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Thread: Head instead of V-berth?

  1. #1
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    Default Head instead of V-berth?

    I'm seriously considering building a Gartside #116A, but I'd like to ask whether anyone has opinions concerning not having a V-berth. In terms of a cruising couple not having a sufficiently-sized "playground". Lol. I seem to prefer how Adkins and others place the head astern, often on the port side. Btw, the #116A is a 26 ft LOA hull, presumably not including the bowsprit.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    From what I see on the web, the head is forward.

    I am pessimistic about V berths for two reasons: I like my legs cool when sleeping, often pushing the bedding away from my thighs down. Also, a V berth entangles your legs with your partner making it hard to adjust while sleeping without bothering your partner. The other reason is the scaring from "my first time". My back kept banging and rubbing against the overhead and, that being a fiberglass boat, we created so much excess hot vapor to condense on the overhead and drip on us . . . it was like a miserable rain forest.

    Better to make a fold-up berth extension (shielded from the mast) for use at anchor. The extension makes a great fiddle board enabling one person to sleep while you're under way. And don't cruise with more than one.

    G'luck

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    It seems that if you want a boat that weighs as much as a modern 36 footer, yet which has less interior space than a '60s 28 footer or some modern 22 footers, you're going to have to accept compromises.

    It looks to me as if there's not even a bulkhead between the head and the saloon, and that the head compartment curtain runs across the port saloon berth which would be embarrassing when one partner is sleeping and the other dealing with the effects of a curry. If you're going to effectively have the head and bunk together, why not put a vee berth over the head?

    One may also wonder how much romance will be kindled when there appears to be nowhere to prepare or eat fine food and wine. Where does one put two plates, two pots and all the ingredients?

    We have a minimalist vee berth on the 4000 lb 28 footer and a huge one on the 10000 lb J/36. We did get tangled a bit in the smaller boat but still always slept there. Both boats have a forehatch overhead to solve the ventilation issue.

    I have to confess, while I try to see the good side of boats, I just cannot understand many boats like the Gartside. Why make something so heavy, with such a large rig, when it contains so little room? It's not as if it's going to go very fast and it's hard to see any naval architectural theory or practical experience that says that a small ultra-heavy boat is safer or more comfortable than something with the same weight and rig but in a longer hull.
    Last edited by Chris249; 01-03-2019 at 07:29 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    A good head in a small boat is a real challenge. I'm a fan of the AirHead but it might be a little high to fit in this boat forward of the mast. Maybe if you move it aft a hair so's to gain some overhead room under the forehatch ? ? ?

    The reason for putting the head at the foot of the companionway is obvious - convenience. But in a really small boat that's not so obvious. Marmalade's starboard side head gave little in the way of turn-around space and nothing in the way of standing headroom. Basically, I had to teach people to loosen belt and waist band, then facing broad on the starboard bow, swing the right foot in, pivot to really face the bow while dropping trou, left foot in and smooth deep squat. There was a good hand hold bar. Once seated, access to the Pullman style sink, view in the mirror, and all that was quite nice and all was tight enough that you'd not fall out or even strain under way.

    I believe in the head facing forward or aft and the throne itself being in a tight space. Most people need to relax various muscles and activate others to get anything done and good bracing on either side is the way to get that.

    All of which means that assuming you can solve the headroom issue, a head forward of the mast is more likely to be easy to get settled on.

    Gents might be tempted to take their wizz over the side, very dangerous in this boat. Surrender your modesty and aim for the lower cockpit drain or (especially nice if your partner is a woman) invest in a catheter per person. Works for long distance solo or small plane pilots.

    The legendary Herreshoff bucket can be used in the cockpit well but in conditions you'd be tempted by that, the amount of spray might be inhibiting.

    Small boat intimacy has so many more dimensions that anything ashore.

    G'luck

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Anything that n the pointy end is subject to fairly violent motion in rough weather, this is bad news in a V berth and possibly worse if trying to use the head.

    I'd not willingly use a V berth at sea, though they can work at anchor or in harbour.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?


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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Always an option if you don't mind throwing raw sewage overboard.

    Aren't we past that point yet?
    Elect a clown expect a circus

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    My opinion is that aboard a small boat, one's point of view should be that of a camper.

    So, rather than bemoan the lack of luxury or privacy, I am grateful that I do not have to dig a privy nor watch out for poison ivy. Similarly, I am grateful that, rather than having to carry my bed and my stores on my back, the boat carries them. One needs a pretty big boat to deliver bonafide privacy and land-like comfort.


