Are the seats long enough to lie down and nap on? This is, in my opinion, an essential feature of a cockpit. The coamings don't look very high to sit comfortably, but it's hard to really judge that from a photo. On a cruising boat you spend a lot of time in the cockpit so it's important to have comfortable seating (deep, angled coaming), a large table for dining and wide, long seats that you can nap on.
Yes, that's one advantage to a tiller on anything less than 40', a T-shaped cockpit can really take a bite out of the seat length... In this case, however, the seats look just long enough for most people to stretch out on...
I would be curious to know the size of the boat. It looks like an awfully cramped cockpit on a (I'm guessing) 35+ foot boat. It looks like it is smaller than it needs to be, but it is hard to tell without the picture zoomed back a little bit. Do you need that rail going all the way around the cockpit? Are you really going to walk around on it? Personally, I think I'd rather have the cockpit space.
Then there's that huge wheel. Nice when sailing, but not worth it for the awkwardness it presents when not sailing. Honestly, does not look like more room than on my 26' boat.
I'm guessing it's an Alden 45... That cockpit is meant to go offshore, and the coaming serves to inhibit the likelihood of getting pooped, or water running aft on deck from getting into the cockpit. I like the coaming cutouts, far more comfortable and secure than perching on top of a wider coaming, as is customary on so many boats...
An oversized wheel like that is not necessarily as problematic as it might seem, it can easily be removed when not sailing and stowed against the stern rail... The main problem with such wheels is simply getting around them, of course. I can't help but wonder whether the oversize wheel on his J-46 CIELITA was a contributing factor to the loss of Ned Cabot off Newfoundland last month, having to step up out of the cockpit to get around the wheel momentarily places a helmsman in an extremely vulnerable position... Just one more argument in favor of a tiller, but no one wants to hear about tillers anymore (grin)
The engine monitors are not visible from the helm.
The autopilot control head is on the port side wall of the helm area - should be centered. If you are on AP and take a broach while sitting to starboard side you are SOL to getting quick control of the helm.
Looks to me like the engine control panel is down low on the port side, and the autopilot control is on the inside of the coaming to starboard behind the helm... Not a good spot for either, IMHO...
Always a challenge to locate an engine control panel in a cockpit, but I hate to see them placed low like that, sooner or later they're gonna be underwater. Gauges are one thing, but I don't even think an ignition key should be located in the cockpit, I think below inside the companionway is a far better location - way too many things can go wrong with ignition keys exposed to the elements in a cockpit...
Julie, you are talking a live aboard - so an enclosure is a must. Picture one on this boat that encloses the winches, those funky seats etc. Picture it as seriously cu$tom and very awkward.
Uh-oh, don't get me started on enclosures - they're meant for boats other than that one... Putting an oxygen tent on an Alden 45 would be akin to drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa... (grin)