I've mentioned it before, but as sharp and sexy as those twin wheels can be aboard many of today's broad-beamed boats that carry their beam all the way aft, they have the downside of placing the helmsman in the most exposed position, subject to the most motion at one of the corners of the floating triangle... In fact, the only worse place for the helm on such a boat, at least in purely geometric terms and the consequences thereof, would be right up at the bow... (grin)
Well, I agree. There is a trade off for everything and the best designers are not stupid and those beamy large transom boats boats did not born in a design board of some crazy designer. They have born along many years of design adapting solo racing boats to the needs of solo sailing and the biggest need of a solo sailor is an easy boat. Because most cruising boats are practically solo sailed what has been learned on those boats have been slowly incorporated in the design of cruising boats, many times by the same designers.
You are absolutely right regarding movement. Of course you don't have to be there to steer the boat but that is the most logical place since it is where you can see better where you are going, even if most cruisers actually use the autopilot (with a hand held command) and sail from the middle of the cockpit.
The advantages of that type of shape for cruisers are many (and that's why it is a major trend in modern cruising boats): The boat is a much more stable platform, it sails at max efficiency with very little heel (17% against the 30% of a narrow boat) and roll a lot less and that is specially important when sailing downwind.
The disadvantages are a lesser and more uncomfortable performance on upwind sailing (most of the cruisers when they want to go against the wind use the engine) and as you say more movement if you sail the boat from one of the corners of the transom.
Regarding the two wheels they offer the important and additional advantage to be able move much easily and safely forward to reach the winches, or to come back from the cockpit to the wheel if needed (with the boat is on autopilot).
I know that you have said:
" I've always thought the ergonomics of the bigger J-Boats cockpits was very good, but on CIELITA, there's no way to get behind the wheel without stepping up onto the deck momentarily, then back down into the cockpit again... Not good for a boat going offshore, but apparently Ned felt the tradeoff for the oversized wheel was worth it..."
But that trade off is an important one and it is the possibility of sailing the boat comfortably from the lateral side and that's a must for all that like to take the wheel for a long time, specially if the boat goes upwind heeled: It is just the best place.
Everything is a trade off in boat design and you have to pick your choice accordingly with your sailing needs but have no doubt, boats like the new Hanse, Benetwau, Bavaria or Jeanneau are adapted to the needs of most sailors, otherwise they would not all be following the same general trend. They all want to sail many sailboats and to do that they have ti adapt their boats for the needs of most sailors.
I prefer other type of boats but then I don't do what most cruisers do with their sailboats and I bet that is also your case even if I am also sure that what is appropriated for you is not for me