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Old 20-05-2007, 20:59   #1
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No settee?

We are years away from living aboard, but this question is bugging me. Most of the boats I've seen have settees/banquette seating around a table in the salon. Every time I sit on one of those, I think, wow, this is uncomfortable. Some are too high and my feet don't touch the floor. Others are the wrong angle for the back. My knees bonk the table.

We currently live full-time in our RV and don't even have a dining table, much less a big couch that goes around it. We have two comfy, reclining chairs that we spend most of our lounging time in. We eat on TV trays or a small fold-up end table. We thought we would need a table to play cards, have a place for friends to put their drinks, etc. Nope, haven't done any of that in almost three years and I doubt we will on the water. We have the type of friends who rarely let go of their drinks...

I can't imagine having only a settee to sit in. So, where do most of you live-aboard sit? Do you have real chairs? Do you really use the table? Have you retrofitted your salon for more comfort?

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Old 20-05-2007, 21:28   #2
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We have traditional setees with a table in the middle and would not do without:

Setees are good for laying down and taking a nap. Also for sitting down for dinner (this where the table comes in..We have had 8 people comfortably seated for dinner on a 33 foot boat)

Then there is plenty of storage under the setees.

On a traditional sailboat the setees serve a good purpose, not sure I would leave home without them.

Quote:
Do you have real chairs? Do you really use the table?
Real chairs tend to fly around when the weather gets rough.

We use the table every day, it also serves a purpose for storage.

Ya could yank the table and setees out of a boat and have a big dance-floor to play and entertain on, but safety could be compromised unless ya bolt down hand-holds from the ceiling and put up ropes to hang on to when ya walk from the companioway to the head in a seaway as ya are rolling and pitching violenty.. Which happens occasioanlly at sea.
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Old 20-05-2007, 22:00   #3
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Real chairs tend to fly around when the weather gets rough.
I do understand that; the same thing is true in RVs. (Okay, its not the weather, but the road conditions, that get rough.) Our chairs are bolted to the floor and have seatbelts, to boot. While they swivel, they lock into one orientation for stability under way. I assume something similar is available for boats? The chair itself could be grabbed while the boat is rolling.

We're really loners and I just don't anticipate serving dinner to 8 people. On the few occasions that we have a party, it would be a casual affair with paper plates and folks wandering around, presumably while docked.

I'm also not worried about storage issues. We already live in a 40 foot vehicle, and a similarly sized boat has TONS more storage. When I walk through boats I think how easily all our stuff will fit...
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Old 20-05-2007, 22:57   #4
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Plenty of comfy lounging and couches here,

Photo Gallery Powerplay 1450

Schionning Designs -

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Old 20-05-2007, 23:33   #5
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Quote:
We're really loners and I just don't anticipate serving dinner to 8 people.
We never planned on serving dinner for 8 people either, but in a nice anchorage with nice people anchored, it is easy to make friends around coctail hours and sooner or later we all get hungry and arrange for a get-together at one of the boats. Some bring the wine, some bring the salad, etc.

Nice to have the space and the setees to do that anyway.

Quote:
On the few occasions that we have a party, it would be a casual affair with paper plates and folks wandering around, presumably while docked.
While docked ya would most likely arrange for the party at the marina bar or a nearby restaurant.
Sitting for anchor we don't use paper plates due to the garbage problem. (Can't just throw the garbage overboard.)

At any rate I just mentioned a few things about live aboard boats and setee/table issues.
If you want to reinvent the wheel, and perhaps find a solution that works better for you than for the rest of the cruisers, go for it. Not sure that you can compare the situation to a motorhome or RV or whatever ya call them things.

Good luck regardless...
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Old 21-05-2007, 00:00   #6
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My settee...

I found your post interesting as I am currently fitting the settee/dinnette to my boat.

I like the bit about seats being too high as I calculated the most comfortable practical height and it seems way too low. And yes, it is not easy to get the back angle right. But I can just about have a snooze the way they are now. (I'll put another pic in my blog.)

It is almost like those Thai restaurants where you sit on the floor.

In reality, while mine might sit eight at a pinch more than two is going to be very cosy.

A 2m X 2m space is just not that big.

You don't say what boat you are leaning towards but one advantage of a do-it-yourselfer is that one can do what one pleases.

