Courtney the Dancer
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Juan Islands., WA, USA
Thanked 30 Times in 29 Posts
Rep Power: 17
Don't know about shedding any light, maybe some gray. We have had pilot house sailboats for about 20 years here in the PNW. We use our boat year round although our "long" (6-8 weeks) cruise is during the summer. We enjoy the ability to be inside during bad weather while motoring as opposed to either being out in the cockpit, alone, or building a complete tent over it to escape the elements. The sad fact is that we do a lot of motoring here in the PNW. We have strong currents, large tidal changes, narrow straits and channels, flukey winds during the summer and most people have a destination in mind when they set out for the day which requires a certain distance to be travelled to the next anchorage during the daylight hours. For example: the trip we just returned from covered about 1000NM and we motored for app. 140 hours (6 knots, you can do the math). We did have some great sails across Georgia St. and Queen Charlotte St., up Toba Inlet, down Bute Inlet, and many others, but the majority of our miles were under diesel power. We never sail from inside. The majority of our weather this summer was great, but in the Broughtons we had rain, mist, fog, and chilly temps much like we have for 7-8 months of the year. I prefer to motor in these conditions from inside where all the instruments are clear and I don't have to wear foulies. This doesn't mean that we don't sail in these conditions, only that when we can't sail that we are more comfortable. Our trip across Queen Ch. St. started in thick fog, but a nice wind on the beam, so we sailed. I raise sail anytime it's possible to sail, except through rapids or when the conditions are too severe (cold, rain, snow, wind over 35 knots, etc).
Pilot house sailboats are not for everyone, you lose living space inside due to the width restriction from the sidedecks and some don't like the looks and there is more windage (they are also generally more expensive and harder to find), but we wouldn't consider anything else in this area and climate.
Hope that answers some of your questions.
SV Laurie Anne
1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse