While we continue to see what layouts we like and what we don’t, identify what we can compromise with and what we cannot, one thing that is the biggest deal breaker is headroom. Yes vertical height generally in the boat, and in the head (bathroom). While my wife is all of 5 foot nothing, I on the other hand are 6′ 1″. All that boils down to is that almost every boat works for her, but no so many for me.
For example, we looked at a very nice 2005 35′ Beneteau for $85k. It had plenty of headroom through out. Drawback, it was so narrow that we had to turn sideways to pass each other walking from the galley to the salon. I could only imagine getting so fed up with the narrowness constantly walking back and forth that this vessel would not work.
Then came along a 38′ Catalina. The beam (width of vessel) was greater than the 35′. The price was right at only $30k, so we phoned up the owner, and went for a look. Upon arrival, she seemed to be forgotten about in the backyard canal. Leaves and twigs all over the deck, just crying out for attention. Once on board, we looked around inside and out. She really looked good for her age. A 1982 model, surprisingly in great shape. A little cleaning and polishing, but seemed really sound. My mind raced about for what needed to be upgraded, replaced, or added to make her our own. Unlike the 35′ Beneteau, we could walk freely from the galley to the salon. I start envisioning myself at the nav station. Eating in the salon, and as I make my way in the galley, thinking of preparing breakfast right here on the ‘thud’ stove. Ouch. With my head not moving, my eyes roll up to see what happened. The ceiling curved down over the galley, to a point I could not stand without stooping or bending my neck bent in half just to use the sink and stove. Forget even trying to access the icebox. I back out of the galley and head for the forward V berth. ‘Thud’ as I step into the v berth. The ceiling once again sloping ever so soon to a point of making contact with my head. I continue to ponder if I could make this work. I want to make this work. I step into the head (bathroom) cautiously awaiting for another thud. It doesn’t come. I’m somewhat relieved and start thinking again, this might work. Until I look up to see how much clearance is left. There isn’t any. I was actually standing in the head, with my head sticking out the window hatch that was opened previously. I almost looked like a prairie dog with the top of my head sticking up through the window.
I was defeated. I was confused. It doesn’t make sense to me that bigger is smaller. Smaller is bigger. I would not have thought that a bigger boat would have less room. Although the more searching I do, I read posts that there are some boats with more head room and bigger beam (width) at smaller lengths, same lengths and longer length boats. Right now, priority of finding a boat with enough headroom to standup in places I need to stand. I cannot compromise on that.