Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cockpit Ideas

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we've been thinking for a while of reconfiguring Macha's cockpit. Here's how the cockpit is layed out today:

Features we want to keep:
- small footwell to if swamped by following seas
- giant hatch for loading/unloading dinghy, outboard, cargo, etc.
- general simplicity and ruggedness

Features we want to change:
- better jib winch placement
- easier handling of mainsheet
- coaming boards to keep water out
- room for two (or more)

In deciding what we wanted to do, we looked at a LOT of other boats and pictures of other boats, specifically gaffers and double-enders. Actually, more important than the cockpit work itself, this is a practice I would heartily recommend to any boat owner. Macha's builder and previous owner Jay kept a physical scrapbook of ideas from other boats. It's a great practice; my last boat was a Catalina 30 -- a boat so common I could walk up and down my dock and see 15 examples of different ways to set things up. But with a less common boat, it's great to document clever, graceful, strong, simple, complicated, elegant design solutions to various parts of the boat.

Next time you're wandering around a strange marina, bring a camera or a sketchbook!

For example in thinking about a new mainsheet for Macha, one mainsheet layout we knew wouldn't work is the traditional traveller aft of the rudder posts:

Since Macha is double-ended, with a stern-hung rudder, this arrangement wouldn't work.

We considered something like these boats:

We liked the fact that this "upside-down-V" arrangement wouldn't require a traveller. Since we've found mainsail sheeting angles to be VERY non-critical on our gaffer, we didn't think we'd miss a traveller, and hey, simplicity is best when you can get away with it. On the downside, we could imagine the mainsheet getting caught up on ourselves and deck hardware when jibing.

We also thought about raising the traveller high enough to clear the tiller, like these boats:

Notice that these boats all have a transom rather than a pointy stern. Also, Macha's mighty tiller is bigger and higher than all these examples, so traveller high enough to clear it would have to be massively braced and might look ridiculous.

After all this looking at other boats, our final decision (surprise surprise) is an incremental rather than radical change. We're moving the traveller forward by about 12", the jib winches will go about 18" forward and out on the wooden coaming boards. The footwell will stay narrow and pretty shallow but will get extended about 24" forward. Hard to visualize based on that, but we think it's going to be funcitional and beautiful...

Macha's current traveller is a bronze 1-1/4" propeller shaft, with a bow shackle as a slider. The shackle usually binds on the windward side, then slamming to leeward when you least expect it. I'd like to find a nice bronze bullet block or slider. Something like this:
Problem is I can't find one anywhere that will fit a 1-1/4" traveller, but since the bronze rod is thicker than it needs to be, I'm going to look around for a 3/4" propeller shaft for the new traveller.

We're also getting new winches for staysail and jib sheets. Nothing I can say will logically justify these:
Except that the Pardey's swear by them and they're the prettiest hardware I've ever seen in my life!

We have plently of time to blog about this non-trivial undertaking, because we're not actually doing the work... We hired a guy named Steve Hutchinson who works out of Berkeley. He comes highly recommended, and we'd seen his carpentry and finish work on classic/wooden boats and were really impressed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check this website for a slider: