Why so many "berths" ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-27-2018 Thread Starter
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Why so many "berths" ?

Hi, just bought my first sailboat. An 89 O'Day 272 with inboard diesel and tiller steer. For a 27' boat it seems a little off to me to have berths everywhere. I have no desire to sleep 4+ people. So I'm curious to know what others with the same view have done to make better use of that space. Maybe for extra storage.
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-27-2018
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

Good question. Most people dedicate one area (eithor the forepeak or the stern berth) for their sleeping area. The other area is usually storage. There is ALWAYS need for more storage. If you have kids, one area can be made into "Kid Country". We always used the forepeak for that. Soft toys, blankies, books and an accordion door (or cloth mesh) - openings so that you can see the kids - to keep them in place!!. The berths in the cabin make great seating. When you have guests overnight the "other" area makes a nice place for the guests. You have a nice generic interior which can be used in a variety of configurations. Those benches in the main cabin sure make nice places to nap when at anchor, dock or mooring!!
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post #3 of 33 Old 04-27-2018
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

My idea has always been, party for 6, dinner for 4, sleeps 2. Pilot berth stows my kayak, paddles, dive gear, bike stuff and some other toys...
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post #4 of 33 Old 04-28-2018
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

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Originally Posted by aeventyr60 View Post
My idea has always been, party for 6, dinner for 4, sleeps 2. Pilot berth stows my kayak, paddles, dive gear, bike stuff and some other toys...
Aventyr hit the nail on the head. The sailboat industry wants to advertise the theoretical capacity of the boat, 4 berths, 6 berths, 7, 10 etc. If push came to shove you could put a butt in every berth. Do you really want to live in a 300 square foot deserted island with 5 others? Potentially you could and some do. But most use those extra berths for other things.

If you do have guests they can choose to share the berth with the stand-up paddle board or dive gear, but they have to know they can't use the head at night because it's 5" from your nose.

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post #5 of 33 Old 04-28-2018
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

Camper for a family with enough room to take 2 Kids along with one set of Grandparents without breaking the bank. Some really prefer the outboard model for the extra interior storage space.
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

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Originally Posted by Hotrodhowell View Post
Hi, just bought my first sailboat. An 89 O'Day 272 with inboard diesel and tiller steer. For a 27' boat it seems a little off to me to have berths everywhere. I have no desire to sleep 4+ people. So I'm curious to know what others with the same view have done to make better use of that space. Maybe for extra storage.

I set one cabin up as a Discotheque.
Another as a sauna.
And the third has a large water bed, mirror on the ceiling, plush red valour and purple carpet. It works!

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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
I set one cabin up as a Discotheque.
Another as a sauna.
And the third has a large water bed, mirror on the ceiling, plush red valour and purple carpet. It works!
Couldn't you gain extra space by just hanging the mirror above the big water bed over the side? ;>
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

The OP's observation is 100% correct IMHO. So much so, that after 4 boats we finally built #5, and specifically eliminated the usual aft berth and built in purpose built storage w/a big panel for engine access. Nice place all organized for tools, spares, wet locker, etc + better engine access + some space left over under the cockpit seats. To cruise the stuff/people ratio has to be reasonable.

aventyr60 has this exactly right. Unless your boat is upper 40's to 50+ feet, our rule is 6 for a party, 4 for dinner, and 2 overnight.
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-28-2018
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

Berths are used differently depending on what you’re doing. When on passage, even in a cat, having berths aft of the mast is quite helpful. Berths just aft of the center of motion seem best to me in a seaway.
We theoretically have 7 berths. The boat has never had more than 4 staying aboard. When at rest the forward queen is where we live. If company the aft double quarterberth gets occupied. That way each couple gets their own head and doesn’t have to interact until after morning abolutions. When underway long enough for people to require sleep the forward stateroom is abandoned and the two lee clothed saloon berths get occupied. One is convertible into a double. Can’t see a reason for that ever to occur. One of my bugaboos about many current designs even in rather large boats is the two aft double quarter berths. A work/storage room would seem to make more sense for many but I don’t think that’s even offered as an option for some models. At least the cat manufacturers offer a “owners” layout but in my view often still fall short in having a good spot inside the boat to do dirty work.
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post #10 of 33 Old 04-28-2018
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Re: Why so many "berths" ?

Berth counts in boats are like cupholders in cars. On Sanderling, we filled up all the berths ONCE in twenty years. It was family, but it was still very crowded. I generally leave the unneeded berth cushions at home to gain a bit of space.


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