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Thread: Cockpit Comfort

  1. #1
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    Default Cockpit Comfort

    As I search and consider various designs for my first build, a thought keeps popping into my head - Is this boat comfortable? Does it have a sweet spot for 1-2 to nest into? Often, the photos and videos that I see are from the perspective of the captain/crew looking outward, but I want the inward views. Which designs can be sailed/crewed, in light/moderate wind, from a comfortable position? Which designs are well-balanced for weight distribution for solo sails and for two? Maybe for a second build, I would consider something bigger like a Caledonia Yawl or Arctic Tern to camp cruise. For a first build, I am considering something in the 11-15 foot range, sail or sail and oar, stayless masted, maybe car-toppable and stitch-glued. Thanks for any suggestions and/or photos of you in your sweet spot enjoying the day!


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    Last edited by thad_h; 10-20-2021 at 10:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Not car-toppable, but the Goat Island Skiff is always my recommendation for a small day sailor. Plenty of people have built a Goat and as such, there are tons of building references online.

    The boat looks reasonably comfortable, being able to be sailed while seated on the floor or from the gunwale. The designer, Mic Storer, posts here occasionally, and has put a tremendous amount of thought into the design. The result is a 15 footer in stitch and glue, that utilizes a balanced lug rig for simplicity and performance. From what I have seen, the Goat Island Skiff is just a tad slower than a Laser (or wtf they are calling them these days), but much more friendly to sail, especially with a crew.

    If I were in the position to be building a boat right now, I would most certainly be building a GIS. For me, it checks all the boxes.

    Give it a look, and if you pull the trigger and start one, keep us posted.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Sweet Spot

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks cglynn. Yes, I do agree that the GIS checks many boxes and looks like a very fun boat! I watched all of The Video Rambler GIS series on YT. Inspiring! Might even consider building one. In my opinion, the one thing that this design seemed to be lacking, is comfort. Seemed more like a butt cheek on the rail - semi standing up position and not many alternatives. Obviously, there will be a need for a hiked out position, when conditions call for it. Sometimes I want a butt down, back supported and feet up position. Throw in a sunset and a gentle water slap for ambiance. Which boat offers that?


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  5. #5
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    Default Cockpit Comfort

    YES! There it is - the sweet spot. Thanks wizbang 13. That is a beautiful boat and photo! The build is way out of my league, but I love to see it nonetheless.

    Also, that low side position is appealing. Close to the water and good visibility. Have seen several CY sailors in that spot, with pushpull tiller extensions in hand and smiles on their faces.


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    Last edited by thad_h; 10-20-2021 at 11:16 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Thad, have you considered a Catboat? Bolger Bobcat, Catfish, and Chebacco might be worth looking into. Selway Fisher also offers a couple of S&G Catboats that look to be very comfortable.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    I don't think you'll find that "butt down, back supported, feet up" position in many cartop boats. But there are lots of lightly trailerable options out there that will fill the bill pretty nicely. 'Course, that GIS with a couple of beanbags.....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Thad, I think you're asking the right question and one I ask myself as I also consider a 14-16' boat. However back support combined with butt support that keeps you out of the inevitable bilge/spray water accumulation is a big ask, it would seem. The Ilur is one possible answer (and I'd maybe lower and widen those fixed side seats a bit) but it's a bit more like a little ship than what I'm looking for, even so, I'm sorely tempted. I'm looking for a beam probably over 5 1/2' just so I don't have to constantly move my weight in and out in some of the lighter stuff. I'll be curious to see if there are any solutions posed in this thread...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Butt down Feet up 13'


    just don't cramp up

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Butt down Feet up 13'


    just don't cramp up
    I was just going to invoke this image as possibly the most comfortable cockpit image ever. Haha. Thanks for posting it. I love this picture. Looks like the best time.

    I try to be cool, but I don’t think it plays as well…
    73DD9183-41A5-427E-BAAB-7FAFDF19A945.jpg

  11. #11
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    Default Cockpit Comfort

    I am definitely open to trailerable options. Currently have a trailer boat, but would love to replace it with a classic wood build. Bean bags did not cross my mind, but I am imagining it now. Ahhh.

    I suppose this is an odd forum topic, but I thought it would be interesting to see the responses. I understand that many of the old designs were working boats and comfort was not their focus. Designs like Oughtred Elf, Hylan Oonagh, CLC Peapod, Melonseed, Welsford Sei, CLC Skerry, and so many more, catch my eye for various reasons. I am in Michigan and we like to jump around from small to large inland lakes, Great Lakes bays, wider rivers and even a special canal further north in the U.P.

    Oh yes, Dryfeet, love the Ilur also. And all of the Roger Barnes videos.

    Photo posters - please mention the boat design, if you know it. I am still learning. Thanks!


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    Last edited by thad_h; 10-20-2021 at 01:08 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    "Comfort" is very subjective. Somebody who practices yoga may find comfort where the less limber finds a torture chamber. There is a time factor too, are we talking an hour flitting about a harbor or all day adventure? Car top too? That's a quest many have been on without much success. There are indeed a fair number of boats you can put on top of your car (how big/tall are we talking here) but it takes an awful lot of machinations to get there there. My 6-8" long Feather pram came in at about 65 pounds, not all that heavy by itself but damned awkward to carry around, fortunately in slips into the back of my Suburban for transport. Not really something I'd recommend as a two-person sailboat either, very little relaxing to be had even as a solo rower. Maybe a SOF boat, but there are some durability and performance compromises there too.

