Thanks for the feedback Eric. I also prefer the layout of the 12.50 in the cockpit (with the exception of the hale-bas rigging) but having been on a 10.50, it's manageable enough alone in my opinion. I've sailed a 8.50 and am looking at a fall rental of the Viniloc boat to give the 10.50 a spin.
Good point on the weight of the 10.50 and the windage issue with the keel up. My "lake" boat is an Open 5.00 and on a much smaller scale I know exactly what you mean, it can be trying in strong crosswinds and tight berths!!
I'm sure you will be counting the days to April 2012. The 12.50 is a beautiful boat and I'm envious!
The downhaul on the 12.50 is indeed a quite "racy" and unconvenient construction for a cruiser, you are absolutely right about that. The designers wanted to keep the sailplan -and thus the gooseneck- as low as possible, which left no sufficient place for a traditional downhaul.
But as long as the mainsail traveller is in charge, it has no use. This peculiar downhaul will therefore only need to be rigged when going deep downwind, when the apparent wind brings the traveller out of range and the twist in the mainsail becomes excessive.
With this kind of boats, one will then probably already have jibed to keep up the VMG. If not, this downhaul can be rigged in quite comfortable conditions, it will also be much more effective and may even serve as a jibe preventer.
But please make no mistake, also for us the cockpit of the 10.50 worked very well indeed.
Especially the central console aft, which is not only useful for stocking the liferaft, but also provides very secure and comfortable leaning - sitting - holding in the very beamy aft portion of the cockpit. It is also a practical alternative for the now popular so-called German sheeting system, with the main sheet on a winch and within reach of the helmsman. Only take care to watch the sheet when jibing!
And the twin helms make it much easier to move from one steering position to another, especially when berthing.
We will certainly miss this console on the 12.50, where the aftermost and even more beamy part of the cockpit has been kept completely open to accept an inflated dinghy. There isn't even a backstay to hold on to when p...
I'm aware that we will not want to be there in any but the most quiet conditions, while on the 10.50 you will always be very secure all the way aft.
Since you have already sailed the 8.50, I trust you will also enjoy your trip on the 10.50. Weather permitting, there probably is no better way to convince your family than by a sunny afternoon anchoring within the GlÚnans archipel, with the keel up and almost right up the sandy beach. It's only a short sail away from Viniloc's berth in Concarneau.
Since you already got used to tricky berthing with your open 5.00, I very much welcome your tips & tricks!
In my sweetest dreams we have stressless surfes at 15+ kts, but in my worst nightmares I smash our future 12.50 into yachts, pontoons, harbour walls and anything else within close range.
You're quite right, we are counting the days until spring 2012. But it's us who should be envious, since you will be sailing a Pogo again in Brittany long before we do. Enjoy!