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Old 28-08-2015, 21:42   #1
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Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Hi everyone,

I spent Wednesday bashing into a 20kt wind for most of the day to get somewhere before dark. I don't know if it was the comfort of my seat at the helm or the look of my wife holding onto the cockpit coaming for dear life, but the thought occurred to me: I've gotta make that cockpit more comfortable for the crew when we've got the rails sunk.

The boat is CCA era and spends an awful lot of time at a 25-30 degree angle of heel. The heel is pretty non-negotiable, especially when fighting steep swell where we need sail area (mizzen, reefed main, jib) to keep speed up.

The helm seat is half-moon shaped and is therefore quite comfortable when heeling.

The problem is for everyone else: the cockpit is wide enough where unless you are over 6 feet tall and slouching, you're feet can't reach the opposite seats as foothold. Holding yourself comfortably in these conditions is difficult to do for several hours.

I've been thinking of some options, but surely folks have solved this issue already?

I'm thinking a strap that ran fore+aft in the cockpit footwell, one that you could rest your feet against, might be nice.
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Old 29-08-2015, 12:22   #2
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

You can screw cleats into the cockpit sole as foot braces. You might think about reefing earlier, even slack bilge boats have large increase in leeway as angle of heel exceed 20 degrees.
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Old 29-08-2015, 12:53   #3
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

What I do is sit on the low side with my back resting against the aft end of the cabin.

Sometimes it's hard to get those with a death grip to try it, but it is a lot more comfortable. Plus you're not looking forward and can leave the sailing to the crew at the helm, or the autopilot.
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Old 29-08-2015, 13:01   #4
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Roverhi's suggestions of the cleats will work.

I would think of adding padding in back of your wife, so that when she is seated on the uphill side of the boat, she may be able to reach the other side of the cockpit and brace her feet on the seat. Also, if the helm position is comfortable, let her helm the boat part of the time.

You could consider sailing the boat slightly more upright. This may involve a new set of sails, as you heel more with old baggy ones.

Finally, I'd suggest you ask your wife and work on it together, as it's her body, and what's possible depends partly on her particular geometry. "What can we do to make this more comfortable/fun for you?"

Ann

P.S. Just saw Stu's post. That works, too, especially if there is a tendency to sea sickness.
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Old 29-08-2015, 13:45   #5
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Thanks for the great input everyone.

Ann, solving the problem from the back seems like a great approach. We'll have to try that out. Perhaps some mix of that and some foot support per Roverhi's suggestion. BTW the example of my wife was just illustrative, obviously we share the helm duty.

As far as getting more upright, I'm just not sure. We are talking about a 41 foot boat with a 28 foot waterline, she's *supposed* to be dug in a bit. The 700 pounds of spruce mast certainly doesn't help, sometime I'll treat her to a new rig and that should stiffen her up significantly...

The main sail is in great shape and while I can flatten it out nicely and decrease angle of heel, this causes us to loose acceleration when recovering from a wave. Heeling has its problems but feeling like a slave to waves is the /worst/.

I do think its worth playing with sail configuration and trim a bit more to try and maintain my drive without heeling quite so much.
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Old 29-08-2015, 16:04   #6
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

You could widen the seats 4-6 inches or so with wooden "shelves" and add Ann's backrest cushions. Put rope bags under the shelves, or even box them in as narrow lockers.

This is provided it would make the cockpit narrow enough to brace you feet on the opposite side.

If it's too wide for the shelf approach, maybe a permenent cockpit table might work?

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Old 30-08-2015, 12:17   #7
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Knowing the tendency of this CCA design to heel quickly to 25 degrees heel, the original owner ordered her from Pearson with an extra 600#of lead in her keel as Karen sailed out of Chicago her first five years. What a difference in heeling and ride it made! Maybe a tad more internal ballest in your CCA design would make a difference. Bang some lead ingots down in your deep bilge so it can't shift. After all, we aren't racing for silver any more.
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Old 30-08-2015, 13:49   #8
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Would a wedge shaped cushion with nonskid attached to the bottom of the seat help the angle. Hunter designed their seating with that angle built in ???
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Old 30-08-2015, 14:21   #9
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

For sailing duration more than a couple of hours Add appropriate sized water bladder ballast to windward rail.She'll ride 10-15 degrees less heel and pickup 2-4 knots !


All the Best
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Old 30-08-2015, 15:02   #10
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Suggestion: post photos of the cockpit. Some while heeled showing the person sitting on high side seat and showing position of feet.
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Old 30-08-2015, 16:07   #11
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Maybe a fender in the cockpit well to brace her feet against.

You're pretty lucky to have a wife who will put up with this at all!
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Old 30-08-2015, 17:02   #12
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
What I do is sit on the low side with my back resting against the aft end of the cabin.
Sometimes it's hard to get those with a death grip to try it, but it is a lot more comfortable. Plus you're not looking forward and can leave the sailing to the crew at the helm, or the autopilot.
That is what we do also and especially the autopilot windvane part. You do end up kind of close to the water but it's out there, not in the boat usually.
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Old 30-08-2015, 18:24   #13
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

A crate of ale on the lee side as a footrest. Two if the person is short.

30 degs is heaps. Sure you can't sail her closer to vert with some trim and or newer sails?

I would simply sail slower and more vertical. You want a long traveler, flat main and a blade. Etc.

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Old 02-09-2015, 11:34   #14
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Re: Cockpit comfort for a tender boat

Depower your sails. Who wants to sail at a 25-30 degree heel? I think then you'll probably enjoy your cockpit more. Good luck and good sailing.
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