    Kevin
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    I met a chap at the ptwbf last year, he is a member here (coffeeman). He put a bunch a coffee, peat moss and sawdust in a 5 gallon bucket , and has a bag with s’more. He used it for weeks , then took it ashore and hurried the contents.
    Thus, one does not HAVE to throw doody overboard jus cuz one uses a bucket,(like I have for 45 years).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    My AirHead calls for peat and years back I began adding the morning's coffee rounds after they dried. For composting, sawdust is a bit more of a question. For composting, you really want the urine separation ability.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Having the head forward in a small boat makes a lot of sense. You use the head less than any other part of the boat in terms of total minutes. It should be in the least useful part of the boat- way up forward.

    Sleeping in a V-berth is okay at anchor, but it's the worst place at sea. I like a small galley aft, spread along the aft bulkhead with two settees immediately forward of the galley. This gives a social cabin, comfortable sleeping motion, and the opportunity to pull out an extension to create a double berth if desired. For the rare time you need to use the head but the forepeak is too lively- the bucket will serve well.

    Some people like heavy boats btw, and some people really DON'T like high freeboard, extremely wide hulls made of lightweight fiberglass. All boats are compromises, and to some sailors, the 116A is a dream boat.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Always an option if you don't mind throwing raw sewage overboard.

    Aren't we past that point yet?
    You mean how the entire city of Victoria dumps their raw sewage directly into the Straights- to be sucked down into the sound on every tide? The occasional offering of a varnished bucket pales in comparison to the municipal discharges.

    That said, one should follow the law, or the spirit of the law at least, and don't dump near shore and certainly not in a protected anchorage.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    You mean how the entire city of Victoria dumps their raw sewage directly into the Straights- to be sucked down into the sound on every tide? The occasional offering of a varnished bucket pales in comparison to the municipal discharges.

    That said, one should follow the law, or the spirit of the law at least, and don't dump near shore and certainly not in a protected anchorage.
    Not a fan of what Victoria does, obviously

    But how about not adding to the problem and not putting sewage in the water?

    I have a composting head, which is a wonderful invention
    Elect a clown expect a circus

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    I read Ruel Parker’s take on this topic, it’s interesting. He is a fan of the head being under a hatch in a cockpit bench. Now I know some people just aren’t going to be down with this. But I think his reasoning has some validity to it. Smell is not trapped in the cabin, no lost cabin space, the crew is living together in a small space anyway so just get over it, and to a passer-byer it appears that you are just sitting in the cockpit. Personally if I was having a curry event I would not want the smell trapped below.

    When I am sailing my canoe I kneel and pee into my bailing pitcher then dump and rinse over the side, easy and safe!
    Last edited by Matt young; 01-03-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Always an option if you don't mind throwing raw sewage overboard.

    Aren't we past that point yet?
    . We do not throw raw sewage overboard! The solution is in using Wag Bags/avaiable from REI and other sport shops. These sterile bags contain a powder that absorbs moisture and turns it into an odorless, sterile and disposable solid. In port, the bag can be placed in any trash can that can "legally" accept baby diapers. Offshore in international waters, sewage waste discharge is not regulated.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-03-2019 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    . We do not throw raw sewage overboard! The solution is in using Wag Bags/avaiable from REI and other sport shops. These sterile bags contain a powder that absorbs moisture and turns it into an odorless, sterile and disposable solid. In port, the bag can be placed in any trash can that can "legally" accept baby diapers. Offshore in international waters, sewage waste discharge is not regulated.
    Jay
    Good to hear
    Elect a clown expect a circus

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    . We do not throw raw sewage overboard! The solution is in using Wag Bags/avaiable from REI and other sport shops. These sterile bags contain a powder that absorbs moisture and turns it into an odorless, sterile and disposable solid. In port, the bag can be placed in any trash can that can "legally" accept baby diapers. Offshore in international waters, sewage waste discharge is not regulated.
    Jay
    --- The Wag Bags work pretty well. (My friend's boat had a potty but it couldn't take poop somewhy, and I found the Wag bag bag was big enough to go into the bowel and draped conveniently over the seat as well). I found that it was better to carry some large ziplock bags to double-wrap because some slight smell seems to escape from the sealed Wag Bag, somehow, unless its was my imagination. --Wade

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    For composting, you really want the urine separation ability.
    This turns out to be exactly backwards. For composting you want it moist, i.e. mix pee and poo together. And then it takes a year.

    I am still a fan of the "composting" heads but in truth, they are more of a poop storage device than actually composting. Go read the humanure handbook. It's free on their site, just takes a little hunting. Well worth the time. It's truly not the touchy-feely back-to-the-land gusher it sounds like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Always an option if you don't mind throwing raw sewage overboard.