A little bit of masochism is probably necessary for cruisers.
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Old 21-05-2007, 00:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infopubs
I'm also not worried about storage issues. We already live in a 40 foot vehicle, and a similarly sized boat has TONS more storage. When I walk through boats I think how easily all our stuff will fit...
I have to disagree with this. I moved from a 22' motor home to a 36' sailboat and did not find that I had very much more space. An RV is a big box, a boat has pointy ends, curved sides, and the bilge is no place to store stuff like you do in the RV's "bilge". Add to that the fact that there's a lot more boat stuff to haul around in a boat that tere is RV stuff to haul around in an RV - assuming of course that you intend to use the boat for going places as opposed to it being like a praked, floating RV. I do agree that most boats don't really have comfortable seating, but then I'm too busy doing boat maintenance to be lounging around
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Old 21-05-2007, 04:41   #8
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We are lucky (I guess) to have a comfortable settee but we would miss that table if we didn't have it. Lots of boats have nav stations, but few with a surface large enough to spead out a real chart. Settee. We while away the hours at anchor with games, scrabble, gin, etc. Settee. When something needs to be disassembled, settee (properly protected). The list goes on.

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Old 21-05-2007, 05:22   #9
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Take a look at Gypsy Moth IV. It had a built in gimballed seat and table. Some people add captains chairs or fighting chairs in the cockpit for the helmsman. It would just as easy to add two.

As for the interior space. The settee not only provides sitting and sleeping space (I never sleep in the vberth) but they also create structure that reinforces the boat. Also monohulls spend most of their time underway at some sort of angle. The whole comfort issue changes with heel. An interesting design to review is the Open 60. Many have a cabin design that allows a flat surface upright and at heel. It may not be practical for a cruiser but it gives one an idea what to expect.
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Old 21-05-2007, 08:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infopubs
... Most of the boats I've seen have settees/banquette seating around a table in the salon. Every time I sit on one of those, I think, wow, this is uncomfortable...
Amen to that!! Some of these interior designers should be sentenced to a lifetime of actually SITTING on the stuff they build for that purpose!

I will replace a curved 'L' shaped settee with twin fixed chairs a la the new designs (HR for example). The table seating has backs that are too vertical for me - worse than that cheap furniture found in Mexico. Will have to address that too.
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Old 21-05-2007, 10:17   #11
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May I suggest taking a little bit of RV knowledge and applying it to the boat?

We had a little Road Trek for about a year. I stayed in it when commuting to a very far away job. Anyway, the Road Trek had these great little tables that popped out and created more space. They had those receptacles in the floor for the stainless legs that support the table. You know the ones... all RVs have them. We put the same type of tables in our boat (see attached photo).

We could hold a balroom dance class in here when the tables are out, and we have a choice of seating 4 comfortably for dinner, having a small drink/snack table out, or having the wide open space. We usually just have the drink table out. The halves of the large dining table stow conveniently behind our NON-curved settees. Ours run along side... see photos again. I'd go for a boat without that horrible "wrap around" stuff. Where can you lay back and relax, couch style with that design? I agree completely with you about that.

And if you REALLY like this setup, the boat's going on the market right now.
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Old 21-05-2007, 10:27   #12
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I think it is like Burger King said "Have it your way" or just as apt "whatever floats your boat"

Seriously, it should be whatever way you find comfortable and pleasant for you! One of our friends has a beautiful boat with both a sitting table and a couple of captains chairrs. They are wonderful to sit it. They swivel and they can watch their LCD's while sitting in them. Way cool.
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Old 21-05-2007, 10:30   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strygaldwir
I think it is like Burger King said "Have it your way" or just as apt "whatever floats your boat"

Seriously, it should be whatever way you find comfortable and pleasant for you! One of our friends has a beautiful boat with both a sitting table and a couple of captains chairrs. They are wonderful to sit it. They swivel and they can watch their LCD's while sitting in them. Way cool.
Yup... and to show I'm not *only* plugging my boat (ha ha ha), I can suggest a Freedom. I can't recall the size, but the Freedoms have twin captain's chairs situated to ether side of a nice little bar area.
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Old 21-05-2007, 12:40   #14
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Originally Posted by ssullivan
Yup... and to show I'm not *only* plugging my boat (ha ha ha), I can suggest a Freedom. I can't recall the size, but the Freedoms have twin captain's chairs situated to ether side of a nice little bar area.
I have lived on one of those Freedoms for the last two years, Freedom Express 39. The swivel chairs are comfortable and convenient, but I would trade them for the extra storage and a sea berth, but not enough that I am ever going to get around to ever doing the job.
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Old 21-05-2007, 13:37   #15
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Settees 18 inches high with a 15 degree back rest are very comfortable. You can make the interior of your boat any way that you want but for resale the settee with saloon table seems to be what sells. There are diagrams and measurements for all kinds of comfortable seating in "Skene's" and "From a Bare Hull."
I personally need the storage under the settees for water tankage and canned goods so could not have Captain's chairs.
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