Once you own a boat, you start to make a mental list of the features and the cleaver bits of design that would make life aboard better – sometimes just a little better and sometimes a lot. I thought I’d turn my own personal list into a series of posts here. This is part one of that list.
1. Forepeak Locker
My first wish for any cruising boat is illustrated in the picture below and it’s one that makes life a lot better –
This is me on board the new Besteaver 45ST Nesco at the 2016 K&M Yachts open day in Makkum in the Netherlands. That little space that I’m emerging from is her bow locker and crucially it’s BIG. It can therefore hold a lot more than just anchor chain. If you want a Besteaver 45ST you can’t expect much change out of £0.5 million. But it almost seems worth it just for this little space because too many boat designs get this bit wrong in favour of pushing the forward birth into the tip of the forepeak to maximise interior space. Interior space is great but the benefits of a larger bow locker are even greater and it’s a trade I’d be willing to make on any boat from about 26 feet and up.
So what are the benefits?
- Space for fenders – Fenders are annoying when they’re not protecting your boat – they’re big and often damp and moving them in and out of the cockpit interferes with the people who are actually sailing the boat.
- Space for sails – A spinnaker, stay sail or a Code 0 – The tack point for all of these fun or useful sails is at or near the bow, having a good deck locker forward means you’re not carting sails around the deck, or cluttering up the fore cabin. Also, if you’re leaving your boat in the water for the winter but still actually want to use her interior, then having a place to stow all the sails plus other canvas items without filling up the cabins is a good thing.
- Space for other stuff – Wet suits, the tender or fishing gear – stuff that gets wet or a bit smelly is best kept away from the cockpit lockers.
- Mooring lines – It’s great to be able to stow the bow lines without bringing them all the way back to cockpit when you depart and not have to cart them back down to bow when you return to port.
- It puts the fore cabin in the right place on the boat – Contrary to popular belief a fore cabin is actually a pretty nice place to sleep in many circumstances – it provides the best ventilation when it’s hot, the best privacy, you can hear if the anchor is dragging and not hear the stern slapping. However if that fore cabin is too far forward then wave motion starts to feel extreme and the space for head or feet gets tight. A fore cabin that puts your head at or slightly aft of the base of the mast is about right and this leaves space for a big locker forward.