Running Down the Dream
LIVING SIMPLY AT SEA
The Beach House Concept
If you needed to consult some experts on living simply at sea then Jason and Clo from Trimaran Spirit would be amongst the most qualified people to talk to. Since they sold Spirit a couple of years ago Jason and Clo have been putting a lot of thought into what comes next. Catamaran? Trimaran? What would be about the right size for long term living at sea and some serious passage making? What kind of features would work best for ease of handling, low cost and minimal energy requirements.
Over the last few months we've been throwing a host of ideas back and forth and working on a couple of concepts, a cat and a tri, both 50' LOA. One of those concepts we've talked about is the open plan layout; similar to what Alan Carwardine has introduced on some of his Stealth Catamarans. There's no division between saloon space and cockpit. It's all one airy open plan living space.
We used a version of this layout on the Mauritius trimaran design, but what was missing was coordinating the cockpit and the shade roof so that the living and working spaces could be quickly and easily closed off to provide security when the boat is unattended or to provide protection in case of bad weather.
For the two 50 footers the shade roof extends to the aft extent of the cockpit area (the aft beam on the cat and the aft cabin on the tri) and behind the seating at the sides so that the space can be secured with blinds, clears or tarpaulin style covers that unroll from under the roof.
Our Raku catamarans currently offer the option of an open plan with a wide opening in the saloon bulkhead. Beach House concept takes this design feature a step further, offering a layout that can be readily adapted to the climate or security needs at hand and in my view the ultimate layout solution for the tropical and temperate climate cruising lifestyle.
Trimaran Spirit. She was designed and built in Europe for the Formula 40 racing circuit in the 1980's. She's crossed oceans and served as home for Jason and Clo for a couple of years.
Spirit is now with new owners and the experience of living aboard and sailing Spirit is the impetus for thinking and talking about "what comes next?"
Yup! The Beach House open plan layout works fine on cruising trimarans as well. When Mauritius was designed in 2016-2017 we weren't planning to incorporate the drop down blinds to secure the open cockpit space - but the new concept 50 trimaran does include this feature.
Twin helm stations aft give the helm person ready access to the spaces in the cockpit and saloon areas and easy communication with other crew members.
Stealth 40 Coconuts designed by Al Carwardine and built in Thailand by Asia Catamarans. Alan is no slouch when it comes to creative ideas.
The side enclosures are a solid composite panels that hinges up under the roof. Personally I think I would prefer a roll up blind that can be drawn fairly tight when it's deployed and I prefer an opaque material to clears because it's cooler - but hey- that's the details!
The visit to Coconuts was the first time I saw the open plan concept effectively implemented. The open feel of the layout was impressive, especially for the tropics.
The two dodgy characters in the cockpit are Al Carwardine (top right and lower) and Zam Bevan.
You don't want sunlight beating directly into the cockpit in the tropics and it's common to see various boats using covers to provide shade.
What the Beach House concept does is extend the shade roof right aft so the aft cover drops vertically to the aft beam, and it allows for the side covers to be fixed securely behind the cockpit seats.
If using soft covers as seen here aboard Chincogan 52 Soul a zippered section can be included to provide access in and out of the enclosed area.
Concept T50 Trimaran featuring the Beach House Layout. More details on this design coming to the web site soon