The sluicebox effect and the cockpit volume issue

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  • July 25, 2013 11:11 PM
    Message # 1352017
    Deleted user

    Some nasty people call the Westsail32 a "wetsnail". Snail is undeserved, but in bad weather she picks up the water coming over the bow. and it runs down between the bulwark and the deckhouse. I installed  teak boards that extends the sluice box towards the stern with some drains to remind the deck watch to sit on the water resistant cushions. The drains on the board were intended to drain water that collects when changing tacks. I have seen others with a similar diversion. One even buit  beautiful fiberglass diverters that end aft of the scupper drains. They all work actually quite well. A lot of people bought the W32 for fair weather sailing and then it does not matter. Not many of us are gentlemanly enough to power up wind without sails, but those of us who are going to places "No Man has gone before" still like some comfort.

    Why Westsail did not offer something like a molded endpiece at least as an option is strange. I tried a couple times to go around Point Conception (by Vandenberg Airforce Base in Central California) also known as the Cape Horn of the North Pacific (at least it seems to many so) and never made it in the afternoon because the heavy weather with windspeeds exceeding the anemometer dial. It got also very wet, prompting me to do something.

    The simple teak board diverter also serves as an attachment for side panels for a dodger when it gets cold due to the spray taking the heat energy out of the air. An enclosed dodger also protects against getting hit by flying fish and flying sqid that zoom across the boat especially at night. In the morning on the way to Hawaii there were always a few on deck, not enough to make breakfast with.

    While I am on a rant about Westsail design, I never understood why the cockpit well was so deep. I saw the Pardeys first boat years later in Port Townsend on the Puget Sound side of the Olympic Peninsula after I had already modified mine and the Pardeys too had a nice shallow cockpit well that allowed them to sleep outside in dry weather when it is too warm at night. Westsail's is trapezoid, why? - I measured mine and cut this monster off halfway down from the deck, then with mishmash smeared onto the side of the stump, I stuck the cut off section into the opening. I drilled a few holes into the sides to pull everything together and let it then cure. Now I am able to put my feeet down on the cockpit floor as the boat heels. Before it was ok with the boat sailing upright.I am five feet eleven, not short as some might suspect.  I also have now real room to move inside the engine compartment. The modification was a gamble, but well worth it. If you can't visualize the plan to raise up the cockpit sole, think of stacking water tumblers.  The draft angle of the 32 Westsail cockpit was perfect for this modification as it worked out that the thickness of the cockpit wall was just right. There are more details to the project (teak deck, prepwork,removing the screws and filling the holes with matching gel coat, a supply of pills to get over the shock of a major screw up, which thank G-d I did not need). As they say, measure twice before cutting. One nice thing, if the cockpit ever fills up, it drains in half the time and it won't weigh the boat down in the stern. I do not recommend this modification to anyone as this requires some engineering knowledge to plan it all out..

    Happy sails to you..


    Last modified: July 25, 2013 11:22 PM | Deleted user
  • July 26, 2013 1:47 PM
    Reply # 1352577 on 1352017
    I am just 5' 10", but I have always felt more comfortable standing in the cockpit while steering, as it is impossible to be hit by the boom while there, as opposed to standing on the deck.
  • July 28, 2013 10:53 AM
    Reply # 1353239 on 1352017
    Deleted user


    I am not suggesting to make a cockpit modification because I have one inch less clearance from the boom than you do, but you may find that the ability to move around the engine space is considerably easier. I somewhat envy short people, because they do not need so much space as us tall people. This modification is not intended for anyone, but for those who are experienced enough to carry out such a project. For many, a deep cockpit well is no bother. I prefer a shallow one as I have experienced a filled one.

    For safety sake, do what I do when on the deck, wear a crash helmet. I found that necessary when poling out the jib for running down wind or dealing with the preventer to get control of the main, also down wind.

    Happy sails!



  • July 29, 2013 11:33 AM
    Reply # 1353852 on 1352017
    Deleted user

    I wanted to add in later post some additional improvements pertaining to the revised cockpit well. Here it is:

    The depth of the well to the top of the scupper fittings is 11". That does not include the lid that is the bottom of the well, in other words, it is even more shallow by 2.25" . I never understood why a boat designed for the open ocean has to have a big bath tub. Maybe that is to correct the bow down problem for some!

