Pilothouse Layout for 25ft Whaler

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    I have a 25ft Whaler Frontier and while it is a great workboat for 2 people with a huge deck to fish from, it's not the best family fishing boat for AK waters. I've been toying with the ideas of building a new pilothouse for it. There are a few layouts that I like and I saw one whaler with an interesting pilothouse that allowed walk-around access on the deck. I'll attach a pic. That design intrigued me but I haven't been around that style much to know the pros/cons.

    Typically we have to drive 2-3 hours to get to the ocean and its usually 30-50 miles out from there to get to good halibut areas each way. A few days ago we went 80 miles one way to the fishing spots that produced well. We try to do two day trips to take advantage of 2 day possession limits. We sleep on the boat but there isn't a whole lot of room in the little pilothouse to allow more than 2 people to sleep much.

    On a charter a few weeks ago I was on a Radon 30ft boat that had a very nice layout. The pilot/copilot seats faced forward and behind them were bench seats facing inward. I really liked that internal layout, but I can see that having access around the whole pilothouse would have its benefits.

    Hopefully those with pilothouse experience can chime in here and share an idea or two about the best use of space for seating, equipment layout, etc. for the pilothouses they have been in. These whalers have a mostly flat deck which allows a pilothouse "insert" to be installed. See attached pics.

    Here are a few questions specifically about a walk-around pilot house that I don't have experience with.

    Typically how much room do you need to have between the house and the gunwale? The freeboard on these isn't very high so I will have rails to just under hip height.

    The design I'm toying with would have aft bench seats where the backrests could be moved to form a full bed for overnighters. Typically what are good layouts for that kind of feature?

    I'm thinking of a center door, but what is better; sliding or hinged?

    Are forward raked windows better or are back raked windows better?

    Hopefully I can get some good pointers on what works best since so much of this is one tradeoff for another. I can model this up in SolidWorks and get an idea of how things fit too.

    Thanks all.

    IMG_0569.JPG


    IMG_0568.JPG
     
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    URN

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    That appears to be at least a 27’ hull. I guess the hard thing is to try to design to check as many boxes as possible.

    Overnight-ability on the boat plus lots of room for bottom fishing and chasing the feisty silver salmon. Inside the cabin needs to be a little more roomy for side by side seating plus easy access in and out of the seats. It also needs to close up tight for persistent rain and fairly cool weather. I have a diesel heater which is a must to keep the inside windows fog free.


    Check out Pacific Pilothouse.

    Or Whaler Commerical Div.

    Here is a Walkaround version Vigilant Class Pilot house..

    View attachment 1195329
     
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    MATTANZA

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    build your own, and design it yourself, not hard , but a lot of work.
    i was going to build one for my 25 outrage, but got side tracked. i drew up plans ,they were for a fishing based pilot house .
     
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    URN

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    build your own, and design it yourself, not hard , but a lot of work.
    i was going to build one for my 25 outrage, but got side tracked. i drew up plans ,they were for a fishing based pilot house .

    That’s what I plan on doing. I’m looking for good layout options. What people have liked about the pilot houses they’ve been in. Then I’ll do some solid works designs then build.
     
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    URN

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    i may build mine next year. just builtthis one for my friends boat.

    View attachment 1196510

    Looks good. What type of core material do you use? I’m wondering if forward raked windows would be better or to keep the original pilot house design and just make it wider and longer.
    After taking some measurements I don’t think the walk around pilothouse insert like what I posted above would work with the room I have. Here’s the actual back of the pilothouse on this whaler. You can see there is a lot of wasted space on both sides. I know I want the pilot and copilot seats next to each other with bench seats facing inward behind those. Storage can be under the benches and also under the front bow. I’ll sketch up forward and also conventional front window designs and see which ones I like.

    66F1303D-D7A7-464A-B2A2-B2ADCE325887.jpeg
     
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    MATTANZA

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    Boston Whaler 25' Outrage "MATTANZA II", 34' Radovcich "AMY ANNE" {when it needs to be fixed}
    i rigged a few frontiers , and their guardian equivalent. i always liked the set up. i used 12mm hydrotek plywood, 8x1.25" ss screws, 1.5 oz csm, 1708 , vinylester, and it will get gel coat.
     
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    URN

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    i rigged a few frontiers , and their guardian equivalent. i always liked the set up. i used 12mm hydrotek plywood, 8x1.25" ss screws, 1.5 oz csm, 1708 , vinylester, and it will get gel coat.
    The frontier is a great boat with a max of two dudes. If you’re bringing along 3-5 people it’s pretty tight. There’s room to extend the cabin length and also the width. The deck area is great but I’m ok sacrificing 18” for a little more cabin size.
     
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    URN

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    While doing pilothouse research I came across this thread:
    That pilothouse appears to be similar to the original idea with a pilothouse "insert" onto the deck of this whaler. Does anyone have experience running a boat like this farallon posted? Is the cabin too tight to be useful or are the tradeoffs too much?

    The other design I like is similar to this:
    Except with the cabin door in the middle since I don't have an engine box to worry about. I'd put bench seats behind the pilot/copilot seats.

    I have a lead on 36" X 90" PET foam core material in 3/8" for a pretty good price. That will keep weight down some.
     
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    sbsurfer

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    Here are a few questions specifically about a walk-around pilot house that I don't have experience with.

    1. Typically how much room do you need to have between the house and the gunwale? The freeboard on these isn't very high so I will have rails to just under hip height.

    2. The design I'm toying with would have aft bench seats where the backrests could be moved to form a full bed for overnighters. Typically what are good layouts for that kind of feature?

    3. I'm thinking of a center door, but what is better; sliding or hinged?

    4. Are forward raked windows better or are back raked windows better?

    1. My guess would be about a 14in minimum to side step up to the bow. That's about what I have between the railing and the side of the pilothouse.

    1599719361398.png


    2. One popular design used around here is the dinette setup that drops don into a bed and v-birth down under the cuddy cabin.

    3. I've had both. With a hinged door it's either open or shut. I've found that we close it while cruising and as soon as I come off plane it usually opens up. With the slider sometimes I would open half way while cruising for more air but less noise than fully open. I have a Diamond Sea Glaze hinged door now and it really seals well and quiets the cabin when shut...also I like how it's all glass and I get good visibility out on to the deck of the boat.

    4. They both have their pluses and minuses. Forward raked gives more roof for storage, more forward upper interior space to mount electronics or engine gauges, also no glare from dash...downside is less field of view. With raked back you have more field of view, better water deflection...downside is less interior upper space for electronics and glare from dash reflection.

    Here's a cool pilothouse setup on a Whaler:

    1599719317240.png
     
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    Vigilant32

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    Headroom & visibility. Somehow BWC left plenty of over head room too. 6’8” of headroom in pilothouse and 6’6” below in cabin.

    Once repowered with Yamaha outboard all the gauges that took up so much real estate we’re boiled down to a 6x4” Digital display.

    Only items above head are the Vhf’s & 2 meters and some utility switch’s for lights, wipers, etc. and remote stereo head unit.

    The matt black color seems to reduce glare.
    683428D4-7AD0-4D38-ABFD-2E4B319DEDF0.jpeg
     
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    URN

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    1. My guess would be about a 14in minimum to side step up to the bow. That's about what I have between the railing and the side of the pilothouse.

    View attachment 1197632

    2. One popular design used around here is the dinette setup that drops don into a bed and v-birth down under the cuddy cabin.

    3. I've had both. With a hinged door it's either open or shut. I've found that we close it while cruising and as soon as I come off plane it usually opens up. With the slider sometimes I would open half way while cruising for more air but less noise than fully open. I have a Diamond Sea Glaze hinged door now and it really seals well and quiets the cabin when shut...also I like how it's all glass and I get good visibility out on to the deck of the boat.

    4. They both have their pluses and minuses. Forward raked gives more roof for storage, more forward upper interior space to mount electronics or engine gauges, also no glare from dash...downside is less field of view. With raked back you have more field of view, better water deflection...downside is less interior upper space for electronics and glare from dash reflection.

    Here's a cool pilothouse setup on a Whaler:

    View attachment 1197631
    I was in a Radon a few weeks ago very similar to the one you posted. They're nice boats. That's where some of the inspiration came from to create more room on my whaler. I probably wont be able to pull off a dinette like the Radon though.

    That pilothouse on the whaler posted is very nice as well. It has clean lines.

    One design challenge is the guardian 25 hulls have a pretty flat deck from bow to stern. As you're probably aware Brunswick then modified the BW hulls and fitted all sorts of consoles, pilot houses and accessories. This might be an opportunity or a curse depending on how one looks at it. It is nice that this frontier pilothouse is removable so that I can fabricate one that more fits my needs.

    Also, where do I get the rubber molding that holds the fixed windows in place securely? I've googled some and haven't found a good source yet.

    IMG_0570.JPG
     
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    URN

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    Headroom & visibility. Somehow BWC left plenty of over head room too. 6’8” of headroom in pilothouse and 6’6” below in cabin.

    Once repowered with Yamaha outboard all the gauges that took up so much real estate we’re boiled down to a 6x4” Digital display.

    Only items above head are the Vhf’s & 2 meters and some utility switch’s for lights, wipers, etc. and remote stereo head unit.

    The matt black color seems to reduce glare.
    View attachment 1197669
    Nice. What whaler do you run?
     
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    sbsurfer

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    Looks like you were on the Greylight (29 Radon) up in AK...very nice setup.

    I know A&B Glass in Santa Barbara sells the rubber molding and they're very familiar with it bc of all the commercial boats in the SB Harbor they have done. I will say be careful using it on the front windows if you go forward raked, bc they have been know to get "sucked out" when you take a big greenie on the windshield and as the water is evacuating it can create enough suction to pull the window out.

    One thing I do like about the forward rake of my current Radon is all that space above where I have switches, VHF's and my engine gauges mounted...leaves the dash for one giant Garmin screen and just a few other items.

    1599761368505.png


    If you're limited on space but still want a dinette my buddy's 24 Radon has a smart setup where it's a shorter dinette but the backrest of the rear facing seat actually is hinged and can swing down into the cuddy a bit to make the dinette a longer sleeping bunk, table obviously drops down too. Once folded down it's supported with thin rope in the down position. Here's my attempt of sketch up the concept.

    1599761544583.png
     
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    K

    knot keely

    Looks like you were on the Greylight (29 Radon) up in AK...very nice setup.

    I know A&B Glass in Santa Barbara sells the rubber molding and they're very familiar with it bc of all the commercial boats in the SB Harbor they have done. I will say be careful using it on the front windows if you go forward raked, bc they have been know to get "sucked out" when you take a big greenie on the windshield and as the water is evacuating it can create enough suction to pull the window out.

    One thing I do like about the forward rake of my current Radon is all that space above where I have switches, VHF's and my engine gauges mounted...leaves the dash for one giant Garmin screen and just a few other items.

    View attachment 1197699

    If you're limited on space but still want a dinette my buddy's 24 Radon has a smart setup where it's a shorter dinette but the backrest of the rear facing seat actually is hinged and can swing down into the cuddy a bit to make the dinette a longer sleeping bunk, table obviously drops down too. Once folded down it's supported with thin rope in the down position. Here's my attempt of sketchy up the concept.

    View attachment 1197700

    I like the gauges/switches overhead like that. I might be stealing that idea when I refit my Ando so I can put 1 or more large MFD’s in the dash.

    I’m filing away the drop down backrest/dinette too.
     
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    Vigilant32

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    It was a Vigilant32 x 12’ beam with sterndrives/Bravo II’s, but I reconfigured it for the owner and added a 30” setback Armstrong drive.

    6D1E3372-ECFF-4E64-868A-4B473BEF60B5.jpeg


     
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    URN

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    Looks like you were on the Greylight (29 Radon) up in AK...very nice setup.

    I know A&B Glass in Santa Barbara sells the rubber molding and they're very familiar with it bc of all the commercial boats in the SB Harbor they have done. I will say be careful using it on the front windows if you go forward raked, bc they have been know to get "sucked out" when you take a big greenie on the windshield and as the water is evacuating it can create enough suction to pull the window out.

    One thing I do like about the forward rake of my current Radon is all that space above where I have switches, VHF's and my engine gauges mounted...leaves the dash for one giant Garmin screen and just a few other items.

    View attachment 1197699

    If you're limited on space but still want a dinette my buddy's 24 Radon has a smart setup where it's a shorter dinette but the backrest of the rear facing seat actually is hinged and can swing down into the cuddy a bit to make the dinette a longer sleeping bunk, table obviously drops down too. Once folded down it's supported with thin rope in the down position. Here's my attempt of sketch up the concept.

    View attachment 1197700
    It was the Gray Light. Great boat. One thing I liked was the heater had ducting built in to defrost the windows. That's something I'm going to incorporate for sure. I like the dinette idea too. It could also be dropped down with a cushion on top for bench style seating. The top accessory panel is a good idea as well. One thing the Gray Light had was treated windows where wipers weren't needed. That's an idea as well. Sitting at a desk at work and looking at all these pics of pilothouse designs isn't helping me get work done.
     
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    knot keely

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    Vigilant32

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    Very nicely, it will get up and go 45 knots but don’t really run her that hard. Trolling can be done on one motor and it will get over 2.2 - 2.3 mile per gal.
     
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    URN

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    After quite a bit of thought and sketches I think the best plan is to keep the front bow and front window section, then modify the cabin to be wider and go back further. I can build side panels and back panels that can be glassed into place. It'll be a modification with new vs completely new.

    I'd like to vacuum bag as many of the additional parts with composite foam core to keep weight down as much as can. With the pilot house already fairly forward these boats tend to pound some anyway.

    The roof will be built new and currently is a heavy SOB. I should be able to reduce about 100 lbs there.

    The door will be center mounted for easy center aisle access to the pilot/copilot seat.

    That's the line of reasoning so far so we'll see how things change when I start modeling this up.
     
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    mokahehteh

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    1. My guess would be about a 14in minimum to side step up to the bow. That's about what I have between the railing and the side of the pilothouse.

    View attachment 1197632

    2. One popular design used around here is the dinette setup that drops don into a bed and v-birth down under the cuddy cabin.

    3. I've had both. With a hinged door it's either open or shut. I've found that we close it while cruising and as soon as I come off plane it usually opens up. With the slider sometimes I would open half way while cruising for more air but less noise than fully open. I have a Diamond Sea Glaze hinged door now and it really seals well and quiets the cabin when shut...also I like how it's all glass and I get good visibility out on to the deck of the boat.

    4. They both have their pluses and minuses. Forward raked gives more roof for storage, more forward upper interior space to mount electronics or engine gauges, also no glare from dash...downside is less field of view. With raked back you have more field of view, better water deflection...downside is less interior upper space for electronics and glare from dash reflection.

    Here's a cool pilothouse setup on a Whaler:

    View attachment 1197631

    Great overview!

    I would add (from personal experience on my boat) that dash glare on raked back design can be countered (somewhat) with a roof overhang up front. By positioning the top edge of the windows a bit lower, you significantly improve the shade situation. I set up mine like this and the dash glare is managed, and there’s excellent shade in most settings. I also noticed improved sea handling with a down-sloped roof and raked back cab, so that’s a potential plus in favor or raked back.

    8845C18D-F0D3-4A1B-8417-4F0F09061CD8.jpeg
     
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