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

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

  1. Ari
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 421
    Likes: 15, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 94
    Location: Port Dickson, Malaysia

    Ari Patience s/o Genius

    Room heating method

    I do really like this room heating method of yours.Thank you.It actually solve my problem.:)
  2. Wilma Ham
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 138
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: New Zealand

    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    I too liked that heating system of the stones, I will certainly give it a go.

    About washing clothes, soaking will get most stains out but drying is the biggest problem and getting most water out after the wash is crucial to shorten drying time. So maybe a spinner to get the water out is more crucial.
    I have seen those hand washing machines and people were happy with them. The only real problems are the sheets, how are they dealt with?.

    Buying that modern material for clothes and towels is a help, they dry very quickly. I don't think I will use normal towels unless in the tropics where drying is no problem.

    I don't even have a tv at home so the electrical system will not be overburdened by that. And soon the laptop will take care of that anyway.

    I do agree that fear is a big spoil sport, but why are we so fearful? I do agree that I am influenced by how John talks. If he is okay then I become more relaxed too. I am looking at big seas photoos etc but I get a sense that a boat is a lot safer than we think. As long as we take care of ourselves the boat will handle the bad weather. If I am comfortable inside in a storm would that not help?
  3. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 365
    Likes: 80, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 527
    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member


    We are so fearful because it is scary. I have gone to sea since I was an infant but still feel the fear every time I go out. I was never scared as a kid, sailing was like going for a car ride (just a little more fun), my parents were driving. For me, fear has grown as I grew, as I started being more aware of dangers and I started getting responsibilities on board. Handling a sailboat is constant action reaction, as much as possible you want to plan ahead, being conscious what can happen, which also means planning the worst. That fear is healthy if you are also confident in your capabilities, the bad fear happens when it becomes overwhelming. It can become overwhelming very fast even for experienced sailors, everybody reacts differently. It is very difficult for one to know when it will become overwhelming for himself and how he will react before it has happened to him.

    Being comfortable inside in a storm would indeed help. Unfortunately a storm is far from comfortable, mostly inside. The concept of comfort is totally different in bad weather to comfort in harbor. You could find greatest bad weather comfort on the most non harbor comfort boats. Amazingly those coffin like sea birth become quite attractive in weather, add a thermos of hot drink a bowl of warmed up chili and you have luxury. You would also be surprised how many people, when it gets bad pick a snug spot in the cockpit, it's the best place to beat the no 1 uncomfort of weather: seasickness.


    1 person likes this.
  4. Vega
    Joined: Apr 2005
    Posts: 1,606
    Likes: 26, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 132
    Location: Portugal

    Vega Senior Member

    Murielle, great post and wise words.

    Many centuries ago a great Spanish philosopher said: “Experience is the mother of all things”.

    Experience and a correct evaluation of our own limitations and the boat capabilities is the key. What is frighten to me, would be trivial for a more experienced sailor that knows how to handle the situation and is sure about himself and the boat. Of course, a less experienced sailor than me can be frightened in my boat in conditions that I consider normal.

    Crag Cay had also posted about fear, experience and design, and I agree with him. What he said is plain good sense to me.

  5. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
    Posts: 367
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 49
    Location: USA

    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Thank native Americans for that one

    The hot rocks go back in time to Indian sweat lodges. They weren't too different from modern day saunas except they were built of tree branches. The Indians dug a pit and put hot rocks from the fire in to the pits. They then poured a little water on the rocks to make steam.
  6. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
    Posts: 367
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 49
    Location: USA

    Greenseas2 Senior Member


    Fear is mostly lack of knowledge about the unknown; however, it can be minimized through knowledge and experience. Learn all that you can about weather and the seas rather than focusing on the vessel.
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

  8. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
    Posts: 367
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 49
    Location: USA

    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Another lesson in practicality

    Wilma, long before there were washing machines on boats, people took nylon net bags and put the clothes and sheets in them. The net bag was then attached to a strong line and towed behind the boat for awhile. The clothes and sheets were then rinsed in a bucket of fresh water, wrung out by hand and put over a clothes line strung from either the mast to the boom gallows or draped over the safety rails to dry. We once had laundry hanging from the safety lines with clothes pins while going through the Long Island south side canals. All of a sudden my wife raced on deck and began taking the washing in. I asked her what was wrong. Her reply was, "were starting to go through the Hamptons". Female pride@#$%^&*
  9. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
    Posts: 367
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 49
    Location: USA

    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Boat sheets

    Wilma, I'm happy that we're not the only ones who use sheets on a boat while cruising. Too many people use sleeping bags that never seem to get get washed, and their boat stinks as a result. Nothing worse than the smell of human filth. Part of good seamanship is cleanliness. For boat sheets on a single berth, use a full size sheet and fold it in half lengthwise. Then sew a seam along the fold. On the berth the folded seam gets tucked under the back of the berth cushion. While not form fitting, it's better than two separate sheets for washing purposes and generally will hang on a line where the seam is for drip drying. The full sized sheet takes up less folded space than two singles also. We use this method on commercial vessels also.
  10. Paddy
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 38
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 15
    Location: Dublin, Ireland

    Paddy Junior Member

    Here here to that Murielle!
  11. Tim B
    Joined: Jan 2003
    Posts: 1,438
    Likes: 59, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 841
    Location: Southern England

    Tim B Senior Member

    I haven't really been following this post much, and I'm sure the regulars will notice that I haven't posted since page 12 or something. Anycase...

