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Old 09-04-2019, 18:35   #1
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cabin location

hello all, I have a question regarding the comfort of having the main cabin aft or forward in the bow.. im sure it has been discussed before , however , I couldn't find any info.. we are looking at a pilothouse style/motorsailor boat, we have seen some with an aft master with a centerline queen, and a few with a forward bow centerline queen. we need the size and location as getting up in the middle of the night is a common occurrence, can yall please provide insight as to which you prefer and why.. thanks bill
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Old 09-04-2019, 19:10   #2
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Re: cabin location

The ease of access to the bed, bow or aft cabin can vary dramatically depending on the specific boat model. In general (and like all generalities there are lots and lots of exceptions) aft cabin, centerline beds are easier access than the typical v-berth in the bow.

Another concern, at sea, especially beating to windward, a bow berth can be unusable.
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Old 09-04-2019, 19:28   #3
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Re: cabin location

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Originally Posted by buddhadawg View Post
hello all, I have a question regarding the comfort of having the main cabin aft or forward in the bow.. im sure it has been discussed before , however , I couldn't find any info.. we are looking at a pilothouse style/motorsailor boat, we have seen some with an aft master with a centerline queen, and a few with a forward bow centerline queen. we need the size and location as getting up in the middle of the night is a common occurrence, can yall please provide insight as to which you prefer and why.. thanks bill
I think it has to do with which you will do more, sail or anchor. At anchor, either are comfortable. But as skipmac said, underway is another story. Having slept in the V-berth for a trip from Panama to Hawaii, I cannot count how many times I was weightless one second, and bouncing the next.

There is also the consideration of 'hot bunking' while underway if you don't have an aft cabin berth. It makes use of a pilot berth on the low side, when one person takes over the same berth as the person just getting up from it.

So, ......which do you plan to do more of, and how comfortable would you like to be?
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Old 09-04-2019, 20:13   #4
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Re: cabin location

I know you are looking for a simple answer, but there is not one. Like almost all things boat the answer is IT DEPENDS. It depends not only on the specifics of the individual design, but on exactly how you will use the boat.

USUALLY (but not always) a forward berth has better air flow and ventilation than a cabin in the back.

ALMOST always (but not always!) a forward berth is less comfortable underway than one aft.

Most (but not all) designs with master cabins aft have more room in the cabin than do forward cabins. The tapering of the bow just makes this the way things usually work.

One thing I can say "always" about is all normal cruisers spend much more time at anchor than underway.

Boats sailed by couples will not have both members of the crew asleep at the same time underway, so sleeping arrangements while underway can be different than while at anchor without issue. A single pilot berth can work fine underway, even if it would not be acceptable while anchored.

On a sailboat, or even a motorboat, a walkaround centerline berth is pretty damn useless underway. You will roll out onto the cabin sole! Looks great at the boat show...

Boat designs vary so much that any rule about THIS being better than THAT is just not worthwhile as a generalization. You really have to look at each design and evaluate it on its own merits.
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Old 09-04-2019, 20:55   #5
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Re: cabin location

I'm with CptCrunchie ...

You want the living areas of your boat to be comfortable. Once a boat - whether sail or motor-powered - is placed in the water, it moves. And will move constantly. In more dimensions that you think possible.

Let's take just one set of movements: pitch. Pitch is rotational movement about a transverse axis. Let's call it the pitch axis. It's an axis that runs somewhere across the boat from side to side (hence a 'transverse axis'). The bow goes up and down, the stern goes correspondingly down and up. And anyone and anything at the bow and stern feels g forces as the boat pitches.

Humans don't like high g forces. So to be comfortable, you want the living areas of your boat to all be at (or very close to) the pitch axis.

But they cannot all be there. You can vertically stack a couple of them. But not all. So you have to make a decision which areas are at the pitch axis.

And if you vertically stack living areas over the pitch axis, then the upper one will be more subject to g forces when the boat rolls from side to side.

Where's the pitch axis?

It's usually quite close to the longitudinal centre of gravity.

Think about it LCG when you look at a boat. Naval architects make decisions about what goes where to influence the location of the LCG. You make a decision about what living area is at the LCG.
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Old 09-04-2019, 21:12   #6
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Re: cabin location

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
USUALLY (but not always) a forward berth has better air flow and ventilation than a cabin in the back.
When talking air flow and ventilation in the V berth while underway, please know this is typically created by leaving the hatch open slightly. But when you do this, even the smallest wave can sweep up the deck. You will know exactly when that happens, because you will hear it. At that exact moment, you have exactly 1/10 of a second to close the hatch, because as the bow comes down, whatever water made it to the deck will drain directly into the V berth hatch and soak you and your mattress.

Half-way to Hawaii, sleeping soundly with just a polar fleece blanket over me, I heard that unmistakable rush of water. And in my absent-minded stupor, knowing I had missed the window of opportunity, I held the blanket up over the hatch as if to deflect the flow back outside.

As I noted in the ships log, "Today I learned that a polar fleece blanket, while it doesn't hold onto water, makes an excellent seawater sieve!"
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