Author Topic: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?  (Read 450 times)

Offline BruceW

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Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« on: January 19, 2017, 10:00:54 PM »
Hi,

I have seen some CPs with factory pilot house, some with user mods, some with dealer mods.

The idea seems good, but I am wondering, on a practical basis, how you see to steer them. I am trying to visualize the cockpit, and what you can see when you are sailing.

Tiller? Wheel? How do you see through or around the pilothouse?

Thanks,

Bruce
Bruce Woods
Raleigh: WR 17
New Bern: CP 23

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 03:03:10 PM »
Bruce,

You have in my opinion asked one of the best questions I have seen on this forum for a long time. I have owned my pilot house for over a year and just beginning to appreciate all the benefits of the boat. I have always sailed smallish open cockpit boats, and remember being cold and wet in stormy weather on the Chesapeake when a forty-something would go by with the amber glow radiating from the cabin port lights and thinking "how nice would that be". Well that all came back to me the other day when sailing here on Charlotte Harbor, and was being shadowed by a Catalina 22 when we had a mild rainstorm. The four in the cockpit quickly turned into two, and I suppose the third was too embarrassed to leave the helmsman by himself. I just slid the window closed and watched from my nice dry seat in the cabin. Love this boat, but it's a waste to use just as a daysailor. It is a great little cruiser.

I had never considered a pilot house for myself, but having been forced to give up my Corsair 24 because she wouldn't fit within the maximum size limits of the marina where we are now, I had to find a suitable cruiser under 26 feet. This was my best choice for a boat capable of more than weekend cruising and really shallow draft. Keep in mind that 23 isn't big and there is a lot of accommodation in the cabin. My wife and I are of small stature, and I don't think this is a suitable boat for a tall person. It is also a bit too small to cruise with more than two. We use the quarter berth as a fantastic easy to get to storage area. I would think that the 27 would be a perfect platform for a pilot house big enough for tall folks or those that just need a little more elbow room.

I have yet to steer from the cockpit, no need. The visibility is far superior from the inside steering station as you are positioned much farther forward and higher. The ventilation is excellent and you are protected from the heat of the direct sun, as well as excessive UV radiation. While cruising I use the tiller pilot a lot to relax and watch the scenery or whatever else needed on longer stretches. The cabin isn't big, but well laid out and standing headroom with the exception of the V-berth. You don't feel crunched up or stuck in a confined area. There is plenty of light and ventilation in the cabin so it's a nice place to be while sailing, and the view is great. I like the table remaining in place so it's always ready. There is a good bit of storage under the steering station and under the sink. The built in drawer is perfect for dinnerware and cookware. I have installed a Sea Swing stove converted to propane for use while underway and have a two burner Coleman propane stove that fits perfectly on the platform for the steering station and use it when anchored.

As far as performance, well I hope everyone understands that these boats aren't designed as race boats, but how many people buy a Corvette to haul the family around in, it's more often a minivan that works best for that purpose. If you step back from the boat show bravado of how fast every boat is and focus on the really important aspects of a family boat you'll understand why so many people love their Com-Pacs. From the classic 16 on up, they all do what they were designed to do and do it well. This boat is no exception, being adapted from the well proven 23 hull, and a well thought out use of the pilot house it does what it is supposed to do with grace. As a cruiser, sailing on your ear isn't necessarily a high point, it makes you have to sit in odd places and spills everything on the floor. With the Deisel engine weight low and close to mid-ships instead of hanging on the transom you get a more balanced and stable boat. Keep in mind when comparing the 500 lb. difference in weight to the standard 23 outboard, it does not include the weight of the outboard motor, so the actual weight difference is less than first assumed. Because of the pilot house height the main is shortened by about a foot so the main has a bit less area compared to the standard 23. This has two advantages, the first being less tendency to heel over in a gust and less weather helm. The boat will still sail hull speed but with less heel. With the rig dimensions this is a boat very easily handled by one and sailed properly she will never go out of control. This is "low stress cruising in comfort". I will be adding a Tides Marine Strong Track system this spring to make the hoist from the cockpit easier and for the sail to fall into the Stack Pac without my having to go on deck. How much better can it get? They are not priced with the boat show beauties but earn their money on the water. If you have ever sailed some of these boats designed to attract buyers at boat shows, you will really appreciate the sailing manners of a well designed boat and the pilot house is no exception.

Yes, there are times when you would love a bigger boat, but in my case there are many more times that I enjoy the benefits of a small boat, and the pilot house is one more reason.

P.S. I have just removed the MSD and replaced it with a C-Head composting head and so far the results are really good. No smell, no pump out, no lugging a porta pottie, and no hauling around of dead weight in the holding tank. I think she is just about the perfect pocket cruiser - Hello Florida Keys and Bahamas.
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline BruceW

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 05:45:01 PM »
Well, Ron, that was a nice post.

