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Pilothouse Sailboats

  • Activities: Overnight Cruising and Day Sailing
  • Length Range: 25 - 80 ft.
  • Average price: $285,000
  • 2-3 cabins

There are a wide range of pilothouse sailboats on the water, since virtually any type of sailboat with a fully enclosed wheelhouse with a helm station can be termed as a pilothouse. Most tend to be relatively large sailboats, however, since the whole point of a pilothouse is to enable all-weather cruising—not something you’re likely to be concerned about, if you’re on a small daysailer. They commonly have wide side-decks so line-handlers can move forward and aft, and are often combined with deck saloon designs.

Pilothouse sailboats are often favored by cruisers who plan to make extended rain-or-shine voyages, or trips through areas with cold weather. They’re also a top pick of retirees who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the sun, or being rained on. There are some drawbacks to having a pilothouse, like interrupted sight-lines and potentially poor ventilation. But on the other hand, if the pilothouse is climate-controlled it’s almost always going to be more comfortable than a open helm, and the top of a pilothouse is usually an excellent spot for mounting items like spotlights and grab rails. In some cases on large sailboats the top of the pilothouse can even be utilized as a fun zone, and is equipped with sunpads.

While the presence of a pilothouse may limit your outdoor exposure as compared to a boat with an open cockpit and helm, there’s no doubt that for many sailors, it makes their time spent on the water far more comfortable. And if you want to sail anytime, anywhere, in any sort of conditions, you’ll probably be quite interested in this design.

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