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What is a Pilothouse Sailboat?
A pilothouse sailboat is a monohull with an enclosed area on deck, the so-called pilothouse (sometimes called the wheelhouse). These vessels have a pilothouse in addition to a conventional cockpit, which is usually open to the elements. The pilothouse can be enclosed or partially open, and usually includes a secondary wheel station and navigation equipment. It has the obvious benefit of protecting sailors from the elements — rain, sun, or spray. It offers a comfortable seating option for sailors on deck. Some note that the pilothouse can steal from the interior living space, meaning there may be a smaller salon area below, but the extra living space on deck can make up for it. Usually, the pilothouse area has large windows so visibility is not sacrificed underway.
What are Pilothouse Sailboat Made of (Construction Material/Hull Design)?
A pilothouse sailboat has many options when it comes to construction. You can find pilothouse sailboats constructed from composites, metals, and wood. The hull configuration is usually displacement and different keel options are possible from a full keel to a lifting keel, bilge keel, or fin keel, depending on the vessel. A pilothouse can be found on various sailing vessel types.
Why Should You Buy a Pilothouse Sailboat?
You should buy a pilothouse sailboat if your primary desire is comfort under sail or if you might live in a climate where you need some extra weather protection. If you’re a keen sailor year-round, a pilothouse can extend the amount of time you’re able to spend comfortably on your boat, depending on geographic area and the vessel usage. While some say the pilothouse configuration is good for short passages, there are pilothouse sailboats that have done circumnavigations. They tend to have a deep draft and therefore are more stable on the water. If you’re looking for a boat for a longer voyage, the additional shelter on deck provided by the pilothouse can be welcome during the heat of the day or while on watch at night while still providing good visibility for maneuvering.