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Old 27-02-2016, 11:21   #1
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Experience on open salon design monohulls - security down below in a seaway

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?
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Old 27-02-2016, 11:38   #2
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Re: Experience on open salon design monohulls - security down below in a seaway

Type "handholds" in the search box and read away.

You are completely right. Without the overhead centerline handhold features you mentioned in your 42, those new boaty things are dangerous, even out for a daysail.
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Old 01-03-2016, 23:57   #3
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Re: Experience on open salon design monohulls - security down below in a seaway

I've been on board some boats with huge saloons and the first thought I had was "this is way too big for the real world!" Those boats are for marinas. True cruisers use all that space more wisely.

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Old 02-03-2016, 07:50   #4
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Re: Experience on open salon design monohulls - security down below in a seaway

Count me as surprised there have not been any comments from cruisers with open salons.
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Old 02-03-2016, 15:49   #5
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Re: Experience on open salon design monohulls - security down below in a seaway

Typically, the water doesn't get terribly rough inside most marinas...
Related: My wife is short and can't reach the overhead on some of these open salon boats, either to reach a handrail, or even just to open or close hatch curtains, reach switches, open or close hatches, etc. Are large numbers of yachts being sold to basketball players, and is there a seamanlike reason for small yachts to need as much headroom as a house?

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Old 02-03-2016, 16:02   #6
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Re: Experience on open salon design monohulls - security down below in a seaway

I agree... In theory I like the openness, but at sea it would be a PITA. The open designs are built to sell boats to the majority of people who never will go offshore. They look and feel bigger below and more house like.
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