Berths, WCs and Bilges
About two years ago I sailed a 1985 38' Beneteau Idylle from Alameda to Brisbane, Australia.
The yacht had V berths, two wide settee berths and a quarter berth. As expected the V berths were unusable at sea, while I found the quarter berth a trial to get in and out of for one not so young. The settee berths worked well under all conditions.
The yacht also had a forward facing WC offset from the centreline, and a bilge that held no more than about three gallons of water - more than that on board and it would slosh about above the sole.
Looking at photos of similar sized more modern yachts I see narrow and curved settees and sideward facing WCs. I cannot tell how deep the bilges are from the photos - but I hope they are deeper than mine were.
I have owned one yacht which had a centreline WC. It was easy to use and the user was unaffected by heel - in this regard, I do not think there is anything more uncomfortable than sitting on a toilet which faces uphill at a steep angle.
Likewise, I do not know how crew sleep in a modern yacht which has curved and often enough, narrow settees.
When discussing boats on the forum, I don't see anyone talking about the points I have mentioned. Am I the only one who thinks they matter?
Why would it matter when most yachts never leave the slip! And when they do it's for Day sailing only. I spent my first summer on Lake Superior sailing my Cal 28 flattop 1967 ; I was out on the lake every chance I got. It's a learning expirence I love. Hardly another sailboat to be seen. But the slips are all Full! --Dale
Your points are well taken. Do note that even boats that do sail offshore spend much more time NOT offshore and so some accommodation for comfort is appropriate.
Centerline heads oriented fore and aft tend to be all the way forward. Offshore it is very convenient to have heads at the base of the companionway to make access easy for the watch and those below, and to provide a place to put wet foul weather gear without dragging wet clothes through the boat. An athwartships toilet is a small price to pay.
In describing sleeping arrangements you did not mention the sole. On many boats the best place to be is wedged between a table and adjacent settee or chairs or in a walkthrough. You can't fall out if there is nowhere to fall to.
Not in specific threads but when discussing boat interiors I've often whinged about the lack of decent seaberths.
Personally I like to bunk down in the saloon. A decent u-shaped settee (not a semi circle) with a straight settee opposite allows a crewmember to get a good sleep while still allowing the saloon table to be used. Decent lee clothes of course make it all the better.
Problem with sleeping in quarter berth is that it often becomes a repository for assorted 'stuff' though in bumpy seas it can be quite nice to have a sail as a sleeping companion. :)
Sleeping in the v-verth is going to depend on sea conditions to some extent but except when you are slamming badly to windward its often not as bad as is generally thought, or at least that has been the case on boats I've sailed on, non of which could be considered super modern.
As for the bilges, this is one of my biggest complaints about modern boats indeed when we passed on buying Wasquiez and Hanse it was a major consideration in both cases.
All of that said , it is fair to ask (as per previous posts this thread) how many times do the vast majority of boats spend at sea ? Reality is that very very few boats do any overnight passages and when they do most might spend a day or two at sea in any given year. Sea berths as such become a pretty minor consideration in such circumstances.
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