The older S&S designs are deeper drafted and whether flush deck
or not, they all seem to handle similarly. Reading what others say above about the S&S Swans reminds me of a friend's mid-50's era 49' S&S wood yawl. It has a cabin
trunk but handling is much the same. They did a Transpac a few years ago and said "never again" on that boat. While very seaworthy
, just not so comfortable as other bluewater vessels.
Flush Deck/ Raised Deck
We sail a raised deck boat 54' on deck. It's an old (1930 SS Crocker) design so low freeboard compared to today's designs
. It was designed to accommodate the 6'4" tall original owner--so has 6'6" headroom
in the living areas. Ours is shallow draft
(for its size) at 6'4" draft
6') and we essentially have very little bilge
and very narrow sole. Loads of outboard storage
and wide berths because of the shallow draft
and raised deck.
We love LOVE all the deck space of our raised deck boat. The jacklines
run fairly far inboard and we run breastlines (extra lifeline at chest height) to hold onto so we can walk forward quickly rather than crawl. It's a good practice for anyone to have breastlines if they can do so on their boat.
In our case, the midships and aft area is raised and the foredeck (first 17 ft of the boat) is flush deck but often referred to as recessed by people who have raised deck boats. There is a 16" step-up across the boat at that point to the raised deck. You can see in the included picture--raised deck area has hull ports
above the clamp/rubrail and foredeck has hull ports
below the shelf/rubrail. Portholes are often underwater especially the forward ones. With big seas, the large rubrail (about 6" sticking out from the boat) deflects water
amazingly well. If we have boarding seas going to windward, they go onto the foredeck and drain at the freeing ports in front of the raised deck. They hit the front face of that raised deck with a lot of force and while we've seen the water
splash up into the rig maybe 20' up, surprisingly little water makes it onto the raised deck and the cockpit
itself is dry in those conditions.
When large seas are beam on or aft we can have boarding seas to the midships area. They wash across the deck. We store a 17 ft canoe on the port side midships with room to walk outboard
of it and it is the biggest impediment to the deck being clear for the seas washing
across. We fully expected to lose the canoe in at least two different gales with breaking waves upon us but somehow it's managed to stay with us and undamaged.
We have 3 low traditional butterfly hatches midships that provide great light and ventilation and that amazingly don't leak (if they're properly secured) even when waves are washing
There is a small (for the boat size) low pilothouse called a "charthouse" 8' x 8' and about 4' tall right in front of the cockpit
. We can steer from inside it. It and the 8" cockpit combings keep the large and deep cockpit very dry in most conditions. In big seas off the Oregon
coast during a gale we were getting cockpit-filling waves and were ever so thankful for our six large cockpit drains. Two of those are above the seat level and I never thought they'd see use--but they did.
I love flush deck boats (and the lower freeboard raised deck boats) and would think you'd enjoy all the things we like about ours. Since we do have that bit of a charthouse to hide from winds behind, it's a bit different than what you're considering. Even so, the deckspace is awesome and I think makes for a safer boat. On a wood boat like ours, "raised deck" is not quite the same as a fiberglass
boat. In either case, the structure at the deck/hull interface is really important to understand and to be very strong.