your enthusiasm for life let alone sailing. Hard to Immagine?? we will see.

    Rain?? lovelly cool stuff usually comes along with cloud cover,not so pleasant at night,-- but its only water.

    I have sailed from Singapore to Bangkok once in blazing heat 12 days of calm --water like formica table top, used all the diesel but still put up sails just hanging there for shade. A horrendous trip. It was difficult to find some where to sit out of the sun . I sold that boat for that reason. I couldnt fit an awning without raising the boom and buying new sails.

    A freind of mine has a little 36 foot Nauticat built in Sweden I think they are and are definately cold country friendly. Interestingly the designs for handling the cold are just as good at handling the heat and rain.
     
  5. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    The price of a washing machine has to include a noisemaker (AKA "Generator set")and either oversized water tanks or a watermaker.

    The Wascomat used by the USN and other commercial vessels that washes and rinses on sea water , till the LAST rinse are far too large and heavy to fit in even a 60 fter. And at close to $4000 a bit much to "save" 2 bucks.

    The Staber is built for the off grid folks and uses 1/3 the water & power of house stuff. The RV and small boat washers have a hard time with a set of sheets , and take many many hours to dry.

    FAST FRED
     
  6. Vega
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Vega Senior Member

    Yes, I agree. Washing machines, unless you have a 60ft boat, are only good to use at the Marina (they waste too much water and electricity). With the prices Marinas charge, the price for using the Marina washing machine is meaningless.
     
  7. Crag Cay
    Joined: May 2006
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Some new Bosch machines are usable in a 40 something foot boat, but as you say, only as part of a well engineered total system. And the decision to have all this impacts on more than just the need to have clean clothes or not.

    A washing machine, would in fact be high on our list of features in a dream boat. But thirty years ago, we would have laughed at the whole suggestion. But if you want to cruise chillier climes and if you want more independence from marinas, etc, then a fast spin drier (or better) makes life easier. The same goes with separate showers, reclining comfortable easy chairs, a double bunk you get into from both sides, etc, etc,..

    But none of this is important and I haven't seen many cruises fail through a lack of them. But I have seen loads fail because the women wants 'out'. At the bottom of all (or most) of these situations, is the same thing. FEAR. This cannot be cured by rearranging the furniture. They tried that on the Titanic and it proved less than effective.

    Fear can only be countered by knowledge. This builds confidence and trust, not only in the concept of sailing (including the boat), but also in their own abilities and those of their partners. Once you have the confidence to actually follow your dream, everything else becomes a 'nice to have' wish list. Then you can write these down in order of 'necessity' in one column on your paper, and list you finances on the other. Strike a line through your wish list when the money runs out.

    At that point you will still go, despite not having this or that, because you will have the confidence to get on with what you have. Without the confidence, your 'perfect' cruising boat will still be sitting with all the other thousands in the marina waiting for 'the right time', which will never come.

    I don't think any research would find a correlation between type of boat, or interior arrangement and successful women sailors. However 'confidence' correlates perfectly, even if it's the (unhealthy) confidence that the 'other half' will always see you through.

    The notion of bringing some 'clear blue sky' thinking to the design of cruising boats, unimpeded by any experience, is a laudable ambition, but has been tried many times before. I have had dozens of people come looking for custom boats that must incorporate their latest fantastic ideas. Some are only dreamers, some can be reasoned with, but some unfortunately have the money to realise their fantasies. But without exception, none of those have lead to successful cruising boats, but rather their limitations have become obvious to all, including everyone in the second hand market where these boat invariably sit unwanted.

    Obviously you would expect me to pitch a defence of Boat Designers, but it is something I believe: Those who specialise in cruising boats try to balance all the compromises and to produce the best boat possible for their clients. With many, it's based, not only on their studies but also miles and miles of actual cruising. (But beware, there are some famous cruising designers that don't even like sailing). If all these designers don't produce what you consider (with your total lack of knowledge) to be the ideal boat, you may have to consider that there might be other reasons for this, apart from us all being macho misogynistic hairy arsed dimwits who have a Faustian contract with some mystical 'marketing department'.
     
  8. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Niity gritty of nice-to-have equipment

    Hi Wilma, let's get in to the nitty gritty of what can be done with a standard boat layout to prevent excessive costs in changes. In that washing machines have been addressed, let expound on these first. Lehman's Hardware Company in Kidron, Ohio stocks merchandise for, and made by the Amish who don't believe in using electricity. They have an economical small boat sized washing machine that is hand operated and easily stowed when not in use. Essentially you put your clothes in it, add hot water and detergent and close it up. You then spin it for a while and the hot water forces the water and detergent through the clothes. When finished washing, rinse the clothes in the sink and rig a line in the head for drying. We have one and it works well. (http:/ www.Lehmans.com) No power draw from the electrical system either.
    Lehmans carry a lot of great stuff that is adaptable to smaller cruising vessels.

    As to plants and herbs, I've seen a couple of boats with a small greenhouse mounted behind the mast for growing herbs and some vegetable such as small tomato plants and such. The green house top has can be opened from either side like a winged overhead hatch to water the plants and let in sunlight on low wind days. Caution here is that the miniature hot house needs drainage so becareful when watering to prevent having mud all over the boat.

