Center cockpit or aft cockpit?
I have lived aboard and cruised both aft (C&C) and center cockpit (Irwin) sailboats.
Both have there pros and cons.
The interior volumn of CCs is GREATER not less than an aft cockpit. On traditional aft cockpit sailboats the area under the cockpit can not be used for living area, instead it is usually a vast cavern where all your junk collects over the years. On a CC, the cockpit is moved higher and forward
allowing this area to be used for the master. Two negatives occur when this is done: 1) you loose all that stowage area 2) the settee area feels smaller.
Some people say that the settee area is actually decreased, but this is not always so. The settee area can still remain large but the galley is moved outboard and the settee area just feels smaller. On the traditional aft cockpit, the settee and galley are together, giving you the feeling of a larger area.
The real problem I have always had with the CC is visibility to leeward. The Jib is impossible to see around. This can be somewhat addressed by adding a window in the jib (probably at some expense to performance). The main advantage to the CC is the wonderful master area. If you actually enjoy being with your companion each night, the CC is great.
More modern aft cockpit designs have put the area under the cockpit to use by using the area for a large birth, again at the expense of stowage.
For your intended use, the CC will serve you well. You will be forced to be more organized in you deck stowage and will likely need a deck box.