THE available space in a small yacht is generally partitioned off into an open well, a cabin, and a forecastle.
The steering is done from the well, and all the sheets are belayed to cleats within easy reach of it. The well is surrounded with seats and lockers. The rear locker is sometimes used as a sail room: but in a very small yacht the forecastle answers better for this purpose, and the warps, etc., can be stowed in the after locker.
One of the side lockers of the well can be fitted with shelves, and will then serve as a larder. Pierce holes for ventilation into the front of it at some height above the floor.
Holes should be cut through the floor of the well, so that any water that comes on board may escape into the bilge. A wooden grating on the floor will keep one's feet dry.
The cabin generally communicates with the well by folding doors, while a small hatch is made to slide back in the cabin roof, thus making the aperture larger and facilitating ingress and egress.
Personally we do not like cabin doors in a small yacht; they are always in the way while open, and as they cannot be — or at any rate never are — made water-tight, if a little water is shipped in the well it will find its way through the closed doors and make the cabin uncomfortable.
A better plan is to have a water-tight bulkhead dividing the cabin from the well, and at the top of the bulkhead to have a square opening which can be closed when necessary with a vertical shutter or slide. When this is open, and the hatch on the cabin roof is pushed back, it is easy to step over into the cabin. Fig. 44 illustrates this arrangement.
It adds considerably to the safety of a small vessel if her well be made completely water-tight. In this case there must be an additional pump in the well, to throw out any water that gets into it.
It is very convenient to have an awning that will fit over the well when the vessel is at anchor. An additional room is thus obtained which will be found very useful to perform one's toilette in.
The raised roof over the cabin is generally covered with canvas and painted white. This effectually prevents leakage.
It is not easy to keep a small yacht's decks quite watertight, and every one who has been to sea in a little craft has passed through the unpleasant sensation of having the water falling drop by drop upon his face, as he lies in his bunk at night, from the seams in the planking between the raised cabin roof and the waterways.
In dry weather, water should be freely poured on the decks morning and evening, to prevent them shrinking.
A black marine putty is now made which in our experience serves as well as pitch, and as it does not require heating is much more convenient to use. Wherever a leak is discovered in the deck seams while on a voyage, stop with cotton (using a blunt knife, not a caulking-iron) and fill up the seam with this putty.
Tagg's patent caulking, which swells as the planking shrinks, seems to be very well adapted for the decks of small yachts, and can be recommended as the best method of preventing leakage, next to covering all the deck with canvas, an unyachty and unsightly way of meeting the difficulty.
The cabin of a small yacht generally has a bunk on either side, serving as sofas by day and beds by night, with lockers under them, useful for the stowage of such stores as will not be spoiled by water. Two or more cupboards are in the corners, and a table — one that can be folded up when not in use is best — stands in the centre ot the floor.
Water is sure to find its way into the cabin sometimes, so every article of furniture must be chosen with a view to its getting wet. A carpet is not suitable for the floor of a small yacht; it is unpleasant when wet, and is difficult to dry. Oilcloth or linoleum is better, but these are cold to the feet. The best material with which to cover the floor is cocoanut matting of a good quality. It is made in every width, so a piece of the breadth of the cabin floor can be procured. Cocoanut matting looks well, is pleasant and warm to walk upon with bare feet, can be washed easily, and dries very quickly.
Horsehair is of course the best material with which to stuff the cushions of the bunks. These are often covered with American cloth, which dries quickly, but is cold and disagreeable, especially, if one's blanket slips off at night and one's naked foot comes in contact with it. Cretonnes and other cotton stuffs are cold when damp, and are altogether unsuitable for the purpose. After having tried many materials, the author prefers dark blue flannel to any other for cushion covers. The flannel feels warm even when it is wet, and one will not catch cold while sleeping on it.
The panelling of the cabin should be, if possible, of some hard wood, polished. This is much more ornamental than painted wood, and though more costly at the outset, is more economical in the long-run, for in order to keep up a smart appearance paint must often be renewed.
If the cabin be painted, white panelling with a plain gilt moulding round the top looks very well; but white paint gets dirty quickly, and a fresh coat is required very frequently. Possibly the white enamel paints now largely manufactured would answer the purpose better, as they form a very hard coat which can be thoroughly washed without injury.
For cabin lights, spring candlestick lamps, swinging on gimbals, are the best; these can be obtained at any yachting warehouse; they are provided with globes, and with smoke shades to be screwed into the ceiling above to prevent its discoloration. They can be lit in a moment, and are much cleaner to handle than other lamps. But while on a cruise it will often be necessary to have a light burning all night in the cabin, so as to be able to refer to the chart, etc. A paraffin lamp swung over the table will then be more convenient and economical.
The interior of a small yacht's cabin can be made to look very pretty and snug. The library shelf can be on .the forward wall, with the aneroid on one side of it and the clock on the other. On the side walls above the bunks the charts, guns, and fishing-rods can be slung. A rack for glasses and another for pipes can be fitted where most convenient.
As the blankets that serve for the yachtsman's bedding cannot well be stowed out of sight in a small cabin, it is well to have them as ornamental as possible. Red blankets neatly folded up at one end of the blue flannel bunk cushions give a bright appearance to the cabin. The windows and the skylight should have little blinds — red silk looks very well.
The forecastle of a yacht of the size we are speaking of is rarely large enough to afford sleeping accommodation, unless it be to a small boy. The chain-locker is here, and here too are stowed the spare sails, the mops, brooms, buckets, etc. The cooking-stove should also be in the forecastle. This, in our opinion, should invariably be a spirit stove, on a small craft where little cooking is done, a paraffin stove has an unpleasant smell, even if the wick be kept carefully trimmed, and it is the cause of a great deal of dirt.
Excellent galvanized cooking-stoves for burning methylated spirits are now manufactured. These produce no dirt. It may be of use to mention here that spirits of wine for burning purposes can be procured in every little continental town, and at a cost very far under that of methylated spirits in England.
Mildew generates very quickly in the interior of a yacht; therefore it is very necessary that all clothing and bedding be brought on deck to dry at every convenient opportunity. Any shackles or other small iron work not in use should — if ungalvanized — be greased before being put away in the lockers.
There are so many odd corners in a yacht in which dirt can accumulate and conceal itself that a scrupulous cleanliness is necessary. Scrub and swab everything like a Dutch woman, and take care that no morsels of meat or other perishable matter be swept through the chinks of the floor into the bilge. Even paper and straw will produce a very unpleasant odour after they have been lying sodden some while. Therefore take the paper covers off your tins of meat before stowing them under the bunks.