Why starboard chart tables?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Marvout, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Marvout
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    Marvout Junior Member

    As I comb though sailboat listings, I notice that many (the majority of?) designs place the chart table on the starboard side of the boat. But, the majority of people are right handed. With the cramped space on board and the fact that often there are radios/electronics/instruments mounted directly beside the user, I would much rather reach something right beside my left shoulder with my right hand than reach something right beside my right shoulder with my right hand (awkward) or with my left hand (clumsy). So why do designers not put the chart table on the port side of the boat? Are the majority of sailboaters left handed?

    Marvin
     
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think that chart tables on smaller boats (40 feet and under) is an unnecessary waste of space. They are, as you say, cramped. The saloon table can serve well enough to lay a chart.
     
  3. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I assume it is part tradition, part commonsense.

    You heave to on starboard tack as you then have right of way. So it makes sense to have the galley on the 'low" ie port side. So no room for the chart table there. Hence its on the starboard side

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  4. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    so perhaps when studying charts and maps when at port you can see who is approaching your boat?
     
  5. pool
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    pool Junior Member

    A chart table in a pilothouse or decksalon should always be placed to starboard. It usually also is a secondary steering station (via autopilot). It's a safety feature, as another vessel with the right of way, would come from this direction.
     
  6. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    We are only calling it a chart table and probably will keep on doing so because the marine world is full of traditions, although charts are becoming a rarity on small boats. It is just the place in the cabin where you put the navigation equipment, radio, navtext, fuse panel etc.

    Of course you could design a boat with all the wiring and plumbing on the port side, but it wouldn't feel right, so why should you?
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's assumed most folks are right handed and tend to turn in this direction, to look or reach for something, like a chart or divider. It's tradition and I remember reading about the "proper" location from one of the greats, written many years ago. Agreed, on modern vessels it's becoming a catch all for whatever electronics package you have.
     
  8. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Also true, I always draw a wheel on the starboard side for that reason. Also helps when docking as most boat "prefer" to dock starboard side to

    But on my smaller boats with hand start outboard engines I put the engine on the port side to make it easier for right handed people to start them

    Richard Woods
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    That sounds odd. The port side took is name because is the side facing the wharf or port.
     
  10. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    And starboard from "steerboard" which was the side the steering oar was fitted, again I assume because it would be easier for right handed people?

    That was all before engines of course

    Richard Woods
     
  11. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Actually it was on the right because it would be damage by the dock on the port side.
    (kind of a chicken and egg thing, which came first?)
     

  12. JCherubini2
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    JCherubini2 DianaOfBurlington

    Reason for starboard-side nav station

    The designer Phil Rhodes set forth a few 'rules' for interior design of yachts (such as his insistence that double berths were best left ashore). But he was a staunch traditionalist; and most of his oft-employed rules were only based on what had always been done before. For example, relying on the timeless Royal Navy tradition that officers shall board from the starboard side, Rhodes always drew the owner's berth to starboard (and almost always about 2/3 of the boat's length back from the bow). Thus he put the toilets (and often the galley sink) to port, so that, in the days of overboard discharge, the owner approaching from starboard would not have to see garbage or turds floating in the water. As, on small yachts, the owner is typically skipper and/or navigator, the chart desk was fitted to the owner's side of the boat.

    I find this makes most sense, as, for many reasons, the boat is typically piloted from the starboard side (all things being equal). Thus the view of the GPS screen at the navigation station corresponds to the skipper's view of the approaching waterway. Indeed any nav station facing other than forward can become a real exercise in disorientation (especially at night)!

    My 1974 Hunter 25 is actually lefthanded (as was my dad, who drew it): the quarter berth (owner's) is to port, the galley and head to starboard. Fortunately I sleep on the same side of my bed as my dad slept in his, so the port-side quarter berth works for me. The GPS unit is mounted under the overhead cabinet above the berth, so that it can swivel out and be seen from the starboard cockpit seat, allowing a skipper to see both the way ahead and (albeit with some squinting, as it's small) the GPS screen as well. If the quarter berth had been to starboard I would not have been able to have it like this! :)

    BTW-- according to LF Herreshoff, the most common chart table on the small yacht is the cockpit seat under half the skipper's rear end; and I agree. :)
     
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