February 2022: This was one of the original articles defining the Adventure 40 concept. We are now in the process of further defining the boat by publishing the detailed specification prepared by the French team, who are going to make the Adventure 40 real. These articles will, over the next few months, supersede this one. In the meantime, we will keep this article available.
Now we are getting to the really hard part of specifying the Adventure 40, the interior. Unlike most production boats where an interior is specified that will sell at a boat show and then a boat is designed around it, resulting in a poor sea boat, we have already specified the hull form and deck of the Adventure 40, and spent some serious coin in the process.
So now we are going to find out if people are really serious about wanting a true offshore voyaging boat for less than $200,000, because this is where we are going to make the hard decisions and compromises to make that possible for the price.
This is a long post, reflecting the complexity of, and the compromises required in, this area. However, even if you are not interested in buying an Adventure 40, you may wish to struggle through to the end since we will cover many of the difficult decisions we must all make when selecting a boat, regardless of size.
And we will do this analysis from the point of view of someone who has really been out there (me), assisted by a lot of people with real offshore experience (those that comment on this site), rather than some salesperson.
Before we get into specifics, we need to define the mission of our Adventure 40 interior arrangement. Here is is:
- A comfortable offshore voyaging and live-aboard interior for a couple with occasional guests that don’t stay long—trust me, they won’t.
- Good sea-berths for three people, which allows a crew at sea of up to four, assuming a single watch stander.
What about couples with children? I have wrestled with this more than any other issue about the interior and come to the conclusion that we simply can’t fit two private sleeping areas into the Adventure 40 without messing up the boat or making her substantially bigger and therefore more expensive. So, children (or guests) will have to live and sleep in the salon. Is that workable? Only you can decide based on your family dynamics.
If not, maybe one day there will be an Adventure 45.
Since we don’t have a hull actually drawn, it is impossible to come up with an exact layout at this time, but what we can do is look at an existing offshore boat of about the same displacement, with a layout that we know works well, and then discuss the changes and tweaks that we can make to meet the Adventure 40 mission.
This approach will stop us falling into the general silliness so often exhibited in those “My Ideal Boat” discussions on the forums where people add every possible feature to their wish list without any understanding of the volume required and thereby end up with an arrangement plan that might just fit into the hull of the Queen Mary II and be barely affordable by Warren Buffet.
Ian McCurdy, at McCurdy and Rhodes, designers of our own Morgan’s Cloud, has been kind enough, once again, to let us use the design of the McCurdy family boat Selkie—an extremely successful offshore boat that is about the same size as the Adventure 40—as a starting point. You might want to print out the plan that starts the post (click to enlarge) so you can use it for reference as we continue.
I’m going to guess that the Adventure 40 will be a little wider and a little longer on the water and, therefore, if we are going to stick with a sea kindly hull form, a little heavier than Selkie. But we just can’t go over 20,000 pounds displacement if we are going to hit our price point, so we had all better get used to the fact that this is all the volume we have to work with. And, after all, many people have successfully and happily cruised in far smaller boats.
Storage is vital for a live-aboard voyaging boat, so let’s start there with the changes we need to make to Selkie, which was designed for racing and shorter cruises.
Selkie has much better storage than most boats her size with a good-sized forepeak and a roomy port cockpit locker. In addition, her relatively deep hull form allows much of the tankage to be in the bilge, freeing up even more room for storage. This is an advantage of deeper boats that buyers often miss when evaluating a wider boat with almost no bilge.
So all we need to do for the Adventure 40 is replace Selkie’s starboard quarter berth with a storage and equipment space. This change will also give us really good access to the engine, running and steering gear.
In addition, it would be really great if we can fit in a small work bench with a vise. And even better if it could be designed so said bench can be removed and installed somewhere in the cockpit for those jobs that require more elbow room.
Selkie already has a near ideal U-shaped galley layout, although it would be good if we could upgrade the stove to three burners, which I think the probable additional beam of the Adventure 40 will allow.
Chart Table, Or Not
This is a hard one. As frequent readers of this site know, we are big believers in navigating on deck and the Adventure 40 will have a hard dodger with room under it to mount electronics and work on a chart, albeit folded fairly small. But on the other hand, it’s really nice to have a “ship’s office” below where we can use a computer, draw, or write in comfort.
