Sunday, April 22, 2012

But what about staying dry?

We are frequently asked about staying dry when it is raining.  This is one of those questions that indicates just how confused some people are when they picture our life aboard a boat.  Fortunately, we aren't bobbing around in a row boat, purely at the mercy of the wind and rain.  Sea Gem has a substantial, bulletproof (literally) structure, both below (the keep the ocean out) and above (the keep the elements out).  If a cruising sailboat is one thing, it is waterproof, and rain does not bother us in the least.

That question is a little too easy to answer, so I will change tacks a bit and discuss an area of the boat that is not always waterproof: the cockpit.  On most boats, the cockpit is completely open: if it rains, you get wet; if it is windy, you lose your hat.  Ocean-going boats tend to have dodgers (removable windshields of sorts) to keep the spray out of the cockpit and canvas biminis (collapsible tops) to provide protection from sun and rain.  Here is an example of a typical dodger-and-bimini setup:

Sea Gem's cockpit protection is much more robust.  We have a fixed, plexiglass windshield/dodger, and a fixed, fiberglass top/bimini:

The result is that we are always well-protected while in the cockpit.  When it is raining hard, however, rain can come into the cockpit through the sides.  To prevent this from happening, we have clear plastic panels that fully enclose the cockpit from the elements when it is raining.

As a result, on a rainy day (like today), we can still sit "outside" in the cockpit and remain comfortable and dry:

When it is nice outside, the panels roll up and out of the way to allow for ventilation:

To be sure, attaching or rolling the panels takes a little more time than opening or closing a window, but they certainly help make Sea Gem comfortable in all conditions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Fellow Gulfstares,

    We also have a Gulfstar 54 Sailcruiser called Sybaris, and we have lived aboard full time since 2006. Suffice to say we love her and think it is the most versatile boat available in this size.

    We would love to get together via Skype or email to exchange knowledge and tips for the Gulfstar.

    In the meantime we are also really interested in where you got your cockpit canvas covers from. If the company still have your size drawings we would also like to order a set because it should fit our boat as well without any problems.

    You can check out our website at or write to us at or