We’ve been refining our approach to cruising interior design for the last 28 years – we’re at the point where we have a pretty good handle on the combination of features required for comfort at sea and in port.
The right design mix includes:
- Visual openness.
- Ease of moving about at sea.
- Easy-to-use hand holds.
- Furniture which confines our bodies when we’re working under way.
- The ability to brace ourselves against roll.
- Good air flow under way and at anchor (even when it is raining).
- Easy to use storage for every day needs.
- Sufficient, easily accessed bulk storage.
- The ability to work and live close to the vessel’s motion center at sea.
- A nice view.
We’ve got 16,000 miles of cruising experience in the past year with this layout so we have a pretty good idea how the trade offs work. First, as we’ve been saying, this is a very comfortable boat. There is no heel, and motion is substantially less than any of our sailing designs – which are considered the most comfortable cruising boats on the planet. Yet most ocean passages have at least one errant wave which catches the boat for a second or two, and our philosophy is to engineer the interior for these rare occasions. Careful attention to design detail turns the seagoing necessities into aesthetic benefits, so that aside from some extra labor hours, there are no every day penalties for this approach.
So how do these features play out on our new design? Photos rarely do justice to a boat interior, so we’ll take you on a tour with a combination of drawings, renderings, and photos of the real thing. A word of warning – these photos and drawings are fairly large, so you will want to review this page with at least a DSL-speed connection.
The “working area” (main saloon, office, galley, and bridge) is located in the middle of the boat. When we are on watch, stretched out on the saloon seats or sitting in the captain’s chair, we are never more than 10 feet (3m), and usually only 6 feet (1.8m), from the roll and pitch center. With this layout we sense very low levels of motion, even in large, confused seas. By keeping this working area on one level, the two of us can communicate easily, and if one person is on watch, they can see in any direction from any part of this “great room”. This approach works as well at sea as it does at anchor.
The saloon area, at the forward end of the great room, has plenty of space for entertaining. We’ve made the choice to minimize the table size. We can sit sit six around the table, and entertain nine for dinner if the starboard settee is used. But most of the time we are on our own and this is the perfect set up in terms of utilization of space while maintaining an open feeling in the saloon.
The Owner’s suite is located in the forward portion of the boat, but not so far forward that it is uncomfortable offshore. When lying in our bunk, we are right on the roll center and about 10 feet (3m) forward of the pitch center. At sea, 90% of the time (or more), this bunk is very comfortable (as long as we’re not heading up wind). Once we find ourselves in headseas of any size, we head to one of the aft staterooms. One of the really nice features of this layout when we have guests aboard is they have their own space aft, and we have ours forward, with lots of visual and audible privacy for both groups.
The dressing room, which is adjacent to the sleeping cabin, has loads of shelved storage above the counters, with drawer space below. The hanging locker is at the forward end.
There are two cabins aft, each with head ensuite. Lying on these bunks has us 5 feet (1.5m) from the roll center and within 8 feet (2.4m) of the pitch center.
Our “sea cabin” is to starboard. This has upper and lower bunks, and the spaces are a bit tighter than the cabin to port. The tighter spaces will be welcome in heavy weather – but of course we try to avoid weather which necessitates moving aft!
The engine room is all the way aft – with full headroom throughout and total access to all four sides of both engines (and any other gear).
Forward of our suite is the forepeak, which is where we keep fenders, awnings, dock lines, ground tackle, and a bunch of other gear.
In the following web pages we’ll take a closer look at the interior spaces.