The best advice
is to get out there and start getting on boats. Look... but also imagine yourself using it. How functionally can I cook? If someone’s cooking
, can others help; pass by; access aft stateroom, etc.? Where will we all sit in the evening or while relaxing down below?
Develop your sense of likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, if this is your first boat, many of your tastes will develop with experience. Thus, seldom is the first boat a forever boat. You are smart in doing research
such as this. Ask questions. But remember that the problem with advice
is it is only as good as it’s source. There are some very knowledgeable people on here. And a lot of armchair cruisers - many of whom fancy themselves as experts. Many on forums
are hung up on any boat that isn’t a 70’s, full keel
, blue water
boat - it’s a death trap. OK... I exaggerate, but you’ll understand as you read this and other forums
at sea is critical, especially for passagemaking, and I’m not trying to downplay it. However, if you ever hang out with folks who cruise
, they’ll advise that very little time aboard is on
‘passages”, but most at anchor
, island and harbor hopping, or at a dock
. Layout and “furnishings” and outfitting IS an important factor. Don’t discount it. Especially if comfort is important to your SO!!
Assess YOUR use. And don’t get hung up on the oft repeated maxims and free advice. Many are tired, or come with a lot of caveats.
For example: THE galley! I don’t like linear galleys. I prefer opposing settee’s. Multiple personal reasons. However, a linear galley
in the main cabin
. For example - in your original shared plan - if the centerline bench is solidly anchored AND has a solid seat back (AKA Beneteau
423), there is nothing dangerous or problematic with it. I’ve been on them and would work
the galley offshore
- no hesitation. As others have stated, the “recommended” U shaped galley is often only better on one tack or the other. A better recommendation is - can you function and brace yourself comfortably on EITHER tack while cooking
? On my boat (L-shaped galley-aft), on a starboard tack, I lean against the counter either side of the stove
. On a Port tack, I have the companionway
stairway to lean against. And as others have rightly opined - many of us plan meals
ahead of time and don’t spend much time in galley when off shore. In my opinion, it mostly is an issue for multi-day, offshore
movements. Which I would argue doesn’t apply to 90% of boaters.
3 stateroom vs. 2: I’m a fan of 3 stateroom boats. Yes... caveats apply. DO watch out for an abused charter
boat. But you can also find decent used charter
boats. And not every three cabin
was a charter boat. After hangin upside down into the cockpit
lockers on too many boats (that deep storage
cave where the 3rd stateroom would have been) - I can tell you I don’t like them. Fortunately, SOME boats add a small door way through the head
into that store room, but many, especially older boats do not. It is a PITA to drag stuff in and out of the pit. I LIKE my 3rd cabin aka: - The Storeroom. It has a full sized door that i can walk in and out of carrying stuff. Downsides? YUP. Smaller aft head. We decided for our use it wasn’t a big issue. And on boats 40’ or above, the heads are often just as big.
Heads: I agree that most boats at or less than 40’ don’t need 2 heads. However - (caveat again) - if you have multiple kids
, and you’re sailing in no discharge zones... it’s nice to have that second head because (A) the smaller holding tanks
fill quickly. Having a second helps. And (B) Some kid will put something really stupid in it, or use a whole roll of TP to wipe
and you’ll REALLY be thankful you have that second head whilst you clear the first.
So - continue to ask questions. I hope I’ve shown that there are often no “right” or “wrong” answers. Just all of our opinions. Based on our own biases... which developed from our experiences. Those experiences just might be different from yours, or everyone else’s!
Best of luck