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DavidHDennis 11-02-2009 01:09 PM

Accomodations for cuddling and more
John Vigor, in his classic work Twenty Small Sailboats to take you anywhere, has this to say about the Alberg 30:

You'll note that there are no staterooms with cuddly double berths on this sternly Lutheran sloop, which like most boats of its era, was designed more with safe sailing in mind than safe sex.

I have looked at hundreds of sailboats on Yachtworld, wondering what would be a good design for me and my girlfriend to do a long-term cruise in, and it seems to me that's an excellent description of almost all of them.

Even high-cost, high quality boats like Hinckleys are far from immune to this curse. Take the Bermuda 40: No accommodations that seem suitable for people whose feelings for each other are beyond ordinary friendship. It's large, it's beautifully designed and made, but has no space truly suitable for a couple. Even the center cockpit, aft cabin Hinckley 49, otherwise an amazing, drop-drawer vessel, has only the most primitive looking sleeping accommodations in that aft cabin.

Jeff_H, whose opinions are undeniably sound in most respects, says that a couple should really try to cruise on a boat in the below 38 or so foot range. But as far as I can tell, there are virtually no boats in that range that have anything approaching a comfortable double berth suitable for, shall we say, vigourously intimate activities.

In fact the only boat I have seen that appears to break the mould in this respect is the Hans Christian 33T, which has a very nice looking double berth. But I have every confidence that if I was talking to Jeff, and suggested I might want a 33T, he would recoil in horror and tell me that sea turtles and even a decently outfitted snail would be faster! (Yes, Jeff, I do hope you will reply to this post :-) ).

Furthermore, the 33T appears to be horrifyingly expensive. In fact, it appears to be very close in price to a far larger and more luxurious Hans Christian Christina 40! And the Christina is longer, therefore faster, and has a more modern keel layout, therefore faster. The Christina, in fact, might not be a bad choice if I'm willing to go to 40', even though I have never seen it mentioned here. It appears to have a very similar displacement and underbody design to a Passport 40.

Both the Christina and the Passport 40 seem to have reasonable layouts for physical intimacy - they have pullman berths that appear to have ample height and width. Another option that looks very nice is the Ted Hood designed Bristol 41.1, with its huge aft cabin.

At this stage of my search, I'm thinking the Bristol 41.1 might be one of my best choices. It was made in America, by people with enormous practical yacht building experience, and it appears to have an excellent reputation. It has the center cockpit/aft cabin arrangement which not only gives you a great intimate experience berth, it also provides what appears to be first-class engineroom access and room for gadgets. It also has the advantage of the centerboard/shallow draft design which would be perfect for the Caribbean and nearby places.

Now, just so I don't sound like a complete idiot, I will note this:

- I know a double bed is unsafe for sleeping during passage - but every cruising book I have ever read has people at sea for days and saying in port for weeks. Both types of accommodation are clearly needed.

- I know you can convert the salon settee into a double bed but at our ages (mid to late middle age) I don't see that a feasible option on a day to day basis.

- I know boats have vee-berths but they look horribly cramped and uncomfortable in nearly all boats.

- I am concerned by the expenses associated with larger boats. I would like to hear about smaller and/or cheaper options that fit these basic criteria. I love the aesthetics of offshore-capable cruising boats but my plans would be to stay permanently in warm weather areas and be hyper-cautious about avoiding bad weather.

What seems amazing to me is that, say, a 35' boat can't get decent sleeping accomodation squeezed into them somehow. But it seems like the only way to do this might be to spend as much money on a 33' boat as a 40' boat, which makes me feel I'd might as well get the 40 and have higher speed, more comfortable motion, more spacious accommodations, better engine room access and easier to maintain systems.

So I'd love to know thoughts about my current short list (Hans Christian Christina 40 & 33T, Bristol 41.1, Passport 40) and suggestions for what other boats might fit the bill.


sailingdog 11-02-2009 02:00 PM

Why not look at the CS36T and the Alberg 37, Southern Cross 36, C&C 38, etc. Lots of boats that are smaller and will fit your requirements.