    There is a plethora of inexpensive equipmet on the market today that can make life easier afloat for women. My wife uses a butane curling iron underway rather than electric hair dryer. I suppose that there may be a 12 volt dryer on the market, but the butane ones are easy to find replacement cylinders.

    In addressing high seas, an investment in a weather course and weather machine is well worthwhile to prevent getting trapped in seas that can cause damage to vessel, crew and passengers. Handling heavy seas isn't that frightening as you are to busy to really watch anything but navigation and the approaching wave. As a professional ship's master, I've been caught in two hurricanes, but the crew handled the vessel well and no damage was done. Being knowledgeable about weather and translating weather dax reports allows you to stay clear of most adverse weather conditions.

    Equipping a boat with some of the conveniences is relatively easy. We bring a cell phone along on all trips, but keep it turned off except when absolutely needed, same with the overpriced 12 volt TV (a must-have for my wife......Grrrrr!) In determining what electrical items to buy, first see how much current draw your electrical system will take, then develop a power budget of what items can be used at what time.
     
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  9. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    :idea: I think women should stick to designing house boats for their live aboard experience. That would produce a practical boat fit for purpose.

    Comfort and convenience in port will interfere with sailing and seamanship on passage. Especially when conditions worsen.

    Most men would be quite happy if their spouse could appreciate the seaworthiness of sail yacht, and not compromise it to compensate for insecurity.
     
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  10. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "same with the overpriced 12 volt TV (a must-have for my wife......Grrrrr!) In determining what electrical items to buy, first see how much current draw your electrical system will take, then develop a power budget of what items can be used at what time."

    For short term use a std house TV works fine with a cheap inverter. We use a 1500W cheapo that was $200US.
    Not efficient enough (non sine wave) for a fridge but just great for power tools ,TV and sat dish, charging toothbrush , computer and cell phone.

    With a solar 75W plate , we have AC on the mooring and fully charged batts on arrival.

    FAST FRED
     
  11. Greenseas2
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    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Point of concern

    Hi Fred, the point that I was trying to make was that for some of us, getting away in our boat is also a means of recharging our personal lives without the interuptions of TV, news papers and other daily distractions. There are so many places to see and things to do while cruising that the routine stuff that we do at home seems out of place and detracts from the joy of cruising. We're currently planning a cruise to some islands in the Gulf of Mexico that are unihabited and to the Dry Tortugas. Thankfully we'll be out of cell phone range and even though we will be able to receive satellite TV, the 12 volt set will be left ashore for this trip. Sometimes the everyday conveniences become a pain. There have been too many ttimes when the kids missed seeing some really nice and interesting places because they were down below watching a movie on the tube.

    We recently talked with a cruisng couple that were home schooling their son and daughter underway. At first they let the kids watch the TV after the homework was done, but then the discipline regarding the TV broke down. They now have no onboard TV or video games and everyone including the kids seem to be happier with the situation. Why dilute the cruisng exerience?
     
  12. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Greenseas, thanks for the tips on the manual washing machine. Interesting stuff.

    About TV, the skipper of my boat:p don't allow television aboard, nor video games. Films are allowed (on the small computer). I have a reasonable stereo sound and let the kids put their own music. I am lucky, because they have good taste;)

    The results are very good: kids that out of the boat rarely read books are in the boat avid readers. Lots of books for season (and interesting books). And that is very important for their culture:p
     
  13. Greenseas2
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    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Practical innovations

    You're welcome Vega. There's a lot of innovative things that can be done to make life a little more comfortable aboard for the lady. On our boat we carry a small galvanized bucket with 3 stones of about 9 inch diameter each in it. On cold nights I heat the stones on the rail mounted gas grill for about 30 minutes and put them back in the bucket with tongs after they're hot. The bucket is set on folded towels on the cabin floor and the stones keep the inside of the boat really warm all night long (almost too warm). In the morning you'll find that they are still hot. No flames, no fumes, just good clean heat. Better than paying big bucks for a cabin heater.
     
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  14. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Fast Fred you beat me to it. Yes a 12v tv is a Tv with an invertor in it. I thought that when you bought a 12v Tv--- it was 12V.

    After about 3 months mine went bust the repair man says "its the invertor but you can use 220V,-- I cant fix it" ( Thats another thing about cruising, Guarantees are usless,--- what shall I do post it back to Singapore?

    So as from then we buy what ever Tv we want from the supermarket--at 1/2 the price and buy a small invertor. If you look on the back of the Tv it will tell you what the wattage is -usually about 75. Yeah not much. A 250 watt invertor will run that and a DVD wich draws even less.

    Incidentaly looking at the back of electrical stuff for consumption information is some thing you will need to get used to.
     

  15. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Way to hack consumer electronics, Jack :)
    But yes, on that note, figuring out boat electrics is a lot like setting up an off-grid house- at some point you need to sit down, decide exactly what you must have, what you'd like to have, what you can do without, and what might be needed in an emergency- and then figure out how much power each thing uses, and how much you'll run it. A lot of boats are loaded down with electrics, and can't run half of them when not on shore power. And you don't want to be running a 20 kW generator all day. But a certain number of creature comforts are desirable, and worthwhile; things like a good A/C and heater would make all the difference in comfort some days.
     
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