Suitability for family of five

Welcome to! This bulletin board is for builders of the Chesapeake Light Craft-John C. Harris "PocketShip" design, a 15-foot micro cruiser sailboat built from a kit or plans.

For more information on PocketShip, click here:

This site gathers PocketShip builders in one place. Here you can share photos, tips, questions, and---eventually---your sailing adventures in PocketShip! CLC will also post design updates and tips here as they come up.

We'll try to knock down spam as quickly as possible.

Moderator: John C. Harris

Forum rules
Spam or commercial posts will be deleted.
This is a civil forum: no flames or drunken tirades.
Please stay on-topic.
PocketShip's Web Page:
If you need CLC customer service:
We'll try to delete spam as soon as it appears.

Suitability for family of five

Postby Moony on Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:29 am

Hi everyone,
I've been going over and over different boat designs with a view to building something to sail in with my family, and Pocketship is one of the designs I keep coming back to. My only real concern is the size and whether or not it would be suitable for my needs.
Ultimately, I'm looking for something that I can take my wife and three kids (7, 4, and 2 at the moment) daysailing in, with maybe the occasional camping trip thrown in, obviously not on board though. I've looked at a lot of open boats but a cabin would provide a definite advantage with the kids, especially the option of taking a port-a-loo.
The Hartley TS 16 is a contender as well, and has a very solid following in Australia, but I'm drawn to the Pocketship more because to me it looks cooler, stitch and glue construction appeals a lot more, and the shorter length means more space in the garage for construction.
So basically I'm after opinions on whether or not the cockpit is big enough for my requirements and to have an enjoyable day out, or would we be too cramped? From what I can tell John seems to have managed to cram a similar sized cockpit and cabin as the Hartley into a shorter boat, but photos can be deceiving.
Thanks in advance, hopefully the responses are positive and maybe one day I'll be able to post a build log.


Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:41 pm

Re: Suitability for family of five

Postby Wayne G on Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:35 pm

Hi Greg,

While the PocketShip is a great little boat to sail and camp in for one or possibly two, I think the cockpit would be too cramped for more than two. The cockpit footwell area is very narrow (for an adult anyway) and in my opinion would be not very comfortable for a family of 5.

I have sailed with 4 adults total but just for fairly short durations, and while we all fit in it was not ideal and movement was severely restricted.

So while I love my boat and its really clever design I would not recommend it for two adults and 3 juniors.
Wayne Gray
Orlando Florida
Wayne G
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:19 am

Re: Suitability for family of five

Postby riverron on Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:40 am

I hate to say this as well, but I would agree with Wayne that is may be pretty tight.
You would probably be ok with the age of your kids now, but when they get bigger it may get tighter.
But the kids won't mind!

As long as you aware that it may get tighter when they get older, go ahead a proceed.
You can always build a bigger one later!

Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:29 am
Location: Richmond Virginia

Re: Suitability for family of five

Postby ddemasie on Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:45 pm

My 2 cents -

Five adults are pretty tight, unless one is willing to sit or stand in the cabin - a lot (this is where a custom cabin seat would come in handy).

I love to sail with just 2 (my wife and I), but I also routinely take 4 adults sailing. It works well as long as everyone does their assigned duty :)

To accommodate 4 adults each person has an assigned seat, and assigned duties while under way. Everyone has to be familiar with their roles and the boat, and no one gets a free ride.

Typically I sit starboard, rear of the cockpit. From there I captain the boat, and manage the auxiliary trolling motor to get in and out of marinas, and for docking.
My wife sits port, rear of cockpit. On a port tack, I handle the tiller, she handles the main sheet. On a Starboard tack, she handles the tiller, I handle the main sheet. No moving around or switching sides as we come about during tacking.
Adult guest number 1 (usually my son) handles the starboard forward sitting position in the cockpit, and manages the main halyards (peak and throat), and the starboard jib sheet
Adult guest number 2 (usually my DIL) handles the port forward cockpit location, and only has to handle the port jib sheet, and the black line that retracts the jib when we need to reel it in or deploy it. That position is also assigned to be the 'gopher' for anything needed that is stored in the cabin (drinks, lunch, suntan lotion, seat pads, etc.)

No one moves around much during the sail, and everyone is involved in coordinating handling the boat through any tacking maneuvers.

The 2 in front handle any raising or lowering of the main sail, and when lowering it, they are tasked with handling the halyards, and securing the sail material as the arm comes down, and using bungee cords to secure the main from flapping around. (I don't have Lazy Jacks installed yet). I manage the tiller when raising or lowering the main (wife is not too good at keeping up pointed into the wind for some reason).

When docking, either my son or DIL are charged with jumping out onto the dock since they are in a perfect position to jump out onto the dock as we arrive, and securing the boat to the dock cleats, and they are both young enough to jump onto the dock from a slowly moving boat. They also cast us off and have to jump in as the boat moves away from the dock.

Lots of team work, and everyone needs to understand their role, and work primarily within the space they are assigned :)

Downside is a new comer takes some training and explanation to understand their role and how the crew has to function together.

I would think that if you have a young family, the children would be thrilled to have an assigned seat, assigned duties and you'd maybe have some great family times as you work together to handle navigating an afternoon sail.
Dennis DeMasie,
Aurora, IL
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:51 am

Return to PocketShip Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests