Boatbuilding Blog

June 22, 2008

Cabin Mockup

Filed under: Building - Cabin — tomlarkin @ 1:36 pm

(Edited for clarity and to add link to Woodenboat discussion)

I spent every night this week mocking up the boat cabin, complete with door and seats. I used scrap lumber and an assortment of other cheap material to make a cabin frame for better visualization of placement and spacing. Today I tore it all down so I could get back to building.  I’ve always had a fear that things wouldn’t fit, or that some part of the design was unworkable.  I’m happy to say I’ll be able to do pretty much everything I was hoping to in the boat.  I’m really happy with how it all went together after 2 years of thinking about it.  Now I just need to build the thing!

Aft cabin and pilothouse. I lengthened the pilothouse by 8 inches from Devlin’s plans to allow standing headroom forward  of the bed. I’m concerned about how this will look, but it makes a huge difference in the usability of the aft cabin. I can stand by the bed now (actually with 8-foot headroom).  I may add a small round porthole in that blank space on the side.

Main cabin 


Boat plans. The one on the left is as Sam designed. The right picture is what I was going to build – the bed is turned 90 degrees.  What I’m building now has the head (toilet) moved to a small cabin forward of the steering wheel, and the helm seats moved toward the bow to add space to the aft cabin.  The pilothouse is 8 inches longer (toward the stern) than this picture.

Original plan     Modified plan   


From the front. These are my junkyard Honda seats and steering wheel. There’s enough room to lay the seat all the way back.  The seats slide 6 inches aft so you can stand in front of them to steer. The cut out in the front shelf is the entrance to the forward cabin where the head (toilet) is. The pilothouse has a door on either side. Note the door on the right – see the next picture …

From the bow - door open  From the bow  - door closed  


The plans call for sliding doors. I prefer swinging doors – easier to lock, and easier to make weathertight. To make it work I notched the bottom of the door to clear the gunnel. Of course, there’s a matching protrusion on the jamb. It doesn’t seem to make going through the door any more difficult.  As usual, when I come up with something unusual, I ask the Woodenboat guys and they shoot it full of holes. I may choose to take my chances and ignore them this time. There are thousands of tugs out there with swinging doors.

Pilothouse door

Nifty mocked-up dashboard. Instruments should fit behind it without intruding into the head area (too much). Enough room to lay down a chartbook on the shelf.

Dashboard and steering wheel

Aft cabin. The bed takes a standard double (aka full size) mattress (54″ x 75″), and runs athwartship. Your feet are in a raised area of the side deck. The open box you see in the first two photos below is the galley.   The pilothouse seats mount on top of it. You sit on the edge of the bed to use the galley.  There will be a sink (with pressure water) on the left and a work surface on the right. A gimbaled Forespar Mini-Galley stove mounts to the side of the cabin to the right of the box (the Starboard side of the boat).  The galley will be used mostly to prepare sandwiches, coffee, tea, and oatmeal.  The Dickinson Newport propane heater is mounted above it on the cabin side so we can watch the flame from the bed.  The heater was the other reason to lengthen the cabin – I just couldn’t find a safe place to mount it anywhere else.  A good cabin heater is an absolute necessity for being able to use the boat year-round in the Pacific Northwest.

Aft cabin   Showing the galley area under the seats  Aft cabin from the pilothouse 

heater - uses outside air, so no danger of asphyxiation  stove



  1. […] pleasing. The main change to the plans is that the pilothouse is lengthened by 8 inches (see the mockup entry). To reduce the blank space at the aft end, I’m thinking of making the side windows 1 1/2 […]

    Pingback by Starting the Cabin « Boatbuilding Blog — July 12, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

  2. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you
    know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m
    not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    Comment by Kelley — November 22, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

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