aluminum cabin on a Zodiac 733
Here's the cabin used on my Zodiac 733 - worked well for long ocean crossings and heavy weather but not much space for recreational purposes unless converted to outboards from the existing I/O. It took waves over the top frequently without problems - what surprised me most about that was the aft section of the cockpit canopy consists only of the solar panels, and they survived without a crack....not sure why. The area aft of the panels is vinyl and could be opened when desired.....when open, standing on the engine cover provides a secure and stable position to look around even in rough weather. Please keep in mind it was built specifically for long voyages and rough weather.
Some interesting features of the cabin include a head installed openly on the interior port side and a watermaker opposite; interior access to most of the wiring and batteries; seen from the cockpit, a the section of the console where 4 fuel guages are mounted is removeable to access electonics and wiring locally - it's seperated from the cabin interior by another aluminum sheet as a water barrier in extremes; a jabso pump was mounted internally with external ports to either move fuel between tanks or as a water pump for any purpose; large access plate to the forward 80 gallon fuel tank, and the other 2 tanks just aft; The forward hatch proved very useful - I could open it in good weather and cabin circulation was ideal; low padded wood storage areas on each side of the cabin interior, with netting above all-round for added storage - the space between on the deck was measured for my body to fit snugly for stability in rough weather, and I could strap myself in (place to hide!)...that deck area was also the storage space for a wooden leeboard in case I needed to rig for emergency sailing if both engines failed (inboard Mercruiser and outboard Yanmar); an emergency mast is strapped to the cabin top on the starboard side - it could be stepped into a hinged custom mount seen just forward of the radar antenna. That system was designed so I could release it and extend it forward to lodge with the bow post temporarily, then could be stepped while standing upright thru the forward hatch. Once mounted I could raise it by pulling the stays and shrouds from the cockpit. sail tracks can be seen on both sides of the cabin top, and related hardware elsewhere on the cabin to accomodate handling a small main, jenny and spinnaker if I really got in trouble; The anchor (mounted on the cabin exterior next to the helm) was setup in a similar way, though proved more difficult to handle in practice - I could release or retreive from the cabin and forward hatch, and use the windlass for lifting; a Nicro solar vent worked well to avoid moisture in the cabin; a companionway door was designed to be watertight in case of rollover, but some water could have found it's way in the other routes related to the electronics; there are multiple handholds and fastening points for my safety harness everywhere on the cabin and cockpit. And, if I experienced major damage in a remote location the cabin and everything on deck could be unbolted and removed for repairs as necessary, then re-installed. Very happy I never had to test that idea!
I was surprised that the console mounted electronics endured very well and never experienced solid water, even before I installed side curtains - my only malfunction was a switch on the radar that became corroded. Another surprise was that I could handle the bow dock lines from the cockpit - a simple velcro strap held them in place even in the most extreme weather......very handy.
The cabin proved ideal for my purpose.....but the engine cover in the cockpit along with a liferaft left almost no room. Even without the liferaft space is very limited with an I/O configuration. Also, the ergonomics of moving outside the cabin from the cockpit to bow requires a good grip on the handholds and would be burdensome in a recreational setting.