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Tom Hoffman
12-29-2009, 08:04 AM
Does any one know about or had experience adding a pilot house to a sailboat?

Ever since my wife and I went aboard a 30' Pacific Seacraft Creleock Pilot House sailboat last August in Waukegun Il. I have been very interested in Pilot House Sailboats.

I have wondered about the feasability of adding a Pilot House to an existing sailboat. I see many sailboats with Dodgers etc. I feel something more solid and weather restistant would make sailing more enjoyable at least for me and my wife.

Opinions or guidenance would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Tom...:)

P.L.Lenihan
12-29-2009, 08:30 AM
Adding a pilot house can be an entirely feasable project and will contribute greatly to your further enjoyment of your boat. Get in touch with a naval architect/designer to explore the range of possibilities available for your particular boat and needs,including a list of pros and cons.Any money spent up front will save you lots at the other end!

Post some before and after pictures too :)


Cheers!


Peter

David G
12-29-2009, 08:41 AM
It will really depend upon the boat you're starting with, and how much she'll accomodate. Fotos, link, etc. would be necessary before any substantive comment about your particular situation. But Peter is correct that a pilothouse can add a good bit of function and enjoyment, esp. for Northern sailors, it can extend the sailing season... esp. if you're bringing your sweetie along.

Ian McColgin
12-29-2009, 08:47 AM
I have planned four and helped carry out two - Granuaile was lost before I got to that one.

Two started with comfortable dodgers. This is a good way to start as it gives you a nice sense of what the enclosed space will feel like, whether it creates insoluable problems with the sheets, and especially with how happy you are sailing without being able to feel the wind so well.

That latter point is for me the deal breaker. I'll stick to the removable dodger unless (as was planned for Granna) there's room for an outside helm as well.

Anyway, these two began with the chronic complaint about dodgers - the widow is not nice to look through. Both were designed to be incremental so that the windscrean with cloth top and sides could go up first, eventually getting around to a hard top with soft top extension aft and roll down eisenglass sides.

One real pilot house was built over a center cockpit. It had full length hard top and hard sides, complete with sliding doors at the foreward edge, half way back. The rest was roll-down eisenglass. The lay-out was motor sailor style with the helm forward against the coach and a nice table with seats aft.

G'luck

MiddleAgesMan
12-29-2009, 08:49 AM
I added a pilot house to my Gazelle while building it. Tom Colvin's design called for a full width raised deck between the fore and after cabins. I put the pilot house there, dropping the sole down to about a foot above the DWL. There was still room for the engine under the pilot house sole.

A boat with separate cabins is a good candidate for a pilot house. Adding one at the aft end of a single cabin would require a major change in the layout.

Tom Hoffman
12-29-2009, 10:44 AM
Thank you everyone for the information and encouragement. I figured that is was reasonable. I have some ideas about how. Just need to know or see the way others have solved the major problems. Windows, sheet handling etc. I am dealing on a boat right now and if I get it, then I will be able to provide more information.

Thanks again.

Tom...

wizbang 13
12-29-2009, 11:21 AM
Pilot house or hard dodger? I have a box on my companionway some call a pilothouse,I dunno. I can sit in it rain or shine, steer, navigate,play on the 'puter. I do know it's the most valuable real estate on the boat! I even have cedar butt wedges! Some say it's funny lookin' but not from the inside!

Hwyl
12-29-2009, 11:59 AM
It's tough to make it look good on a boat under 11 meters.

Bobcat
12-29-2009, 12:36 PM
William Garden's schooner Rainbird had a pilothouse added after she was built. There's a WB article with her with and without her house.

For here in the rainy NW, a pilothouse will really add to the number of days a boat is actually used.

spirit
12-30-2009, 12:34 PM
My impression is that Sam Devlin is particularly good with pilot houses.

Jay Greer
12-30-2009, 12:44 PM
A pilot house can certainly add to comfort if one is cruising in cold climates. On a small boat, I prefer a collapsable dodger as, when visability is called for, it can be gotten out of the way.
L. Francis Herreshoff hated the dog house that was later added to Tioga. He refered to it as "That GD@#$%^&*(dog house!" When I took on work for the boat he offered to send me a set of plans if, the owner would promiss to remove
"That GD@#$%^&*(dog house!" He kept his word but unfortunatly the owner did not. L. Francis also refered to badly designed pilot houses as being, "a collision between a comfort station and a Grey Hound Bus depot." Which should bring to mind that designing a good looking pilot house takes some astute planning and design skill.
Jay

andrewe
12-30-2009, 12:46 PM
Phil Bolger's Pilot house on his Chebacco may not be to all tastes, but it worked for the owners. View from the inside is what counts:)
A

Bobcat
12-30-2009, 12:50 PM
After a trip from Anacortes to Kodiak in December, I said any large boat of mine would need three things

A heated pilot house
A radar /> A diesel engine

paladin
12-30-2009, 12:53 PM
I preferred the dodger, but when sailing north and extreme south I wished for a pilot house with a heater. Although I was wearing an arctic survival suit and really warm undies, I was freezing my gronicals off, if I moved I started sweating like a warthog, and then had difficulty moving.

Tom Hoffman
03-11-2010, 04:42 PM
Well, I finally have the boat. My expectations got pared down considerably after learning all the attendant costs of just keeping a boat in the water close to home (125 miles away)

Here is the boat.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k276/slvrgost/SpecSheetAMX80-1.jpg

Here is the big sister version.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k276/slvrgost/85.jpg

Here is the link to my pics to my boat.

http://sports.webshots.com/album/576734303qkPIkj

I realize that she is not wood, but most likely I would build the pilot house out of wood with a fiberglass shell on the exterior.

Any help or suggestions would be as always greatfully received.:D

JimD
03-11-2010, 05:14 PM
Oooh, I like pilot house sailboats. I could build one of these 20 footers:

http://www.selway-fisher.com/RathlinSaild1.gif

BBSebens
03-11-2010, 06:30 PM
After a trip from Anacortes to Kodiak in December, I said any large boat of mine would need three things

A heated pilot house
A radar
A diesel engine

A psychologist?


As said above, its hard to make it look good on a shorter boat. not impossible, but hard. But that may not be as important to you.

Also being from the PNW, I can understand the desire for a pilot house. Personally, I agree with Mr. Herreshoff. Totally ruins the boat.

The most important thing is to make sure that the added weight won't mess with the balance of the boat.

That's a nice boat. Just the thing I'd be looking for if I were staying put...

alkorn
03-11-2010, 07:11 PM
I live in a warmer climate than the Pacific Northwest, but even if I lived there I think I would have doubts about a solid pilothouse unless the boat were large enough to have both indoor and outdoor helm stations.

It would be nice to have the capability to steer and handle sheets from a protected location in bad weather, but what about those glorious sailing days? I'd hate to be stuck inside!

To listen to you PNW guys one would think that it ALWAYS rains there, but I think you're exaggerating a little.

Bobcat
03-11-2010, 07:37 PM
Snipage

To listen to you PNW guys one would think that it ALWAYS rains there, but I think you're exaggerating a little.

It does rain all the time and it's cold a lot too. 40 degrees F in a drizzle with wind....well, you'd understand why a pilot house can be a good place.

JimD
03-11-2010, 08:58 PM
Our summers can be bone dry and fresh water supplies in some areas can be a real problem.

JimConlin
03-11-2010, 09:20 PM
It's hard to do one well on a boat under 35' or so. This side of Alaska or the Maritimes, I expect that most of us would be happier with a dodger.

Anyway, here's one I like, even if I'm not sure about the davits:
http://homepage.mac.com/agunther/.Public/pilot_house/des.1.jpg.

There's more HERE (http://homepage.mac.com/agunther/.Public/pilot_house/prj.html).

Paul Pless
03-11-2010, 09:47 PM
William garden drew some beauties. . .

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg239/PaulPless/bullfrog.jpg?t=1268361940

KAIROS
03-11-2010, 10:58 PM
I very much appreciate the benefits of a pilothouse....especially now that I'm getting old, fat, wimpy, crippled, crotchety, etc. I've armchair-voyaged many times in 'Al's 26' shown in post #21, above. And, I've thought of how it might be done on my boat. BUT.....

As Ian (post #4 above) hinted at when he mentioned not being able to feel the wind, when you step into a pilothouse you are probably cut off from quite a bit of the reason you like sailing. Being able to easily get out of a cold wind and rain means you deprive yourself of your ability to hear, see, and feel everything else too. If the pilothouse would just go away in good weather, that'd be great. But, when you want to be in the cockpit, there it is right in front of you blocking your view especially, which can be a serious safety issue in addition to being irritating.

That's the main problem with it: it won't go away! A good dodger provides many of the benefits of pilothouse, and when you want it out of the way, you can fold it down forward. Or roll up the 'clear' vinyl panels so you're vision and view are not distorted. You can even put hard carbonate (lexan) windows in the dodger which fold away. Somewhere between a typical dodger and a pilothouse is a 'hard dodger'. These have solid windows and top, do not fold away, but look similar to (but rarely as good as) a 'soft' dodger.