    The whole problem really boils down to who are you and what do you want to use the boat for. If, for instance you're built like Arnie (Swarchanegegege) then those slightly bigger winches might not be too critical. for the rest of us, they'll make a difference in the long-term. Similarly, if you know you want to spend a lot of time at sea (or the time you spend at sea is not going to be in bright sunshine and light winds) then you might want to consider spray hoods and galleys that you don't fall out of (and there are few around in modern boats).

    Now, Electronics, any serious sailor should have the following (well, I think so):
    GPS Chartplotter (Nav Station and Helm) and backup hand-held GPS.
    VHF Radio (with an external speaker you can actually use)
    Seperate amplifiers for internal/external audio (see above). In-car amps are fine.
    RADAR at Nav station, and hopefully it can be connected to the chart plotter.

    Obviously lighting circuitts are in there too. Now, one thing that is interesting is the increasing movement towards using on-board PCs. Mostly Laptops, but custom-built "desktop" machines are starting to become more practical. there is a major advantage that the data can be displayed on one screen, and in as many places as you have screens. The problem however, is the power requirement. A typical (2.4GHz P4) draws about 13 Amps through an inverter at full CPU load. If one were to connect at 12 volts, I suspect this would be more like 10 Amps. So do the maths, a 180Ah battery, 18 hours of computing (maximum). If, however, we use a Strong-ARM RiscPC (requires re-writing all the code) the power drops to about 4 Amps. Therefore, we get 45 hours (maximum) from the same battery.

    The trick then is to use systems that take as little power as possible, because then it is easy to find without running a generator. In ever more fuel critical times this will become more important.

    As for a washing machine, it takes a lot of space, power and water, which in turn takes space and adds weight. Therefore, the performance of your boat may drop noticably, just because you want a washing machine. I reckon a net bag over the stern is a pretty good way to rinse the clothes. You might want a bucket and some detergent to wash them in before though.

    Comfort on board is very subjective. Very rarely will two people have similar ideas about what it means, even if they are a couple. The trick to good design is not to promise the impossible, it is to provide a solution that no-one had thought of, to provide close to the impossible.

    Tim B.
  12. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
    Posts: 3,590
    Likes: 130, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 2369
    Location: Australia

    Willallison Senior Member

    er.. and sounder
  13. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Yep,-- he forgot the sounder!! unless he thinks its not necessary. Now as far as I am concerend that the most important bit of kit on the boat. I have never owned a plotter, and wouldnt want one. The sounder-- wouldnt go out with out one ,--I use 2,-- on all the time.

    Car audio system and amplifiers?--- Maybe thats to cover up the noise of the boat crunching over the reef!!!
  14. Wilma Ham
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 138
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: New Zealand

    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    Greenseas that sheet solution is brilliant, also the sheet will stay in place more easily.

    Jack, what I meant is that I hear a lot of stories about people getting tired and making mistakes during bad weather. Is it not the best strategy then to make sure everything is secure on deck and then stay inside instead of fighting the storm because you don't trust the boat? Are there no stories where people abandon the boat to find later the boat perfectly drifting and having taken care of itself. It happened to a friend of ours during the NZ-Fiji race.

    Greenseas, again great comments about fear, knowledge and experience. I think there is a difference between fear and being alert when things are happening. Fear is made up and ususally happens when we are safe and making things up about what can happen. Fright is what you get when things are happening and then you have to deal with it. Fear is stopping people from doing it, because they stop themselves in advance with thinking up frightening scenarios. I am perfectly aware that my sailing experience is limited, but I am not going to be fearful in advance so when I am going to do my ocean passage all I can think of is the bad things.

    We are planning a passage in the Tasman in December from Melbourne to Nelson, bad weather to be expected, I am apprehensive, try to be prepared and not to be fearful.

    And I actually want to see if I cannot have both, good sailing experience, knowledge AND a comfortable vessel. And Tim, I do agree that you will never please everybody but I am sure there are things that can be better on boats when you plan to live aboard if you can think about them in advance. Why would most people say they would change (improve) things after having build and used their boat?
    Even the washing machine is having me confused right now, so I will have to think about the comfort, space, power usage and what I actually wash. Sheets would be my biggest worry, big, heavy and hard to find a place for to dry. So maybe I have to buy lots of sets, stow the dirty ones where they don't stink and wash them in port. This is what I mean, think and then clearly reason the solution out. This I don't find in many books, I find opinions but not real different examples as you people come up with so I can compare and decide.

    Murielle, I don't think you are fearful otherwise you won't go sailing, you are alert and get frights maybe. I see your point of being snug when the boat moves, but that berth can still be more comfortable than most I have seen.

  15. Wilma Ham
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 138
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: New Zealand

    Wilma Ham Senior Member

    PS the boat we will be sailing on if everything is going to plan is a very traditional one, lots of little and big sails and probably handsteering only, no shower and just a bucket. Watches outside in storm with loads of gear on, no nighty. John likes to baptise by fire.
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.