Severn Swan

The Pilot House and Cockpit

The pilot house and cockpit shell are made from 4mm steel which is protected with zinc paint and multiple coats of Jotamastic 87, a 2-pack epoxy undercoat, and Jotun AS hardtop, on both the interior and exterior surfaces.  It is insulated internally with 13mm of closed cell nitrile foam.  Ten SeaGlaze windows (as used by the RNLI) with anodized surrounds allow for 300 degree vision from inside (360 if you look out of the companionway door or the porthole in it).    See “Pilot House” under “Accommodation”)


The large cockpit has plenty of room for crew when underway, and can be used as an al fresco dining area when in port. It can be fully enclosed (see below).  There is traditional ship’s wheel that can be removed and stowed below for security and also to provide extra space for dining. A small varnished wooden fold down table is normally attached to the wheel binnacle below the steering compass and protects the hatch to the master cabin below, although this can be removed if required. We normally leave this in place and find it useful when at sea. Extension arms can be fitted to each side to extend the table for dining when in port. We also have a set of custom made cockpit seat cushions.


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The arched sliding companionway hatch, made from teak, gives very good headroom for access and runs on bronze rails.  The arched “hobbit” door leading down to the pilot house has a bronze porthole (openable for ventilation) and is made from 30mm sapele faced ply which has been built up with solid teak stiles.  The heavy porthole, heavy brass hinges, anti-jemmy pins and a 5 lever mortice lock give this boat much greater security than most yachts (see also section headed “Safety and Security”).  Having a strong door rather than washboards is more convenient.  However we do carry washboards which fit into grooves behind the door in case of damage to the door or to provide a deeper weather step in addition to the door in very bad weather.

One of the best additions that we have made to Severn Swan in the last few years has been the bimini, sprayhood and panels.  This has transformed sailing by giving excellent protection from sun, rain and wind, but even more so allows us to use the cockpit when moored or at anchor, whatever the weather.  We have a lot of flexibility over how much to use from just the bimini to a completely enclosed conservatory - each panel zips in within a few moments.  It means that the whole, spacious cockpit becomes part of the living area, even when the weather is bad.  For cruisers this is just fantastic (great for drying clothes too).

The spray hood and bimini are supported on stainless steel frames and made from a beige sand-coloured Kayospruce marine grade canvas  (similar to Sunbrella marine canvas), custom fitted and manufactured by Wilsons  Covers Ltd.  We also have easily removable side and rear covers made from the same fabric with PVC window panels which zip and hook onto the outside of the cockpit and a top panel which joins the bimini to the sprayhood. The panels can be individually used to provide shelter as desired and have also have roll up window sections for ventilation.

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On the pilot house roof are 4 flexible solar panels (detail under “Electrical, Water & Other Systems” heading).

The main mast is stepped on the pilot house roof and the mainsail is hoisted from within safety of the cockpit.  All the sails can be controlled from within the cockpit.


There is a lot of storage in lockable compartments underneath the cockpit seats, which are made from cedar, and there is further storage at the rear of the cockpit for ropes and propane.


The Bimini, Sprayhood and Panels

The covers can be used when underway and have strategically located window panels and roll up sections to give access to the winches and mainsheet when underway.  All sail handling and reefing can be done with the bimini and sprayhood in place.

The two Staysail covers are made from the same fabric in a matching colour.