Originally Posted by BarryL
Lastly, I am 49 years old, fit, and with good balance. I find it easy to leave the cockpit to go to the mast (or bow) and perform any necessary tasks. I don't have a complicated dodger / bimini setup that makes leaving the cockpit difficult, and my boat has decent hand holds as I go forward.
And, that is as it should be... On a proper sailing yacht, there should be little fear, or hesitation, of leaving the cockpit in anything short of extremely boisterous conditions, and darkness should not at all add to the risk of doing so...
Perhaps my biggest gripe with many modern boats, is the poor cockpit and deck ergonomics - the subtle contours and facets of the deck and coachroof, large expanses of areas uncovered by non-skid, the huge coamings that must be straddled in an ungainly fashion without good handholds to gain access to pathetically narrow side-decks with minimal toerails, and on and on... Then, bolt on some of those Canvas Contraptions becoming more and more prevalent, and it's easy to see why some folks fear having to drag themselves out on deck... (grin)
Last boat I was on, leaving the cockpit was as safe as could be, the boat was an absolute delight to move around on deck (absent the ice, of course) A sturdy, unobtrusive dodger with side rails, 30" high lifelines, and absence of jerry jugs and other crap creating needless deck clutter, etc...
As it should be... A sad sign of the times, that going forward in a gale at sea would entail far less risk on this 31-footer, than it would on many modern boats almost twice her size...