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post #10 of Old 09-13-2002
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Pilothouse--Are Builders Missing Market?

It sounds like you may own the exception to the rule. My comments reflect how pilot houses are normally designed. When I was working with the Charlie Whitholz, a client of his asked him to design a boat with a removable pilot house which we both thought was an interesting idea. We had a pretty long discussion on pilot houses. For better or worse, unless there is some very unusual circumstance, pilot houses substantially raise the center of gravity and the height of the boom. The boom height being raised is even true for boats designed for full cockpit enclosures. Full cockpit enclosures being ''soft'' are normally designed with less headroom than a pilothouse because the feeling is that a helmsman must be able to stand in a pilot house without risking a head injury for hours at a time in rough going.

While your point about protecting crew members in a blow by placing as many as you can down below is very valid, you need to remember just how vulnerable to downflooding, the large windows in a pilot house make the vessel. To use your example of the Sidney Hobart disaster, one of the rescue boats sent out to help the fleet was nearly lost when its pilothouse windows were taken out by a big wave. They were able to seal the pilot house from the interior of the boat which allowed them to get back to port.

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