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Old 02-09-2005, 16:42   #1
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Aft cabin vs. V-berth

We are looking at boats for long-term cruising (probably around Caribbean- maybe farther) in the 37 - 42 ft. range (for a couple). Although we like the idea of going a bit on the smaller side, most boats below 40 ft. don't have an aft cabin, but consider the forward v-berth as the "captains cabin". What is the general opinion of sleeping comfort in a v-berth both on the hook and underway versus an aft cabin berth? I've always thought the forward berth would be noisier and less comfortable. Other than the Moody 376, we have found few smaller boats with an aft cabin. Any suggestions? Thanks

Iris
(Formerly thinking about the Gozzard 37 - but now rethinking the $$$$ involved!)
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Old 02-09-2005, 17:26   #2
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V beth on the hook is just fine IMHO

Underway.. no way unless motoring in flat or nearly flat conditions.

The boat should have a couple of sea berths amidships. usually called settees. Even on the Moody which has a centerline queen aft we only use that as a berth underway in moderate conditions. The mid ships settees are much more comfortable from a motion perspective.

Depending on budget there are lots of options the Moodys are the only one I know of at that price point maybe the is an HR or two that also offers aft cabin.
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Old 02-09-2005, 19:12   #3
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The fo'csle and suffering sailers of old

While officers lived at the back of the ship - the aft - the crew lived in the forecastle. This was the front of the boat so it received the worst of the waves. The fo'csle tended to be damp and dark, given over to the crew as it was not fit for cargo. Later on the crew lived in a cramped deckhouse but this continued to be called the fo'csle.

Other cruisers that I've occasioned to travel with who had their berths in the "V" of the boat could not use their berths in bad anchoring conditions. They had to abandon them for their sea berths. In addition, coupling in the v-berth is often far from ideal.

I've had three different boats now with center cockpits and aft cabins under 40 ft. Even the smallest (S2 9.2C) had an aft berth far better than a v-berth on any 40 footer that I've seen.

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-2005, 20:30   #4
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If you can, go for the aft cabin design. The aft cabin offers the best of comfort you can obtain. When at anchor, any wave slap is directed at the front of the hull. The only time we have an issue with the aft, is when we are birthed and have no choice of direction to lay the boat, and we get a wind from aft. Then the wave slap gets up under our stern and drives us nuts with the constant slap slap slap. In a good blow and a decent sea, it pounds as it rolls onto the stern. However!!!!!
The aft cabin offers us the greatest in room, the greatest in riding comfort, we have an ensuit, wardrobe and plenty of bed space and with the Pilot house between us and the Saloon and then V section, we get plenty of privacy when we have guests. Plus, if I or my wife have been on watch and we need sleep, we also have the privacy and quiteness from the rest on board so we can do so.
What not to get in Aft cabin design!!
I saw one boat, that the only way you could enter the aft cabin, was to go outside and around to the very aft of the boat and enter a hatch there. I have also seen entrances forward of that, but the use of still mean't leaving the safety of either forward or aft shelter for a mo to gain entry to either other. I feel for a coastal cruiser this is just inconvieneant, but for something going offshore, this is just plain dangerouse. And then I have seen the some that offer both external and internal entrances. The internal ones usually some low tunnel arrangement down beside the engine room. This can be OK, but short of comfortable in ruff conditions.
Our boat offers a protected Pilothouse between fore and aft sections. So movement to and fro can be done in safety and dry.
Good luck on your search.
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Old 02-09-2005, 23:54   #5
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we looked at both options and have come to believe 1) at sea the berth to leeward in the main cabin or quarter berth are still best 2) on the mooring, hook or dock there is no double, queen, v, athwart or island queen bunk that has enough room for two toss and turn types to share. when you shop - hop in and see if you think you can both actually sleep. they are double beds with missing corners.
you can have your fun all over the boat, but when it comes to actually sleeping, 2 bunks works best.
strangely, this allowed us to buy smaller, less expensive, easier to sail boat. i think my view holds true up to 40 footers. if we move up from a weekender to liveaboard, my favorite boat for layout design would be a mason 43. aft cabin with split bunks. privacy from guests, and no one sleeping on the dining room table. capt. lar
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Old 03-09-2005, 00:56   #6
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40' Challenger! This vessel has an aft cabin, and is aft cockpit, so does not have the draw backs of a center cockpit. The hull is built like a battleship, and the main salon is so large you feel like you are in an apartment. There are some problems with the layout, but they are easily fixed with basic woodworking skills. The boat carries moderate canvas, so is easily short or single handed. There is sufficent deck space to keep even a multihull sailor from getting clostraphobic. Average price is 25000-35000. My wife and I have owned ours for 3 years, living aboard full time, and still feel the boat is big inside.
That said, it is a 30 year old boat, and as such, you will most likely have to refit substantially for any extended cruising. Of course, for the additional 25000.00-100000.00 dollars you will have left over from not buying a later model Hunter or Benateau, you can outfit rather nicely.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:07   #7
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no challenger 40 listed on yachworld. hens teeth? mason is the same idea - aft cockpit but still a large aft cabin. seems to be a rare find these days. wonder why ? love to know if there are others with similar layout, since the mason 43 does have a pretty good list of negatives as well. capt. lar
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:20   #8
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I have been on board one Mason, I think it was a 43. I agree completely. Although the Mason was prettier inside than the Challenger.
Challengers come up for sale every few months, but yes they are a bit on the rare side. The amazing thing, is they do not seem to bring much on resale considering the quality. They are a great budget cruiser. People tend to hold onto them, and I have spoken to a number of surveyors on the west coast that have a true fondness for the boats. They have the reputation of being under canvased, so if you want to chase Swans and Santa Cruz 52's you will be a bit disappointed, but I have never had any complaints. As an investment, I would shy away, as they do not seem to appreciate, but then again, they do not seem to depreciate either. Another of their cousins, the Columbia, has simialar attributes, and is much more available.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:44   #9
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boats don't really appreciate. they may sell for more than original, but thats inflation. the words you want to hear from the surveyor are " her depreciation is over, now its maintenance" i think 20 years is average age needed, but not based on anything other than my own number crunching.

