Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cape Cod
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Re: Popularity of center cockpits?
I've had both center and aft cockpit boats. Sailed a center cockpit which was a 52 for 10 years. Nice. As indicated, great for separating master stateroom from guests, and room for a nice master/head aft. Now sailing a 38 aft cockpit, also nice, but certainly not as roomy.
That said, I think there is a minimum size boat on which center cockpit works for a number of reasons.
1. For spray, and comfort on deck it's better to drive from a position well aft of the bow. The shorter the boat, the closer you are to the pointy end, even closer when sitting in the center.
2. Wedding cake effect is amplified on a shorter boat. You gotta go up to get head room/engine room below. Also, this sitting high might be less comfortable in a sea way especially if your boat is short and light.
3. You need enough room below to really get the forward and aft cabins with enough size to be useful.
I'm not sure I can pinpoint a minimum size that works. Clearly Oysters, Little Harbor, Bristol, Hylas and others build or have built some centers that look great, and are world cruisers. Most of these are high 40's and up. IMHO they work best when they are relatively large. This is all mission dependent. YMMV.