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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
My better half and I are about 6 month into researching what would be the "best" boat for us. Yes, that is EXTREMELY subjective. So, here is how we plan on using it...Coastal cruising a mid 1970s-1980s, 37-44 footer the eastern seaboard down through the Caribbean. Its just the two of us, living AND working aboard, and we plan on cruising very often. We realize there are a myriad of factors that go into picking out a boat, but I am curious to see what the cyber worlds opinion is regarding center cockpits and along with that, the importance of having a secondary landing spot to obtain a few moment privacy. Not really looking for a particular manufacture (although helpful with a 70K purchase budget) Thoughts and my thanks for your time.

CP
 

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bell ringer
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When I first got interested in a sailbat to travel and live on I was drawn to the center cockpit boat for the walk around berth. But it seems that most really suffer in the salon layout to get that.

You need to decide which is more important to you a walk around berth or a more useful salon.
 

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We've on our 5th boat, boat 4 was a 52 center cockpit. All the others were aft cockpits from 22' to 38.

Center cockpits in our opinion get better as they get bigger. They do have the advantage of a separate aft cabin which can be very nice especially when guests are aboard. Also, we've found the aft cabin to be a reasonable place to sleep offshore. The galley is usually situated between the salon and the aft cabin, which is nicely midships and narrow with good support for offshore meal prep. If properly designed, engine access can be pretty good on all sides, but this can get messed up too as the boat gets loaded up with systems (as in any boat).

As the boat gets smaller though, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages in our opinion. You are driving closer to the pointy end of the boat, and are up higher. Can be wet and uncomfortable offshore. And then the extra cabin space and salon get smaller too. Generally, to make the interior work, they start looking more like wedding cakes (this is obviously subjective).

If you are considering a center, we'd recommend you buy something at, near or above your max length to minimize these disadvantages. If you are buying in the 30's, we'd definitely stay with aft cockpit.

All of this assumes you'll be doing some offshore passages to get to the Caribbean. If not, it doesn't matter as much, more a matter of taste.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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Usually, you're going to have more cockpit space with an aft cockpit. So if you intend to spend a lot of time "outside", that may be a consideration.

Some people feel more comfortable steering from the stern, than from the middle of the boat. Plus feel it's easier to get from the cockpit to the deck. (Obviously, subjective opinions)

CC's will generally have more windage and the foot of the main will usually be higher above the waterline.

The CC will have more "separation" of the interior and depending on the boat, may sacrifice some spaciousness.

It will probably be easier to find a aft cockpit boat in your price range.

Ventilation should be better in an aft cockpit boat.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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PB hit what is, IMHO, one of the key make or break points of center vs aft cockpits - especially for first time boat owners; windage.

If you plan to live aboard, and keep the boat at a slip, getting a center cockpit boat in and out of that slip with a breeze would be more of a challenge than with an aft cockpit boat. If you plan to sit tight at the slip when the wind is up, or if you want to keep the boat on a mooring, this may not be an issue. However, boat handling when leaving or approaching a slip was a determining factor for me (no pilothouse, and no center cockpit).
 

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I have no problem docking my boat, even in wind and I have a shoal keel (not really a full keel).
I have seats in my cockpit that are a full 8 feet long (so there goes the small cockpit thought).

Because my 38 is a 38 I do in fact 'loose' some in the salon - it's only 10 feet wide at the forward end and only 14 feet long.

CP, 70k gets you a lot of center cockpit from the 70-80's
I'm biased, but - best boat for living on - CC hands down.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow. A few great points in there all. I hadnt thought about windage whatsoever in regards to docking. If there were an overall opinion here, it sounds like a CC should not be considered unless we are at 40+. My better half and I are both slightly claustrophobic, which is another reason we were leaning towards the CCs cabin. A bit more head room but definitely a sacrifice on overall space.
 

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Asleep at the wheel
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I'm not so sure I agree with the 40+ for CC's. Yes, I can see it being wetter in the CC than in an aft cockpit, but that's what dodgers are for. And windage is a problem on any CC, and even many non-CC boats. At Annapolis I was amazed at how many aft-cockpit boats sat just as high, or higher, than some of the CC's.

We wanted a CC this time around, but couldn't find one in decent condition that was also in our budget. If I could have, I'd have snatched up an S2 11 center cockpit. The 9.2 CC's are nice, but much smaller than you're considering.

Also, with respect to the cockpit size on a CC versus an aft, while this may be somewhat true, the area above the aft cabin looks like a FANTASTIC place from which to hang out, sunbathe, and otherwise enjoy the boat. That actually INCREASES the usable "outside" area, unlike an aft cockpit where you typically have the boom and jib keeping you from enjoying the foredeck for too long.

Regarding the interior space, you should look at the Irwin 38 like Chuck's. His is a beautiful boat with a great interior layout, especially for 2. Yeah, the galley may be a bit tight, but if only one of you is cooking, it shouldn't be that big of a deal. And the trade-off is huge as the rest of the boat is very comfortable.
 

