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  #1  
Old 10-15-2011
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Open aft cockpit

Hi there,

Being a little masochist, lately, I spent some time checking out builders' website to see what they are throwing out in the market these days.

Something that hits me is that most of the new boats have open or semi open aft cockpit .
I noticed it because 2 weeks ago I managed to move my wife to a boat show, and the only boat she showed some interest in was a Beneteau First because she liked the large open cockpit.

I have to admit I like the look of open cockpit too, but something is bothering me :

1/I won't feel comfortable if there is some kids around (let's say below 10) or even some people not agile/ used to sailing.
Even if they manage not to fall, I got the bad feeling that something will : teddy bear, ball, toy, bag, lines... you name it.

2/ What about the waves ?
What happen if you take a wave from behind : isn't a risk of being knock out or lose 'stuff' ?
Same thing at the anchor : no risk of having a wave flood the cabin ? (or you leave the hatch half closed all the time )


That seems like big issues to me, but with so many boats made that way, I am probably missing something here. Does anyone have any clue ?

Thx

SFU

Last edited by SFU; 10-15-2011 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 10-15-2011
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This is the recent trend... and I think it's a neat idea. If anyone's worried about losing crew or items overboard you can always string some netting across the gap. Many of these manufacturers offer optional 'seats' that can partially block these open sterns. Some of these are articulated and can act as gangplanks for the med mooring situations.

If you did happen to catch a wave (not really a concern at anchor, but perhaps in nasty conditions at sea) the good news is the water will be gone as fast as it boarded.. unlike the more traditional (and generally poorly scuppered) enclosed cockpit that would take perhaps many minutes to drain.

Another benefit is greatly improved access for swimming and getting in and out of dinghies.

We've done well over a thousand miles in the Eastern Caribbean with the open transom and in all that surfing in 25 knots trades, and with the swells at the top of St Vincent and in Bequia Channel we never had a wave climb up into the cockpit from astern. (usually going too fast!)

There is one possible downfall there though (IMO) As the boats carry beam further aft you do end up with very large cockpits, but in many cases the distance between the seats is too far for many people to be able to comfortably brace themselves when heeled. Another thing this has led to is fixed (large) cockpit tables - in some cases directly in line with the primary winches - not a good doublehanding setup. Some boats do have their winches aft near the wheel, in that case the tables are not such a nuisance.
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Old 10-15-2011
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Faster has said it almost all. I don't know what was the First that you were looking but First are among those that have an optional back seat.

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Old 10-15-2011
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Faster has it right. Before I sailed on this style of boat I had all the same concerns as you. Since sailing on different examples of the open stern I have come to like them very much, for the reasons Faster stated. I haven't seen any boats without some form of closure available - removable seat, double gated lifelines, drop down pulpit rail etc.

The center tables needed for footing do get in the way sometimes but unless you're racing a lot their benefits far outweigh the slight inconvenience they can cause.

As for waves boarding from astern, these boats are usually so fast that the waves get left behind - they just don't seem to catch up the way they used to.
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Old 10-16-2011
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Ok, thx for the feedback. So it is as nice as it is eye catching, good

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
don't know what was the First that you were looking but First are among those that have an optional back seat.
It was a First 30, and thx for the info.


SFU
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Old 10-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
...

As for waves boarding from astern, these boats are usually so fast that the waves get left behind - they just don't seem to catch up the way they used to.
Actually the waves always get you, even in race boats, but the speed differential is much lesser in a modern sail boat and sometimes they can surf a wave for a long time. The wave will touch you gently on the transom instead of slapping against it.

(Jonb, I had no experience with truly fast race boats but I have read once an interview with one of the Open 60 skippers that had said that. It seems that even when they go over 25K those huge waves on the roaring 40's continue to be faster. The bigger the wave, the bigger its speed over the ground).

Regards

Paulo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFU View Post
..

It was a First 30, and thx for the info.


SFU
On the First 30 is not optional, it is there all the time, however you cannot seat on it (it is the traveler, but I guess that you have notice that).

If you have small children you would have to rig a net, as Faster have said.



Regards

Paulo
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Quote:
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SFU.... I can see you drooling! Sorry to tell you this boat is not in your budget!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Actually the waves always get you, even in race boats, but the speed differential is much lesser in a modern sail boat and sometimes they can surf a wave for a long time. The wave will touch you gently on the transom instead of slapping against it.

(Jonb, I had no experience with truly fast race boats but I have read once an interview with one of the Open 60 skippers that had said that. It seems that even when they go over 25K those huge waves on the roaring 40's continue to be faster. The bigger the wave, the bigger its speed over the ground).

Regards Paulo
Paulo, I wasn't being serious, hence the - if tsunami waves can move at 500 MPH in the open ocean, I have to assume that shorter wavelengths can still move faster than 10 or 15.

From the footage I have seen of the Volvo though, their wakes look like ski boats. I've read that those monsters get in the 40 knot range quite frequently. That should outrun a lot of things - coast guard cutters, aircraft carriers etc. Imagine being a smuggler 200 years ago with one of those.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
..
From the footage I have seen of the Volvo though, their wakes look like ski boats. I've read that those monsters get in the 40 knot range quite frequently. That should outrun a lot of things - coast guard cutters, aircraft carriers etc. Imagine being a smuggler 200 years ago with one of those.
You mean, like this:

Fast Sailing - Pirates of the Caribbean - Black Pearl - Volvo Ocean Race - YouTube

Some "old shoes" Also go impressively fast, I mean in what regards waves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvkWjQYzuCM

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 10-16-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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