It would help if you said what your budget for the boat is...and what your use for the boat is. You might also want to look at catamarans, like the Gemini 105, which has a very nice master stateroom with a QUEEN size berth.

zz4gta 11-02-2009 02:23 PM

Get used to the fact that you're sleeping on a boat and not in a house. I have a 25' boat, and there's 6' v-berth and 2 6' 1/4 berths. A 25' boat that actually sleeps 4. If you're looking for more than sleep, find a quiet anchorage and use the cockpit. ;)

Ninefingers 11-02-2009 02:37 PM


sahara 11-02-2009 02:58 PM

A nice vee berth is actually quite comfy at anchor, and a well designed one with a filler piece is certainly adequate for, if not downright conducive to, amorous endeavors. At least mine is.

Plus, it has other attractions. Being in the bow, the skipper is well attuned to his anchor rode and setting. It is also situated well away from the heat of machinery, and is usually well ventilated with it's own hatch. Make sure that hatch has a screen, or there will be more than just the two of you. An offset double forward means that someone is on the inside, someone on the outside. Inevitably, one will be forced to crawl over their partner in the middle of the night for some reason.

Many of the double berths you see are large quarter berths. These can be quite hot and stuffy at anchor unless the designer and builder have put some real thought into providing ventilation. They may be right next to the engine.

IMO, a boat needs both - comfy sea berths to ensure a well rested crew when underway, and a romantic place for nesting with a significant other while at anchor. There should be no need on a cruising boat for anyone to sleep where people sit down to eat. Convertible dinettes rarely make good double berths.

The B-40 scores on both of those points, and is pretty to boot. The Hinckley 49 has little to recommend it, except for initial build quality. It's ugly, slow, and not well laid out, again IMO.

A friend owns probably the best Bristol 41.1 in the world, but his is aft cockpit, which I believe is better in this size range. His forward cabin is lovely. Boats are more fun to steer from aft. When I drive my 42' to weather in chop, it seems most of the spray lands amidship, right where a center cockpit would be. In either configuration, the 41.1 is a very good boat.

painkiller 11-02-2009 03:03 PM

Haven't you heard? It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean! :D

On a serious note, you can rig up something comfortable with 100' of double-braid polyester, 2 snap shackles, a few turning blocks, 1 can of McLube SailKote (for the squeaking blocks, of course), 1 2' x 2' piece of rawhide, the main halyard, the boom extended out to leeward, and a little imagination...

CrazyRu 11-02-2009 03:26 PM

Why to confine yourself to the bed? You have entire boat for exercise. Have you tried slings from a mast?
I have found that V-berth on my 28 ft boat is satisfactory for those lazy noncreative days…

bubb2 11-02-2009 04:01 PM

Front seat of dads pick"n up truck. just sayin':) and you are talkin 30 ft and plus boat.:laugher

Cruisingdad 11-02-2009 04:26 PM


Originally Posted by painkiller (Post 537816)
Haven't you heard? It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean! :D

On a serious note, you can rig up something comfortable with 100' of double-braid polyester, 2 snap shackles, a few turning blocks, 1 can of McLube SailKote (for the squeaking blocks, of course), 1 2' x 2' piece of rawhide, the main halyard, the boom extended out to leeward, and a little imagination...

Keep doing that by yourself Pain and you are gong to go blind.


Boy, this thread went downhill quick.

- CD

Sabreman 11-02-2009 04:42 PM

It's a boat, not a brothel. But where there is a will there will be a way.

On our 28, the PO even gave me pointers regarding foot positioning. All POs should be so helpful.

On our 38, the PO couldn't understand why my wife questioned the lack of curtains "If you want privacy, go into the V berth."

The Catalina 35 or 36 has a massive nearly free standing double bed up forward. Perfect for falling out of underway.

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