Catamaran Layouts. Looking at the big Picture

Updated: Apr 22

Post #08

The image below compares the flow and spacial organization for a cat with a forward cockpit and makes a direct comparison with a cat with a conventional layout from the previous post where the saloon and cockpit are divided into roughly equal spaces by the cabin bulkhead.

There are some things I like about the forward cockpit layout. In particular the centrally located galley with plenty of light, ventilation and close proximity to the conversation, with food and drink pretty much within arm's reach from the various sitting positions.

But there is one aspect of this layout that in my view is a poor fit in the big picture. The space required for the mast cockpit has pushed all of the above decks accommodation aft, effectively limiting the space available for the saloon and aft deck. In this case the aft beam was moved further aft in an attempt to compensate for this problem, which had the downstream effect of compromising the trim. This is a clear example of imbalance and its consequences that I referred to in posts 3 and 4.

In addition the incorporation of the central helm station inside the saloon detracts to some extent from the ambience of the saloon as primarily a space for dining, relaxing and socializing, although I concede this might be a subjective assessment. If helming from inside the boat is preferred the "feel" of the living space inside the saloon might be improved by moving the helm station to one side or the other and this might benefit forward vision from the helm station as well.

What the flow and spacial organization diagram makes clear at a glance (green shading) is that the area required for the helm station, for access to the mast base and for the operation of the sail controls is taxing the space available for human needs and leisure and forcing compromise in other areas including the cockpit which has effectively become a passageway providing access to the saloon cabin.

This is the form and context argument laid bare. One element of the whole might be considered an imperative inclusion, in this case the mast cockpit but it must be seen and assessed in the context of the whole.


Comparison of two catamaran layouts
Two catamaran layouts compared

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