As far as I'm concerned, there are only two places to sit - either on the bottom of the boat with one's weight in the turn of bilge, or on the gunwale/side decks to work the boat in heavier conditions. I love the inside position, as the side-deck carlins support the back and shoulder blades nicely, the view is unobstructed by the sails, and there is an enhanced sense of speed due to having sight lines which are closer to the surface of the water.
|You may have seen this photo before, but it shows two of my sons and me at the end of a nice afternoon sail on Moreton Bay. Conditions outside had been quite lively, but the only person who had to change sides was the skipper.|
The above photo shows the relaxed position, and the one below shows the only other position I think worth considering.
|That is me, enjoying a gentle afternoon sail in my wooden International Finn. This particular boat was built for the 1956 Olympic Games. In a Finn you need to be hiking out in just about any wind.|
Ok! You now know where I think people should sit, but the fact is that many crew members like the idea of side seats. In order to give the option of side seating without ruining the boat, I have come up with an idea which provides removable side seating, and also solves one of the major problems when beachcruising in a small boat, which is where to sleep out of bilge water, with room to store gear.
The concept works on both my Phoenix III and First Mate designs, but is adaptable to many others. Paul Hernes, who built the first Phoenix III thought it worth a try, and here are some pictures.
|This is Phoenix III showing the main thwart in the foreground and the stern sheets (aft thwart) in the middle distance. The aft edge of the main thwart and the forward edge of the stern sheets are parallel and at a similar level.|
|This is First Mate under construction. You can see the same arrangement of main thwart and stern sheets as in Phoenix III. In fact both boats have identical internal arrangements - just the hull construction (and therefore, shape) are different.|
|This is Paul's Phoenix III with a nice set of side seats installed.|
|Another view. The cleats are hidden under the ends of the seats.|
|Paul's Phoenix III with the seats arranged for sleeping. The system works very well indeed.|