Join Date: Apr 2007
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I just spent 2 days going from SF to Santa Barbara on a 47' Brewer designed pilothouse sloop. I was curious about the pilothouse before and after this trip, having sailed largely just on typical aft cockpit boats.
Background: we did a straight shot down the coast, winds about 15-30kt gusting to 35, 2 sets of 6-10 swells coming from NNW and W, mostly clear but cool conditions with some showers thrown in. Outside bimini with minimal dodger just over companionway.
- In a serious downpour, nice dry place
- Breaks up the interior, so if someone is napping on the settee downstairs you can still hang out in the pilot house w/o disturbing them
- Lots of room in bilges for engine, tankage and storage
- Easy handholds when moving forward on deck, and flat foredeck
- Breaks up the interior, meaning more steps to clamber around on, and breaks things up socially when everyone is trying to be in the same place. Space wasted on stairs and extra bulkheads, and system redundancy.
- Watching the horizon appear and disappear through the side windows every 1.5 seconds can be a bit nauseating (I have video I could post if someone wants to see)
- Nobody actually used the interior steering station. All sailing and motoring was done from the cockpit. It just didn't seem intuitive, even when it was raining (bimini mostly took care of that).
- Tons of windage, forward and laterally
- Area down of the pilothouse (galley, staterooms and heads) a bit dark since the pilothouse blocks much of the light, and more difficult to get to
Some of these attributes I'm sure are specific to this boat, but I think its a pretty typical pilothouse design.
In the end, I feel that unless live in the far north and have to deal with < 50 degree weather all the time, there is nothing in a pilothouse design that I wouldn't rather be doing in either the cockpit or traditional cabin. If weather is a big deal maybe just get one of those 360' dodgers.
On the other hand if I could find a boat that I loved and it came with a sleek, minimal pilothouse, I wouldn't disqualify it solely for the pilothouse.
Last edited by wakked1; 10-10-2007 at 04:44 PM.