Join Date: Jul 2002
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Center Cockpit between 32-38''''
Matt, I''d suggest that there''s a huge difference in the suitability of a center cockpit layout in smaller hulls vs. the same layout with a larger hull. In fact, I believe there are a lot of disadvantages in the c/c design (which has been debated at length here and may be available in archives)but if that''s the layout you want, then that''s what you should select. However, in smaller hulls that layout will push the height of the boat up significantly unless the boat is without a walk-thru, accentuating some of the inherent problems in sailing closer to the bow, higher up and with the crew experiencing even greater roll moment. The boat will have more windage and sail more poorly than the same hull & rig with an aft cockpit and lower profile due to its higher freeboard, which in turn will make it more awkward to board from the water. The CE will be higher, as well. And another common consequence of smaller c/c designs is that the builder believed the buyer wants ''room'' and sometimes gave the designer a brief that results in lots of beam, which will make the boat slower and less efficient to windward.
Altho'' they are very much from different eras (early 70''s vs. 90''s), do a little surfing so you can see the hull form, profile, sail plan and draft of a Hallberg Rassy 35 (an Enderlein design) and any of the French/American c/c 36 footers. The former has a superb offshore cockpit with hard dodger and tall coamings, sails amazingly well given her shallow draft and full keel, but offers little of the ''space'' sought after by folks shopping for c/c designs: no walk-thru, no ''center queen'', etc. Comparing with modern designs should instantly show you where the compromises had to be made in these later designs.
I also find it interesting that there is now a shift away from c/c designs in favor of aft cabin layouts, with/without deck salons...making me wonder if designing production boats is what fashion designers do when they make a career change. <g>