Separate Shower Stall Wins
Having said that, and given the amount of space we have, I think that the best thing to do is scrap the chart table and replace it with a separate shower stall that can also be used as a wet weather gear locker at sea. After all, we can work at the salon table.
For those of you who may be understandably stunned by this decision, Dick Stevenson does a great job in this comment of explaining the many benefits of a separate stall shower.
It would be nice to put the head here too, convenient to the companionway, since this will put the entire “working area” of the boat near the companionway and separate from the salon and sleeping areas—absolutely the best way to do an offshore layout. And moving the salon forward will result in a bit bigger galley too.
I’m a great fan of dinettes for salons but they do take up more room than settees and I’m doubtful that we can fit one in without making the whole thing too cramped to be comfortable. You often see dinettes designed with straight backs and seats that are not deep enough for the human form in an effort to shoehorn them into too small a space, which results in a sitting position that the Inquisition would have approved of.
But there is an even bigger problem with a dinette layout and that is the difficulty of fitting in three good sea berths that are parallel to the center line of the boat. (Sleeping on a berth that is not aligned with the center line is truly horrible because as the boat heels your head is either higher or lower than your feet.)
So, on balance, I think that the best bet is to stick with Selkie’s classic settees and drop-leaf table salon and use the additional beam of the Adventure 40 to add a pilot berth on one side that has the added benefit of being a good place to store bedding during the day, and can, with the addition of a curtain, act as a private space for a child.
We may need to resort to “trotter boxes”—extensions of the settees and pilot berth for your feet that go under the counters or into lockers in the head and galley—in order to get a full 7-feet of berth length. Done right, “trotter boxes” don’t reduce the comfort of the bunk, but allow the length of the salon to be reduced to 6-feet, which is plenty for two people to sit comfortably side-by-side. Of course “trotter boxes” will impinge on the storage in the head and galley, but you can’t have everything and by going this route, both will be bigger than those on Selkie.
Since this is primarily a boat for couples, and we are anything but puritans here at AAC, I will leave the forward V-berths but add a removable filler between them to facilitate cuddling.
Assuming that the head moves aft, we will lose much of the hanging locker and bureau shown, but I would hope that we can retain a smaller hanging locker on one side and a set of shelves on the other.
There is no gentle way to say this. If you are dreaming of a varnished wood interior fitted with lots of beautifully made drawers and clever and complex places to store stuff, the Adventure 40 is not for you. We simply can’t afford the labour costs of that kind of fit out if we are going to hit our price target.
The interior will be mass produced outside of the boat in modules that are pre-finished, probably with some kind of plastic laminate. There will only be two drawers, both in the galley for storing sharps, etc. The rest of the stowage will be fitted with shelves—adjustable up and down would be good—and we may even resort to zippered fabric locker covers rather than doors.
I am hoping that we will be able to trim the edges of at least some of the cabinetry with wood by designing it all in CAD and then cutting it out on a CNC router. This will result in a light and airy feel, but with a touch of classic class, much like the traditional “Herreshoff interior” of white painted wood with mahogany trim.
By the way, I can tell you, having had boats with both types of interior, that the Adventure 40 will be much more pleasant to live in and easier to maintain and keep clean than some varnished cave.
Light and Ventilation
The boat will have three big Dorade vents: one forward and one each over the galley and head. There will be four ports: two fixed in the salon and two opening, one in the head and one over the galley.
There will be only one hatch, situated in the forward cabin. Yes, I know that many owners will want more hatches for light and air, but keep in mind that a white interior needs a lot less light to feel bright than a varnished one and a wind scoop fitted forward, together with the Dorades and two opening ports, will keep the boat plenty cool.
One thing we might be able to do would be to incorporate a flat area with no core into the deck amidships where a reasonably handy owner could easily install another hatch. A feature that would be in keeping with the easy to customize ethos of the Adventure 40.
Not Set In Stone
I’m certainly not arrogant enough to think that the layout I have come up with is the absolute best posible, so I will certainly listen to suggestions in the comments. Also, I almost guarantee that the professional naval architect who eventually designs the boat will come up with improvements.
Having said that, please don’t forget that the arrangement I have specified is the result of some 20 years, spaced over 45 years, of living on boats that go offshore—this is not just theory.
If you have any thoughts for improvement, or questions, please leave a comment. One thing I would ask is that if you want to see a feature added, please think carefully about what you are willing to lose to free up the required space and budget to accommodate your idea, because we don’t have any of either to spare.