    Aren't we past that point yet?
    You mean like all fish do, like seals and sea lions and those adorable dolphins ? And the orcas and the whales ?

    Instead you'd rather dump it into drinking water, pump chlorine into the sea, create massive amounts of sewage sludge that then gets burned ? Pump crude oil out of ANWAR so you can turn it into fertilizer with all the drawbacks that creates, the excess of which then causes dead lakes and rivers ?

    We need a totally different approach to sewage. See the above advice. This "out of sight, out of mind" fecophobia is no answer either.

    On the subject of v-berths, a funny thing I just came across. Apparently Philip Rhodes had some unusual quirks .. none of his boats, unless it was specifically demanded, had a double berth. Even the large ones that had plenty of room, like 77', would have two single berths spaced twenty feet apart. With a storage bin separating them
    Last edited by Favorite; 01-03-2019 at 03:51 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Most of Gartside's small cruising boats, power and sail, have exposed, 'less than private' heads.

    Wag Bags are okay but somewhat expensive: https://www.amazon.com/Cleanwaste-Wa...ywords=wag+bag

    Another option is the disposable, liquid-gelling, odor-absorbing diapers that have come on the market. Not for wearing of course, but lining the bucket with one works pretty well! Use, wrap and pack away in a bag for proper disposal ashore: https://www.target.com/p/luvs-dispos...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    wrap and pack away in a bag for proper disposal ashore ...
    That's something we need to get away from - the idea that flushing our poop in our drinking water then pumping it to a huge poop-collecting place that then does really stupid things with it is "proper."

    This is a giant problem which hiding does not solve

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    That's something we need to get away from - the idea that flushing our poop in our drinking water then pumping it to a huge poop-collecting place that then does really stupid things with it is "proper."

    This is a giant problem which hiding does not solve
    Who said anything about putting anything in drinking water??

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Pooping in plastic, and then putting it in a landfill seems the worst possible option! That plastic remnant from you momentary relief will still be sitting there in 10000 years! Sea levels will have covered it, glaciers will have tilled it and then retreated, and still the plastic that wrapped your poop will remain. Dumping it raw in the ocean seems better than that!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    It seems that if you want a boat that weighs as much as a ....
    While you're not wrong, it might be 6 months before I can have this conversation. Today, all I can say is that I recognize the distinction between weight stability and form stability. What I like best about this design, besides the topsail, is that it's longer than the 25 ft house I built last year, in the yard of which I'd hope to build this.

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    Who said anything about putting anything in drinking water??
    Do you have a dog ?

    Seriously, that's what you do at home. Think about it a second. It's stupid. Our entire sewage system is really really retarded.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    I first used V berths on a Herreshoff Rozinante and later a very similar (and somewhat larger) version in the LFH Cat Yawl 'Descant'. This sort of berth was completely appropriate. Later we lived aboard a 30' double ender with a V Berth and the head nestled in the middle of the aft end...this was a problem at night if someone had to 'go'. Ultimately my wife and I moved into the main cabin, making the transom berths there join in the middle at night, and relegated the V berth to storage

    Generally I am not a fan of V Berths on smallish cruising boats. I do not really like not having room at the foot end. I do not like the way the boat trims with two right forward. At anchor this encourages the boat to tack around the anchor more than it normally would.

    In Whimbrel, I have the berth in the main cabin extend across the cabin. We can sleep either across or fore and aft. We have lots of foot room. We sleep together. The weight is amidships. The head has been separate till now, and can be used by either of us while the other remains comfortable in bed. I am changing things around a little, but the new head location will still not encumber the bed. There is no privacy, so those not engaged simply turn the other way. Enclosing the head would cut up the people portion of the cabin considerably. The Fo'c'sle is used as cargo-hold storage. The space is roughly a triangle 8 x 8 x 3.5....good for spare rope, sails, anchor and rode plus several bins of books, and spare charts, and also a cooler...(this last is a little out of the way but seems to work best there).
    I do something more akin to camp cruising than most people with a 33 foot boat, but it suits me better.

    For most casual cruisers....the weekends and a week or so in the summer....sorts.... I think the head in the fo'c'sle works reasonable well. I had that in my 45 foot power boat. It was a good use of space. With the exception of really quite small cruising boats as I described above. I do not like V berths on a cruising boat

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    I do not like V berths on a cruising boat
    Sometimes there is nowhere else

    For people who can sleep alone, this is a potential solution to the footspace problem (if you have enough height)
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    You mean how the entire city of Victoria dumps their raw sewage directly into the Straights- to be sucked down into the sound on every tide? The occasional offering of a varnished bucket pales in comparison to the municipal discharges.

    We're working on it, John, at long last.

