I confess that I miss sitting in an open cockpit with nothing to blot out the heavens on a perfect night. Utter bliss.
Otoh, if you sail on the NSW coast where it is quite usual for spray to be flying and the sun to be blazing down you will not want to be without both dodger and bimini.
On our old girl the bimini had clears on top so helm can keep an eye on the sails, new girl has panels over so not so easy but all one needs to do is poke ones head out once in a while. As I tend to steer from the rail anyway it is no great problem. New girl also has deck area aft of the cockpit so one can still lie out in the open and watch the stars.
Old Girl (We added hand rails similar to Fast's on either side and acros the rear of the dodger.)
Biggest problem for us is that we do like to keep the side curtains on the cockpit enclosure open even when it is raining and this is not really satisfactory. We are now making up a set of canvas 'wings' to solve that problem. I'll post pics when project is complete.
Reality is that anyone who spends anytime sailing beyond a simple day sail is going to want a dodger, in warm climes a bimini and long term possibly/probably even a set of lee/weather clothes. Salt spray may be invigorating for the first few hours but oh man it does get really tired much beyond that.
Jon Eisberg posted this pic in another thread (the Alden cockpit thread) . Must say I do like the way the weather cloth comes across the deck like that.