    Another additional feature: The engine instruments. Take the factory supplied panel apart and place the dials behind cut outs that are covered with polycarbonate from the outside. Do not use acrylic as that will craze over time. Place the ignition switch behind a waterproof covering. I used a pop off lid, but did not like it.  I used the pop off lid, because it is easy on your toes. A hinged one would be better, but damaging to your toes.

    I have the meters arranged in vertical pairs with the ignition key access in the middle. This setup protects the engine panel from outside moisture.

    I will send pictures when I figure out how the new computer works together with the WOA setup.


    Last modified: July 29, 2013 11:39 AM | Deleted user
  • July 31, 2013 7:40 AM
    Reply # 1355415 on 1352017
    If anyone is considering modifying the cockpit well, I would also suggest slanting the floor so that the lowest end is aft.  That way the cockpit drains can be aft, and lead to overboard thruhulls that are above the waterline, eliminating two seacocks.  You can then remove the two seacocks previously used for cockpit drains, and you now have much easier access to the front end of the engine.  Bob Knobloch did this on his W32 Soltero, and it really worked out well.
  • August 04, 2013 12:03 PM
    Reply # 1358216 on 1352017
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    October 2012 in Aquatic Cove, SF Bay - got to tour Constanza WS #65 with Bob Kinston.

    He has a very unique Westsail and a very small cockpit.

    Link to 14 images

    Last modified: August 04, 2013 12:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • August 05, 2013 10:40 AM
    Reply # 1358885 on 1352017
    Is that an offset companionway? Is the compass installed in the deck?
  • August 05, 2013 1:53 PM
    Reply # 1359064 on 1352017
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Frank:  I don't have any more images of the vessel to review...


  • August 05, 2013 10:45 PM
    Reply # 1359365 on 1352017
    Deleted user


     that is an interesting cockpit. The previous writer was very observant about the companionway being off to the side. Placing the compass right in front of the companioway is not something most of us would consider, my choice would be to have a second compass inside of the cabin. One should have a second compass anyway. Bud's comment about the drains to be placed aft is also a choice since the shape of the cockpit it not a rectangle, but trapezoid. When the boat is leaning or heeling to either side the water will run down to the deepest spot which IS at the widest point and therefore the deepest spot. (Especially if your boat is extremely bow down- could not avoid that!). Angling the aft end of the cockpit downward, makes sleeping in the cockpit not that comfortable, again in my humble opinion.

    Hope that helps!

    Mike Z

  • August 07, 2013 10:45 PM
    Reply # 1361065 on 1352017
    Deleted user


    Where does the Constanza W#65 have the cockpit drains? If they are there, they must be awfully small. I can't see them in the picture.

    Regarding the drains: I do like them forward. The drain hoses are longer for sure. But... as the boat heels, the windward side is higher since they are crossed and although they don't drain as much, they also do not let water in from the stern. In heavy weather when the boat picks up speed down a wave, the suction effect of both drains is quite effective. especially when she swings back and forth as the boat rides in and out of the troughs. There used to be one way bronze drains that had a ball to keep the water from backing up as the ball floated up, blocking the drain from the cockpit, that may work with the short drains (they are attached to the cockpit sole).

    Regarding the seacocks: If you have through hulls even above the waterline, keep them installed. When living aboard with unplanned extra weight and also cruising and then something goes wrong with the cockpit drains, you can always plug the cockpit drain opening and close the seacock.

    This issue may get off-topic: How about a remote operated valve for the engine exhaust outlet? If you have a wet exhaust system, it may feed water back down through the water muffler into the engine. I never liked the engine exhaust at the height of the deck and placed mine a few inches above the water. This will not let the fumes get into the cockpit and cabin especially with the wind from astern. I once did a trip from Morrow Bay to Monterey Harbor in 14 hours because there was a slight breeze from the south, others had waited months for that window. Normally I do the gentlemanly thing: Motor only upwind, sail downwind. - Imagine forgetting the closed exhaust drain valve when starting the engine in an emergency....

    Everybody has their own preferences and I believe that Westsail did the right cockpit drain layout there.


    Last modified: August 07, 2013 11:26 PM | Deleted user
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