I would spec a minimum side deck
width of 20 inches, to the inside of the toe rails or bulwarks. I'd make sure you have a overhang of the cabintop out to the bulwarks. In the rain, you don't always have the best alignment to the dock
to let you climb aboard close to the doors and scurry down the side decks with a bag of groceries. If the cabin
top is clipped short, rain runs down your neck... Small aggravation, but with tight side decks it can be frustrating.
You can drastically cut costs in fitout, by keeping the cabin
house straight sided, where the width does not change along its length. The other option is to follow the contour of the outside of the hull
. This takes a fair bit of time to get a sweet curve going, and a lot of time to sand out and paint
. If you put a belt molding around the boat, just under the window line you can break the painted areas down so a scratch from someone walking by doesn't require repainting the whole cabin side...
Inside the cabin, if you have the floors flattened, so the interior
corners are square you will save a ton of time in fitout. Cambered floors require every cabinet to be scribed to fit on each part. With a contoured cabinside, every seam is a 3 way bevel cut to get a tight fit.
If you like the look, forward raked windows on the cabin house greatly reduce the solar
gain in warmer latitudes, and make the cubic volume of the house feel much larger.
Down below you can cut costs, by fitting a pre-made shower
stalls before the deck
is on. Building and painting a shower
stall in place to a yacht grade is an expensive. Think $5k each... if the guys are good.
When you go to fit out the interior
, try to keep the waterlines plumb and square, at the buttock lines where the floor level comes together. Think about a 3-4 inch toe kick around the furniture at the corners, and bring the cabinetry up. The more flare the boat has, the more interior space it will feel like she has, even if the bottom 1/3rd of the cabinets are covering up only insulation
Make the design conducive to having three common "trunks" that are straight line shots for the plumbing
and wiring installation
, with healthy access. Think Three areas of the boat in cross section from stem to stern that are 1 foot square, continuously open.
Straight hallways that allow you to T off common rails for plumbing
, and run outboard
to the sinks and drains... Rather than what is conventionally done, where each gets a line that disappears behind a cabinet and appears somewhere in the bilge
If you can't see it, you can't find it when it leaks
... If you can see each of the fittings, to the last 4 to 6 feet, you can plumb with PEX and you won't spend 3 months getting through the fitout stage.
I would keep the mechanical access to the bilge
, about 3 feet wide continious from the engine
room bulkhead all the way to the stem. Have them leave a 4 inch or so border around the edges of the interior walls and furniture so that you can remove the cabin sole panels
without scraping the walls.
You can speed up the interior finishing, by going with soft walls. They cost a lot of money
in materials, but the fewer high varnished surfaces you do in place... the faster it will go. If you can define a stair case large enough to carry most of the furniture accent details inside the boat, and bolt them in place they can be finished off site and installed.
That is a huge money
saver, because of the amount of time burned up cleaning
, vacuuming, taping, and protecting what is already in place in order to do varnish
If the budget
will allow for it, building the interior out of 3 inch Tri-cel Lightweight Panels for Marine Furniture and Cabinetry
makes things go very quickly.
on edge does not stay flat, which means to keep the door openings in plane it has to be supported and the frames carry load.
on edge interior is a lot slower to work with than some of the new composite materials that are self supporting, and hollow which allows for wiring
runs and recessed components. If all the doors, and all the door frames can be the same height and pattern the speed which they can be assembled and fitted makes an incredible difference, as the corners and intersections are not curved.
Traditional yacht joinery involves a lot of fudging things to make them appear to be better fitting than they are, as a lot of boats aren't symmetrical, yet are made to appear to be so.
The soft walls and drop ceiling panels
can be installed free-floating, which allows for wiring runs to be direct across to where the wire needs to be placed. This means that you can rough in the wiring for the interior lights, speakers, TV's, and such... and at the same time the headliners are being made, the wiring runs can be finalized and installed at one go.
On the floors, anywhere you can... Put a border of varnished wood and then lay carpet over the seam. You can save a lot of weight by using composite panels for the sole material rather than plywood and solid wood.
Tight woven berber, laid over a heavy rubber backer with an edged and detail trimmed finish looks fantastic when not done wall to wall, it also keeps the amount of sound down that comes up through the cabin sole
from the bilge.
I like to make the bulkhead at the engine
room, 1 1/2 thick out of plywood with a healthy amount of sound down lead lined foam inside. Weight, keeps the mechanical vibrations down.
Putting the fuel and water tanks
at the engine room bulkhead is helpful as well, as the boat will trim out roughly the same empty or full, given the engine room bulkhead is the CG and CB. This is important, as tanks
over the shaft alley don't normally trim out level. I've run boats where the sink needs to have a drain offset so it will drain with full or empty tanks... the farther off the center of bouyancy and gravity the tanks get. 2000 gallons, 20 feet behind the CG, is a hefty lever arm.
I've run boats that with a full tanks they were comfortable to stand at the helm
, because they were in trim... and empty your ankles complained at the end of the day. If you have the head
room for it, having a step up to the helm
house makes for better visability and you can level the cabin sole to make it easier on the folks steering
the boat. Bonus points if you can work the windows out so you can walk from the helm over far enough to see the water
at the "corner" about a 1/3rd the boat length back from the bow, about where you want to have a bow cleat to spring the boat off a single
pile to kick her stern off the dock
Having a clear visible sight line through the cabin out the back doors is nice. Making sure that the windows on the rear of the cabin extend down low enough to be able to see either the bulwark on the rear deck makes backing into a slip stern to much easier. Boats that have a solid wall across the cabin with a companionway
down one side are difficult to run in shore, as you can't see the traffic coming up astern until they are along side you.
