Seating in sailboats

I am considering a few of the CLC kits including the Passagemaker, Eastport, or Mill Creek 13.  For the prams my primary interest would be in sailing. Rowing would be secondary.  I already own a small sailing dinghy (a snark sunflower) but would like to have a more comfortable (and home built) boat.

Based on the images I've seen in the catalog and on the site I wonder just how comfortable these will be under sail.  I already have a boat inwhich I ride on the floor while sailing.  If I build my own boat I'd like to be able to sit on a seat (I'm not 25 anymore...).  The bench seats in these boats appear to be either too far forward or too far astern to sit on while sailing (though they appear to be perfectly positioned for rowing).  In one of the photos in the catalog it looks like the man in the boat is sitting atop the dagger board.  That can't be comfortable. :-)  The gunwales are too narrow to sit on so all that would leave is the floor.

Do I have a mistaken impression?  Do 6' tall men sail these from a seat in the boat?  Or is everyone sitting or kneeling on the floor boards while sailing? I'd love to hear of people's experiences since I'd rather build a kayak if the seating in the sail boats isn't all that different than my existing dinghy.

BTW - I am in no way disparraging these boats!  Their designs look terrific.  I am simply wondering how they would meet my specific needs.

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RE: Seating in sailboats

I sailed the Skerry, PassageMaker and NE Dory at last year's Okoumefest. What a great opportunity! Although some could be sailed lightly while seated, if you  wish to get any speed out of them it seems you do end up on the floor using your weight as ballast. A few Skerry owners have added nice floor boards to make this a bit more comrotable.

I am building the Skerry, I thought it a very comfortable sailor (I'm 43). The boom is high enough where I could sit seated sometimes while under sail, no stays and one controlline.

RE: Seating in sailboats

You can sit high and dry in a Pocket Ship :)

RE: Seating in sailboats

Looking at the pics for the Northeaster Dory it looks like the seats are well placed for sailing.   The rigging looks fairly complicated though.  It's a little bigger than I would like so I'm still hopeful to hear more about one of the boats I mentioned.

The Pocket Ship is incredibly cool.  I crawled around in one at the Annapolis boat show and loved it.  I can't see myself building something that big as a first project though. I'd like to work my way up to that.  It would make a terrific boat for week-ending on the Chesapeake.

RE: Seating in sailboats

If you like the Pocketship don't be worried about it being your first project. The instruction manual is very comprehensive. The only consideration I think you need to look at is that Pocketship is definitely going to be a longer build (and more expensive). I'm no sailing expert and my Pocketship has only been on the water once but it looks like it is going to be an incredibly comfortable sail compared to the Club 420s we took our beginners sailing lessons in.  Pocketship can be outfitted with oars or you can get adventurous and scull from the back with a yuloh when you need manual power.


RE: Seating in sailboats

"the Northeaster Dory it looks like the seats are well placed for sailing"

Yes, but the boom is lower. I only sailed it at Okoumefest, but found one had to move around to duck the boom.


RE: Seating in sailboats

JH - thanks for your info!  The feedback on the NE Dory is great.  I might start off with the Mill Creek and try to get a ride on some of the others this summer.

 decurtis - Congrats on building a Pocket Ship!  Being a first time builder I have a lot of limitations including available work area.  Plus I'm not sure i have the staying power for the larger craft.  Need a smaller boat to let me see if I can keep with the project to completion.  :-)

RE: Seating in sailboats

>>>>>I already have a boat inwhich I ride on the floor while sailing.  If I build my own boat I'd like to be able to sit on a seat (I'm not 25 anymore...).>>>>


It's a good question.  Bench seating won't be found in lightweight, relatively narrow boats like our Skerry, Prams, Skiffs, and Dory.  The reason is that the heeling moment of an adult sitting on a side-bench in a 95-pound sailboat (like the Skerry) will simply capsize the boat.  Sure, in strong winds you could be sitting out to the side like that, but you'll have to be very athletic in switching sides when you tack or jibe.  That's a racing dinghy game, literally a balancing act.  Much worse than sitting on the bottom.

If you sit more or less in the bottom-center of an ultralight boat, you'll still have to shift your weight some, but not as much.

I put a lot of thought into the seating position of those boats, even though you sit on the bottom.   The curve of the sides fits your back and it's very comfortable.  But it's not the same as bench seating.

To get bench seats, your sailboat needs to be heavy, pure and simple.  The boat needs to weigh more than you do, maybe three times what you weigh.  PocketShip, at 850 pounds, has lovely bench seats.  I'd say 500-600 pounds is probably minimum.  



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