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Old 17-12-2014, 06:08   #1
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Pilothouse Envy

I'm having a wonderful winter pottering around the Solent single-handed without a principle headsail.

Last week, I sailed down to Yarmouth dead upwind, tacking into a winter gale on staysail and deeply reefed main alone. Yesterday, after having left the boat there to fly off on a business trip for a few days, I sailed back to my mooring. It was one of those magic calm winter days, not a cloud in the sky, warm sun shining. Only 6 to 8 knots of wind blowing from the NW for a broad reach, so without the most important sail on the boat, only enough for 3 or 4 knots. But with the tide in your favor you don't care that much, and besides, sometimes it's just so lovely out there you don't want to arrive anyway. Just ghosting along up the Solent in complete silence.

In Yarmouth, I was moored opposite a lovely Nauticat 521, in absolutely gorgeous condition. This is the old S&S design with some very old-fashioned features -- long overhangs and pronounced tumblehome.

It was interesting to compare her with my boat -- much shorter, ketch rig; much more freeboard; much shorter waterline; much bigger doghouse. So it's obvious who will sail upwind faster and closer. My boat looks like a greyhound in comparison.

But when I peeped into the pilothouse, I felt a rush of -- pilothouse envy. Wow, what a place to keep watch from on a long passage in hard weather. A what a wonderful place to hang out in at anchor or on the mooring. Like being in a room with a panoramic view overlooking the latest beautiful place you've sailed to. My boat has a raised salon a la Oyster, but you still sit down in the hull. Standing in the salon, you have a pretty good view out of decent size doghouse windows, but sitting, you only have two small hull ports to see out of. Yes, it's pretty light and less cave-like than many monos, but it's still down in the hull.

How much more pleasant it would be in a pilothouse like that on a long passage in the less-than-balmy weather we usually have at this latitude. You can even turn the heat on in there! And for sailing in good weather, there is an excellent open sailing cockpit, beautifully mated to the doghouse structure with clever design.

I do really get the tradeoffs of this design. Of course, you have lost ultimate upwind ability with the low ketch rig and the huge amount of windage from all that superstructure. But how important is that, really? If the engine is big enough to power upwind when it's needed, and the tankage adequate to do it long term. You will never pay for the diesel fuel with sailing ability, on a boat like mine, anyway. Just the laminate sails which I need to sail hard upwind cost more than a lifetime's worth of fuel. That Nauticat, with its modest rig and much smaller sails, can use ordinary Dacron sails costing a fraction of what my sails cost, and should still give perfectly acceptable sailing performance off the wind.

I don't know if I will ever have another boat than my own -- sometimes it seems like my life's work to get her in good condition and configured just like I want her. But if I ever did consider a different boat, I think it would be somewhat larger than this one (maybe 60' to 65'), and maybe something with a pilothouse.
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Old 17-12-2014, 06:55   #2
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

I have a boat similar to yours, just smaller, a Moody 46. Her original owner purchased the optional hard dodger or doghouse. In crummy weather, it is wonderful. Fiberglass with glass windows, it does not fog up. Has windshield wipers. Really cuts the wind and spray to nothing. Aft is the attached bimini and isinglass/screen side curtains, so in cold weather, with the isinglass side curtains down, the entire cockpit becomes an additional room or cabin.

Moodys were built near your location, so you might be able to find a doghouse somewhere. Lot cheaper than a new boat.
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Old 17-12-2014, 07:03   #3
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

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Originally Posted by Moody46CC View Post
I have a boat similar to yours, just smaller, a Moody 46. Her original owner purchased the optional hard dodger or doghouse. In crummy weather, it is wonderful. Fiberglass with glass windows, it does not fog up. Has windshield wipers. Really cuts the wind and spray to nothing. Aft is the attached bimini and isinglass/screen side curtains, so in cold weather, with the isinglass side curtains down, the entire cockpit becomes an additional room or cabin.

Moodys were built near your location, so you might be able to find a doghouse somewhere. Lot cheaper than a new boat.
I have a long overhanging spray hood on my boat, and the full canvas and isinglass cockpit enclosure which you describe. It's a great thing in foul weather, but no substitute for a real pilothouse by any stretch. Like all Moodys of this generation, I do have the hard windshield, which is a boon compared to a canvas one.

I crossed the North Sea earlier this year from West to East with all that gear up. It's challenging to sail because you can't see the sails without sticking your head out, and to do any trimming you have to open a side curtain. It worked ok sailing on a broad reach, but it's nothing like having a real pilothouse.

