Fat Ass Sterns of New Boats
Well put as usual Jeff.
The wheel on my new boat (2000 First 40.7) is large too - and I have no trouble seeing the headsail from either side and controlling the boat. With a max beam of 12''4" I wouldn''t call her fat, but you can definitely see the aft falreout in the design.
A 40'' boat with a PHRF of 54 that can hit 8-9 knots with little difficulty is probably not suffering too intensely from having some extra beam aft.
Take the removable lockers out of the cockpit for races, and the crew has tons of room to work.