OK, folks. Here’s the dealio. I never loved the interior layout of the Skiff America. In fact, I can be found earlier on this blog to state I plan to change the interior in order to accommodate 2 additional sleeping areas. I actually had a plan in my head to accomplish this. But, I’m again rethinking this area of my boat.
- Overnighting with 4 people would happen quite rarely, less than 5% of the time.
- Overnighting in the cockpit has it’s own set of problems, like: Mosquitoes, gnats, rain, privacy etc.
- I don’t want the complication of zip-in side panels. Been there, done that. Too much work setting up and taking down. Too bulky to store. Gnats get inside at night and can’t escape. Two under the cabin will have to be sufficient. I can always throw in a backpacking tent if necessary.
- Finally, why should I configure the cockpit of my boat for a function that represents less than 5% of its actual usage?
So, here’s my current thinking. I’ll design the interior around how it will be used the majority of the time and what makes sense from a visual and functional stand point. I’m sure Kilburn will not agree with me here, but he knows I’m a free bird.
So, what makes sense to me? Ok, here goes. I’m going to design the interior seating much like that of a ski boat. I’ll have 2 captains chairs up front and U shaped seating in the back. The front seats will be on adjustable pedestals (that will swivel, raise up and down and adjust fore and aft). These pedestals will be mounted into the floor with a secure base. The front pedestals will allow ultimate flexibility. I can swivel the seat around and rest my legs on the aft side bench, visit and have a cold drink. It will also allow adjustability for my kids to captain the boat. It also allows me to tuck my feet under the seat for multiple leg positions. And, finally, I can mount the seat exactly where I want it irrespective of the placement of the back bench. So, both captain and navigator will have adjustable pedestal seats.
Now for the back portion of the cockpit.
I’ll run a continuous U-shaped seat (starting aft of the pedestal seats) and joining across the back of the boat. The U-shaped seat will afford flexible seating. Someone sitting in the aft corner of the boat can put their feet up and run them across the back of the boat, or forward toward the cabin along the side of the boat. Also, boarding from a dock will be easier by allowing you to step onto the bench before stepping onto the floor (remember the sides are sloping inward). This is very similar to how you would board when entering from the lake.
This all dictates how my false transom will be designed. Hence, I made some changes here too.
This is the stock false transom fit to the boat. The first thing I noticed was the straight line across the top of the transom. To me, it looks too straight, too flat, too proper.
I milled down a stick of sapelli to create a stick 3/8″ x 1,5/8″. I knew I could easily bend such a stick.
I glued this stick to the top line of the false transom, but held the ends down 1″.
Here’s the new transom. I love the subtle arch to the top line. It mirrors the arch from the true transom of the boat. And yes, I’m opening up the lower portion of this area to improve access. All the openings measure 13″ heigh. These open area will not be trimmed in solid wood, as they will be behind the U-seating area (this also saves weight, more on this latter).
Now I’ll add 2 layers of epoxy to both sides prior to installation.
Thoughts on Weight:
I understand and respect the importance of not adding unnecessary weight to this design. As I’ve made changes to this boat, I’ve always tried to keep the weight concept in check. Kilburn has done a great job of shedding weight, so let’s not screw it up.
However, In a conversation with Kilburn, he kindly expressed a concern that by running my floor doubler all the way to the back of the boat, I’dd added too much uneccessary weight to his elegant design. In fact, he felt I had already added the equivalent of a cooler of food to the back of my boat. This put a zap on my head for a few hours after our conversation, so I thought deeper about his concern. Here’s my take: A full 4 x 8 sheet of 1/2″ plywood weights 40 lb. By running my floor doubler all the way aft, I added an additional 20″ x 38″ or 16% or 6.40 lb. to the back of the stock plan. Let’s call it 8 lb. with epoxy. That’s a pretty light weight cooler. I weighted all the parts I removed from the false transom on my digital scale and got 1.92 lb., let’s call this 2 pounds after epoxy. Hence, I’m currently sitting about 6 lb. over what might be called stock boat weight. Now, if you added a thicker top piece than mine to the false transom, the weight will be even closer. Then if you consider I’m not running an interior gunwale, solid wood around my false transom areas and thinner than stock gunwales, bow and cockpit coamings, I dare say I’m actually under stock weight for this boat. Not that the exact number actually matters, but it is important to keep these boats light. I’m resting better now after actually calculating some of these weights. Yes, my boat is light.
My U-shaped rear seating arrangement will make more sense in the coming posts. I believe it will increase access to hidden storage areas, improve boarding ergonomics and provide flexible seating options. And, I’ll continue to keep it light.
This is a very beautiful design and it gets more beautiful to me each and every day.