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Old 07-17-2003
mcain mcain is offline
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

There have been some great comments so far. Let me add my 2 cents. I have owned 9 boats, and sailed and chartered on a bunch of others, both CC and aft cockpit. We bought our current boat 5 years ago for the express purpose of tropics long-term cruising, and it is a 43 center cockpit.
I concur that you get more room below in a CC, sometimes at the expense of a boat that is visually "boxey" or not very pleasing to the eye, and has lots of windage. Ours seems to have solved that problem somehow, since it looks good to my eye. I am 5'' 10" and have full headroom for me in the passage, though many cc''s do not. (Being very tall is expensive in boats!!!). Also a great engine room under the center cockpit. Great aft cabin. Great main cabin with plenty of room and very airy. With 3 decidedly separate cabins, air conditioning is harder--we ended up with 3 separate A/C units.
Visibility is, IMHO, better on a center cockpit. You are higher and closer to the bow. So you can see in all directions better. As far as seeing sails, the big issue is the bimini and dodger. In the tropics, you NEED a full-time full-sized bimini to keep the sun out. So, you will be looking at sails through windows in the bimini, or go outside the cockpit for close examination of sail trim, anyway--whether cc or ac. Visibility to leeward is also a function of sail cut, though aft cockpit has the edge here.
I have not found the cc any wetter than the aft cockpit models. Primarily because of the need for a bimini and dodger that stops the spray anyway. But being forward is compensated for by being higher. So spray is not worse. Our boat cockpit is very dry.
Docking depends on the number of people on the boat. I can certainly see better to dock in the cc boat. If single-handing, I am closer to the bow to grab a line in the cc. With two people, it is slightly better with the aft cockpit, since the helmsman handles the aft lines and the crew handles the bow lines. However, with two people, helmsman on our boat heads for the spring line first, and crew handles the bow, so again it is a tossup.

The biggest advantage of the cc is the wonderful aft cabin. All of the other features are really not terribly significant compared to that one. Aft cabin boats have a harder time getting the large master cabin with queen sized bunk and good headroom and good ventilation. I would say this is the deciding factor.


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