I should have said I already have a CP 23, so I do understand how cool they are.

So, I still have my questions. You say you don't need to steer from the cockpit. Huh, I guess. How do you sail at all then? Now, in the spirit of things, I am not skeptical. I just don't understand how sailing is done. Keep in mind, my sailing is from the cockpit, holding the tiller, and adjusting the sheets as needed.

a. You do this from inside? Please tell me more! How do you trim/adjust the sails? I just don't understand.

b. Could you steer and work the sheets outside?  I was envisioning sailing from cockpit, going to internal station when weather told me to.

Thanks!

Bruce
Bruce Woods
Raleigh: WR 17
New Bern: CP 23

Offline brackish

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 05:47:23 PM »
Hey Ron, do you have a cockpit bimini on your 23PH and if so with the extra room under the boom, does it give you standing head room?  Or would it if you had one.  My old and tired back is starting to demand such amenities.

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2017, 06:55:38 PM »
Bruce: As I pointed out, this design is not intended to be a day sailor or racer, so sail trim isn't something that needs constant attention. If I am sailing to windward I get the sails set up and then sail by the jib telltales. The farther off the wind you are sailing, the less critical the trim is. If there is a sudden windshift, I either follow it if it takes me closer to the rhumb line or I simply step into the cockpit and make the necessary adjustments. Not being a race boat, I don't have to worry about sail shape so much because the main is relatively small and has less impact. Plus as a cruiser, I am more concerned about my beer being cold than that extra 1/8 knot of speed. With close to 50 years of sailing including racing trimarans, sail trim becomes a sub conscience reaction, like steering a car down the road. I am confident that any sailor will eventually acquire this kind of intuition. I take the effort required to keep the boat moving as I feel necessary and don't yet find it "too much work". Remember, it's only two or three steps to the cockpit. I don't hand hold the sheets, and as I mentioned, I use the tiller pilot a lot when on a long trek.
If you use your boat for daysailing, and enjoy the sun on your face, and don't spend that much time in the cabin, then your boat is perfect. I was responding to your question about the difference sailing the pilot house.


Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 07:29:44 PM »
Brackish: I do have a bimini for the cockpit, fantastic for here in Florida. I am 5'6" unless I have already begun to shrink, and I have to bend my head down just a bit under the bimini, but can walk around freely without stooping. Which means that I have to sit down to drink my beer. As I suggested in my original post, this boat is best suited for someone of small stature (I hate the word short). Luckily I fit the boat pretty good because the restrictions of my marina exclude some bigger boats that would otherwise work. But I have to say that it's a hell of a boat for 23 feet, and I have never had to fear for my safety in bad weather in any of my Com-Pacs. Just to add to the joy of ownership, there is no teak on the exterior - hurrah. The pilot house has turned this boat into a different critter, and added a lot of versatility for cruising. The separate head is a winner with my wife and she really likes not banging her noggin using it. Happy mate, happy life.

I use a 35 quart Engle fridge which slides right under the v-berth, and keeps the beer cold - along with the food stuff. The boat has two batteries and I follow standard practice by keeping one in reserve when the engine is off. With the 60 amp alternator on the Yanmar, it charges in a flash. I also have a 50 watt solar panel which pretty well keeps up with needs during the day. Typically the motor is used at the end of the day so I use that time to get some extra chill in the fridge, then shut it down over night. Food is still cold in the morning, and I rarely drink beer before noon - it's usually Cpt. Morgan Cannon Blast in the morning. I believe in responsive drinking.

The boat is really comfortable to spend extended time on and you only need to make port every week or so. My composting head has eliminated the need to search for a pump out station. My wife and I will soon be in a position to spend long periods cruising, and we expect to have many blissful hours soaking up the culture and scenery of the Florida Keys, and hope to make at least one sortie to the Abacos. We are just too late in life to cruise the world, and this is one hell of a nice second place.
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline brackish

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2017, 06:50:41 AM »
The separate head is a winner with my wife and she really likes not banging her noggin using it. Happy mate, happy life.

Thanks Ron, for the real life assessment. Turning 70 in a week and as much as I like my 23 it is slowly becoming the wrong boat for the times for us.  Not having an enclosed head on the next boat would be a deal breaker for my wife.  Have been considering going to the dark side and getting a small tug such as a Ranger 23 but a 23PH is not out of the running.

Unless you just have a desire to make the crossing or plan to stay for an extended period of time, chartering in Abacos worked out very well for us.

