I've been meaning to ask about this and thought someone would have asked it before, and may be they have, but it is one of those things that is hard to search for.
The Admiral and I have had a reasonably respectable time on blue water
and have been through several storms and rough water
. We were both thrown around the boat down below numerous times. The overhead grab rails were critical to us to keep from getting hurt in rough seas. So was the U-shaped smaller galley
where you could wedge yourself in or at least not have so far to get thrown. Even that didn't help the Admiral once when she was thrown out the one open side into the nav desk. She still has painful leg problems from that one instance.
And our cabin
was narrower (although roomy for the size boat - a Whitby 42) so we could walk along and hold on to hand holds along the way. There were many times we could only navigate down below by keeping one hand holding on with a death grip before bracing and timing to take the next step before you could grab the next hand hold. The overhead rails were usually what worked best for that going forward.
So - every time I get on one of the new open cabin
design boats I cringe just thinking about how dangerous it would be to walk around down below in a rough seaway, and to work in the galley
that is all along one side of the cabin without any kind of "enclosure" to help you from killing yourself, or to brace your butt against a structure while rummaging through the reefer or cooking
on the stove.
My marina neighbor has a pretty new Jeanneau
- I think it's a 47. It's gorgeous. Sleek. Twin wheels. Big open salon
with an open galley. The only places to grab and hold on are actually pretty far across, bean wise, since there is so much room. There is a central "island" that separates the galley on the port side from the table on the starboard side. You can hold on to that with your right hand going forward, but a short armed sailor would have trouble holding on to both sides going forward. NO overhead grab rails - anywhere.
It seems to me that you could get seriously hurt in a seaway without having some more ways to hold on. Not to mention no way to brace yourself while cooking
or getting something in the pantry or reefer.
I don't have anything against the new modern boats and the way (the good ones) are built compared to older classic plastic boats like I can afford. But I don't think I like the lack of handholds and structures to brace with.
It would be interesting to get opinions from those who have actually sailed in rough seas, or from those who have had conversations with sailors who have one of these designs. That is, I would prefer actual experience versus general thoughts and opinions without direct experience (even though I know some of you will comment anyway
My neighbor who has this big open concept
boat, which looks to me to be very seaworthy hull
and with good equipment
and extremely well maintained, has said he is considering buying
a well-equipped and maintained boat in Mexico
rather than take his boat out. I think he is looking for a more "traditional" design. I haven't asked him about his specific reasons yet (he does not worry about the dollars and cents so much) but I suspect it may be due to this issue about security
down below. He has extensive offshore
experience and is extremely knowledgeable about sail and power boats in general. I mean to ask him soon. But what about others?