i hope this thread does produce a few more names of boats with this layout. it really seems to me to be the best compromise. no wasted walk thru space, no climb over or separate entry. a few of the charter boats come close, but then split the space and create two cramped boxes. baltic has some nice designs in 20 year old - 39 and others.
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:21   #10
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Baltics are another design that I am fond of. Again, I agree.
I am a bit surprised that these designs did not take off. Seems everything looks like a Catalina 30.
Speaking of V-berths, I am on a personal crusade to convince designers that v-berths are a waste of valuable boat space. (Good luck right?) A Bill Lee Designed Lancer a friend of mine has has a great idea. This boat is designed with the dinnette forward, the galley, and head amidship, and two quarter berths aft. Granted, the sleeping accomodations are not ideal for living aboard, but at least the V-berth was put to some good use.
I am encouraged to see alot of the newer designs putting in aft cabins with aft cockpit boats, but most have the appeal of a coffin. The Challenger, and Columbia, and the Baltics, all have head room in the aft cabins. I do not remember the layout of the Mason. I was too taken with the woodwork.
To sum it up, Yes Iris, there is a Santa Claus (And lots of medium size, good quality, aft cockpit vessels out there with aft cabins.
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Old 03-09-2005, 19:13   #11
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We live aboard our Tayana 42 center cockpit. Jim is 6'3" and our bed is athwart ship, so it is a king size bed. Our 17 year old daughter (that equals lots of stuff) and cat all have plenty of room. We have been aboard full time for the last two years and still have spaces that are empty.
The boats are very confortable and would recommend them to anyone. Check out sailjazz tayana board. We all love our tayanas but we can be objective, sometimes

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Old 04-09-2005, 01:16   #12
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A Tayana 48 cutter pulled in here about a week ago. WOW! That is a whole lot of boat. I have not seen the interior, but I have seen them at boat shows. Great lines, big bucks.
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:44   #13
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tayana is a quality boat, but you have to go with a center cockpit to get the big bed. i assume we also passed the 200k mark if 5 years old or less. you are, i assume, cutter rig - how is she to tack ? do you have to do a partial furl of genoa or does it go around staysail w/o trouble ? capt. lar
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Old 04-09-2005, 02:27   #14
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Yes, she is a cutter, we use a yankee and have no trouble with the sail while tacking. The boats are priced all over frpm $99,000 to $200,000+. That was a quick look on Yacht World. Ours is an '81 and was in great shape when we bought her. Many of the people that have these boats do take very good care of them. The interior are all custom built. Really no two are exactly alike. They sail nicely and are very comfortable to live on.

Jane
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Old 05-09-2005, 02:08   #15
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The V

We have been living aboard for about 6 weeks now on a 45' Gulfstar. It's got a centerline queen in the aft cabin which is nice, but for some reason we prefer to use the V. We discovered this preference because we are chartering and will use the aft for the guests. As we settled into the V, we felt very cozy and "at home", especially having had a 30 foot boat prior to this.

So, when we are underway, we use the sea berths in the main salon (we don't fold out the one that folds out..... we just sleep in different beds). When anchored in a good anchorage, we sleep in the V. We rarely anchor in anoyingly rolly anchorages because we really get annoyed with them in the middle of the night and end up just leaving at like 2AM out of frustration.

So for 90% of the time, we sleep in the V. For the other 10% of the time, we sleep on the sea berths, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE A CENTERLINE QUEEN IN THE AFT.
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