There are many different ways to make your sailboat habitable for sleeping, the simplest is just to lay down in the cockpit and close your eyes. An upgrade from that is to put a mosquito net over your head. You know, the mind over matter philosophy: If you don't mind, it don't matter.
Below are a number of ducks that have been built with cabins on them, there are more in our member registry. Not only do the cabins make them incredibly cute, but are also practical to use. Most of the cabins are only for your upper body, and something is deployed to cover legs when you sleep aboard.
This is the first PDRacer that had a cabin (hull 33), her name is Sea Flea and she was built by Jason Nabors of Texas. The inset picture in the upper left shows her original configuration as Jason built her. Later on for the 2006 world championships, Jason spruced her up with some new cabin doors, a new sail rig and some other modifications.
Jason participated in the very first ever Texas 200 and completed it, despite the heavy weather and other difficult conditions. He earned the name "Tenacious Turtle" from that feat. In a later year, he built hull 289 (lower left corner - blue hull) which bears his nickname. The cabin is a slot top design, so it is open and easy to go completely through. For the trip, he had a removable plywood top that he would lay on the slot to enclose the cabin for the night.
Here is a short video of Jason sailing along with Tenacious Turtle during the Texas 200. The big metal thing that Jason is leaning back on is a custom made bar. It has some foam wrapped around it and he would use it like a back rest. We kind of jokingly call it the "shopping cart handle". :) Here are more pictures of tenacious turtle.
Plans for Tenacious Turtle
Jason was a prolific puddle duck builder, he has built something like 9 or 10 different puddle ducks. He never used plans, he just sketched what looked right and then started building. A lot of other duckers have inquired about the availability of plans for this type of a boat. Really it is a simple matter of figuring how to cut the two sides, then adding in all the other parts to it.
If anyone else wanted to come up with a set of free plans that we can share with other duckers, it would be a great help and aprecaited by many in our community.
Kowitz Micro Cruiser
John Kowitz built #286 "Ranger" for the 2009 Texas 200 event. She is the first pdracer micro cruiser sailboat that has a cabin you sleep inside. During the event, John spent the nights in her while pulled up on the beach as a bug free sleeping area. He completed the event, even though others in conventional sailboats had to drop out due to heavy weather and mechanical problems.
The way the Kowitz Micro Cruiser works is the forward cabin area is connected to the side airboxes. When sailing, those airboxes are the seats you sit on. To overnight, you open the large hatch in the forward deck and slide inside, and the airboxes become the place you slide your legs into making this a 2 berth microcruiser ocean explorer minimal cruiser sailboat !! Plans For Kowitz Micro Cruiser Sailboat and more info
Really cute cabin by Scott Shirey, this is "Bargette" #249
This is #415 "Mystery2" by Steve Gully. Cute little cuddy cabin, foldable bimini top, lowered side air tanks to form seats, and a daggerboard trunk in the side air tank to keep it out of the way.
This is #399 "Shake N Bake" by Chris Tomsett.
This is #785 "PD Cruiser" by Gabe
This is #397 "Flying Frog II" by Paul "Froggy" Boucher
Removable Dodger Cabin
A cabin does add more windage and reduced the cockpit space. A compromise is to make a removable cabin. This is one simple version
There just happens to be a commonly available tent for youths, they have been seen at sporting goods stores for as little as $20. It is 4 feet wide x 6 feet long. Jason Nabors cut the bottom out of one and tied it down over the cockpit of his duck. The picture to the right is him pulled up on a beach during the Texas 200, and a couple of other duckers did the same during that trip. If the wind is blowing, the tent flops around a bit, but hey, for twenty bucks and not much work, it is a quick fix that provides a HUGE amount of interior space.
Puddle Duck Tube Tent
Basically, it is 2 pieces of plywood with fabric stretched between that forms a bottomless tube tent. The aft end has bungee cords that hook onto your boat, and the forward end has a single line that you pull and cleat off inside to keep tension on the tube so it doesn't sag.
The fabric doesn't go all the way around, it only curls around the bottom and stops so you don't have to sew in a door. Just climb underneath it, tension the line and you have simple defense against the mosquitos with hardly any setup time.
If you are out sailing on a hot day, and want some instant shade, try doing this. Dave Sanborn #287 was out sailing with another ducker and they were going to take a break and sit on the beach for a while. Dave started to try and figure out how to rig his sail as a shade, and then it suddenly dawned on him to simply tip the hull on her side and presto, instant shade.