Here is the helm station, located on the starboard side and mostly fore of the starboard doorway. Although Rudy and Jill chose to keep the pilothouse open, the windows and doorways can easily be closed in. However, when needed, isinglass windows are lashed up where needed.
Why do you have an open pilothouse?
Is it finished yet? We frequently get to chuckle over this question which is directed toward our open pilothouse. With no window panes or doors installed, the pilothouse gives the impression of being unfinished.
We built this boat for use in hot-weather areas. To enclose the pilothouse would drastically reduce airflow, and would consequently require the additional expense and maintenance headaches of installing air conditioning. If we wanted to use the A/C while away from the dock, a generator would also be required, an even greater expense.
If we find ourselves tied to a dock during hot weather, we do use a window air conditioner which we install over a deck hatch. We find that this works quite well, in addition to being inexpensive and trouble free.
With an open pilothouse, we are not insulated from one of the things that we go cruising to experience--the environment that we are cruising in. Being open, it also allows us to notice the subtle nuances that Mother Nature provides. These subtle nuances often influence our decisions, causing us, at times, to choose options that are more prudent then we may otherwise have made without this type of input.
For protection from the elements, when and where needed, we lace up canvas curtains with clear plastic windows around the pilothouse.
The navigation lights aboard Briney Bug are oil lights. Rudy and Jill burn kerosene, paint thinner or jet fuel, "depending on availability and cost. They work great, have a burn time of 40 hours and never burn out, even in 120+ knots of wind. They are never a drain on our battery, thus, we can leave them on all day if we want to, or forget to blow them out."
One reason that we like a midship, deck-level pilothouse as we designed into the Bug, is that, with knowing how to “back and fill” with the engine, plus the magic of using a spring line and prop walk, when approaching or leaving a dock, the boat is easily operated by one person. All this, along with a large rudder, allows us to do quite nicely without a bow thruster.
This open midship pilothouse is also a breezeway, something that we can enjoy during our leisure times. Since this feature did not need to be added at the stern, a shorter boat is possible, resulting in lower construction costs, less maintenance and a smaller boat to operate. The cost of berthing a boat, usually on the rise, made this feature extremely attractive to us.
—Rudy and Jill Sechez
This is a picture of one of the mooring posts/stanchions--of the crew's own design. The chief idea was to get the posts as far outboard as possible, in order to minimize chafe on dock lines. Made from 4-inch, heavy walled pipe, welded to 1/2-inch plate, with a 1-inch solid rod run through holes drilled in the pipe then welded in place. The stanchions are 4x4 pressure treated timbers, rounded down to fit in side the pipe. The life lines are rove through holes drilled through the stanchions.
Here’s how the Briney Bug story is presented:
What does Briney Bug look like?
What about hull design?
What is the secret to engine dependability?
What’s your advice on replacement parts?
What about diesel engines?
How do you contend with boat motion?
Why do you have a sailing rig?
What’s with the big rudder?
Why do you have an open pilothouse?
Simplicity and self-sufficiency rule aboard Briney Bug . . .
How does one go about finding the right boat?
How much did Briney Bug cost?
Editor’s note: Rudy and Jill Sechez, when they are not away cruising, live aboard Briney Bug in Port St. Joe, Florida, and provide boat and yacht repair services. They can be reached at 850-832-7748 or via e-mail by clicking here.