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

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

  1. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    There seems to be some confusion on what is meant by comfort. I personally readily accept that the sea is full of lumps and holes, going up and down them is uncomfortable in any boat.

    However what I am refering too is the comfort the boat can give you after you reach your destination. Again the thread is question of comfort for females living aboard.
    A 35 foot boat may be capable of crossing the ocean ,--just (not for me though) but its what you can do in that 35 foot. tankage is a major problem with 35 feet.

    If you have a generator so whats wrong with a tv.

    I understand that people are scared of mechanical involvement on board. Some people cant fix any thing and its my opinion they should not be at sea. But calling boaters soft for having gens and Tv is maybe trying to justify an inadequate criusing style of boaters who cant fix any thing for them selves and consiquently can not have such equpment.

    I dont need that, means I can do without that.

    The fact that so many have jumped onto this thread with such enthusiastic replies quoting Fastnet races and the like, desperately trying to find some one to agree that 35 foot is a sea boat proves the point that most people are financialy restricted to smaller craft and after being so financialy committed, do not want to hear that it is infact inadequate.
  2. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    You misunderstand me. We have a genset, two tv's, heaters, microwave, surround sound etc etc. on our boat. I don't think we are any less 'real' boaters as a result.
    I'm just saying that what people were prepared to accept 30 years ago isn't deemed 'comfortable' today.

    I clearly recall being tucked up in Port Davey, on Tasmania's infamous west coast almost 30 years ago. Our 36ft Cheeoylee (motorboat) was snug and warm even after a week of howling wind and rain. We invited a couple over from a slightly longer sailboat who were also holed up there. They were dumfounded when we presented a complete roast dinner, as we sat around in t-shirts with the heater choofing away. And that was in the days before gensets (for us at least).

    So you'll get no argument from me about creature comforts!
  3. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    No one is saying that people who like comfort are "soft" or not "real boaters".

    All that some of us are saying is that not everyone has to desire the sort of equipment and space that other people want to be comfortable. I know several women who have found that they can live aboard very happily for decades while sailing around the world on smaller and simpler boats. I have two generations of close female relatives who have spent years cruising and living aboard smaller and simpler boats. It's an insult to all of them to say that they are not comfortable when they say that they are.

    If you need your DVD and air conditioning for comfort, Jack, good on you. I hope you have a nice time. But to say that what you yourself want is the minimum for comfort for everyone is putting it on a bit thick. Like taste in music, travel, wine, food and partners, people are allowed to have tastes that are different from yours without their tastes being labelled "inadequate".

    Not everyone demands a DVD afloat, in the same way that some can live very happily ashore without a DVD in any of their three houses.
  4. antonfourie
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    antonfourie Senior Member

    Therein lies the difference, people who buy boats for themselves or people who buy boats to impress others .....
  5. Paddy
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Paddy Junior Member

    Thanks Jack, but 54' is too big for us now, for a start I'd be hard put to even get it into most harbours around here. Maybe some future date when we've got some blue water cruising behind us, but at the moment we are planning on a smaller monohull. I take your point that space is compromised, but what boat is not a compromise somewhere?
  6. Paddy
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    Paddy Junior Member

    Yes, that's the title, but look at whose making all the postings! As far as I can see there are only 2 or 3 women contributing to this discussion, and some of the males have the strongest opinions.

    We're not financially committed - yet - but I still don't see the benefits of bigger / more work / more gadgetry outweigh the go anywhere advantages of compact.
  7. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    I can add some observations :0 passed down to me by the woman it is my pleasure to cruise with

    1) Food stuffs stowable in the galley
    2) Pressure water
    3) Separate sleeping cabin
    4) Companionway steps the dogs can climb
    5) Room for plenty of folks to dine in cockpit
    6) Fully stowed boat- no junk lashed/piled/heaped all over the place
    7) Boat must be pleasing to her eye (though she is known to favor misshapen/ unwieldy creations when function trumps form- he thanks his lucky stars :) )
    8) Boat should be of a type which never leave harbor on that lovely 5 am morning breeze hence tossing her butt on the floor before coffee
  8. Finlander
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    Finlander Junior Member

    Layout Options

    This is the only <40 production boat I can think of. It's a Cabo Rico 38 Pilothouse. If the link expires, just do a quick web search. BTW, I boarded this one at a boat show a while back. While it's not really my kind of boat, the fore cabin really grabbed me.

    Oh, and forget you saw the price tag :(

    Just follow the link to interior pics.

    Are these bluewater cruisers? I mean, could they withstand a hurricane?

    Maybe there'd be some disagreement here, but I'd sooner build (or have built) a steel bare-bones KISS boat. Or buy a used one for that matter. If you buy used, you'll probably need to settle for either an athwartships double or a longitudinal double against the hull-side. Can't have it all, but personally, I could live with that compromise if the berth is big enough.

    Sorry, I can't think of any bluewater production boats in your price range (Nauticat makes a 39-footer though, I think), but here're some design possiblities. On this page, you'll see both under-cockpit island berths and the full-sized bow berth.

  9. Paddy
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    Paddy Junior Member

    Thanks. Yes, the Cabo Rico 38 Pilothouse is a lovely looking boat, but short of a lottery win .....

    And, yes I take your point entirely on the Moodys & Beneteaus, I have exactly these concerns. Given that I can take measures to reduce the risk of meeting a hurricane I'd be as worried about a collision (boats/ whales/ containers/ rocks) in any GF boat, so steel is high on my wish list; aluminium btw is way out of my budget.

    You didn't comment on the Wylo II, are you familiar with this design? The only one I've seen has been exactly as you describe, "steel bare-bones KISS", down to the bucket & chuckit heads, but we don't want to go that far. I've written to Nick Skeats, the designer, only recently, so I'm hoping to hear back from him soon.

    I had been looking at Bruce Roberts boats, but I hadn't seen some of those designs. Thanks. Time to take the finger out & write to him too, 'specially since I'm told he's based in this neck of the woods.

    Second hand is an option, but if it comes from outside the EU I've got VAT to think about. If you, or anyone reading this thread, come across a boat that fits I'd be very keen to hear about it.

    Of course if we do compromise on the bed layout a whole world of boats open up to us.
  10. M&M Ovenden
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    M&M Ovenden Senior Member


    I have seen one boat that had a birth suiting your wishs. It was a Thomas colvin Gazelle. I always thoutgh the Gazelle was nifty boat for people wanting an affordable, litgher yet roomy cruising boat. I would tend to like it a bit heavier but it was well designed for what it is, a shallow draft litgh 40 footer.
    Most of the ones I've seen had similar forward cabin layout but different aft cabins in which it is possible to fit in a birth wich spouses can get out of without crwaling on top of each other. The possible layouts of the aft cabin depend on the type of steering of the boat and if the aft cabin had been raised a bit or not. The gazelles seems to be airy as it's loaded with portholes. The big bonus is the engine room in which you can't stand, but work comfortably anywhere around the beast. The egine room seems to useup a lot of space but as it also carries tankage, and most of the systems. I find it mostly frees up the boat of all the stuff and allows an easy place for all the add ons one mitgh want along the way.
    I quite like the no cockpit concept which makes the deck so much more roomy, yet I haven't been in weather on a Gazelle and would suspect it to be fairly wet.
    I thoutgh I throw in that boat in the discussion as it's concept keeps coming to my mind as a smaller end boat suiting a lot of desires in a small package.

  11. M&M Ovenden
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    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

  12. Finlander
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    Finlander Junior Member

    cargo hull

    I can attest to the rough-weather comfort of wide-bodied motorsailers and Spray-style cargo-hull sailboats. Owned and crewed several-day passages on others. The difference is very obvious to me.

    Their carrying capacity is also quite enormous compared to plastic production boats. Consider that a <40 Spray-type vessel, with walkover cc aft cabin, can carry an enormous amount of fuel and water under the cockpit and along the keel--hundreds of gallons.

    Ok, sure, that's a walkover design; but as compensation, since it doesn't need a pass-through, the cockpit can be slightly more flexible and become part of the living space--provided it's covered.

    But there's still that <40 limitation. For example, you might not easily get a designated workshop without compromising basic living space. Instead, you might choose to commandeer part of the galley top for a while. Obviously, workshops aren't what women want in particular; but keeping dirty projects away from the living area is definitely an important consideration. Those types of things are a bit more difficult under 40'.

    I haven't found any specs/dimensions yet, only pictures. At first glance I like it. Is it based on a cargo sailboat?

    I have no experience with BR or Sprays, in particular; but I definitely like that type of hull, so I bought the study plans. By the way, no matter how 'creative' I get, all my drawings of the interior keep resorting back to the '36 A' paradigm.


    And check-out the beauty and interior space on this one. Wow! By the way, I notice he has some controls mounted next to the companionway hatch. I wonder what that's all about...


    I'm in the same boat, so to speak. [sorry for the pun :) ]
  13. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Firstly - Paddy, don't be too quick to dimiss aluminium. Hull and deck material costs are only a fraction of the finished boat's price. Painting and protecting steel is not a cheap operation either.

    There are real benefits in going with aluminium over and above corrosion, espaecially in sub 40ft boats. Remember the hull is the least changeable bit of a boat. If you have to economise on the interior, you can always re-do it later when you get to Thailand or somewhere! But the hull you are pretty much stuck with.

    After many years designing and building steel and aluminium boats, I am over my love affair with steel. If money was tight, and it always is, I would rather throw some bean bags in a hollow aluminium shell, than have a fully fitted out steel boat.

    The second point is directed more to the original question in the thread. The design features that do most for the comfort of women, are those that address the needs of that particular women. No one else's opinion matters. I have dealt with couples where she has a real concern that is dismissed by him with a 'it will be alright', but it never is in these cases. I should think about half the couples I have dealt with over the years who have dreams of cruising, aren't together 12 months after the launch of 'their' dream boat.

    Worry and anxiety undermine all else. It doesn't matter on the size of the bunks if there is a nagging issue that is unresolved: Lack of control, lack of understnding what is involved, fears about particular dangers, lack of confidence in the other half, feelings of not being able to cope, all have ruined plans. I think if more money was spent on increasing the confidence and skills of the women (J-World cruising courses, or Women for Sail) less money would be wasted on dream boats. Only then will both halves of a partnership have the knowledge and confidence to make the decisions that will ensure it truely is 'their' dream boat.
    MassimilianoPorta likes this.
  14. Paddy
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    Paddy Junior Member

    Thanks Crag, you are right, I passed over aluminium rather quickly. However the fact is, I don't realistically expect to able to afford one. My only other concern with it is the difficulty in remote parts of the world to find people with skills in this material.

    Completely agree with you about making sure spouse is signed up on the choice of boat.

  15. Paddy
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Paddy Junior Member

    Thanks Murielle, it certainly looks like a fabulous boat. I'll definately add it to my list. The price seems very low, $49K - I wonder is that typical. I'm off to google it.
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