Author: Tim Good
Boat: Shadowfax (43 MKIII)

When Shadowfax was commissioned the first owner was paranoid about hitting a container mid ocean. As such he asked that the bow be reinforced and a watertight bulkheads be formed from the forward cabin. Additionally the bunks were made to be above the waterline and sealed.


The forecabin contains a V-bunk that is sealed and does not drain into the bilges. The top of the bunk is above the waterline. If a holing occurred at the waterline on the bow or within 6ft of it, only the V bunk bulkhead compartment would fill. The locker boards on top of these bunks are secured down with large bolts and washers to prevent water from forcing its way in during heavy weather.

Anchor locker is sealed creating a water tight section above the water line. V bert is sealed making a water tight section at the bow below the waterline. Additional protection from a fully sealed cabin and watertight cabin door.

If a holing occurred large enough to fill the bunk compartment and spill over into the main forecabin then this should be contained within the forecabin due to the fixed bulkhead separating it from the galley and saloon. The door to the cabin is at least 7mm thicker than other doors on the boat and fixed using oversized hinges. There is then a neoprene seal around the door frame. This creates a seal when the door is closed and secured using at two large hex bolts which turn latches within the cabin. Finally, once the door is shut, the only thing connecting this cabin to the rest of the boat is a hose leading directly into the bilge pump. See images below. Click to enlarge.


The stern comprises of a single locker space extending around the boat leading about 6ft aft acting as a protective bulkhead to the cockpit and rest of the boat. Should it be holed and flood then it shouldn’t affect the integrity of the vessel. All electrical cables and exhaust lines should be either sealed or be well above the waterline when led into forward to the rest of the boat.

Entire compartment leading approx 6ft forward and about 1ft wide allowing a large zone to crumple in the case of significant impact.