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  #1  
Old 06-16-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

I am relatively new to sailing although I spent last winter single handing a Coronado 25 around Marathon. I am about to buy a boat in the 35-37 foot range and would like oppinions of the pros and cons of center cockpit vs aft cockpit. I plan to liveaboard 6-8 months out of each year and travel mostly in the Keys and Bahamas. Comfort and the ability to have couples as guests is vastly more important than speed. Any opinions?
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Old 06-16-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

You will find very few center cockpit boats in that size range. Center cockpit boats "generally" have smaller salons and smaller cockpits but bigger aft cabins. Overall though, interior volume will be less in a center cockpit boat. If you are experiencing a wet ride gouing to weather you will also be much closer to the "action". I once chartered a 40'' center cockpit boat and found it would be unuseable without the dodger. You are as close to the bow as you would have been on a 25'' boat.In my opnion they don''t start to look good until they hit 43'' to 45'' and above. It also makes docking a chore for two people since it is very difficult to assit with line handling from the cockpit.
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Old 06-17-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

Please bear in mind that my sailing experience is very limited in this area, however I have been actively looking for quite a few months now.

In the boats I have looked at, it appeared to me that foward visibility seemed to be significantly better on center cockpits. I really have not considered the dodger issue and find that soomething that I should investigate and consider.

Also, the interior volume wasn''t appreciably larger in the aft cockpit just differently arranged, if you will. Staterooms in general seemed significantly smaller or maybe more compact would be a better term.

In thinking about the relative advantages and disadvantages of cockpit arrangement, a number of questions come to mind. One in particular bothers me. When storing provisions, equipment, gear and whatnot in an aft cockpit for extended cruising, is there a tendency to place the center of gravity (if that is the proper term) too far forward??

I should also point out that I have been looking at boats in the 48'' to 50'' range. Which prompts another question. I have recently looked at two Hinckley 49'' ketches with the "private" cockpit aft. While I really like the Hinckleys- who wouldn''t(?)- it seems the aft xtra cockpit is really wasted space. Does anyone have an opinion on this arrangement?
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Old 06-17-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

I have lived aboard and cruised both aft (C&C) and center cockpit (Irwin) sailboats.
Both have there pros and cons.

The interior volumn of CCs is GREATER not less than an aft cockpit. On traditional aft cockpit sailboats the area under the cockpit can not be used for living area, instead it is usually a vast cavern where all your junk collects over the years. On a CC, the cockpit is moved higher and forward
allowing this area to be used for the master. Two negatives occur when this is done: 1) you loose all that stowage area 2) the settee area feels smaller.

Some people say that the settee area is actually decreased, but this is not always so. The settee area can still remain large but the galley is moved outboard and the settee area just feels smaller. On the traditional aft cockpit, the settee and galley are together, giving you the feeling of a larger area.

The real problem I have always had with the CC is visibility to leeward. The Jib is impossible to see around. This can be somewhat addressed by adding a window in the jib (probably at some expense to performance). The main advantage to the CC is the wonderful master area. If you actually enjoy being with your companion each night, the CC is great.

More modern aft cockpit designs have put the area under the cockpit to use by using the area for a large birth, again at the expense of stowage.

For your intended use, the CC will serve you well. You will be forced to be more organized in you deck stowage and will likely need a deck box.

bob
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Old 06-24-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

Been there done that In fact I used to own a 35 coronado cc The good news is they sail well. Visibility is nomally better than a aft cockpit and you will generally stay dry.As mentioned in other Responses placing the boat in a slip can be a chore I backed in all the time an found it can be pretty hairy because you will be too far from stem or stern to secure lines. I did manage to single hand my boat,but it can sure get interesting in a hurry on a windy day.I sold my cc and bought an aft cockpit I feel more secure about handling the new boat.Oh did I say cc boats generally have great layouts below mine had queen size berths at both ends and had lots of room below on rainy days in the salon to play cards or work on a pc even while a nice meal was being prepared in the galley good luck with whatever you choose and good sailing
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Old 06-25-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

I have a CC Cheoy Lee. At 36 feet it has much better accomodations and storage than all the aft cockpit boats I looked at in that size. (Did not find an aft cockpit boat with an aft cabin that was usable for anything but sail storage. (Dislike coffins)Salon is a bit smaller will admit but makes up for it with wonderful aft cabin. It also has a hard windshield that is necessary in rough weather. Passage through is low but have learned to duck - this avoids the common problem of the boat being too high. With a CC docking can be a challange but what boat isn''t. And you are closer to the bow and not that far from the stern. Also for a ketch it has the mizzen aft of the cockpit not in it like Pearson 365 etc.
Todd V
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Old 06-30-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

I''ve never had a personal boat with center cockpit but our newest addition is the aft cockpit Macgregor 65. Being so long has it''s drawback as well as its benefits and the aft cockpit is much nicer to watch your sail layout. You''re not looking back over your shoulder to see whats going on upstairs if you know what I mean. Visibility toward the front is limited but when isnt it? Docking and casting off are just about as easy as it gets if you work slow and have a little help, experience will be your teacher, trust me. Learn to use your benefits and be cautious of the liabilities no matter which way you go. Seamanship isnt about which is better, but which you can handle better. Its all about you, not the boat. Be comfortably in whatever you get and you''ll do great. If you dont like it after a year of use, sell it and change. Its just that simple.
Enjoy yourselves.
later
db
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Old 07-16-2003
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Center cockpit or aft cockpit?

Hi,
my name is Christian and I currently own a Grampian 26. (very happy with this boat; that''s wy I want to go bigger like you.
I am french (also citizen) i have the feeling that in this range of size you''ll probably find more choice if you are looking towards the European builders like the French Beneteau (beautifull 36''cc)or the British Westerly for example, I am myself considering a new boat and it will be a CC. as I think this is the perfect aRRANGEMENT FOR A COUPLE. With a dodger your cockpit is dryer you have a better view all around, benefit of a wonderfull aft cain (especially the Beneteau 36cc- by the way the 440cc is not more expensive on the used market) and remember - even if you cruise often; 90% of the cruising time is passed on the hook or in marina 10% in sailing thus a nice aft cabin is really nice. Very few of us cross the Oceans and a lot love slip sailing/day sailing and gunkholking, right ?

In term of privacy it seems also to me better than aft cockpit
Christian & Whajung
S/V Matin Calme
Los Angeles,california
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Old 07-17-2003
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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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Old 08-07-2006
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CC vs AC

Ah yes. Whilst I was searching for my boat, I looked and numerous center cockpit boats. I found that while it was roomy and I did like to more private aft cabin, every time I looked at one, I would slam my head into the cockpit when I walked out of the aft cabin.

Soooo....in order to avoid permanent brain injury, I chose a Catalina 30, which has an aft cockpit.

Now I find that whenever I lie down in the aft cabin (for rest or work) I slam my head into the cockpit when I sit up.

Maybe I'll look for a no cockpit boat next time!

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