The cabin sole should be flat for its entire length. No steps down to the galley, or to the forward cabin. No thresholds to step over. You have to be able to negotiate the entire boat in the dark. If there is an uneven cabin sole you could break a leg - very serious at sea.

There must be room for the cook to be undisturbed as the on watch goes past. The cabin sole should be narrow with vertical hand holds along the way, and things to lean against. You need a short distance from side to side, so you won’t suffer badly when the boat lurches to a wave and you are thrown off balance. Ideally you should be able to reach either side of the cabin with outstretched arms. Secondly you need lots of storage lockers on both sides of the cabin. You want to be isolated from outside noise by the contents of those lockers - clothing, bedding etc. On a boat with an 11 foot beam, the lockers should take up five feet, leaving six feet for berths, and the walkway.


In the Caribbean you are going to be eating in the cockpit - inside only in bad weather. Plan on good seating and eating arrangements in the cockpit. You should be able to seat six people. You will need a table in between, which can be removable. At sea you will eat on your lap. So there is hardly any need for a dining area below in a small boat. You need work surfaces for the cook in the galley area - some that fold out of the way. There should be a place for the navigator to eat while collecting weather charts etc. , but don’t use the chart table.