Setting the boat up to have good visibility from the helm, puts the side windows a touch lower than most. Keeping all the windows the same profile, greatly speeds up installation
costs as all the molding and trim can be made in a batch. Try to allow for the interior molding to have a bath tub, where a leaky window or open window can catch and hold water without destroying the interior of the boat.
Non-opening side windows, aren't something terrible if you have A/C and enough 24x24 bomar
hatches on the cabin top to ventilate. Sliding windows are nice if you spend a lot of time tied up to the dock in temperate climates however. Detail out the drip edges that extend from the hatch
all the way down below the interior decorations by an inch or so. The decorations can have seams, but the casing should be sealed so that a leaky hatch leaks
on the floor and doesn't rot
out the under deck finishing...
For the main cabin interior, if you lay it out so you can have a removable panel large enough to crane out the engines through the rear door... You'll save a lot of money over the lifecycle cost of the boat. If you deliberately build in the panels and cabinetry so it is possible to remove and replace all the big ticket equipment
, the bills go down. A lot of boats are designed where you have to build an A-frame and cribbing to move the motors around to get to an access point and cut a hole in the roof or take the aft wall of the cabin house out to crane the engines out. On the other hand... Double doors, or even a 3 foot wide door on the back of the cabin house and a crane with an extension can turn a multi-month re-power into something relatively painless.
If at all possible, have the engine beddings built, where you have enough vertical clearance to pull the pistons and rods out and do a top end job, and enough height where you could raise the engine up on blocks... drop the base pan and slip in new main bearings. All it takes is one turbo charger
spitting its bearings back into the base to make that job happen well before its time. A lot of boats get built with a deck beam close enough to the engine that you need a mirror to run the diesel
injector rack... Heaven forbid you want to do a re-sleeve her in frame.
If you go with twin engines, try to keep the shaft alleys 5 feet or so apart at the minimum, with an engine room beam of at least 13 feet... Those numbers work out, where you can have at least a foot wide walking board down the outboard
sides of the engines and a 2 1/2 foot center walk way. You need to be able to lift
the gears out, and slide them down the walkway and get them out of the boat.
If you can sacrifice the room for an out doors hatch, large enough to hoist the generator
out, you'd be well ahead of the game
. I like to see the stern awning built strong enough to have lifting points inside... Or a hatch open to the sky directly above the engine room hatch so either a davit or crane can be called in to hoist things out. An interior and exterior engine room hatch, is nice to have in the event of a fire... Even if the interior hatch never gets used.
As far as controls go... If you can keep your cable runs short and on centerline for your control cables
straight back from the helm you can cut a few thousand dollars off of the construction costs by going with Morse Controls and Glendenning cables
and synchronizers. They are stone axe simple, but there is no lag time going into or out of gear
. I like dual lever, dual controls with the synchronizer so you can drop the slave throttle down and lay it on the console. Having known some folks that had near misses with bridges and caterpillar's fly by wire controls, I like a mechanical connection.
If at all possible, try to locate the helm above something other than the head
. It makes for interesting decision making to pull wire and control cables, plumbing work when the head is directly below the helm. If you can put it on center line to a hallway, or just inside the stateroom where you have free and open access to a straight shot back to the engine room you'll save time in fitout and maintenance
. When "The last" wire that will fit in the allotted space is in place, and there are another thousand feet of wire that need to go through that same coridor... the Joinery guys get called back in and you end up with a foot diameter of wire being moved. If the outboard sides of both side decks are open, and planned from the boats inception to be wiring chases a foot by foot square with either drop panel access from the bottom or hinged faces you'll save thousands of dollars in labor when it comes time to wire the boat.
If you choose to go with a wet exhaust
, you can save a lot of money in the long haul by installing 8-10 inch fiberglass
tubing from the engine room to the transom at a healthy rake. All the drains, scuppers, sinks, air condition returns can drain into it with fiberglass
barbs glassed into place. Quick, easy, down and dirty... Everything is able to be inspected and visible with no extra through hulls. It takes time to properly install a through hull
, backing plates
, bonding wires... It takes relatively little time for glass guys to take a hole saw, pop a hole in a tube... Slide in a fiberglass pipe and wrap it up in three or four layers of biax and let it set up.
Two Sea chests for intakes and pickups make a lot of sense as you can locate all your galvanic eye sores on the same piece of plating. One for the engine pickups, only... and the other for A/C's and other water pumps.
I am a fan of keeping them on the same side, one ahead the engines, one behind the engines. If you can keep all the hoses containing salt
water, visible and inside the engine room your life gets much easier. If the engine room was laid out based on the need to periodically inspect and replace the plumbing, life is grand. I can't tell you how many boats have a generator
that you must remove an airconditioning unit and take the generator off its bedding to replace the exhaust
hose. Lay out all the bedding about a foot larger than it needs to be, and trim to fit after you are satisfied that you've got access to replace what needs to be replaced. Installing air conditioning
units on sliding panels, with coils for the wire and hoses makes a lot of sense as you can slide each piece of equipment
out of its cubby and have access to it.
I would rather have the air conditioning
units and pressure water pumps mounted in the engine room where they can be seen and serviced, and send ducted A/C and water to where it needs to be than build each system inside each room. You have much fewer issues of condensation
trays and leaks, and your lifecycle cost of maintenance
does not include new joinery work for repairs
Grin... I feel like I've said a lot, but there is more to say and not enough time to say it!