There are some real advantages in having a split cockpit like the older E35. It gives the helmsman his/her own space, and you'll be bumping into other crewmembers less, esp during tacks and gybes.
There is the issue of having to step over/around the binnacle and traveller, but just look at that as a way to keep you nimble as you get older!
The E35s mainsheet is very handy to the helm, obviously, and this is a much better setup than any midboom/cabintop traveller arrangement in terms of adjustablilty and power.
I'm surprised to hear an owner suggest that these classics are not good heavy weather boats, but I've not sailed one.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)