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Winch Fouler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me preface this by saying I'm from Florida. I'm spoiled by warm tropical waters and warm weather.

That said...

Why are sailboats designed in such a cockpit centric manner? It seems like there is a lot of wasted deck space for lounging and enjoying the ride. I would love to see more designs use the deck in creative ways.

Sure there are some lines to navigate, but I have to believe a creative designer could add more comfortable seating without sacrificing performance.

What do you think?
 

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Load Bearing Member
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I think it is a safety concern. It's fun to be on the foredeck during the transit down the river (back when such things were allowed*), not so much fun when the seas kick up.

To be on the foredeck at sea, you'd need to be harnessed and tethered; and that takes away a lot of the fun. Having a guest fall overboard would take all the fun away.

I'm sure some of the huge sailboats have foredeck lounges (probably with their own companionway) and I'll bet they are sunken below deck level (like the cockpit) so you have to get thrown out (can't just fall out) and then you land on the side deck and can still grab the lifeline.

Just my $.02 with no research at all.

Ken

*How did I ever survive my childhood?
 

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Sailboats are for sailing. Powerboats are for lounging!

Seriously, sailing is about the journey and power boating is about getting there and looking good. Sailing happens in the cockpit.
 

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Winch Fouler
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sailboats are for sailing. Powerboats are for lounging!

Seriously, sailing is about the journey and power boating is about getting there and looking good. Sailing happens in the cockpit.
I guess that's the source of my question, Tim. The journey could be even better enjoyed by crew, kicking back in a safe place on deck. I'm not promoting getting there fast or looking good. Just a comfy seat on the deck.

It seems like a missed opportunity in boat design to me.

If I weren't trading my Harpoon 5.2 next month, I would have removed the front deck and built a wrap around cushion seating area.
 

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Premium Member
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I think the question is what are you going to be doing with your sailboat.

Dock queen? Sure, set up a lounge on the front, complete with wet bar. Actual sailing? Anything you put up there may end up in your way, it seems. Plus, if you make a recess on the deck for safety, then you cut into headroom belowdecks. I'm not sure there's a great way to compromise on a monohull to do what you're looking for.
 

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Catamaran's have bow seating, they can because the jib doesn't sweep the bow on them like it does a mono.
Lounging on deck during a tack is a good way to get flogged and flapped over the side.
 

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I guess that's the source of my question, Tim. The journey could be even better enjoyed by crew, kicking back in a safe place on deck. I'm not promoting getting there fast or looking good. Just a comfy seat on the deck.

It seems like a missed opportunity in boat design to me.

If I weren't trading my Harpoon 5.2 next month, I would have removed the front deck and built a wrap around cushion seating area.
The purpose of crew is to grind winches and trim sails!

Should have put a few smiles in my previous post. Did not want to come off so serious:eek::D:eek:
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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I think you need to get into the bigger boats to really get deck space. The thing is.. most smaller boats are what you would call "flush decked" this makes them not only livable below deck, but much more seaworthy than a more open boat would be at their size.

For instance.. this is Charlotte.. a 50foot schooner that was built and sails out of martha's vinyard. As you can see, she has plenty of deck space for being forward under sail.. but in anything more than calm seas, it is going to be a wet ride.

 

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Conditions permitting, we use every inch of the deck. There's almost always someone lounging against the cabin side on the weather deck. Of course, most of the crew is 6 ft tall or better so the cockpit can be all knees and elbows pretty quick.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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I remember riding weatherside of the cabin in my parent's Grampian when I was a in my early teens. My mom hated it and dad thought it was good for me. Much different times than today
 

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Let me preface this by saying I'm from Florida. I'm spoiled by warm tropical waters and warm weather.

That said...

Why are sailboats designed in such a cockpit centric manner? It seems like there is a lot of wasted deck space for lounging and enjoying the ride. I would love to see more designs use the deck in creative ways.

Sure there are some lines to navigate, but I have to believe a creative designer could add more comfortable seating without sacrificing performance.

What do you think?
I think you're right! Decks add a lot to a boat for me.

Old boats like ours often were given more deck space. More than cockpit size, the cost was volume below in a narrower cabin.

We use our side decks both sailing and at anchor. At anchor, side decks are often in the shade so we'll sit there using the cabin for a backrest. Not unusual that someone(s) is on a side deck on our boat while we're under sail.

Kids covered our decks over many miles of sailing, and the foredeck has always been their favorite spot to get away from the cockpit both at anchor and under sail. We appreciated that at times as much as they did.

 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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That was the draw of the Pearson 35 for me. It has an enormous cockpit. A lot of room for lounging. But the foredeck is still fairly limited.
 

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The Deck Salon models are popular for just this reason. Still in the cockpit, but they are designed to be comfortable. Like ours. We can technically seat 12, but 8 are extremely comfortable. 4 can actually lie down like they were in loungers, with two remaining helm seats for the skipper.

Some try to say the design isn't prepared for heavy seas, but we've had her in 10 footers without worrying about the cockpit design anyway.
 

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I've had folks sitting up on the bow in light air. No problem in light conditions as long as you keep an eye out for boat wakes.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Problem with well seating on the bow isn't the people. It's the first time you stuff your nose into a wave. Now you have 700# of water onboard. Gonna take awhile to drain that out ... oops! just stuffed another wave. This time the boat doesn't come back up.:eek: It's bad enough when an anchor locker gets filled -- a whole forward cockpit? Ski boats swamp this way, & they have lots more forward buoyancy than a sailboat does. Foredecks are flat to shed water. Even a boat with bulwarks will spread the weight out thin, until it get out of the scuppers. A concentrated load of water, as in a lounging space, would be catastrophic. Scary enuf in an aft cockpit, which has better drainage options.

ETA: Lounge accomodations above deck level -- a bolted down sofa, eg -- are better, but then the weight is up high, the jib can't tack, and one sudden lurch & the bodies are flying. No, the human body can sit or sprawl almost anywhere. Back against the mast, wedged on a side deck, draped over a mooring bit. It's amazing how comfy a granite boulder can be, for the first couple hours.:) Or a snowbank. Most of comfort is in expectations.
 
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