I'm designing and making a soft dodger with carbonate window panels which remove or fold way....and a zip-on extension that sheds rain and sun from the cockpit area. I'll have most of the benefits of a pilothouse without taking away so many of the reasons I go sailing. And, it is hard to retrofit a pilothouse that looks right.

As I typed this I was thinking of how after a week of rain and cold, 24 hours a day in Southeast AK, living in two gortex suits (one over the other), the skin was coming off my soggy hands in chunks. That, though, is what it's like there. I wouldn't know what SE AK was like from inside a pilothouse. Nor would I have felt and heard the wind, water, whales and birds....and rain.

Tom Hoffman
03-12-2010, 04:50 PM
Thank you all for the input. I will for the time being do nothing to the boat, just fix it up and sail it this summer and by the end of season, will have a better knowledge of what we want.

Thanks again.

Tom...

meuritt
03-13-2010, 08:24 AM
Good reading the opinions of this thread. We went for pilothouse on a 37' hull. The Fisher 37 is a very close cousin. With help from our own Square Rigger, Jamie, she has new standing rigging and is now sailing SF Bay, though we've yet to see 15k wind.

Sheets lead to cockpit, not into the PH, I have to step out of the comfort zone to trim, which is OK, because I can't see the top of the main or jib from inside. Our emergency tiller is easy to install, hydraulic steering override is easy, so I would guess I am going to spend some time with the tiller. One sister ship has brought all lines into the PH.

But warm(er) and cozy it is, no visibility problems as far as navigation goes, but those same big windows may be a problem at sea.

What I don't get is the dodgers. Seems to me some of the same windage issues as the PH, w/o the comfort complete enclosure.

KAIROS
03-13-2010, 02:32 PM
....What I don't get is the dodgers. Seems to me some of the same windage issues as the PH, w/o the comfort complete enclosure.

In conditions where green water is coming aboard (not spray) a dodger should be removed or folded and lashed down. Then of course it is not doing anything for you, but it is also not creating excess windage. Nor can it then be ripped off leaving a gaping whole in the deck structure.

By the way, my boat is 28 feet and has a folkboat kind-of look. Not a good candidate for a pilothouse addition anyway, if I care about her looks. Those Fisher pilothouse boats are well done....even the 25.

kavw
01-14-2019, 02:29 PM
Hello, long time since this message, but I wondered if you had posted pictures of the gazelle with pilothouse? I am slowly considering doing the same to my Colvin Doxy. Cheers,
Kristjan

navydog
01-14-2019, 07:29 PM
Hello, long time since this message, but I wondered if you had posted pictures of the gazelle with pilothouse? I am slowly considering doing the same to my Colvin Doxy. Cheers,
Kristjan

Check out, SV Panope; https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=riXNSA7m-bk

ahp
01-14-2019, 07:39 PM
I don't know what you are planing to do with your boat. If you you are planning any trans oceanic sailing, which I have not, read Alister Cook's "Heavy Weather Sailing". You should have a flush deck. You may want to give up sailing and grow roses. A pilot house will be the first thing to be swept away, leaving a big hole for green water.

ben2go
01-22-2019, 09:23 PM
Maybe consider a canvas dodger.

James River Rat
01-22-2019, 10:33 PM
Friend Bob Perry fan club on facebook and there are several discussions on pilot house sailboats....and Bob's wisdom is priceless.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/187149054996410/

kavw
01-28-2019, 01:04 PM
Check out, SV Panope; https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=riXNSA7m-bk

Cheers the link, now allís I need is a workshop, and hopefully half the skill he has!

ben2go
01-29-2019, 02:34 PM
Friend Bob Perry fan club on facebook and there are several discussions on pilot house sailboats....and Bob's wisdom is priceless.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/187149054996410/


I'm not an FB person. Could you tell me what boat drawing is on the top of the main page? I clicked the link to see what I couldn't see.

Tom Hoffman
01-30-2019, 08:45 PM
WOW, this thread has gone on for such an innocent question, alas, I am now a RC Sailboater as the hips and balance have gone south. I do build my RC Boats.

Tom...

navydog
01-31-2019, 06:39 AM
WOW, this thread has gone on for such an innocent question, alas, I am now a RC Sailboater as the hips and balance have gone south. I do build my RC Boats.

Tom...

Tom,
An understandable situation. Lots of folks switch to power because the demands of sailsailing are diminished. Just a thought.

John B
01-31-2019, 03:19 PM
An oldie but a goody.
I built a hard dodger with a lexan screen for offshore, works like dream, doesn't look too bad. The idea of a dodger over a full pilot house is if it gets swept off it still leaves the integrity of the cabin, deck and hatch. It'd be a mess but you'd still have something to close.
Steel tube frame, hard lid, lexan screen tied and zip tied on,removable clears on the sides.
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