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redstripesailor 07-05-2008 06:49 PM

what's up with modern cockpit designs?
I sail on a traditional schooner so admittedly I'm a little out of touch with most new sailing developments. I was looking at a Sail magazine the other day and all of the new boats featured had enormous aft cockpits with open transoms. While that seems nice and looks fast, doesn't anyone worry about falling overboard!? That's my biggest concern with people on my boat. Does anyone understand the methodology behind these cockpit designs?

Stillraining 07-05-2008 06:58 PM

Gary1 07-06-2008 10:50 AM

I think the reason for the open transom is that these boats are so 'wet' that they spend a great deal of time with huge amounts of water sloshing into the cockpits, and that's the only way to get rid of the water.

I'm like you...I find crew safety a real concern for boats like this, but then they routinely never go where real sailors dare. These hot rods go race around two markers in light wind. If the wind gets above 15 knots, they start looking for a hole to crawl into.

Would I dream of cruising something with an open transom? Not during this lifetime or this galaxy, thanks.


Cap'n Gary

tommyt 07-06-2008 11:16 AM

Guys, builders build what people buy. Fairly easy to see that the majority of people want an open transom based on what you see at a boat show and in the marinas. Not everyone is planning on cruising the open ocean.

There are people that don't like 57 Chevy's, and look at the prices today. It is what floats your boat, and it is clear that open transoms don't float yours.

speciald 07-06-2008 11:45 AM

I like off-shore boats that you sit in not on. The security of a high coaming wrapping around me keeps me warm and fuzzy. A number of boats - Moodys, Freedom, J - don't give that protection. Open cockpits are for race boats only. I sailed a C&C 37+ for ten years and always feared I would drift off to sleep off-shore at night and slide right out of the boat.

capttb 07-06-2008 12:37 PM

Yeah ! And why do they use so much aluminum and such ? Why don't they still build them from wood, canvas, leather and hemp ?

they spend a great deal of time with huge amounts of water sloshing into the cockpits, and that's the only way to get rid of the water.
Where are these "deluges" into the cockpit coming from on an open transom that wouldn't also fill a bathtub cockpit that relies on a scupper to drain ?

SEMIJim 07-06-2008 12:55 PM

We took our ASA 101 and 103 courses on a Hunter with a cockpit like that. Looked like it'd be real convenient once you were on the hook and wanted to go for a swim. Then again: Somebody'd left a winch handle on the cockpit sole, I looked at that, then at the open transom, and decided neither seemed like such a good idea.


Jeff_H 07-06-2008 01:11 PM

First of all the really wide, open, coamingless cockpits are racing cockpits. These cockpits are designed to allow the crew to work efficiently, getting them outboard where they can see what they are adjusting. Partially because of their large surface areas they went to wide open transoms allow quick drainage of any water that happens aboard. This design is not just used on inshore racing boats but also on crewed round the world racers who often venture where few folk dare to go, approaching the antartic circle.

You see something different in coastal cruising boats where their cockpits have been designed to be comfortable for small armies to lounge and they will have removable transom panels of one form or another to make it easy to get into dinghies or to swim. For some reason the ads for these boats often show them with the tansom doors off or stowed. These coastal typically do have substantial coamings.

The cruising versions of "Moodys, Freedom, J boats" do have coamings and closed transoms. Even the racing versions of J-boats have closed transoms, which is more about proper rudder post support than seawater control.


Gary1 07-06-2008 01:31 PM

I don't know, Jeff. I did the 'Southern Ocean' once. We got pooped more times than I like to think about. Instant draining of the cockpit would have been nice, but I have to tell you, when huge amounts of water head for the lowest spot, they have a lot of force. Being washed out with that water would have been a real possibility. Yeah, we were miserable with ankle deep water a few times, and had to wait for the stuff to drain out, but an open transom on that trip? I wouldn't have gone. Period.

Cap'n Gary

Valiente 07-07-2008 05:39 PM

I have the opposite sort of cockpit: about 20 inches wide by 36 inches long and 18 inches deep, with two three-inch pipe scuppers. More like a glorified footwell, really. The rest of the aft deck is just a cambered deck covered in anti-skid. The idea is that you're out there to helm, and if you are up to your knees in sea, won't get any worse!

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