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Old 06-24-2002
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

Which one is safer and more comfortable in rough seas?
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Old 06-24-2002
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

Generally, an aft cockpit is considered safer and more comfortable in rough conditions, but this can gets to be more of a fine point depending on the specific design as boats get larger. In a general sense, most center cockpit boats place the seats at or above the main deck level to allow more room for the passage between fore and aft cabins. This greater height means more motion due to rolling. On the other hand, depending on the boat, the more forward position may have less pitching motion but pitching is generally the less violent of the two motions.

As to safety that somewhat depends on the boat design as well, but it is generally thought that waves over the bows are more frequent and violent (speed of the wave added to the speed of the boat vs speed of the wave minus the speed of the boat in a pooping) and so argueably the center cockpit is more exposed to the more violent wave action.

I personally would choose an aft cockpit for an offshore boat under 40 or so feet.

Jeff
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

Jeff

Thanks. I would generally prefer the aft cockpit since, as you indicated, the roling motion is more violent in CC''s. My wife, who points out that 75-80% of the time a boat is at anchor or at a marina, prefer the space offered by a CC. Since we are looking for a boat in the 40-45 range, I have so far seen only one boat that seems to offer a reasonable compromise, meaning it still has good bluewater characteristics and features and that is the Wauquiez Pilot Saloon Series.
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Old 06-24-2002
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

Moody also had a center-cockpit design about 40 or so feet long that didn''t look too top-heavy, with the cockpit far enough aft to provide some protection. No "pilothouse -saloon", however on the Moody. I would worry about large areas of glass shattering in waves.
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

When you get to boats that size aft or center cockpit is less of a problem. I don''t know what your budget is or if I''ve already thrown out suggestions for you earlier but a couple choices of serious offshore boats that you may not have checked out might be the Brewer 44 and Brewer 12.8, the Hallberg Rassy''s, one of my personal favorites- the Kelly Peterson 44, perhaps a high performace offshore type like the J-44, another real favorite the Norseman 447 and its cousin the Taswell 43, The Dudley Dix designed Sheerwaters to name a few.
Good luck
Jeff
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

Jeff

I will definitely check out some of the boats you mentioned. I am quite familiar with the Hallberg-Rassy, and that is a good boat, but the warf offers very little customization options. What I like about the Wauquiez is the way they are built, very solid, for instance, not many boats come with a waterproof bulkhead that garantees it will withstand a collision with a container. Sheerwater is nice, but inmho too few of them around to expect wide support.

I have heard the argument before about the glass area, as mentioned by Paul, but I wonder whether this really is an issue nowadays. After all, some pretty expensive yachts, such as Farr, Turner, Stellar, Northwind, etc come with large "glass" areas and also most cats have the same. Are they all going to break when hit by a wave?
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Old 06-25-2002
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

No they are not all going to break when hit by a wave but some certainly do. The other issue with the huge acrylic and Lexan panels is maintenance. In the almost 14 years that I owned my last boat. I replaced the portlights twice. Over time they got small micro fissures that that are typical of any plastic port material that I am familiar with. Look at almost any 10 year old boat and you will see what I am talking about. Now visualize trying to replace that material in some remote corner of the world. I think this whole raised salon business is about more comfortable coastal cruising and not about the kind of distance cruising that you are proposing. When you look at the interior set ups on these monohulls they generally not set up as true offshore boats.

Jeff
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Aft vs. Center Cockpit

I have a Wauquiez Hood 38, and can attest to its excellent construction. I am very pleased with all aspects of this boat and its build.

As for CCs'' v AC''s. I looked at several CC''s in the 40-43ft range, while looking for my boat. I found that - for the most part - the CC was carried down through the cabin and thus that much cabin space was taken away. True, they do generally offer a more spacious aft cabin, but I believe it is at the expense of the main salon. This aspect is really a matter of personal choice. Many people enjoy a larger aft cabin and are willing to trade space for it.

Also, one positive aspect of a CC is in coming into a slip. Since the cockpit is higher and further forward, you have less boat forward when maneuvering and are close to the amidships cleat for catching and attaching a spring line there.

Out sailing, I personally prefer the aft cockpit. You have more protection from breaking waves and less roll. Remember that roll can be significant as we sailors often sail off or abeam to weather.

I did happen to see a Norseman 447 the other day... very very nice boat and, if I had the money, I would love to be looking at the new Wauquiez raised salon 43. (of course if I really had the money I would be looking at a Van de Stadt Samoa 47 ;o) But.... I do love my Hood 38 - I felt the forward cabin was quite large and the rest of the boat very spacious and livable. I also like the aft quarter cabin...makes a great sea berth (unlike a centerline queen found in most large aft cabins).

Hope this helps.

John

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