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2017, 11:40:04 AM »
Brackish,

I am 70, and unfortunately, Medicare doesn't cover sailing gloves, so I enjoy the fact that sailing the 23 pilot house is less brutish than some other boats her size. As I suggested above, she is well mannered and doesn't develop overwhelming weather helm in gusts. Steering from the inside station is relaxing and she doesn't tend to heel too much. After sailing trimarans, one really comes to appreciate how much less effort is exerted when sailing flat. It's nice to finish a day of sailing and not feel totally exhausted and beat up. You know, we sailors love to justify what we are doing to the motor boat crowd by invoking the phrase "it's not the destination, but rather the journey that's important". Well, how many of us are guilty of getting in a hurry to get somewhere, and miss the enjoyment of the moment. So, as far as the effort involved for creaky old bones, she requires little more effort than a motorboat, and you still have all the pleasure of sailing. Remember those early days when you cleared the marina, got the sails up and shut down the motor. I expect the Tides Track System to make the process of raising and lowering the sail practically effortless. My boat came with a Doyle Stack Pac, which I highly recommend. If you're finishing up the day in choppy water you can drop the main into the bag from the cockpit then tidy up with ease after you're tied up to the dock. Keep in mind when considering switching to a motor boat, that in choppy water the sails provide a much more stable ride. A neat thing about the CP pilot house cockpit is that the tiller is removable leaving the entire space for loitering, another plus for crew that enjoys the ride in comfort (I know my wife loves that feature).

If you are looking for a more accommodating and comfortable vessel for you and your wife, I have found a really good solution with a pilot house. All of your established parameters for determining an appropriate size for your vessel will apply equally to a pilot house. There aren't many models as small as the Com-Pac, as the pilot house has traditionally been viewed as suitable for the cold North West, and ocean sailing typically requires a larger vessel. So for now, a pilot house will remain the domain of the open minded sailor, as we watch our entrenched aging brethren hunched over in a blinding rain storm peaking from under their rain hood and wishing they were enjoying a cold brew instead.

In my days of sailing I have learned one important real world fact: if you wish your wife (or partner) to be your sailing companion then you have to provide them a comfortable boat to sail in. I've met a few women that are hard core sailors who have no problem with using a 5 gallon bucket as the bathroom, but I couldn't convince any of them to marry me. The idea of acquiring a woman who can sail the boat, bring the beer, cook, provide personal comfort, and ownes her own boat remains a fantasy. From my perspective, a pilot house is the next best thing.

Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Vectordirector

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2017, 05:04:04 PM »
Hi Ron,

All I know is I saw a 23PH out sailing up near the north end of Charlotte Harbor and the helmsman was inside with the window open and had a big smile on his face.  I believe it was you, Ron. It was in early November and you were up near #2 in the river.  We were in Arthur's Cape Dory 22 if I remember and there were a lot of boats out that beautiful day including Bob Tudor on the stunning blue Horizon Cat "Dolphin".  We passed within a few yards of you.  As I said, you looked very happy.

I'll be taking the Eclipse back to Lake Geneva in the spring and when I come back for the winter I will be in the market for something to sail down here.  I really liked Arthur's Corsair 24MK1 and may try to find one and let him teach me how to sail it.   I'm not a racer but I do miss the speed of my Hobie 16 I had 30 years ago.  I'm too old and out of shape for that boat now so the Corsair is tempting.  I had my eye on Wess Wallace's Sprint but the timing wasn't right for me and it recently sold. 

Corsair Nationals are in Sarasota next weekend and I'm planning to go up on Saturday and check it out.  Arthur may be joining me.  Let me know if you are going and we can meet in person and grab a beer. 

Question:  Do you know anything about the 24MK2 that is for sale over on Alligator Creek?  http://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/61687    Seems like a nice one. 

Sail on,

Vectordirector aka
Bryan
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 05:06:43 PM by Vectordirector »
2005 Eclipse #23
2004 World Cat 250DC

Offline philb Junkie19

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2017, 12:22:42 PM »
I see I'm not the only one here getting older and thinking about how to stay on the water and in more comfort as time goes on.  The pilothouse looks like a fine solution. Living with and trying to extend a short Maine sailing season, I've looked wishfully over the years at the Nimble Arctic, a 25 ft trailerable pilothouse. The CP's 16 and 19, have better fit my pocketbook and practical sailing needs, but at 70 those late September and early October northwest winds blow cold and the comfort of a pilothouse does look so attractive. With my CP19's junk rig sail I've eliminated the need to leave the cockpit to reef or add sail or to have to reef early in anticipation of the weather, a pretty good start.  Many years ago I read an article on a proposed cruising boat design for the older sailor. A feature that stood out was a bow well with access through the cabin that allowed going forward without going over the deck.

Some single handed long distance junk rig sailors have had a circular hatch with a rotating “baby carriage” type spray hood with a swing seat below with sail controls and steering operated from this location with more than one report of sailing across oceans in bedroom slippers.  I've thought about some modified version of this but as much as I single hand I also love being out with family and friends. I guess my ideal would be a junk rigged pilothouse 19

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Pilot House Com-pacs: Do they sail well? How?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2017, 05:24:17 PM »
Philb - "I guess my ideal would be a junk rigged pilothouse 19"

Sounds like you are already half way there.   '-)
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water