Technical & Equipment from Ocean Sailor Magazine

Designing a kraken cockpit

Designing a kraken cockpit

A three-part series

Part TWO: Finalised command, control and protection

The essence of a Kraken cockpit

Kraken Yachts’ design engineer Filip Sochaj takes us through Part Two of cockpit layout and design

As revealed in last month’s Ocean Sailor all the required lines are led to the cockpit to allow for short-handed sailing without stepping on deck. This month I want to explore the design features that make a Kraken cockpit, not just a safe place, but also a comfortable environment to live and sail within. 

Let’s explore the following cockpit features in more detail:

  • Kraken moulded helm seat
  • Cockpit coaming
  • Helm pedestal
  • Cockpit table
  • Cockpit step
  • Cockpit benches
  • Sliding companionway
  • washboard system

A Blue Water cruising boat’s cockpit has very different requirements from that of the average performance cruiser.

Whilst in port it may be attractive to have a vast aft cockpit with twin wheels perched right out to the rail, such designs leave the helmsman and crew very exposed to wave and weather at sea. What might be fun for a few hours, will leave the crew wet, exhausted and stressed out after any length of time, especially in heavy weather.

A deep, well-protected centre cockpit offers the crew far greater sanctuary and considerably less motion than its full-width, aft cockpit counterpart. 

The benefit of eliminating the deep cockpit and raising the whole area up to almost deck level is that the interior volume in the aft cabin can be increased below. On deck, the size of the helming and deck seating area is also magnified, but in our view at Kraken Yachts, these configurations don’t tick the boxes for a world cruising yacht
at all. 

There is no such thing as a yacht for all purposes and buyers must decide at the outset, what they want from their boat.


Kraken moulded helm seat

A unique feature of a Kraken cockpit is the helm seat. Its design was the result of over 200k nautical miles sailed around the world by Kraken Yachts’ chairman Dick Beaumont, whose hard-earned pros and cons were accommodated by our engineering team. 

The aft bench, which spans the whole width of the cockpit, is divided into three sections. The central portion makes up the Kraken seat, a moulded U-shaped seat with cup holders integral to both of the side benches. The shape of the seat provides the helmsman with a secure and comfortable watch in all conditions, no matter the angle of heel. The two side sections benches ensure the crew can wedge themselves in comfortably, allowing increased vision to leeward or weather. 


Cockpit coaming

The cockpit coamings have evolved from our original design. Firstly, the coaming is now divided into fore and aft sections to allow for easier access in and out of the cockpit whilst still maintaining protection from breaking waves or water runoff, which otherwise leads to a wet cockpit. 

All Kraken Yachts are designed to CE Cat A, which follows the ISO12215 regulation for small craft design. These rules include a requirement for a minimum cockpit drain size and time to evacuate the water based on the total volume of the cockpit. Notwithstanding the minimum drain sizes, as required by CE, we know that in the unlikely event of the yacht being ‘pooped’ it is critical that the water is drained from the cockpit well as quickly as possible. To that end, we have increased the cockpit draining to ensure water drains in less than 5 seconds.

Additionally, the coaming is designed to have a slight slope on the outside surface and a slight downward angle on the top surface to encourage sea spray or rainwater to flow outside the cockpit. 


Helm pedestal

The current pedestal design has been further improved so that the horizontal ‘piano’ part now has room for a row of rocker switches that operate anything from bimini lights to individual winches and windlass, while the horizontal section has the chart plotter and additional data screens. We angled the vertical part so that the user does not need to put his arm through the wheel when operating the screens, a hazardous feature on many sailing yachts. 

Another innovation we have created is to improve accessibility to the back of the instruments. Normally the only way to access the inside of the pedestal is by removing the chart-plotter. This is not only difficult but sometimes impossible to do while at sea. By having a removable panel on the forward side of the pedestal all cables can be accessed without disturbing any instruments. 

The pedestal is bigger than the ‘off the shelf’ solutions on the market. It seems that most of the big names in the industry have made their pedestal moulds back when big chart-plotters and data screens were less popular than they are today and have been slow to adapt to the contemporary requirement for larger screens.

Lastly, we have incorporated substantial handholds around the top of the pedestal so that the expensive and vital electronic controls are not accidentally grasped if the yacht lurches on a wave whilst, at the same time, providing much better grab rails to assist crew getting back into the cockpit from leeward.


Cockpit table

The cockpit table is made of solid teak adding a level of sophistication and finesse to outdoor dining and is standard on all Krakens. 

The central console features two storage compartments. Two flip-up leaves provide comfortable dining space for 6 people. 

The central console features a tubular wrap around grab rail so that you never have to make a single step without a solid handhold: very important in rough weather. Additionally, the covers of the storage compartments create 6 more cup holders when flipped over. 

The table’s stainless steel base rail provides excellent foot bracing for crew sitting in the cockpit to windward.


Cockpit step

The cockpit step is a feature born out of necessity to allow easy access in and out of the cockpit. On the first two K50s, we found that the step is a very good place for a windward trimmer/crew to sit and was used as such quite often. Therefore, when we went about making the new mould in Turkey, we increased the size of it so that it could be dual purpose as both a step and a seat.


Cockpit bench seats

We have tweaked the width of the bench seats a little to allow the crew to rest or sleep in the cockpit without one arm falling off.

With inexperienced crew or in heavy weather, it is often necessary for the skipper to stay in the cockpit with the helmsman for extended periods, it’s much better that he can rest or sleep comfortably and also be directly on hand.


Sliding vertical washboard system

We have maintained the unique sliding washboard system we developed for the companionway between the cockpit and the saloon.

This feature eliminates individual washboards that must be removed and stored and it provides the ability to set the washboard at any height that is desired and allows the crew to pull it up and close the companionway after the crew has passed through.

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