why don't sailboats have wheelhouses/cabins?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by thaikarl, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. pcfithian
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Long Beach, Indiana

    pcfithian Junior Member

    The Fisher design I referenced was intended for the pilothouse design only. I've found the forward sloping windshield to provide excellent visibility and no glare at night from the instruments.

    The hull configuration on the Fisher pilothouses is not what I'd want, although I do acknowledge they are very well suited to being comfortable for long periods in cold weather.

    If I build something out of marine plywood, it would be more nimble, like the Didi 34.
  2. AlexMorozov
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Spain

    AlexMorozov Custom yachts

    I built the aluminium version of Fisher-37 in 2006 and sailed her in November (no best time for sailing) from Holland to Russia via Nothern and Baltic sea, so I have a lot of information and own opinion about this type of boat.
    The first and the main: Pilothouse is excelent thing. But the other cases are not so bright. The sailing (tacking) ability is rather poor, some steady speed of 6 knots just with strong wind, heavy rolling when no sails hoisted, steady motoring 6-7 knots on all courses.
    Therefore I took the concept of "pilothouse" (Fisher, LM, Frances,Degero) and move onto "Pogo" platform and get the Soler-35 Fast Cruiser, which I building now and hope to test her by next Spring.
    Have a look on difference between "old" and "new" pilothouse cruiser.

    Attached Files:

  3. SpiritWolf15x
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    SpiritWolf15x Senior Member

    Because you aren't really sailing unless you're borderline hypothermic =P
  4. pcfithian
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    pcfithian Junior Member

    Alex, you have the same opinion on this that I have. It is hard to understand why we don't see more of these types - fast, nimble sailboats with a small pilothouse to provide all weather protection for the helmsman.

    I intend to build my own variant of this, right now the Didi 34 looks like the right platform to start with.

    Being exposed to howling wind, rain, and cold is no fun, and there is no reason for it. A small pilothouse would make any of these types much more enjoyable in all weather conditions.
  5. peterchech
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: new jersey

    peterchech Senior Member

    I would love to see some build pics of this boat...
  6. Emerson White
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    Location: Nordland, WA, USA

    Emerson White Junior Member

    Zombie thread!

    I thought it was abundantly apparent that the "different horses for different courses" crowd had the lay of it. However, I'd like to take that one step further. It's not just that there exist different horses for different courses, we have to be cognizant of the fact that most people are on one course or another, and that most people have one type of horse or the other.

    From what I can see, most people aren't drastically effected by the extra .13 knots they are likely to get out of reduced windage, or the extra degree and a half they can sail to windward. Most people are dramatically effected by the amount of abuse they take during rough weather on their journeys. Add to that that more people seem to be in boats with helm station situation akin to that of a race horse than the plow horse.

    If you are racing competitively then absolutely forgo the protection. but pilot houses are very rare on sailboats, even though 85% of the boats in a marina might be better served with pilot houses you'd be luck to find them on 5%.
  7. AlexMorozov
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Spain

    AlexMorozov Custom yachts

    The Soler-35 FC in progress, hope to show on waters by summer.

    Attached Files:

  8. Phil Faris
    Joined: Sep 2017
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    Location: Spokane, WA

    Phil Faris New Member

    So, five years on and the debate continues...
    I just sailed two 50 ft boats in Key West, one with and one without a wheelhouse/pilothouse. There definitely is one right answer for this question--at a time. When you don't need weather protection, then a cockpit is better. When you do need weather protection, then a pilothouse is better.

    The licensed captain I was spending time with had built or restored three ketches (Formosa 41's or 68's) and he put wheelhouses on all of them. He is a live-aboard person, living in the boats while customizing them for passage making. He also takes catamarans out to the reefs with scuba divers and does plenty of fun in the sun chartering. But he favors passage making sailboats that are comfortable to live in while crossing seas and between islands. The shade alone and clear ability to see out is worth the enclosure alone, he says.

    And performance isn't a factor, since the boats reach and surpass hull speed regardless of windage from well designed pilothouses. After 5 or more hours of sailing on a single day, the crew is vastly better able to perform when they've been protected.

    So that's my report.

    Fair winds and smooth seas...

  9. Phil Christieso
    Joined: Jun 2016
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    Location: Nelson NZ

    Phil Christieso Junior Member

    Check out Windora have a Wheelhouse and a cockpit and sail 200 mile days noon to noon also motor into 30 knots and 3 meter seas do 6 knots easy engine ticking over 1500 rpm
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