    A sewage (excuse me wastewater ) treatment plant is under construction as I write this. As is often the way with large public projects, it's both overpriced and uses outdated technology in my view, but it will go into operation, finally, by the end of next year, if all proceeds according to schedule.
    Alex

    "“He was unfamiliar with the sea and did not like it much: it was a place that made you cold and wet and sick” " Nevil Shute, Trustee From the Toolroom

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    The head on our boat is way up in the bow. Isn't that why it's the head ?
    When I had my Contessa 26, I never used the vee berth, had a drop board to make a double bed in the main cabin while at anchor or dock. The vee berth held sails, fenders, dinghy...

    Cheers,
    Mark

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Always thought that a bow head was a good idea. Why store heavy things up there. Also the vertical slope of the sides makes a tight fit with the feet for balance but more space around your head to minimize that claustrophobic feeling.

    The air head on my buddy's boat works great. It's almost more of a solid waste drying machine because it almost seems to disappear over time.

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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark0 View Post
    I never used the vee berth, had a drop board to make a double bed in the main cabin
    You guys make me jealous with all this talk about berths in the main cabin ... but I want to know, then where do you put the engine ?

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    but I want to know, then where do you put the engine ?
    Silly question..... in the engine room of course

  32. #32
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    Default

    I prefer the 1.5 or double berth to one side forward. A 1.5 is what my Blue Moon has forward and it is a remarkably good berth even though it lacks headroom to fully sit up. A shorty model C-Head is able to fit next to it forward and is nearly smell free so far if emptied on schedule.

    There's also room for a full length single width berth in the main cabin a good galley, and even a 2-seater settee. Eventually, I plan on boards that drop in and can convert the main cabin berth to a double or the space below it to stowage for an extended passage.

    Heavier boats do have interesting characteristics regarding layout and stowage, but displacement still correlates pretty directly to interior volume regardless of D/L ratio (for a given hull material, anyway). In my limited, personal experience, Mimi Rose, a medium-displacement 8 ton hull, has an incredibly comfortable sea motion. So far, I've been astonished that my Blue Moon, a very heavy-displacement 4 ton hull, seems its match in a seaway in terms of comfortable motion, even if the period is different. Still gathering data, but I tend to believe the older wisdom about heavy hulls and motion comfort.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    Colin- For what it's worth. Yacht designer Ted Brewer on 'comfort ratios' for sailboats:

    COMFORT RATIO (CR): This is a ratio that I dreamed up, tongue-in-cheek, as a measure of motion comfort but it has been widely accepted and, indeed, does provide a reasonable comparison between yachts of similar type. It is based on the fact that the faster the motion the more upsetting it is to the average person. Given a wave of X height, the speed of the upward motion depends on the displacement of the yacht and the amount of waterline area that is acted upon. Greater displacement, or lesser WL area, gives a slower motion and more comfort for any given sea state.
    Beam does enter into it as as wider beam increases stability, increases WL area, and generates a faster reaction. The formula takes into account the displacement, the WL area, and adds a beam factor. The intention is to provide a means to compare the motion comfort of vessels of similar type and size, not to compare that of a Lightning class sloop with that of a husky 50 foot ketch.
    The CR is : Displacement in pounds/ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x B1.333). Ratios will vary from 5.0 for a light daysailer to the high 60s for a super heavy vessel, such as a Colin Archer ketch. Moderate and successful ocean cruisers, such as the Valiant 40 and Whitby 42, will fall into the low-middle 30s range.
    Do consider, though, that a sailing yacht heeled by a good breeze will have a much steadier motion than one bobbing up and down in light airs on left over swells from yesterday's blow; also that the typical summertime coastal cruiser will rarely encounter the wind and seas that an ocean going yacht will meet. Nor will one human stomach keep down what another stomach will handle with relish, or with mustard and pickles for that matter! It is all relative.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    The Geneva Protocol

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Protocol

    ... is very strict about the use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous and other Gases ...

    certainly, and as Ian McColgin says, "A good head in a small boat is a real challenge"

    since I stopped sailing in big sailboats and I converted to minimalism ...
    in no way am I going to put the toilet/WC inside a small cabin, no

    on my next sailboat my idea is to place it outside under awning-tent

    and the V-Berth has to be really big and suitable for two adults
    and not what is usual: a V-berth only useful for children to sleep

    Most small sailboats are absurd: they have places to sleep for an infantry battalion

    ch21accom.jpg

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Head instead of V-berth?

    The Golant Gaffer

    https://www.woodenships.co.uk/sailin...golant-gaffer/

    it is a small boat well thought

    and has the toilet in the bow, the "head", exactly

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