    I suggest just going ahead and building either of the Oughtred boats, if you really want to start smaller though:

    The 11'-8" Oonagh from Doug Hylan, other than putting it on top of the car I think it ticks most of your boxes.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Steve, the Oonagh is in my top 3 contenders list, as is Doug's Crab Skiff. The cool thing about the Oonagh is that while it's on the smaller side of the goal, it is a pram which makes it really more equivalent to a boat 1 or 2' longer. Not quite ready to pull the trigger on it but....

    Sorry Thad... this is your thread... carry on!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Oonagh is one of the dozen or so boasts I think would be a hoot to build, even if I turned around and sold her after a season to make way for another.

    Also, it would look pretty sweet being towed behind my Vanagon camper.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Most comfortable small sailboat I’ve ever experienced (from an admittedly small sample) was a beetle cat. Wide, shallow, flat, round bilge, nice coaming height. Could laze around the lake all day in one, and did.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Comfort is a moving target. My CLC Skerry was okay 10 years ago but not now. My eye is on something with sealed side benches for comfort and flotation.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Quote Originally Posted by thad_h View Post
    As I search and consider various designs for my first build, a thought keeps popping into my head - Is this boat comfortable? Does it have a sweet spot for 1-2 to nest into? Often, the photos and videos that I see are from the perspective of the captain/crew looking outward, but I want the inward views. Which designs can be sailed/crewed, in light/moderate wind, from a comfortable position? Which designs are well-balanced for weight distribution for solo sails and for two? Maybe for a second build, I would consider something bigger like a Caledonia Yawl or Arctic Tern to camp cruise. For a first build, I am considering something in the 11-15 foot range, sail or sail and oar, stayless masted, maybe car-toppable and stitch-glued. Thanks for any suggestions and/or photos of you in your sweet spot enjoying the day!
    A couple of possibilities:

    Ross Lillistone's Phoenix III, at 15' 1" or so, 4' 6" (ish) beam.

    DSCF1728 (2).jpg

    Excellent comfort for solo sailing, lots of room to move around and sit in different positions. Pretty good comfort for 2 adults (can even sleep 2 adults aboard on a removable platform). Very comfy to sail either on side benches, or (benches removed) sitting on the keel. Rowing two-up, the transom does drag a bit, and the tiller is in the way unless it's removed. But it rows very well.

    With over 1,000 miles aboard (e.g. HERE and HERE), I've never needed to hike out in this boat.

    Low freeboard for good rowing, so not much of a backrest when sitting on thwart or side benches if that matters.

    DSCN9579.jpg
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Heh, Thomas Firth Jones once wrote something to the effect that "the best day sailer is less comfortable than the worst chair in your living room"

    Boy was he right!

    As far as stitch and glue construction, row and sail, unstayed mast and maybe car-toppable, and reasonable comfort in the cockpit, take a look at the good old Bolger Gypsy. It has two nice side benches in the stern, so no sprawling about while sailing.

    It rows well and sails well too.
    Some find it a tad under canvased, and also add fore and stern decks, even side decks, but I think it's best to keep it nice and light as designed, rather like this pretty example.





    This book cover construction of it in detail -

    https://www.instantboats.com/product...instant-boats/

    Plans here -
    https://www.instantboats.com/product/gypsy-15-x-4-4/

    Here is one way to car-top it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIy3toNmUJQ

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Most comfortable small sailboat I’ve ever experienced (from an admittedly small sample) was a beetle cat. Wide, shallow, flat, round bilge, nice coaming height. Could laze around the lake all day in one, and did.
    But you sat on the floor while sailing, right? I thought the big stern seat in those things was just something to step on when getting in.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    This is my Australian designed Green Island 15 - the most comfortable dinghy I have ever sailed in. Link to youtube video below, but here's some pics too. In the video, look-no-hands sailing in 8-10knots, long side thwarts for a multitude of seating positions to get the balance right on any point of sail, room for two or three, always sitting inboard, comfortable height off the floor, and plenty of width to the thwarts.

    As to those who like sitting on the floor for three hours or so - spray in the face - that's not what I call comfortable, but maybe others sail in quieter waters. Each to her/his own

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8P7WibA1k4

    green island 15 _2_wb.jpg green island 15 _1_wb.jpg Gull_1_wb.jpg Gull_3_wb.jpg
    Last edited by johnno; 10-20-2021 at 10:32 PM.
    Flat bottomed boats, you make the rockin' world go round.............

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Quote Originally Posted by Etdbob View Post
    But you sat on the floor while sailing, right? I thought the big stern seat in those things was just something to step on when getting in.
    Yes, exactly. None of the ones I’ve sailed ever had a stern seat. You just sit on the floorboards. It’s kinda like sailing a huge Adirondack chair.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    The most comfortable small boats I've sailed always involved sitting on a cushion on the sole -- as a number of photos already posted show. That's how I sail my Redmond Whisp, too. I rigged a perimeter line from a short tiller, so I can steer from any spot with either hand. I'll reduce sail before I might need to hike out.
    -Dave

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    Cglynn was correct. It’s hard to beat the comfort of a catboat cockpit.

    D2FE4E35-B6BC-4348-863F-06DAFFDA142B.jpg

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Cockpit Comfort

    this is the most comfortable I can think of to sail in..
    IMG_20210719_154922.jpg
    but not to nest in or for two unless you are VERY friendly.
    Just an amateur bodging away..

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