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Interior Spaces of our Explorer Yacht

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

To be truthful, my wife and I have an arrangement, well, several, though this blog is about one in particular. My opinions generally hold sway over hull and machinery, but when it comes to aesthetics so interior spaces of our explorer yacht, then Sebrina gets to choose. I may object or attempt to steer, but the impending discussion needs balancing against the potential strife.

So it was when we began the journey to design the interior of our XPM explorer yacht Vanguard and how it would function in support of that journey. There are some restrictions, and I will attempt to cover those below.

Explorer Yacht Interior Design: Firstly the layout in general.

XPM-78 Hull No 1, Mobius, was built to meet the requirements of her owners. One master Cabin and one Cabin/office. We wish to sail with our remaining child and with friends. That dictated three cabins, also typical of a yacht this size. "Nothing like preserving the resale value", also helps. A hull near 80 feet should be able to support four cabins, but remember that her beam is relatively narrow in support of hydrodynamics. It's slightly less than the contemporaneous FPB-70 design. Internally there is less room than a typical 80-foot "Down Easter." To reduce the visual height of the saloon, we added short bulwarks to the hull forward of midships with two large freeing ports each side. We added three feet to the saloon and moved the helm forward accordingly though its still not too far from midships. Short of creating a party boat, that was about all we could fit into her slim frame.

Early General Arrangement showing changes in cabin layout as colored overlay on top of XOM-78 No 1.

We fitted double beds in two cabins and bunks into the third. I'm not a fan of double beds at sea; I always preferred narrow beds and lee cloths that keep you snugly embraced. Sabrina's answer was strident and included, "well, we have stabilizers." Sometimes you have to go with the flow.

Rules of the Explorer Yacht Design Game

We also discussed a few design rules that were easy agreement. Maximizing headroom, storage wherever possible, and many hand grips designed into the topography to be less noticeable. Blinds and radiant heat films on all windows. Addressable smoke alarms in each space. Bathrooms in each cabin, I keep calling them Heads, but that's just confusing to family. Lighting to be dimmable. Limber holes for access everywhere.

Explorer Yacht Interior Design: A few more details

We insulated everything metal against condensation. We also considered all the inaccessible tank-to-hull crevices and had them epoxy filled rather than risk water pooling. One luxury we did agree upon was heated towel rails. We opted for electric heating as we have substantial solar panels and battery storage. Towel rails use <300 Watts each, thermostatically controlled. The alternative would be using the Webasto diesel water heater; we may still implement that option, but let's first see how the electric ones work.

Anyhow, enough of my ramblings. Here are some visuals to give you an idea of where this is going. (Colors may vary, and the main helm is incomplete.)

Explorer Yacht Saloon Design

This blog shows 3 variations.

  1. The preliminary general arrangement - bench seat starboard faces forward.

  2. The plan rendering above, no helm door, bench seat starboard faces aft

  3. The renderings below. Helm door added, bench now a teaching station for home schooling.

Explorer Yacht Master Cabin

Sebrina wished we had been building the XPM-85. Small is a relative term. The beams cover frames with the deck head raised in between helping increase overall height .

Explorer Yacht Second Cabin (Son's)

Slightly concerned about placing the end so far forward but the fallback is to sleep on the bench seat when at sea.

Explorer Yacht Third (Guest) Cabin

The door is a water tight door to the engine room (Bofor Marine) allowing access at sea from other than the swim platform. Both bunks have privacy curtains.

Chris Leigh-Jones

I grew up in the UK in the '60s. As the youngest, I was consistently awarded the smallest room in the house as my bedroom. At sea, I got similarly used to small ships' cabins. Now I'm American with an American family. Size is a relative term and cultural expectations do not converge in crossing the Atlantic!

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