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We loved our 1998 Beneteau 36CC (center cockpit). We just traded it in for a 2012 Catalina 445 for more room as we hope to have our kids and grandkids (someday) on the boat with us. But if we knew it really would be only two of us, we likely would have kept it and done upgrades. You can purchase the boat for somewhere close to your budget.

The salon was really cozy and I mean that in the most positive way. It was NOT cramped, but cozy. We often had seven people around the table for dinner. One of things we are afraid of with the bigger boat is it won't feel as cozy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting thoughts on the CC. Typically it will be only my wife and I, and we are not imagining a lot of company except immediately after the initial purchase. We love to cook so the galley is probably more important than the salon. That being said, we plan to live aboard so the salon will certainly be used often.
The constant battle in my head I am sure is a common one. Size vrs. amenities. Smaller boat with more upgrades, or a larger, simpler boat with the intent of upgrades as we go.
We have never lived aboard before but I suppose in the end budget and the wifes will shall dictate, but in the meantime any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Keep sharing those humble opinions...
 

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bell ringer
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In the end just get the boat you like best and forget about all the "differences" as no matter what you always trade something for something else and all you are going to do is make yourself insane.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Looks VERY much out of my budget bobperry. Nice boat though. may I have a wealthy unknown relative who will pass and leave me their inheritance. In the meantime...

Thanks Don. May be the best advice all day!
 

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There are several threads already about this subject:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gener.../84930-center-cockpit-versus-aft-cockpit.html

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gener...related/97419-popularity-center-cockpits.html

I will say about it what I have said previously:


The biggest advantage of a center cockpit is the space on the back cabins, I mean in height and in illumination. The disadvantages are a higher freeboard more windage if the boat is smaller than 60ft and a much smaller cockpit, one where, unless the boat is very big, you will not have space for laying down at night while at watch and will not be able to receive a very limited number of guests.

On boats with less than 50ft it is really too much in what regards performance, I mean the interior space on the main cabin is very good but it comes clearly in prejudice of the sailing performance and boat looks.

Also CC tend to have narrower passages on the deck along the cabin and that can make a lt more difficult to go forward.

As always it is a question of compromises: If you really want/need that space and are more living on the boat than sailing then we can even justify that in a 37/40ft boat...but certainly that has nothing to do with a sailing advantage.

The motion will also be worse since you are much higher regarding the CG, more near on the vertical but the truth is that most of the time cruising boats are sailed on autopilot and if you will seat on a aft cockpit near the cabin that advantage will disappear.

Regards

Paulo
 

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The galley on the 36CC could NOT be beat. It was an alley galley, at least 10 feet long with cupboards and drawers towards the middle of the boat and a drop in fridge/freezer, double sink, and two burner stove towards the outside of the boat. Go to yachtworld and search for beneteau 36 CC and look at the pictures.

The galley on the 36CC put the galley on the new Jeanneau 439 to shame. That is one of the reasons we didn't go for the Jeannea. The galley on our new Catalina (which is aftcockpit, btw) is quite nice with a seperate freezer, but from a counter space/storage, it is NOT bigger than the 36CC galley. Comparable, but definitely not bigger.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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CC v AC are solutions, not requirements. Think about what you want from a boat and then look for boats that meet those needs.

In my case I wanted a boat that was solid in heavy weather, reasonably fast in light air, didn't require crawling over one another to go the head in the middle of the night, let us enjoy cooking and eating, and gave me a (small) office space to function in. Much to my surprise I ended up with a CC. Seven years downstream I could not be happier.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Nice to hear SVA.
My wife & both will be working form the boat, so while performance is always wanted, living/working space takes precedents over speed, guests & entertaining. Also taking in that we wish to stay married, an aft cabin with a bit of space may make the living working combo a bit more tolerable. My wife dabbles as a chef so cooking is more important than than the type of settee we end up with. What is it you sail? So far I really like the CSY 44 as well as the Gulfstars. Seem to be solid and a good value for the money. Yes I realize they are not the TODAY boat, but we tend to be old school in most ways anyway.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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What is it you sail? So far I really like the CSY 44 as well as the Gulfstars. Seem to be solid and a good value for the money. Yes I realize they are not the TODAY boat, but we tend to be old school in most ways anyway.
I have a Hallberg-Rassy 40.

The CSY 44 and Gulfstars are very comfortable boats. Beneteau made a bunch of CCs that are comfortable boats although cooking offshore wasn't nearly as much fun as at anchor. You might look at Hylas and IP as well although IP performance to windward isn't great. Moody has some great boats also that might be interesting.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Why not have both, aft and center cockpit? My client does.
That's just a soft dodger you see over the CC companionway.
This boat is currently being finished at Pacific Seacraft in N. Carolina.
... and it fits the OP purchase budget of $70K? If so, I'll take one!:D
 
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