I guess the hard dodger would be an improvement -- windshield wipers would be great.

But it would eliminate sailing with the spray hood down -- which I love to do in good weather.

And in any case, it's not like a real pilothouse with heat and real furniture and glass windows.
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Old 17-12-2014, 10:07   #4
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

But when I peeped into the pilothouse, I felt a rush of -- pilothouse envy. Wow, what a place to keep watch from on a long passage in hard weather. A what a wonderful place to hang out in at anchor or on the mooring. Like being in a room with a panoramic view overlooking the latest beautiful place you've sailed to.

How much more pleasant it would be in a pilothouse like that on a long passage in the less-than-balmy weather we usually have at this latitude. You can even turn the heat on in there!

But if I ever did consider a different boat, I think it would be somewhat larger than this one (maybe 60' to 65'), and maybe something with a pilothouse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

And in any case, it's not like a real pilothouse with heat and real furniture and glass windows.

Heh... heh... heh...



Your sails may actually be more expensive even than the amount of fuel we use, too.

-Chris
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Old 17-12-2014, 10:39   #5
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Dockhead,

I enjoyed your detailed opening to this topic.

Here are two photos of the interiors of a boat I thought looked very appealing and looks like a nice illustration of what you described.

Two images are showing a Buizen 48PH, one inside, one showing it sailing.

The third image is another Pilothouse boat showing a comfortable settee/dinette area in the pilothouse, with good view (no need to stand up to see out).
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Old 17-12-2014, 10:49   #6
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
.........
I do really get the tradeoffs of this design. Of course, you have lost ultimate upwind ability with the low ketch rig and the huge amount of windage from all that superstructure. But how important is that, really? ..........
Yeah, one would want the low windage of this typical cruising boat...
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Old 17-12-2014, 10:50   #7
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

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Yeah, one would want the low windage of this typical cruising boat...
Or the low wind drag of the huge forward visor on this cat!
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Old 17-12-2014, 11:27   #8
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Heh... heh... heh...



Your sails may actually be more expensive even than the amount of fuel we use, too.

-Chris
I agree with you!

I sail for pleasure, not for economy! It's not a cheap sport, either!

My new set of carbon laminate sails cost more than my first house did!
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Old 17-12-2014, 11:29   #9
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Dockhead,

I enjoyed your detailed opening to this topic.

Here are two photos of the interiors of a boat I thought looked very appealing and looks like a nice illustration of what you described.

Two images are showing a Buizen 48PH, one inside, one showing it sailing.

The third image is another Pilothouse boat showing a comfortable settee/dinette area in the pilothouse, with good view (no need to stand up to see out).
Lovely!

Just a little small for me. I'd like something around 60 feet.

Preferably a little on the narrow side -- like the Hallberg Rassy 64. If they only made a pilothouse version of that . . .
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Old 17-12-2014, 11:32   #10
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, one would want the low windage of this typical cruising boat...
LOL! Indeed!

Only, my present boat doesn't look like that at all! She's pretty sleek, but for the davits and RIB hanging off the stern (which I dream about getting rid of).
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Old 17-12-2014, 11:38   #11
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

I like the Haber for its ability to steer with a Tiller. and a wonderful enclosed wheelhouse.
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Old 17-12-2014, 11:52   #12
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Dockhead, thanks for your introduction to this subject. The pilothouse provides both a panoramic expansive view and, if you choose to let it in, a lot of light. Some implementations open up the galley area to the pilothouse area. When you are in the galley slaving away, it is possible to look up and everyone is right there. In the galley, you aren't isolated and in the dark. With the wide open pilothouse view, the galley seems like an extended room, and not a separate area of the boat. In wet gale conditions, the pilothouse view is better with wipers going than being outside under an open bimini. And, of course, there's the comfort factor for extended exposure to the elements.
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Old 17-12-2014, 12:10   #13
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

Weavis,
That arm rest on the Haber's captains chair looks a lot like a tiller too. ��
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Old 17-12-2014, 12:48   #14
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

First I figured that that Buizen was a Blue Ocean 68.
60 something feet and a big pilothouse...
Blue Ocean 68' | Fantastic Aluminum World Cruiser for sale not sure how that thing sails.
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Old 17-12-2014, 12:50   #15
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Re: Pilothouse Envy

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Weavis,
That arm rest on the Haber's captains chair looks a lot like a tiller too. ��
I had the pleasure of doing a walk through one of these vessels in Germany.

Weavis fell in love with a Motorsailer. Its one of the few vessels I would have other than a Catamaran.
Gorgeous.
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