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AjariBonten 10-21-2007 10:22 AM

Aft Cockpit vs Center Cockpit
Ok, I'm sure that this thread will not bring out any strongly held opinions or anything......

I'd like to have some general thoughts on the merits/disadvantages of the center cockpit design. And answers to some questions that might be a little bit ignorant........

We are considering weekending for a few years leading to liveaboard. Certainly long term coastal, and likely some limited blue water (Bermuda?)

Here are a few thoughts based on very limited experience.

Pluses of Center Cockpit:

Big Aft Owners Cabin (usually)

Questions / Dis-Advantages:
How does a CC clear shipped water?
Is there an emergency tiller option on a CC boat? (where?????)
Proximity of master cabin to cockpit (noise, privacy, etc.)
getting aboard (versus an open transom, etc.)

Certainly I don't like CC's on smaller boats from an appearance point of view.
If I were to consider a Pilot-House boat I don;t care for Aft Cockpit versions.
If it's good enough for a Hallberg-Rassey ..........(I REALLY like them)

I was reading ads in Sail magazine (I know not exactly an unbiased opinion) for sailboats and one ad I was reading made reference to something like this "....without the dis-advantages of a center cockpit......" That raised the obvious question ... "What disadvantages ????"


camaraderie 10-21-2007 12:13 PM

Ajari...there are other threads on this so you might do a search for more but...

1. Huge aft cabin & PRIVACY
2. All around visibility...easier close quarters handling due to mid-ship position.
3. Ability to fully enclose cockpit without loss of visibility.
4. aft deck space for storage of bycyicles, life refts etc. without impairing visibiity or access to foredeck.
5. Dryer as it is harder to get pooped by a wave into the cockpit and since you are also higher.
6. Easier motion in the cockpit since you are not hobby horsing at the end of the boat.

1.Less on deck locker space due to use of space below deck for aft cabin.
2. Harder to dock since you cannot reach from the wheel to a piling.
3. Ugly condo look if not done right...generally over 40' is required. Excess windage on some boats.
4. Sometimes poor ventilation in master cabin if blocked by cockpit.
To answer your other questions:

1. Cockpit is drained by scuppers and hoses led down through the hulljust like most aft cockpit boats . More and bigger is better.
2. There is usually an emegency tiller fitting through the aft deck plate above the quadrant and a 2 piece emergency tiller that fits this opening and then runs forward. Sometimes it is quite klunky!! I like to think of my blow deck autopilot as my emergency tiller since it can steer the boat if the wheel system fails...and my real emergency tiller is my 3rd backup.
3. Cockpit noise has never been a still have a v-berth as a choice anyway.
4. Getting aboard is not an issue unique to CC boats...our BEST boat for getting aboard was our Irwin 44CC which had a motorized drop-down dive [latform which was great for off loading heavy stuff like groceries or laundry from the dink.

Having owned both types of boats, I am a confirmed CC guy for living aboard especially since I am tall and the aft cabin lets me stretch out.

RandyonR3 10-21-2007 12:41 PM

Got to dis-agree with the "easy motion" Mentioned in the prior reply and I'm not sure what is ment by "Hobby Horsing". I've sailed both a center cockpit and rear. My 42 is a rear cockpit.
I found that If you're going to get seasick, you'll do it in a center cockpit. I've sailed many miles and never got a touch of the sickness UNTIL I sailed a center cockpit. If you're in any type of wave action where the boat is rocking around, as sailing down wind, wing on wing.
Your on top of the boat and swinging from side to side. In a rear cockpit, you're setting just a few inches above the water and the movement is minamized at the waterline.The boat is rolling around you.
The experance I had was in the delivering of a Choy Lee 65 foot center cockpit... The cockpit was about 10 feet above the waterline and whenever the boat rocked from side to side, I was swinging from atop the boat.. It was like being in the fly bridge of a powerboat.
I'm sure there are advantages of a center cockpit but after I hailed over the side a couple times, I did'nt care about the advantages...

AjariBonten 10-21-2007 12:41 PM

Thanks Cam, that was pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking. Like most people who ask the "what do you think about" sort of questions, I've probably made up my mind and am just looking for validation.......:o

I agree with the more/bigger scuppers issue; coming from commercial fishing I am used to 8 or 10, 6"x12" clearing ports on deck (and REALLY needing them)

I don't think the in-cockpit storage issue would be a huge one for me. To be honest most lazarettes I've seen seem too wimpy, and potential sea-anchors if (when) the cockpit gets flooded. I'm really a "stow for sea" kind of guy.

The reality of spending more time on the hook than on passages makes the large master cabin a huge plus for me and the mate.;)

Being of a "high-latitude" attitude, ease of enclosing of the cockpit might be a really nice bonus I'd really not thought about.

Thanks again, now to put together mi "wish-list" of characteristics, eliminate the ones that are mutually exclusive, and narrow down the search.....:rolleyes:

AjariBonten 10-21-2007 12:46 PM


Originally Posted by RandyonR3 (Post 209942)
....... never got a touch of the sickness UNTIL I sailed a center cockpit......... In a rear cockpit, you're setting just a few inches above the water and the movement is minamized at the waterline.The boat is rolling around you.............but after I hailed over the side a couple times, I did'nt care about the advantages...

Good points, all. I will definitley (sp?) take those into consideration.

I won't be buying before I've had a chance to sail in both types, I'm sure. Something else to be self-aware of......

Thanks, Fred

camaraderie 10-21-2007 01:00 PM

Randy....true on some CC's and not on most things, it all depends on the boat in question.

paul77 10-21-2007 01:33 PM

We recently went through this decision, and ended up buying a center cockpit. We were drawn towards center cockpit from the mind of having a cockpit enclosure, as our intentions are year round sailing in the puget sound. Many people do enclosures with aft cockpits as well, though aesthetically and functionally they don't work for me (at least in beamy modern designs). Once my fiance saw the aft cabin you get, there was pretty much no going back.

The other downside, my good friend with a beneteau 423 keeps reminding me of, is the reduced size of the salon area. This of course depends on perspective, as many will point out the giant salon could become a hazard if you are offshore.

Depends a lot on the size of boats you are considering.

CaptainForce 10-21-2007 03:38 PM

My wife and I lived on aft cabin sailboats for 13 years and now on a center-cockpit sailboat for 23 years. I agree with all those comments from Camaraderie, but I would add that, though the "hobby-horse" action fore & aft rock would be greater with the aft cockpit, the port-starboard roll of the centercockpit can be troublesome if the cockpit is too high by design. Our main reason to switch to the center-cockpit came with a bigger boat and a need for space for our growing children. Ours was not a walk through layout so we were able to actually suggest to our children, "Go to your room" ! 'take care & joy, Aythya crew

retclt 10-21-2007 03:56 PM

On the seasick:
We rent a 45CC on the bay and love it. The wife has never been sick on it. We rent aft cocpits when the CC is not available and she does get sick occasionally when it's rough. I can testify to the hobby horse on a 26 footer - I know, not applicable here, but our 26 will almost eject you at times.

SailorPam 10-22-2007 05:11 PM

We find we're drawn more to CC's also as we pursue our quest for a liveaboard. I appreciate the info here. I can see the potential for side to side hobby horsing on some of the "wedding cake" high-profile boats, but there are some with lower profiles that feel comfortable. I too like the central position of the helm, but a friend mentioned that he thought it may make it more difficult to read the trim on the main from that position. Any input from the cc sailors out there?

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