I've been reading around on this site for many weeks now, but since this is my first post, a quick introduction: I'm an English professor at the University of Iowa, and a seasoned sea kayaker who recently took up sailing after building a 14' Pocket Cruiser with my fiancee and sailing it for our honeymoon.
It will be quite awhile before I get around to building it (I'm going to build a scale model first), but I thought it might be neat to get a thread going about the best uses of interior space you have seen in smaller cabin layouts for boats in the 15' to 30' range.
Does anyone else think that the long-standing debate about changing plans has been re-opened? For example, with my Stevenson Pocket Cruiser, I built it generally according to plan, but the interior was left extremely sparse on the plans.
I don't know that changing the interior arrangement constitutes changing plans, so long as the weight distribution isn't significantly altered. I bought study plans for the Princess 22 a couple of years ago and the original interior arrangement was unusual. It is very convenient, if perhaps a bit unsightly, if your dishracks and glass racks and cutlery containers are fastened to the walls and bulkheads.
I used a simple propane 2-burner Coleman camping stove (cheap and available everywhere) and a 5-lb re-fillable propane bottle on a 6-ft hose. The major change I made was to move the daggerboard boxes in toward the centerline of the boat, so that instead of having slots outside the cabin where a board would need to be manually raised and lowered in the slot on deck, there was a slot in the cabin roof.
Of course those of us who haven't bought a copy of Stephenson's plans have a little difficulty comparing what you've built with what they've drawn.
Wes, I went to your website, and was impressed by your boat's innovative and highly effective use of the limited space available. My experience with boat interiors is limited, only having seen the inside of half a dozen different models, but IMHO the Compac 19 has one of the best interiors for an under 20' production boat that I have seen. As you indicated, I think simplicy is key in functionality of a cabin in a small trailerable cruiser.
I lived for 9 months on board a 23' 3000# sailboat, so living on a small boat is something I am VERY familiar with!
I would put a high priority on comfortable places to sit, and being able to reach as many things as possible from where you can sit. For example, rather than taking up space with a built in sink use your largest cooking pot (or a plastic bucket) as your sink.
My stove was a gimbaled single burner unit that ran off a propane bottle screwed straight to the bottom of the stove. Moving the daggerboard slots in toward the centerline of the boat DID reduce the width of the floor a little (compared to installing them under the deck according to plan); however, there's still 5' or more width between them, so it doesn't really impact comfort negatively. Using plywood bulkheads and stringers with a 6 mm plywood skin over, building her is about as simple a job as one could get in a boat of this size.
Light in weight so that the tow vehicle can be quite small, needing only ankle deep water with the plate up so she can be slid into the water pretty much anywhere, Sweet Pea has a self-draining cockpit big enough for six, even allowing for the outboard motor in its well at the after end of the starboard side seat.


Sweet Pea is a hot performer, she has a very high power to weight ratio, a fine entry and a clean run. Sweet Pea is intended for harbour and estuary sailing with short coastal hops on reliable weather forecasts an option. As a cruiser, this sort of boat is a camper rather than a five star hotel, but there is enough space for a couple of friendly people to enjoy a few days away. With the cruising yawl rig, she'll be simple to rig with short spars, easy to handle, easily reefed in a blow and very capable. The builder should budget on about £1,800 for the hull materials and 250 hours to build it. For a relatively small investment in time and money for buying the materials the builder gets a capable little cruiser, the social contact of club activity and a huge amount of satisfaction. To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions. Previous sailing experience was limited to a number of crazy (some successful) sailing experiments with my sea kayak. I ordered plans yesterday for the B&B Princess 22, which I've had my eye on for quite sometime. This means having a seat, perhaps one that swivels or moves, and all pots and pans and condiments and dishes within reach. Having to always open compartments or boxes to get at a (eg) pair of tongs is irritating because on a very small boat such things usually have stuff piled on top of them. You, and you alone, should determine what goes where in the galley (or your wife, if she's interested).
Because the daggerboard trunks were made taller by this change, the daggerboards could remain entirely hidden inside their trunks, never visible to view.
It mounted on a bracket so when it was not in use I could stow it it in the lazarette, which was cut off from the rest of the boat so I did not have to worry as much about propane leaks, and it was out of the way. All of the storage is on the floor (under the shelves), so weight is kept as low down as possible AND as close as possible to the middle of the boat (for trim purposes). There's plenty of width for legs, and as you may have noticed I designed the shelving to stop just fore of the daggerboard slots so that the rest of the floor retains full width for maximum shoulder room.
They are still mounted the proper distance fore and aft to put the Center of Effort of the boards under the Center of Effort of the sails, as required. With a mostly mature membership and close to 200 miles of fairly sheltered tidal coastline to play with, there was a need for some simple cruising accommodation as well as enough performance to be a fun class racer.
Simplicity saves costs as well, so there would be few boats with the combination of low budget, speed and cruising capacity that this one has.
There is enough space to seat four below, she can sleep two in better comfort than some and has permanent mountings for a stove, storage for the portaloo and enough gear for a weekend!


There is enough lateral plane in the big steel centreboard to minimise leeway on the wind, and there is enough weight in that board to steady her a little. She will self right from a 90degree knockdown but the design is not intended for the sort of waters with wave actions big enough to roll the hull completely. I would have built it instead of the 14' Pocket Cruiser, but it wasn't in the budget, probably wouldn't have been done in time for the honeymoon, and was too big to fit in my current garage. I'd love to hear about anything, from whole interior layouts to tiny little trim ideas--functional or cosmetic.
My question was intended more in terms of really slick ways of designing added features into the existing layout, WITHOUT altering structural elements.
You can make quite attractive racks and buy fancy tinware plates and things that are not unpleasant to look at.
The boat balances incredibly well in the water, sitting deeper when the cooler and drinking water are loaded, but not interfering with the trim of the waterline. With her kite up out there on the fixed prod there is enough speed there to keep even the most avid racer happy. She has no built in buoyancy other than keeping water out of the boat and a self-draining cockpit, but if you want to build it in there is plenty of space under the cockpit, under the quarter berths and under the anchor well. They will help you decide whether or not you can build the boat but do not provide sufficient information to actually do so. That space was filled on one side with the porta-potty with a folding wood lid on top if it and on the other side with a general purpose flat surface with drawers below it.
You will need around 300 litres of foam to provide enough lift for the boat and two people.
The boat is actually noticeably more stable while heeling when the cooler and water are loaded. A lot of times, it's easy to find exterior shots of all kinds of small sailboats on the web, but not many interior photos. It would be cool if people on the forum here could post pics of their cabin interiors so the rest of us can see what we're missing (or not missing) that might improve comfort on our own boats.
And the result was a stronger boat that retained (actually strengthened) the structural elements as laid out in the Stevenson plans.



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